If someone was to describe what you are, they could say you’re rough and dirty. Anyone would say it, because it’s the truth. Step back, pause, and look again; I see something else. The hardness that is your being holds something very fine too. While the revealed definition is graceful and made of fragile, rare stuff, your function is not impeded, not in any way at all.
I have seen you carry the load of many trucks, with muscle and ease. I have walked away and come back to see the work you’ve done. I have seen you get shit on and spit on and counted on, in the same day, in the same night, by the same people. Most see you one way: Gritty. And then a few will stop, forget their phones, drop their bias, and take a long look. I’ve seen the change happen. Your impression makes an impact that adds something positive to the world.
You dismantle barriers. You make barriers. You help people who have been broken, find their way home. You wait outside until you see they’re greeted and safe and the light’s turned out. You do this without being asked, and without telling a soul. You do it because it’s a neighborly thing to do.
You do this, because you are our neighbor.
You stop a bully from impeding, and get a lady on her way. You allow bullies to go far enough to make a turn. You’ve let people like me be stupid and get away with it, many times. One time you stopped me before I could go one inch further, and I hated you for it.
I want more people to step back and take a look at you. I want them to hold on a moment and see you a different way than they’re used to, a different way than they’re told to. Your impression has made me change.