Life experiences have made the person I am today. I’ve grown up with a lot of diversity and prejudice in the past and know I live with its consequences and affects. It has also made me a stronger person having gone through it and made and swayed me in the direction to helping others. Today I work for the Department of Aging and I’m not only assisting them but they are all helping me alleviate any further prejudices I may have.
Cultural Diversity in My Eyes
Everyone you initially meet in life has a first impression, including myself. When I began working as a Site Manager I thought it was going to be like any other customer service job but, I was strongly mistaken. Although I have been around senior citizens previously I’ve never been exposed to a large group before. It was extremely intimidating because there were seniors in wheel-chairs, seniors with oxygen tanks and all of them had dark aging spots all over their skin. It not only looked frightening, it smelled just as bad, like moth balls and urine. As I starting introducing myself to everyone individually I realized where the source of the odor was coming from, it was a petite silver-haired white woman who seemed to have a mental disorder. Upon getting to know this woman I found out the true meaning of “not judging a book by its cover”.
I am now thirty-three years old and have struggled to find my place in this diverse world. So when I got this job I knew it was a fresh start in the right direction. It is a stepping stone to the goals I have never thought I would accomplish. I’ve over come several cultural diverse issues in my life that I often thought of myself as a walking statistic. I was raised by my single alcoholic mother, who beat me down physically and mentally every other day. On top of that, I bounced around from place to place never setting any roots which made life was pretty lonely. Growing up in the 80’s being Mexican-American in a predominately all White rural area made life pretty interesting. Let’s face it, no one wanted to be friends with the dirty little Mexican girl. Not to mention that none of the kids were allowed to hang out with me because my mother made herself well known in our home town as the “Drunk Slut” Literally! Just when I thought I was beginning to develop a friendship my mother moved us to the inner city of Syracuse, NY where it was the complete opposite. Now I was being shunned for being too White. Although I was Mexican I didn’t fit in the Spanish kids because I didn’t know how to speak the language and I was fighting for my life against the Blacks for not being black enough. So that’s what I felt I had to do, fight. Why not? My mother did it to me. Living in the ghetto fighting made me real popular. I gained friends because no one wanted to be by enemy.
By the time I moved back to my home town I had a name and reputation. That was the first glimpse that I was becoming my mother. Back in the sticks I was an outcast and an outcast is where I stayed. Being an outcast wasn’t so bad; I became friends with people who had the same issues as me. Although what I really wanted was to be normal like the majority.
By the time I was 12 years old I was placed into foster care. That’s when I became more culturally aware that I was a statistic. But, this is also when I became aware that life could be better and I was bound and determined to be the complete opposite than my mother. I’ve had struggles along the way such as divorce and alcohol abuse but ultimately it brought me to where I’m at today, almost a college graduate and a home owner.
I’ve done all the right things. I went back to school to better my education, remarried a loving man who has a decent job and found a respectable job for myself in the process. I have a son who does great in his academics and athletics. I also have a beautiful daughter who is growing into a pleasant well behaved smart little girl. So you would think that the first impression someone gives me…