Growing up I always knew I wanted to do great things, I saw the world and I wanted to make it better. I always had this desire to change the world. In my head everyone had that desire, everyone wanted to make the world a better place and help other in need. Everyone else wanted to travel to other countries and find ways to have all of us come together as one. Respect all the different cultures and see that we are all human beings on this earth trying to survive and make our mark.
I also saw my dreams as goals, not these abstract things that I would never achieve but the guiding force leading me towards it. Changing the world and having an impact was and still is my dream. How I go about this, has changed and is constantly being fine-tuned and tweaked. Or altered according to what is going on in the world.
I remember being baffled while in Morocco. First, I should state sexual harassment is viewed differently there, and when I first got there in one of our first courses the instructor broke down sexual harassment and how different it was from America. For example, if a women was claiming she was sexually harassed she had to have twelve witnesses. 12! Also, no one on the street will do anything if you are being harassed, especially if you aren’t in a hijab, because they don’t want to get involved and it’s probably harmless. Needless to say, an incident did happen. It wasn’t the incident that upset me as much as the response to it that shocked me. I was with some of my fellow interns waiting at our stop to get to work, when a man kept approaching us and tried to touch us. We continued to move from one spot at the station to another until finally he reached out and tried to grab me. I was holding my lunch box at the time and dropped it on the ground and yelled at him. It wasn’t until then did anyone respond to 4 women trying to get away from this guy harassing us. I later discussed the incident with a different intern and he told me that “it’s just Africa. Africa will always be stuck in there ways and that’s why until you verbally spoke out was it a problem. It will never change.” I was like how could you just say that it will never change that is the way it is. I couldn’t wrap my head around that concept. Especially coming from a fellow intern who was working with me to teach English to kids as a means to give them another skill set. I do realize that a month is nowhere close to enough time to really allow that skill set to sink in. Especially when the kids that we were working with, came from broken families that weren’t the type of families to sit down and make sure all the homework was done and really even ask what was happening at school.
Even though I had a hard time wrapping my head around someone being so content and okay with saying something was just the way it was, I believed everyone still wanted to change the world and do big and grand things. Fast forward a few years and I started dating a Marine Vet who served 3 deployments in Iraq and Afghanistan. He saw the world as fucked, and there was good guys and bad guys. We will never be able to come together, egos and other things will get in the way. When I told him how I wanted to change the world and inspire people, he literally laughed in my face and told me I was a young naive hippie who couldn’t grasp the reality of the world. I couldn’t believe that, he later would say it was cute and endearing but I was delusional. I also explained to him if I don’t believe I can change the world and make it better, who will? And then if no one is believing it, how will it ever truly get better? It would always remind me of a quote from George Bernard Shaw “People who say it can’t be done should not interrupt those who are doing it”
I think a big thing in life is who you surround yourself with. If you surround yourself with like minded individuals you will see and reinforce those believes. For most of my life, I surrounded myself with people who wanted to do big grand things, wanted to help people in need. Worked in various non-profit organizations. The core people I was friends with in NYC, were all doing things that headed towards doing things to change and inspire the world. I do however, think it is so important to go out and meet other people. Converse with people of many different backgrounds, beliefs, and walks of life. I do believe knowledge is power, and the more you know, the more you can change things, change perspective, change lives, make things better.
I remember when I was in treatment for my eating disorder, my therapist would tell me, If you want to change the world, you have to let people see the struggle along the way. It isn’t as if it just comes, it is the journey, it is the process. I still want to believe everyone has good intentions and wants to do things for the good and better of society and future generations to come. Everyone wants to change the world, in some way shape or form. That it is something when we all come together, can and will be achieved. Sometimes, I think I am naive for holding on to this ideal, but again if I don’t believe we can all come together then I let doubters win, I let the negative win. By letting it win, I agree to say that it is impossible. and that simply doesn’t work for me. By disagreeing, I am saying – I will be the change I want to see in the world. I will work to make it happen. it is POSSIBLE