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Inspired Chaos is... Observing and Growing

A few months back, a really fun group of college-aged women stopped in the shop to check out clothing. They were obviously on a strict budget and were very thoughtful about their choices; switching their picks out constantly to make it fit their price range. They were respectful of putting things back where they found them and super sweet as they navigated through the shop, asking questions. The girls were running back and forth between the shop and porch frequently, grabbing items from the sale rack on the porch and then putting them back as they found different things inside. There was only one black woman with the group and each time she wanted to switch out clothing from the porch she stopped, laid down the clothes from inside the shop on a chair and would say to me, “I’m just putting this back on the rack, ma’am.” I thanked her each time - it must have been 3 different times. Meanwhile the other girls carried clothing in and out of the store with them, not thinking anything about it. The final time this young woman came in from outside, her roommate asked her why she kept kept laying her clothes down and telling me what she was doing.

“I want this lady to know that I’m not trying to steal anything.”

Her friend’s face froze as though it never occurred to her that a shop owner would think that they were trying to steal. She just assumed that I wouldn’t worry about her (any of them) trying to steal anything - especially the stuff from inside the shop.

...And that may have been that young woman’s first taste of how prejudice can look sometimes. I never thought that anything was being stolen, but this young woman had experienced situations where someone else jumped to that conclusion purely because of her skin color.

It’s that easy to learn from other people if we’re willing to listen. Her friends and I were given a gift by that young woman that weekend - not just because she opened some eyes to prejudice but because she taught with such patience and grace. I am forever grateful and humbled by the lessons that this store and my customers/friends share with me. Thanks for your teaching. I will do my best to learn.

Today I am also grateful for my privilege. I have never had to worry about being judged or mistreated due to my skin color. I’ve never even had to think about it. I’ve never had to worry that someone may think I’m stealing something because I don’t look like them. I am privileged.

As we acknowledge MLK Day (a day of service) on Monday, I won’t be posting sales or specials because I feel it’s most important to give up the stage (by not messing with social media algorithms) so we hear/understand other’s experiences on that day. I hope we can all appreciate the significance of this national holiday and recognize that it’s more than just a day off work and school. It’s a day to look at our behaviors and our actions - a day we should carry with us throughout the whole year.

Thanks again for teaching me.

Inspired Chaos is... recognizing things out of our comfort zones, and leaning into the discomfort to grow.


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