altered book art journal, Hali Karla
altered book art journal detail, Hali Karla

There is always more to the story.

I made the art journal page above, about a month ago… as an expression about pivotal parts of my lineage and upbringing that no one would guess when looking at me through the usual cultural lenses that form notions about people, where they come from, and what drives how they relate. Whatever lens they come with, they might assume many things – but not the truth, and certainly not my truth.

Stories we hear or read about groups of people, practices and places are not to be confused with stories about the individuals that are part of that group classification, who experience and practice certain ways or inhabit certain places.

There is always the story before the story, and the stories before that – and all the stories that live in our bones and the rocks of the land… whether we remember, acknowledge and honor it or not.

Within the stories of peoples, there are stories of individuals. To me, these are the truest and most helpful stories about being human in a family of diverse humans on a shared, global home.

In contemplating all of this, I am reminded of a moving Ted Talk by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie (below).

In the dynamic stories of an individual’s multi-faceted experience, we truly can begin to see and feel our essential connection with one another, rather than the separating differences that “single story” generalizations about a people often promote.

 

May we remember more than the stories told about people –
and listen to the stories people tell about what they have lived
with kindness, curiosity and an ethic of reciprocity.

 

Shine On,

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