Dignity & Purpose
“That’s good, asi estas bien.” I swish the red cup full of store brand cola around my mouth twice before I take a sip. I make sure to look as cool as possible, in case anyone’s looking. Ashley’s mom pinched my cheek firmly, “ay que niño tan bello!” Ugh. I walk away swiftly, my eyes affixed to the ground avoiding everyone that is having fun to make sure they don’t notice me being alone and lame. I reach my chair — ahh. I make sure that my polyester button down looks proper, just in case any one cares, and I recuff my wrangler jeans to make sure they appear designer. I see some people I know to my left and right, but no one seems to have noticed me…why am I here?
Around forty-five minutes had passed, and I had run out of cola. I continued to sip this imaginary cola from the same empty cup so I seemed busy and preoccupied with myself and my drink.
Every drop of cola I mustered from that empty cup extended my sense of purpose in the space.
Does anybody care?
Suicide, depression, sadness, etc. commonly judged/persecuted human experiences. “How can one be so ungrateful of this life when there is a beautiful sun to wake up to every morning, a moon to put us to sleep, and a breeze to carry the sweet scents of earth’s gifts to us every single day? How can one be so negative with so many gifts around them?”
Yes I agree, life is very lit. I wake up everyday hyped to eat my platano con salami and watch my Mr. Robot (get on the wave).
Regardless of these pleasures, life is hella hard fam. We get a sense that life truly isn’t all giggles when we see people with everything they could ever ask for still not enjoy life.
Is there anything money can buy us, does this happiness have a price tag?
We live on a planet full of 8 billion people. Our life’s purpose (as we’ve been told) is to become someone. What does it mean to become someone? A celebrity, a foot ball player, a lawyer?
Let’s push those socialized standards of success to the side right now, or as I’d like to say — miss me with that bs, stay woke.
If we’re not striving to be those typical agents, what do we yearn for as humans?
We don’t need ten billion people to acknowledge us as worthy, rather maybe just one. We start our lives feeling less than human, sub-par. We want to reach a level of humanness where people acknowledge us and interact with us so that we can harness a sense of conglomerate. On our day to day, we are constantly attempting to prove our validity. We choose certain outfits to appeal to a certain group of people we want to be acknowledged by. We lean towards certain interests and ideas in hopes that we will fit into the groups we aspire to be like.
But what happens when we never gain this social acceptance that we all yearn for? (Yes, even the socially rejected wish to be accepted by other socially rejected people, we all want to belong to something)
It is our job, as humans, brothers and sisters, to give each other a purpose and reason to exist. The feeling of “mattering” is priceless and can only be acquired through one another.
To give someone dignity, is to restore and place them into the human spectrum. The spectrum of belonging, relevance, acknowledgement, self-worth, acceptance, and most importantly, identity.
We all have gifts, and most of them have yet to flourish because we have not been placed on this spectrum of humanity. Gift giving feels so good, because we get to make someone feel special. We give gifts out on a daily basis. The simplest act of waving “hello” is a gift for many that is often missing in a person's life. That small effortless wave with goodness behind it, can be the courage that person musters to say hello to their next best friend.
It is far too easy to turn a blind eye to those who feel worthless. We see them everyday. The young man with a speech impediment in your class, that no one talks to because it’s just too hard. The girl that is slut shamed and now has lost many friends and is alone. The boy in gym class that doesn’t know how to play basketball when free time comes along. Abuelita, that is heavily covered in make-up simply to take a stroll through the park, hoping that she still looks just like she did when she was 22 (and she does and always will, shout outs to all the abuelas out there, y’all will forever be lit).
People are trying.
Trying to be someone that can maybe play a role in someone else’s life and leave this earth with an impression on the ground, a footprint for others to follow.
Sometimes the calling will be to you, the shy and meek you. Perhaps you have yet to encounter this feeling of dignity, but today it may be up to you to help someone else feel worthy of life.
I had finally run out of cheap cola to slurp off the rim of the red cup. I felt my heart become sour and drop into my stomach. I see all the girls and boys having a good time — gossiping, laughing, admiring each other.
I am planning my escape before anyone notices I’m even here, until a girl in my class walks up to me. I became startled and jumped, ruining my unexistent coolness once again.
“Hey Eddie, we just dared Jose to drink the whole three liter coke all at the same time, he said he’s gonna do it only if Ashley kisses him and she said yes, wanna come watch with me?”
“Oh, uh, really that’s crazy!”
“Yea come on!”
She took my hand and yanked me off my seat against my shy will. She hung out with me for the rest of the night and made sure I didn’t go back to that seat or refill my red cup of coke.
I felt infinite.