Thursday, June 1, 2017

The issues around you.

This quote is attributed to Ian Maclaren, a Scottish author.

When I go to a conference, participate in an online discussion in the FB taiko community, or even just have long chats with taiko friends, sometimes I'm reminded that my taiko is not their taiko.  My struggles are not their struggles.  This doesn't only happen when I talk to people, it can happen just by thinking about it, but it tends to happen more when other people are involved.

Most of us live in our own taiko bubbles, like we live our life in a bubble of some sort.  No, not going to get political, but we tend to be with like-minded people, play with like-minded people, etc.  In taiko, it's easy to forget that your group is not like other groups, that other groups have issues that your group does not.

Your group might not have budget issues, membership issues, location issues, concerns with social justice, authenticity concerns, repertoire deficits, equipment woes, identity conflicts, growing pains, etc.  But some other groups do.  And while you might not have any way to help them out - or even know which groups are facing which issues - sometimes it's important to realize that these issues may shape how they view you or treat you.  It's not that you should walk on eggshells everywhere you go, but again, refer to the quote above.

Many conferences ago there were a couple of "Non-Japanese in taiko" discussion sessions, and I felt the people who benefited the most weren't those who had issues within their groups, but the Japanese-American players who were surprised to hear that there were any issues at all.  When I attended the "Women in taiko" discussion session last conference, there were issues that I was reminded of, that I don't necessarily have to think about for myself on a day-to-day basis.  I'm sure if I went to an LGBTQ discussion session, I'd be enlightened about issues I'm not aware of or have to address.

It comes down to being a compassionate, aware human being.  Not being wracked with guilt because you can't know everyone's personal trials, but just knowing that everyone has their own issues, issues that you may never have even considered.  Be kind.  Always.

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