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Tuesday, March 07, 2006

Diversity: The Spice of Life

"Her Faerie Tales" by Mailyn, writing from Miami, USA

Most people can be neatly place in a particular group. Said groups are usually created based on the culture, ideas, and various other things in which the person grew up or lives with. For the most part people like to associate with people like them, other people with similar tastes so to speak, and it's easy to tell the different groups apart. The rockers that you see in concerts, the party people that live on the dance floor, the jock that lives and breath sports or the intellectual who prefers the bookstore or at least an art gallery or two.

Then there's the rest of us, a small minority when taking into account the millions of people on earth, but we are here nonetheless. We like to wander outside our comfort zone, more accurately we don't even have one. We like diversity in our food, in our music, in our friends, and everywhere else in our lives. It's not that we go out of our ways just to be different, rather it's that "different" comes naturally, it's who we are. We feel at ease most everywhere we go regardless of the setting or how "different" it may be from what we've experienced so far in our lives and we can usually find a thing or two that we may have in common with this environment.

Consider my iPod as an example. I have over 3000 songs and since there are so many it's set to play them at random. In less than an hour you can go from classical crossover artists such as Emma Shapplin or Sarah Brightman to industrial metal the likes of Rammstein or Nine Inch Nails. In between you'll probably hear some Korean techno, Japanese rock, Chinese R&B, Indian pop, Vietnamese classical, Greek dance, and even some good old country music. From Metallica to Marilyn Manson, from Tarkan to Elena Paparizou, from Jackie Cheung Hok Yau to Tei, if it sounds good to me then I love it.

Along the same line I watch anything from Bollywood (India) musical 3 hour extravaganzas (that's the average length of a Hindi movie) to Hong Kong action flicks. From Japanese anime (which I grew up on) to Korean horror. I can spit out the latest gossip in the entertainment world in places as diverse as Greece, India and Hong Kong. I feel right at home with all the different names of all the different actors and musicians in all these different languages.

Another example would be the way that I dress or the places I frequent. If you see me at a club then you'll see the perennial party girl in the short skirts, color contacts, low rise jeans or sparkly tops. If you're lucky you'll even catch me with some glitter on. Find me at the local bookstore and you'll see me walking around with the thickest books you've ever seen and probably trying to find an even bigger one wearing glasses and a good old sweatshirt. Run into me at your local supermarket and you are bound to see me dress up as a hippy, a runway model or a good old bum.

I dress the way I feel on any particular day. I don't set out to impress anyone by wearing the shortest shorts, the loudest shirts or the biggest shoes. If I like it I don't care if it's in fashion or not, if it's considered weird or "slutty" or "conservative" by most or not. I wear what I like. Now that's not to say I'm a fashion victim or worst. I know what's in style and I can dress with the best of them. People that have met me at work will run into me wearing suits, glasses and my hair up in a bun. If I'm going to an upscale restaurant you bet your life I'm channelling my inner fashion model. But I don't let fashion, or the culture I'm in dictate what to wear or what to listen to or even what to eat. All this comes rather natural to me since my personality has so many different sides.

I can be shy, wild, modest, loud, sexy, bold, dumb, intellectual and I don't have to try. Usually I get a kick out of people that tell me they need a few drinks before they can loosen up in a club or a party. I don't even touch the stuff, who has time?! Soon as I get there I'm heading straight for the dance floor and wild horses couldn't drag me away until the DJ plays that last song.

When I'm with friends I'm very bubbly, funny and sometimes even loud. If I'm with a guy friend I have no problems being crazy but, by contrast, if I like the guy then I tend to be more reserved, more mature and dare I say it, even a bit shy! At the same time, once we are past the pleasantries of the fist few dates and moved on to something more meaningful I can be anything from sexy and wild to downright virginal. It all depends on the mood I'm in and the way I feel.

It's not something I do. I don't just decide I'll be this or that way. It just happens, it's an expression of my feelings at the time and they all feel like me, not like I'm pretending to be something I'm not but just another part of me. Diversity. It rules my life as well as the lives of people like me.

We have many layers and many sides to our personalities and they are all 100% us. We don't try to be different. We don't try to stand out. We don't try to be something we are not. We just simply are and what we are cannot be placed into a group or a label. We think outside the box. Heck, we ARE the box and everything else around it.

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