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Hollie Grimaldi Flores: Grateful for a change

Hollie Grimaldi Flores
Hollie Grimaldi Flores

Hello last Thursday in November! You certainly came up quickly. While there were a few months that seemed to drag on this year, November has not been one of them — at least not for me. I swear I just barely packed away my Moderna vaccine costume and here we are saddling up for Black Friday. (Just kidding about the costume, it would have been team Johnson all the way!) Now we are just one turkey trot and a few football contests away from Christmas! Where does the time go?

As I finish my shopping list and prepare to feast on various proteins and too many carbohydrates, I am also taking time to soak in more gratitude than an oven baked dinner roll. It is easy for me to identify the people and circumstances in my life for which I am thankful because I practice expressing gratitude daily.

Practice is an accurate term. When I first began keeping a gratitude journal, I would struggle with finding something beyond the basics. I would express my gratitude for shelter, enough income to pay the bills, reliable transportation, the love of friends and family, good health, etc. Soon, I realized that my “basics” were still on the wish list for others. I should absolutely acknowledge and appreciate even what I take for granted. I am so grateful my basic needs are met.

Over the years, I have asked for and have often received expansion beyond the basics. Yes, I have shelter, now the shelter is being remodeled. Yes, I have enough income to pay the bills, but now find there is also enough to tuck some away or to enjoy a vacation or two without fretting over every dollar. The transportation is dependable and now I am looking beyond simple functionality and daydreaming about an upgrade. I am forever grateful for deep, meaningful friendships but am stepping into vulnerable arenas to try to heal a few estranged connections, weighing the discomfort required for reconciliation against the value of the relationship. And when it comes to health, I am going beyond simple gratitude and taking steps to ensure it continues where it is possible for me to have an impact which means paying attention to diet, making the effort to exercise, holding on to hand railings, heeding the advice of medical professionals and taking medications as prescribed.

I am also so grateful to be living as my authentic self. I was born in the United States of America in the second-best class situation – a white, heterosexual woman. Honestly, it is only the straight white male who has more privilege. I have had some battles over equality and the unwanted advances of said males, but I have never had to fight to be who I knew myself to be at my core. I did not have to hide who I knew myself to be on the inside from the rest of the world. I have not had to risk much.

Since the beginning of time there have been those who did not fit into the white male hetero dogma. Starting with race, ethnicity and gender, history tells an ugly story not of acceptance but of persecution. Admittedly, my authority on this topic is quite limited. The history books of my youth painted a pretty rosy picture or completely omitted atrocities. “We came to a new land. The people who already lived here helped us survive. We had a big feast. Yay, us.”

The curtain has been torn away. It has taken generations and many, many, brave souls to do it. I am grateful to live in this time, even though it can be confusing and may go against what I once believed to be true. I am grateful to my children who have opened my eyes. I thought I would be the one to teach them about the ways of the world, but as they have grown, it has truly become, more often, they who are teaching me. Again, I am so grateful.

In today’s world, people who do not fit into the mold are finding the strength to fight to be who they were born to be. Some are dying for it – literally.

I get that it is not an easy transition for those happy with status quo. A lifetime of belief is hard to change. I am grateful to those who are willing to look at what is being revealed to be the truth and to be open to it. Understand you do not have to change who you are, to allow others to be who they are. And please, step out of the way.

I know this to be true. All humans do not fit into the boxes we have been checking. There are human beings who are not straight. There are human beings who do not fit their anatomical assignment. This has always been true. Ignoring, condemning, and persecuting those who do not fit into your idea of social norms does nothing to change these facts. There is plenty of fear mongering and there is plenty of misinformation to keep the fear building and that is about power and control.

The world is changing rapidly. The era of the dominating white man is teetering toward its end. How very scary for them! History has taught us to adapt or die. I vote for adaptation.

I realize there are many who do not agree with any of this and that is a shame, but also okay. Because we live in a country that allows self-expression. We are allowed to freely convey our beliefs. And for this, I am also grateful.

Hollie Grimaldi Flores is a Nevada County resident and freelance writer for hire, as well as a podcaster at HollieGrams. You can hear her episodes at http://www.buzzsprout.com/1332253. She can be reached at holliesallwrite@gmail.com

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