Apr 19, 2018 0 Comments

There was this woman that worked at Pirate’s Cove (the water park where I worked). Her name was Holly, and I’d never met her, but the crew that had met her unanimously agreed that I was lucky to avoid her thus far. They said that she was strange and liked touching people, so I was fine with my limited involvement with her. I primarily worked evenings while she worked openings, so we basically never crossed paths. We worked together for the first time on my last day at The Cove (as my friends and I affectionately called it).

My co-workers were correct. She was strange.

However, she wasn’t funny in the way my co-workers portrayed. She walked into work seemingly frazzled. She talked constantly, which I was warned about, but she talked about the abuse she went through at home, her feelings, and her disabilities. I learned she had Aspergers and OCD. I learned that she felt like she was being emotionally abused by her mother. I learned that this was an especially bad day for her. I learned that she was overwhelmed that day. I learned that she was “never like this”.

I have seen Memento and read The Catcher in the Rye, so I had some basic knowledge of the unreliable narrator that I kept as a barrier between her words and my brain, but she seemed to cut through it, her raw emotion seeming undeniable. She talked through our four hour shift together. I’m not sure I even said a word. I don’t think she wanted me to. Her shift ended and mine did shortly after, so I left the Cove for the summer.

I still think about Holly and that day we worked together. I had never encountered someone like her. Truthfully, I didn’t understand her or how to interact with her. As much as I hated to feel this, I felt uncomfortable. I felt uncomfortable that she was so different from me in such a deep way. It’s not a skin color, ideology, or sexual orientation, but a difference in basic communication that made it so hard for me to understand. But the more I think about it, the more I consider that attempting to understand might be the problem and the solution is to focus more on acceptance than understanding. I will never understand what it’s like to be Holly just like Holly will never understand what it’s like to be me. If I were to do it all again, I wouldn’t try to understand Holly, but to accept her. And that stretches to every facet of life.

As I mature and begin to explore the world, I want to strive for acceptance. Understanding isn’t always possible and it is limited to what I can relate to and my own experiences. My limitations in understanding, no matter how hard I try, shouldn’t define what I can accept. I can never understand what it’s like to be Black or Asian or Muslim or Christian, but I can accept those people’s experiences. To me, that’s what a diverse and inclusive society is: accepting everyone regardless of whether or not they understand each other.

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