This past weekend I spent my time camping and listening to music with 20 strangers during Firefly 2016. I learned a lot of things this weekend such as how to conserve phone battery, how to sleep with bugs and how to drink responsibly around people of authority. I could go on and on about all the survival lessons I learned this past weekend but one thing I relearned this weekend that stood out to me is that diversity is beautiful.
Upon entering Firefly, the first thing I noticed were all the different types of people that surrounded me. I was surrounded by people of different ethnic backgrounds, people with piercings and tattoos that covered their bodies, people with pink and purple hair, people with different styles, etc. My first thought about being surrounded by all this chaos was how beautiful it was. All different types of people were coming together to celebrate music. Our differences didn't matter, all that mattered was that everyone was together listening to music and having fun.
Growing up in a small town, I was never able to experience diversity to the level that everyone else has. A majority of the people that I grew up with had similar looks, hobbies, likes and dislikes. With this being said, I was never exposed to diversity fully until college. While a college like Penn State is very diverse, I find myself hanging out with people who are similar to me, which leaves me with the limitation of only seeing diversity and not experiencing it.
During Firefly I really had the opportunity to be around so many different types of people, which was an incredible experience. People who were dressed up as giraffes, people who were dressed as gypsies and people who were wearing little to no clothes surrounded me. All these people were so different in many aspects yet they were all so kind. Everyone was talking to one another, everyone was offering to take pictures, and everyone was, in some sense, the same.
At the end of the day it didn’t matter what you looked like or how you dressed for the day: everyone was the same. Everyone came to Firefly with intentions to have fun and listen to some of their favorite artists play.
This idea relates back to life. During a lifetime you experience different people with different personalities, aspirations, looks, and ideas. Despite all these differences everyone wants to be happy and be loved. As different as we all are, we are the same.
I challenge you to embrace diversity instead of looking down on it. I find that so many people in our society don’t like diversity for many selfish and non-relatable reasons. Talk to people you don’t think you’d get along with, share ideas with people from different backgrounds, and most importantly expand your knowledge of what makes people different. Brown and blonde hair makes people different, but that doesn’t mean that their intentions or souls are any different than yours.
Diversity is a beautiful thing and it’s time we start embracing it.