Since I am stuck in traffic at the moment (that evil Hwy 91) this would be a good time to catch up on some personal projects, such as this blog!
Last week, something happened and I really wanted to share it with you guys, but first I’m going to talk about the photo above of Vancouver’s latest public art.
The purpose of ‘let’s heal the divide’ is to stimulate discussion on the divides in our society, whether it is gender, class, race, etc, and to bring people together. Obviously it is going to take more than art on a building to do so, but its a start. After coming across this building, that same day, as I was heading home there was a woman at the bus stop holding many bags in each hand and struggling to carry them onto the bus. What really annoyed me was the lack of help from the people around her in line. I then offered to help her with the bags and we ended up sitting together after getting on the bus. It was an incredibly long day of classes+work for me so I wasn’t exactly keen on engaging in a conversation with this lady. She probably sensed this and asked very nicely ”I’m sorry, you must have had a long day, but am I able to take a few minutes of your time? I just need someone to talk to.” How can I refuse a request as simple as this? She then proceeded to tell me how she just met with her son and she was sad about it. I asked why and she started telling me that their relationship wasn’t good. I was so intrigued that I ended up inviting her to grab a meal around the stop she was getting off at, and we chatted for hours.
This woman had been working in the sex industry for many years and then decided to make life changes and is now working in the creative arts industry. Although she has given me the green light to share her story with my friends, I would like to keep certain details and name private just to keep things simple for her. We shall call her Maria. Maria* told me when she was working in the sex industry she was always looked down upon and there was always some form of ‘division’ between her and others just because of her occupation. We also talked about the protection and support for those in this industry (I wont get into too much detail, but basically it is inadequate). It has also caused a tremendous amount of strain with her family and son and they barely see each other, which is what bothers her the most (and her biggest regret in life).
We talked about everything from my career goals to our favourite foods. By the end she thanked me for my time because no one genuinely listens to her, and she fears of bringing it up in her current field of work. I thanked HER as I am the one that is privileged to be chatting and learning from such a wise woman and the hardships she has faced.
How often do we open our eyes and heart and learn about others and their story? So many of us are guilty of being busy with our own lives and don’t make enough time to listen to others (whether it is a stranger or our friends) and end up creating this divide. It was only a couple hours of my so-called ‘busy’ evening, but I’m glad Maria* was able to share her story and talk to someone about it. Maybe it is easier talking to a stranger after all, so next time you decide to brush someone off, think twice. You might be helping someone out in ways you didn’t realize and also learn a thing or two in the process.