Washington Square Park is a special place located in New York City's famed Greenwich Village.
And it was on many, many summer nights in Washington Square park, that as a teen I learned not to just tolerate the differences in people, but embrace them. As we start A Week Of Positive blogging I am reminded of a place that taught me so much about appreciating people for who they are and who they choose to be.
I'm not sure if there is something in the air or an altered gravitational force, but once people walk into Washington Square park they feel free to be.
I started going to Washington Square when I was about sixteen. My friends and I would take the subway from Queens and walk around Greenwich village. We'd grab something to eat, window shop and talk. At some point someone would suggest that it was time to head to the park and off we went.
As soon as one enters the park on a summer night you feel the air of freedom. People from every spot on the globe congregate to take part in the summer's night extravaganza of individuality.
On any given night you may find lone singers, dancers, bands, comedians, drag kings or queens, roller skaters, you name it. There would always be music echoing through the park and voices rising above the beat. There always seem to be some sort of unspoken order to it all. The number one rule being live and let live.
During my time spent in the park I learned to love the differences in people, to celebrate those willing and brave enough to live outside the box. In the world we live in there has been a push to make the boundaries of our existence more constrained. There are people who are constantly trying to make others live by their rules.
I love differences in people. Whether it is different culture, different ethnicity's, language or points of view. Being around people different from me opens my world. It allows me to explore different thoughts and ideas and to feel comfortable doing so.
I think that in our formative years, which I believe extend well into our teens, we form a foundation of acceptance or one of non-acceptance. So I feel extremely fortunate to have been exposed to such openness while a teen. I meet people all the time that come from very constrained backgrounds and it shows in the way they segregate themselves from others that don't share their point of view. So I celebrate the openness I in part learned from the Washington square experience.
It was on those hot humid New York summer nights that I began to really form a basis for my desire to live in a world free of hate. A world that didn't just try to tolerate difference but tried to embrace those differences.
Who wants to be tolerated? To be tolerated is an insult to one's humanity. To be embraced as a free and unique human is a wonderful gift to everyone. It provides a platform for loving one's self and for that elusive thing we call self-esteem.
So as we begin this week of positive blogging I look forward to reading about life from differing perspectives, from places all over the globe. This week as bloggers we celebrate freedom, individuality and the wonderful experience that we call life.
Link: A Week Of Positive Blogging
Photo Attribution: BT Jones