One of my hobbies is reading non-fiction, particularly memoirs. Whenever I finish a memoir, it’s just out of habit and curiosity to read the Thanks/Acknowledgements section. It’s not like I know the people that the author knows. But something about the Thanks section brings light to real people who brought a certain labor of love together. I just finished reading Yes, Chef, and Marcus Samuelsson does something that I rarely see: he thanked his family first rather than last. If I were to ever write a memoir, I know that’s how I would do it too.
One of the primary narratives that drive his memoir is his burning desire to change the scope of Harlem by moving forward in new directions while involving its rich past. I haven’t traveled around the world for my career as much as he, but just as he’s found home in Harlem, I’ve found and planted my roots in Los Angeles. LA is home. It’s not sexy to all, or maybe too sexy for some. There is blatant poverty and homelessness. On the flip side, I had lunch in downtown LA today. What a real representation of who we are as a city. There are people in suits, and that is a world I’ve never wanted to enter. But taking the subway to downtown, you are amongst all types of people. And this is what I love: the clear diversity of people and stories. Downtown also shows the stark disparity between the rich and poor. Downtown is our thriving financial district…but one that doesn’t seem to trickle capital down to the people who actually live there. And how can they when one hour of parking in a garage cost my friend an exorbitant $28? There are people who have worked their way up the career ladder to clock in and out of downtown. Others are not so fortunate as they live on the bottom rungs of the socioeconomic ladder. It’s strange. I’m uncomfortable with that. But I also have this fierce love for this city that makes it lovely and beautiful to me. It’s filled with stories. I heard some of these stories while voluntering at PATH (People Assisting the Homeless) in Silver Lake last weekend. Homeless people who have the same aches and pains as those who have plenty. One homeless woman, T, offered me words of comfort, and that always blows my mind. It humbles me.
It’s a day to be thankful. My acknowledgements today: thank YOU. For reading. And coming alongside me in my story and my journey.