Nana was part of the Survival Center in Northampton, MA and would often take me with her when she needed to stop by and perform a task, whether it be to work on paperwork or to move around inventory.
The Survival Center has been there since 1979 and has a mission statement: “The Northampton Survival Center is dedicated to improving the quality of life for low-income individuals and families throughout Hampshire County by providing nutritious food and other resources in an atmosphere of dignity and respect.”
When I was little, I remember being there with Nana and we were looking at all of the goods for people.
“Why is there eye shadow?” I asked Nana.
“Some people like eye shadow,” she said.
“I know, but isn’t all this stuff for poor people who need food?”
She stopped fussing with the inventory, and said, “Yes, but other things are important to them, just as they are to to us. It makes them feel more confident.”
That day was monumental to me, maybe the first grand gesture of respect I was ever taught, and I was taught it by showing and not telling.
Situations are not created so we can judge them, and sometimes a little light blue eye shadow goes a very long way.