There are many ways of viewing globalization. My favorite view of the world coming together, is how I hold pieces of people and bits of places on me. There have been days where if I give a thought to the source of all the items I am wearing, I realize that my outfit is something that could only be possible now, in the 21st century.
A shirt from one country, pants purchased in another. A ring from one continent (sold in a country not of its origin), and a pendent that’s been hanging from my neck from a different city. Shoes that I’ve walked in from one place onto a plane that took me somewhere else. And even earrings that were purchased in transit.
On my being, with each article, I carry a memory.
There is something about this that leaves me satisfied. That each item has a story. It has a store or a person on the other side of its existence. I love that each article–so different in color and texture and history—are able to complement each other. I love when someone comes up to me and says, “I love what you’re wearing” and if they point to something specific, I can respond with “Oh this? I got this from *fill in name of place*” And I’ll smile to myself.
But there is one particular item that waits for me. A necklace, of three handmade beads, customized for me, with a customized story, which will encapsulate all that I am, all that I wear, all that I’d like to be. I cannot wait for the colors that are shared to contrast with the tone of my skin, I cannot wait for the contact of worlds and hands that went into creating them. I cannot wait for them to hang, above a heart that beats. I cannot wait for all of the memories, that are yet to happen, which I will then be able to carry around with me.
My world, complete.
On the other side of my world that exists beyond borders, countries, and boundaries, I have a vivid image of stagnancy. Yesterday evening, well into the dark of the night, I set to return home and while stopped at traffic lights, a young boy with the most forgettable face held a lifeless hand at the window. Begging. Not even bothering to say “please”.
Try though I might, I cannot remember what he looked like. All my brain registered was his expression, one of defeat. One I’ve seen, on faces of souls that have long deceased.
On my fingers were rings of value (emotional and monetary) worth more to me than what its worth could have bought him to eat. I wondered how far this boy had traveled, and if he’d ever wonder about all the places I’d been.
The red turned to green and as we pulled away, I found myself craning my head to get a final glimpse of him. He sulked back to the divider, leaned back and stood, unmoving. I was transfixed, for as long as that moment lasted, of him, so still, the only evidence of his being there was when the beams from the headlights of busy cars glided over him. A second a silhouette, another invisible. Shadow and overshadowed.
In that moment. The world I carried lost a little meaning.
(Why do I feel like I should be apologizing?)