Finding your place in a culture that renders you invisible is no easy task...

I just finished my lectures at Cal Poly's San Luis Obispo. And what a morning it was. Filled with honest conversation around issues of race, ethnicity, gender and politics. I could not believe how many people made it to breakfast at the crack of dawn to hear my Provocative Perspectives lecture, "Self Empowerment: How to Turn Challenges into Opportunities." My book sold out, a first in the decade old lecture series!

I will see about getting the podcast from the university and post later, but in a nutshell, this was my message:

What are obvious disadvantages in modernist societies -- because let's face it, we live in a world where whiteness, maleness and wealth opens a lot of doors -- are only but bumps along the road. When you look at the bigger picture of your life, you can see it and hopefully not let those bumps keep you from expressing and living to your fullest potential. 

When you feel like the other all the time in a culture that does not celebrate your intelligence, beauty, race, gender, religion, sexual orientation as equal, finding your space and being comfortable with who you are is a complex, painful, and nuanced issue. But you must claim that space for yourself. Tune out the xenophobes and the ignorants who refuse to acknowledge you as whole human being. Stand up to those who refuse to accept that no human being is illegal. Tune out the haters and the bigots who are filled with rage and fear. Embrace the fact that you are: Sacred. Intelligent. And frankly, walking perfection, even if you are filled with imperfections. 

We are here to transcend the package that we were born in! Class, gender, ethnicity, race, religion, title, status, the car we drive, the house or hood we live in, these things do not necessarily define us. They are parts of who we are but not the whole. Getting stuck and getting power in only these things will get you in trouble -- eventually, you realize that the stuff that really makes you you is more ethereal, less tangible to define.

When you acknowledge that the more you know, the more you need to learn and that underneath the superficial layers of gender, race, ethnicity, religion, sexual orientation, i.e titles, we are one, then you are more capable of fully singing your song and dissing the dis, in disadvantage.