When I was in college, I did a book report for extra credit on a book that forever changed me called Woman’s Reality. This book opened my eyes to the vastness of realities that exist within my culture. These unique realities are built by our experiences. Some of the major elements that play parts into the various realities around us are economics, education, race, sex, age, sexual orientation, marital status, citizenship, religious beliefs, beliefs in general, disabled, & cultural expectations. They all branch, dividing into smaller and smaller parts and then are all added to the reality building table. People’s realities are a combination of two or more of the above components found intertwined with each other in countless possibilities.
All these possibilities of realities individualize us. It is like having a glimpse at the blueprints of personality. These thoughts remind me of the knowledge of Jung and the Collective Unconscious. It is possible that Universal elements stem from the Collective Unconscious then the Personal Unconscious takes it from there, molding personalities from unique experiences.
Another facet of importance that helps define someone’s reality and where they exist is equality. I began to inquire with family and friends if they remembered their first out cry of equality or any other time they remember hearing their voice. It was clear to see some people have a voice and others do occasionally or not at all. There’s one thing for sure they all come from their own distinct realities.
My first out cry of equality came when I was nine years old. I was a tom boy that ran around in the summer with no shoes and sometimes no shirt. Well, that summer things changed for me. I was told I had to wear a shirt at all times. I was flabbergasted. The boys didn’t have to wear a shirt but I did being a girl. I voiced my disgust to who ever would listen. That’s when it became evident I was a person with a voice.
There are many stories from woman where the first time they heard their voice it had something to do with being a girl. The same goes for a person’s race especially if they are not Caucasian and are in a lower economical class. We can continue from there with other elements like Religious beliefs, sexual orientation, or body image to name a few. All defining the inequality of our Culture.
A lot of the stories people told me took place beyond their youth. They noticed their voices grew stronger with the years. The hidden inequalities were visible to them now. They felt them personally or spoke out for someone else’s rights. A Native American woman told me her story of standing up for a disabled woman that did not have a voice. An African American man spoke of the time he felt Institutional racism. A Caucasian man stood up for a fellow Union member against all odds to bring back his pension. An Asian American woman shows a room of men of all races that she is equal to them.
A person’s voice is an essential instrument of combating the inequalities of a culture. There are people that have the power of a voice through spoken words, others that find their voice through written word, and some people perform their voice through their actions. Either way voice is their reality.
The countless possibilities of combination’s of the vast elements used to create a person’s reality make ones head spin. That all of our experiences are binding with compatible elements then linking with other elements to form our individual personalities that grow to be our own unique realities. It is easy to forget with all of what is going on that we have an option of choice. We can choose our own personal experiences in a great deal of life. Of course, there are experiences we have no control over too that may or may not be connected to elements that are predetermined like race and sex. However, we have a choice. An African American woman explained this to me wonderfully, “I have no choice but to live in inequality but I do have the choice to fight for equality.”
It is important to remember that we are ever changing and so is the Culture.