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People pity the poor. It is a fact. Some donate their old clothes, some donate money, and some donate their time, but besides that they just feel pure pity. I used to feel pity for them, and obviously I am still pained by their lack of basic necessities, but I do not feel the same pity, not after last week. It was Manny’s, basically Maria’s daughter, communion. She begged me to come, because she considers me her sister, and wanted me to take pictures with my professional camera. I arrived at the small church in Encino earlier than I planned and I decided to do what I do best, people watch. It was a predominately Spanish church, so all of the families were spanish and beautiful. They were so real you could tell they were not trying to hide anything. They wore cheap outfits and were proud. Unlike the mom’s of Calabasas, they worked for their clothes and let them cling to their curvaceous bodies. They weren’t proud to be showing off their fendi purses, but they were proud to show off their kids. How different was this from where I come from. The parents were not trying to upstage their children. Manny came dressed like an exotic princess with long silk gloves and a delicate white gown. Her eyes lit up when she saw me and so did my heart. I picked her up in awe by her princess beauty. I began to take pictures of her padrinos, god parents in spanish. At first I thought it was odd that they did not smile in their pictures, but then I understood it, and it became beautiful. Their faces showed their courage, strength, and life all, in one glance. I felt like I could connect with them. When I looked into that lense I felt their whole lives melt into my skin and consume me. I was apart of them. The ceremony began all in spanish, and that’s when five years of a spanish comes in handy. The church was preaching the same things as the church in english. When I looked around at the array of faces I saw one similarity: hope. This church brought them all together, it gave them hope. It does not matter what they were preaching, but the fact of the matter is they were brought together by a common idea of someone is looking out for them. All they have to do is have hope and keep on living. It was beautiful. Although I do not know what or who I believe in, I know when the basket came around I was going to donate $10 for hope. The feeling I got that day was inexplainable. It was almost tranquility and peace. After the ceremony we went to Maria’s in Van Nuys for the party celebration. It was in the parking strucutre of her apartment complex with a dirty moonbounce. Manny and all of her little girlfriend neighbors paraded around me and asked me to jump with them in the brown,suppose to be rainbow, moon bounce. At first I was uneasy, I was in a dress with my professional camera and only wanted to stop by for a little, but something in their eyes was pulling at my heart. Unable to breathe, I decided it would be okay if I jumped with them for a little. I was in the moonbounce for an hour. Jumping, chasing, taking pictures with them. They smiled and laughed with their missing and silver filled teeth. I wanted to help them so badly. Give them money, fix their teeth, buy them new clothes, but I realized something strange. They were helping me. They were teaching me how to live life. They didn’t see the ragged clothes, missing teeth, unclean hair, when they looked at eachother, but they saw the life inside eachother. They saw the craving to play , make noise, and be joyous. Us privelaged people do not see that when we look at oneanother. We see status by clothes, money, and reputation. We do not look for the people that are going to make us most happy, but we look at the people who are going to benefit us superficially. Therefore, I pity us and I think they do as well. Manny, her family, and culture in just one day has taught me something it takes some people their whole lives to learn, life is meant to be lived. We are not living when we focus on the superficial things. Life can be beautiful if you let it.



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greenmeplease said...
Jul. 28 at 2:24 pm:
WOW!!!!! what a beautiful, honest, and inspiring article. I love the outlook imposed by this article and the way the theme feels dark at first and ends on such an uplifting note! Thank you for writing about something so real and prevalent in life, even though most people don't take the five minutes to appreciate the beauty in the intangible things in life.
 
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