Expanding Elastic or a Fear of Diversity?

I had a moment of thought today. It was about some of my peers and their limited thinking, at times.  I was reminded by a, simple, tickling of the nose when I was in the car spraying eucalyptus oil. I thought to myself, “How could anyone not enjoy the aromatic stimulation of natural oils?” I went on to spray a little lavender patchouli and inhaled the scents.

Then, I remembered. People who limit themselves in new experiences, as simple as trying new food flavors to sampling scent selections, usually don’t correlate any positive memory with the new concept, that would drive them to give it a chance. For instance, I interact (on the daily) with people who will comment on their dislike of mint, eucalyptus, rosemary or chamomile scents. When I ask them why, they’ll respond with, ” Because, it reminds me of being sick…what you put on your chest,” or something of that nature. And I get it, trust me I get it. But what blows my mind is the idea that these very same people don’t know that the scents they’re smelling are derived from beautiful plants, that all grow under their own circumstances and unique situations. They lack an appreciation that someone harvested these little seeds, cared for them, watched them grow into full maturity then gave life to a wonderful beauty that can be used as a food flavor-er, tea, medicine, scent, cleaning agent, hair treatment, skin care, super food, and etc. What an awesome concept. But, if you’ve never drank fresh brewed tea or been open to the idea of preparing a drink and not pouring it from a semi-plastic (who knows what’s in those things) container, then you wouldn’t even know that basil oil can be used to clean counters or drizzled on pizza for a margherita type effect. You wouldn’t appreciate a daiquiri,blended with blueberry, fresh lemons, and lavender. So, you’ll just remain stuck in your boring world of medicine smelling reminders. You’ll shut off a stream of cultural experiences that have the potential to change your life.

I think I may have even had a bullying experience in the workplace related to my appreciation of all things natural. I’d joined a new team. Some familiar faces, some newer ones. I could tell from the early stages of this role, that their were quite a few coworkers who didn’t always appreciate my enthusiasm for the holistic lifestyle. Or, my happy lifestyle. Or my gay lifestyle. I don’t know, they were miserable. Anyway, my neighbor next to me decided to announce one morning, “What is that smell? Something smells weird?” I didn’t associate her comment with me because I smelled fabulous. I’d mixed my honey oil with a lemon scent. They were light but they had a nice after effect on my skin that was very pleasing to the nose. If I may say so, myself. So, it wasn’t until the third person, which happened to be a manager, walked over to my area did I realize, not only, were my coworkers talking about my oil, they were talking to each other about me then finding ways to call em over or walk by to see if they could smell me. I was floored that the manager would partake in this childish activity and come over, also, pretending she needed to ask me a question pertaining to an old assignment. She herself even made announcements and a dramatic scene, “What is that smell? Oh my god.” The entire time I pretended I wasn’t paying them any attention and never got involved. I never made a comment or responded. I wanted to see, just how far these grown women  with their copying of each other to create a dramatic scene and bring some excitement into their work day, would go with all of this. Would you know, I was called into the manger and directors office, and asked not to where the scents anymore!? The manager and director even mentioned themselves not smelling anything weird or alarming or strong, when I entered the room. But, I didn’t argue. I didn’t plead my case. I simply said “Okay.” As I sat at my desk that day, I watched these women and observed their social behaviors. I noticed each of them thrived on having attention, the spotlight and being the boss. They disobeyed leadership, created their own rules, and stole from each others’ work projects on the low. It was like a society or something where they had a love-hate for each other and didn’t want anyone new in the group. I was the new one to the group. Lucky me. 

Later on, I looked back on that situation and pondered on all of the parties involved. I remember some of the one on one conversations I may have had with them. I replayed their words during training, when I’d complete side by side sittings with each of them. Their conversations with me were shallow. Generic. Vague. Not really trying to learn who I was or what I had to offer the team; but how can I keep this short and not engage in full convo. They’d see me eating lunch at my desk and turn their nose at my food, “Too healthy. Too this. Too that. Not enough of this. Only this kind. Only that kind.” It was like, having your differences picked apart and dissected. At one point, my neighbor even made a comment about not liking Channing Tatum because he was bi. (Later that week she sent me a long email apologizing, for not being considerate of those around her before speaking. She said something about God and asking for forgiveness too!) They weren’t really trying to learn about my ethnic lunches or natural beauty products. Or even tolerate them. They were intimidated by my decision to be ME in the midst of hazing from their secret society. Little do they know, I never wanted to be in it anyway. And because of their limited thinking, they’ll never understand the artistry behind a warm whiskey, orange, and earl grey tea. They’ll miss out on wine-infused chocolates, made by hand. I doubt they’ll try bourbon maple. And they’ll probably never enjoy spinach and artichoke dip (such a shame). They’ll miss out on so much that the world around us has to offer. I’m glad I’m not elastic.

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