This weekend I saw the story about Balpreet Kaur, a young Sikh woman who had unknowingly become the butt of nasty internet meanness.
I have been thinking about this story ever since.
Someone with the self loathing moniker, european_douchebag, had taken a photo of Balpreet standing in line, without her knowledge, and posted it to the "funny" thread of the website Reddit.
What he apparently thought was hilarious is that she has a lot of facial hair. A lot.
And lots of people over at Reddit got on that thread and had a great time tearing Balpreet to shreds, which she knew nothing about until one of her friends let her know on Facebook.
Her response was to write this and post it to the thread:
Hey, guys. This is Balpreet Kaur, the girl from the picture. I actually didn't know about this until one of my friends told on facebook. If the OP wanted a picture, they could have just asked and I could have smiled :) However, I'm not embarrased or even humiliated by the attention [negative and positve] that this picture is getting because, it's who I am. Yes, I'm a baptized Sikh woman with facial hair. Yes, I realize that my gender is often confused and I look different than most women. However, baptized Sikhs believe in the sacredness of this body - it is a gift that has been given to us by the Divine Being [which is genderless, actually] and, must keep it intact as a submission to the divine will. Just as a child doesn't reject the gift of his/her parents, Sikhs do not reject the body that has been given to us. By crying 'mine, mine' and changing this body-tool, we are essentially living in ego and creating a seperateness between ourselves and the divinity within us. By transcending societal views of beauty, I believe that I can focus more on my actions. My attitude and thoughts and actions have more value in them than my body because I recognize that this body is just going to become ash in the end, so why fuss about it? When I die, no one is going to remember what I looked like, heck, my kids will forget my voice, and slowly, all physical memory will fade away. However, my impact and legacy will remain: and, by not focusing on the physical beauty, I have time to cultivate those inner virtues and hopefully, focus my life on creating change and progress for this world in any way I can. So, to me, my face isn't important but the smile and the happiness that lie behind the face are. :-) So, if anyone sees me at OSU, please come up and say hello. I appreciate all of the comments here, both positive and less positive because I've gotten a better understanding of myself and others from this. Also, the yoga pants are quite comfortable and the Better Together tshirt is actually from Interfaith Youth Core, an organization that focuses on storytelling and engagement between different faiths. :) I hope this explains everything a bit more, and I apologize for causing such confusion and uttering anything that hurt anyone.
Her simple message - we are perfect as we are made - resonated and reverberated around the internet and the european douchebag even wrote an apology. He seemed a bit more concerned that Reddit might kick him to the curb because of all the negative publicity, but he also did own the fact that his best self might not be driving his vehicle (it seems his best self slipped out of the basement where he keeps it locked up and wrote that apology).
The word Grace descends from the Latin word gratia. Gratia, at it's inception, had three distinct meanings.
1) a pleasing quality
2) favor or goodwill
3) gratitude or thanks
To my mind, Balpreet personifies all three of these meanings and I just love a woman who walks what she talks.
That is 100% yummy!