Barb Caffrey's Blog

Writing the Elfyverse . . . and beyond

Posts Tagged ‘diversity

Diversity: Not Just for Breakfast Anymore…(A Collaboration with a Purpose Post)

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Well, it’s time for another Collaboration with a Purpose post, and this month’s theme is diversity. We can talk about anything — cultural, in particular — that highlights the importance of diversity.

Take a look at this nifty picture, created by fellow blogger Sadaf Sidiqqi:

collaboration-diversity-640x400

As to why I’m doing this? Well, culture is very important. I think we take it for granted in the United States, because we’re more diverse overall than most places in certain respects. (For example, in Racine, Wisconsin, where I live, we can get all sorts of different types of food, such as Thai, Japanese, Indian, and of course Italian and Mexican, though all of those are filtered through an American lens.)

But that diversity, in some ways, is under attack. Rather than celebrating all the unique and interesting people we have in this country, and also around the world, we’ve seen a resurgence of what I can only call tribalism — that is, “My tribe” (i.e., America) “is better than yours.”

Note: I don’t like tribalism. I think it’s self-limiting and self-defeating. I think we were put here to become better, wiser, and kinder people…and we can’t do that if we huddle in our own tribes, being afraid of anyone who’s not “us.” Moving on…

Still, I believe in diversity. I believe there must be a reason for all the different cultures in this world, and I think they’re there so we can learn, and grow, and improve ourselves. Even if it’s sometimes a laboriously slow process, it’s worthwhile.

And before you say it, while there definitely are some cultures I do not appreciate at all (ISIS, anyone?), we should have experts who try to understand why they do what they do, in order to protect the rest of us. Again, moving on…

Diversity, overall, is a good thing. Whether you were originally from Poland, Finland,  Ireland, Malaysia, Egypt, or any points more exotic, you are worthy and interesting and valuable. You are worth getting to know from your own perspective as best we can manage it, we who aren’t from Poland, Finland, et. al., and that’s one reason why I think we must begin to embrace diversity rather than shun it.

See, diversity brings understanding, but it also brings richness and a better life. And that richness has to be part of what the Higher Power wanted us to learn while we’re here on this Earth. (Otherwise, why are we here at all?)

Now, go and see what the other folks are writing about today, all right? I’m sure there must be some really interesting takes on diversity out there this time…(as there always are).

The other collaborators this time around are listed below, along with some of their best prior quotes from the previous Collaboration with a Purpose posts (as compiled by blogger Nicolle K.):

  • Addison D’Marko (“If you want to achieve complete happiness one of the things you are going to have to do is care less. By this I mean stop putting so much thought into the things that do not matter.”)
  • Camilla Motte @ Moms on the Go (“We want to be help to the helpless. We all need love and support and I pray this community will be that for you.”)
  • Jothish Joseph @ TheJothishJosephBlog (“Anybody can write “Extra” before “ordinary” but only people of courage dare to earn it…”)
  • Ipuna Black (“None of us are perfect or come from perfect backgrounds, but this doesn’t mean we can’t aim for a positive and fulfilling life. The life we all deserve.”)
  • Jane Love @ Harmonious Joy (“People who have a genuine say and a true voice of their own… not just an echo of some celebrity they think they love.”)
  • Mylene C. Orillo (“Where I’m at right now is a testament that ‘Dreams really do come true.’”)
  • Sonyo Estavillo @ ‘Lil Pick Me Up (“I am here to champion anyone from the successful and confident folks, to those that are clinically depressed.”)
  • And Nicolle K @ Stories of a Highly Sensitive Introvert! (“Success, for me, is when I spend my days feeling happy, peaceful, fulfilled and without fear of lack.”)

So, there you have it!

And do leave a comment, please…I always appreciate hearing from my fellow bloggers and friends. (What else would you like me to talk about, for example? I’m always interested in new blog subjects.)

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Written by Barb Caffrey

November 5, 2017 at 8:00 am

When Love Disappoints, What is the Point?

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img_8906The title, above, is the main question at the heart of CHANGING FACES, my new fantasy romance set in modern-day Nebraska featuring a bisexual and gender-fluid woman, Elaine Foster, and her heterosexual boyfriend, Allen Bridgeway. These two have overcome much to find each other, fall in love, and now want to get married — but Elaine’s been keeping her gender-fluidity secret, as she’s desperately afraid Allen will not be able to understand it.

The problem is, when you don’t have open communication, love has no way to grow and becomes less sustaining and fulfilling. Ultimately, if you are holding a big secret inside, as Elaine is at the start of CHANGING FACES, it starts to poison your relationship…that secret has to come out, or you end up with the question I posed above: when love disappoints, what is the point?

See, you need to share all of yourself, when you’re in love with someone else. The good stuff, the bad stuff, the in between stuff…it all has to come out, or you aren’t truly joining with someone else. (That “two shall become one” Bible verse is not just about children, after all.) You have to be willing to be vulnerable, to open yourself up to potential ridicule — though someone who truly loves you isn’t going to do that, we are all human and we all worry about such things — and to hope that your love will grow, change, and flourish over time.

In the case of CHANGING FACES, Elaine is worried that Allen can’t possibly understand her gender-fluidity, as she barely understands it herself and she’s lived with it her entire life. She also was a child of the foster homes, as was Allen…while Allen was able to find a loving adoptive home after a while, Elaine never was, and worse, Elaine was raped while resident of her last foster home by five young men. It’s because of this atrocious act that Elaine can only barely accept Allen’s love for her in the first place, and it adds stress to an already stressful situation.

You might be wondering why Allen keeps trying, hey? Well, he truly is in love with Elaine. He sees who she is, even if he doesn’t know about her gender-fluidity (he doesn’t care about her bisexuality at all; he figures he looks at women, she looks at women too, and they only go home with each other so that’s fine), and he loves her indomitable spirit. He sees her, entire, sees her soul, and loves her for who she is.

But of course, when she finally tells him about her gender-fluidity (and how she believes she’d rather live as a man, maybe get the surgery down the line to become a man outwardly, even though she’d always think of herself as a woman — did I mention that Elaine is a feminist scholar? No?), Allen is completely thrown.

Who wouldn’t be?

I mean, you live with someone for seven years, right? You love that person wisely and well, knowing how much she’s been hurt, appreciating that despite it all, she’s willing to turn to you and give you everything she has…and then you find out this secret.

Allen’s a very good man. He wants to be with Elaine so much, even though he doesn’t understand any of this, he prays that she won’t leave him (as she’s confused, hurt, and upset, and is about to do that very thing even though she still loves him every bit as much as before).

And his prayer is answered by two quirky, shapeshifting angels…

Look. My view of love is very simple. Love matters, period. You have to have communication and trust and honesty, or love can’t flourish as it should. (I think it dies, personally, if you don’t have those things, but maybe that’s just me.) The right person at the right time in your life can work wonders — refer back to everything I’ve said about my late husband Michael if you don’t believe me (I have a category for it, even, if you haven’t read anything about Michael before, on the side of the blog) — but you have to be open and vulnerable and real and tell the truth about yourself, or love will be ultimately less than fulfilling and highly disappointing.

Telling the truth and being vulnerable is a big risk. That’s why it’s so hard to do. And it’s even harder when you’re someone like Elaine who’s been badly hurt and who doesn’t really know how to explain who and what she is…she’s not lying to Allen, but she’s not able to tell him everything, either, and thus, a wedge grows between them.

A wedge that can only be fixed by the two quirky angels and their solution of changing Allen and Elaine’s faces (that is, putting Allen in Elaine’s body, and Elaine in Allen’s, so they’re now both, in effect, transgender in every sense).

As I’ve said in the past several days, I believe in love. I believe in honesty. I believe in miracles, faith, optimism, second chances all unlooked for, and I think we need more of it in this world.

I’m proud to have written CHANGING FACES, and I hope you will enjoy it as well. Do let me know what you think…especially about how you, yourself, have transcended the disappointments you’ve found in your own love relationships (as trust me, every single one of us has been disappointed in a love relationship one way or another — it seems to be part of the human condition).

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Edited to add:

Here are all the places you can find CHANGING FACES…Chris the Story-Reading Ape put it in this format (so thank you again, Chris!):

Barnes & Noble

Amazon:

USA  –   UK  –  CA  –  AUS  –  IN

Written by Barb Caffrey

February 12, 2017 at 12:35 am