I’m a Moggie– or, at least, that’s what the world would call me if I was a cat.
You might be more familiar or comfortable with other terms. A domestic. A half-breed. A mutt. A masala. A mestizo. Mixed race. Multi-ethnic. Multi-cultural. Of hyphenated blood.
In many ways, nothing defines me more than this inability to be singularly defined.
In many ways, this is where every story I have begins.
From there, the plot has taken all the normal twists and turns of a normal life.
Sometimes, I feel as if my story is expected to be punctuated with racist potholes, bigoted judgement, and soul-weary journeys. To some extent, it has been. I’ve had slurs slung my way. I’ve been egged, vandalized, publicly humiliated, and ostracized. I can tell tales of having my possessions broken, and my accomplishments diminished. I have stories of the churches who wouldn’t marry my parents, and the history books who spread hurtful lies.
A teacher once told me it was the responsibility of people like me to share those stories of hardship, to show the world how discrimination is still a problem today. I disagreed a decade ago, and I disagree now.
I could talk to you about what it is to define your race and religion for strangers multiple times a day– to wonder all the while what you would be talking about instead, if your own features weren’t so freakishly different from the norm. I could talk to you about what I am and how it is different than what you are, and how my burdens have been heavier or lighter– but I don’t know if any of those discussions would make us better friends, or make us have wider hearts or minds.
I am made from wildly different pieces and parts of cultures and races and beliefs, and I am greater than the sum of those parts. But that doesn’t mean my singular experience is greater than yours– even if you happen to be carved from the exact same makings that created your grandfather and his before his.
I’m not saying that hardship shouldn’t be given a voice, but I am saying that perhaps it doesn’t need my voice.
I am a moggie. My vantage point leans to a different set of experiences. Instead of differences, all I ever want to talk about is what I know:
* * *
I want to be careful here to not diminish the individual stories of hurt in the world.
I hope when you do stumble upon these voices, you listen. I hope you really hear the isolation, hurt, and hope. I hope you understand that while we are all responsible for change, no one is blaming you for existing unless you happened to be the one throwing the stones. In which case, stop doing that: it’s not nice.
I hope those who are sharing their story with you are gentle, empathetic, and solution-oriented. And for what it’s worth, I hope you know how lucky you are to even have the chance to hear such stories. You are literate, and have access to the treasure trove of knowledge that is the internet.
You have been given a great trust, because the teller of the story knows you can be trusted to listen, and hopes that you might be the one who uses it as fuel to move the world towards more love. One love.
And most importantly, I hope you realize that whatever story is being told is just one story, and the things that make people like me targets of hate are the very same things that fill our lives with a good deal of love. These types of stories are important, but they are not, by any means, our only story.
* * *
My multiculturalism is something that goes far beyond my bloodstream. I was raised by people who were nurtured by places around this planet, near and far. My food is moggie– I eat my curry with tortillas instead of naan, and chopsticks instead of forks. My superstitions are moggie– and the talismans that protect me are written in languages dead and alive.
Even my fairly tales are moggie– haven’t you heard about Little Red Cap and her abuelita? The chupacabra and the jinn? Momotaro and the Brahman? 3 Little Pigs and the Big Bad Oni?
It’s in the bedtime stories for children where our sameness really shines. We are all more alike than you may realize– in regards to both flaws and virtues. I want to share with you some truths whispered into my dreams, over and over again, by family all over the world. The animals in the stories are often different, as is the weather, as is the color of the skin of the characters, but you probably remember the lessons as I do.
No one ever goes broke by giving.
Whether you are a prince in a stately French mansion, or a beautiful Indian queen on a quest to save her husband, or a weary traveler carrying nothing more than an extra kilt and an onion– do not turn away the old beggar who comes asking for help.
I repeat: do not shun the beggar.
Give them whatever you can, and include a healthy dose of patient kindness because you don’t know their full story and it’s probably a doozy.
I know, I know, it’s your only onion. Don’t fear, though: no one ever goes broke from giving too much.
Dreams are achievable.
Whether you are a hippo looking to finally live in the water, or a wooden boy who wants to be filled with life, or a silly monkey asking for all the misery in the world– you find what you seek eventually.
The universe finds its own way back to balance, though.
No dream is what it seems at first glance, or without cost.
You create your own reality.
Sometimes, if you don’t trust a bean salesman, you don’t get to climb a beanstalk. Sometimes, if you walk into a house with a thousand mirrors, your impression of the experience depends entirely on the face you wear.
Sometimes the darkest moments of your life become the brightest when you look at them with patience and love.
Sometimes slowly and sometimes overnight, but almost always– life becomes the reality you envision.
In what area of life do you most see our sameness?