Six summers ago, as I along with my peers began applying for college or university, something odd was afoot. Despite my current advocacy of writing, I used to dread the activity and treat it like the plague. So when everybody told me that you could essentially write one essay for multiple schools (with minor tweaks), I jumped at the idea. Part of the plan was to find schools that were looking for similar application essay content. Lo and behold, there was one that stuck out quite obviously.
I distinctly remember starting almost every essay I wrote that year with some variation of, "I come from a diverse background," unashamedly. Literally every personal essay where topics were up to the writer, I chose to write about diversity. The best part was, I wasn't lying. I do indeed come from a very diverse background.
I grew up in a middle-class neighborhood that was mostly Caucasian. In our schools, however, the demographics varied greatly because of the range of our district. Although a majority of my classmates were from the aforementioned neighborhood, we also had a fairly large population of African-American, Asian, and Hispanic students. Ethnicity aside, I also grew up in a student body that was interested in a variety of activities, probably a byproduct of having the resources to provide facilities for said activities, but I digress. Off the top of my head, my friends in high school consisted of mathletes, athletes, environmental advocates, debate champions, singers, actors, and horticulture enthusiasts. Cool, right?
That's the boring stuff, though. Everybody talks about diversity in terms of ethnicity and race these days, and I for one am not interested in adding another redundant voice into the conversation. So, if you're looking for that discussion, you're in the wrong part of the internet. Might I suggest literally any reputable news source, and not a blog post?
Instead, I want to present diversity as something that exists within individuals. As in, diversify yourself, not just your surroundings.
In January, I started seriously reading for the first time since the 5th grade (for what it's worth, Holes was a strong book to finish on). I picked up All The Light We Cannot See, which I highly recommend. I credit it with causing me to gain interest in the literary world again. Four books down the line, I purchased and read I'm Traveling Alone, which is another great book.
In between these two novels, I read two less interesting and engaging books, both of which I will not mention or recommend for both your sanity and mine. Both books made me question whether or not I should start reading more frequently, and almost derailed my entire "let's read more books" endeavor.
The point is, I realize more clearly now the difference between a good book and a bad one. However, had I never read the two books in between, my perspective on literature would be incredibly narrow and short-sighted. My entire view of the literary world would rest upon the assumption that every book is a good book, which is not always true.
In the same vein, several weeks ago, I mentioned to somebody that I was on a mission to be better than the me of yesterday -- essentially trying to be "better" every day. One such method of doing so, in my opinion, was reading more. This somebody questioned whether a fantasy novel was really "bettering" me. To which I must say: are self-help books the only way to improve yourself? Nay.
This is just a small example, and my internet cut out last night so I no longer know where my original train of thought was going. However, I guess the question I want to leave you with is, how diverse are you? Not your neighborhood, your school, your family, or your job; but you?
I challenge you all to try to diversify yourself a little more each day. Read something you wouldn't normally read. Talk to someone you wouldn't normally talk to. Do something you normally wouldn't do.
The world has a lot to offer, and if we spend our entire lives living through one lens -- one perspective -- we're wasting an awfully rich and beautiful world.
If you're new to Word Vomit Wednesdays, each week, Taylor and I will give each other and our friends topics to blog about, hours before midnight on Wednesday. The point being, exercise your brain and be vulnerable! No editing, no proofreading, just your thoughts and post. Let me know if you would like to join us!