I don’t usually think of myself as growing up in a culturally diverse-parent household, but I think it’s important for the psychology of many young people to understand where their parents came from, and how they arrived here today - even if they are from the same "nation" or background.
I think we can better understand ourselves and have compassion on the differences of others when we hold up the concept of marriage to a light and examine all the reflecting prisms and details we see.
I see marriage as an everlasting bond on this earth between two people who agree to love one another unconditionally.
The pivotal part is, these people are not exactly the same and often times are from opposite ends of the human spectrum.
So, why is it so hard for different cultures comprised of human beings to exist simultaneously, when marriage is such common practice among very diverse individuals in this world?
What if we extended the thoughts and ideas surrounding marriage to seek mutual understanding of those around us?
My mother was from the north. My father, the south. My mother was raised in a tight-knit Italian community in Pennsylvania, moving from the homestead as a child to California—where she never moved from the street she called home and still resides there today. My father, born in Florida, came from a split family home, moving around the country many times (he went to 3 different Junior High Schools and 5 different High Schools - on two different coasts) before residing in California and marrying my mom.
I am often pulled in two different directions intrinsically when I think of my future. I grew up in one home, never moving until my late teens. Then the world was my oyster.
I would oftentimes be gripped with anxiety before traveling and the thought of leaving what I knew. But since I had this simultaneous untamed sense of wonder, I would usually make sure to put myself in situations where “home” was wherever I was at the moment, and traveled. And traveled often. Mainly with friends. Mainly with my now-husband. I would just save up my money and go. “What if we went here, *points finger to map* tonight!”
Maybe it’s because I had the same “instinct” of escapism (I understand that it is truly an instinct with the life I’ve led) and followed in my dad’s footsteps. Getting the hell outta' there whenever something was wrong and getting outside of myself for a few days or a week…or two. Maybe it's the sense of self I have - my sense of "home" - that I take with me everywhere I got from my mom.
Understanding the mixed makeup I have – whether it be tendencies or genetic – is helpful when pondering ideas of understanding people and myself in a day-to-day context.
These thoughts and ideas help open me up to accepting differences and engaging others in ways I never really thought I could. If I come from these very different people, then why would it be difficult to relate to or understand those who are different from myself?
Marriage is this insane idea where two very different people are bound for life.
So why can’t we engage one another and cultures who are very different from our own when we are so willing to marry someone and bind ourselves to another human being very different from ourselves?
Think about when your parents are from. Whether you are from a very diverse background or what would be considered (on paper) a very homogenous background.
Think about the obstacles your parents had to overcome to make things “work” over the years. Maybe they didn’t make it work. Maybe they did. Think about those struggles.
Think about someone you know who you don’t quite understand – maybe it’s your neighbor – maybe it’s a friend who makes very different decisions than you would.
That awkward unexplored land is the vast expanse of opportunity for cultural understanding. The space that can separate or engage us.
Only those daring few can rove over the valleys and mountains that lead to mutuality.
All images were taken on a random trip up the coast with my husband, Micah. Love you, boo.