Ajani O
3 min readJul 23, 2021

It’s back!!!!

As things open back up I’ve just been able to notice something… I’m very aware some of this could just be all in my mind but…. For me…. That’s an excuse for small minds to label someone with the “race card” for where I’m hoping to go with this piece.

Anyway…. I’ve been looked at as a zoo animal haha by the construction workers who likely don’t believe a black person lives in Rosedale (where I do my morning walks).

Interestingly…. I’ve just ignored any of these types of stares …. Because I cannot allow someone else’s mental health disrupt my personally balanced approach to managing my own mental health.

There’s many ways this seems to play out as well… I often notice women darting their eyes to the floor as I walk by them as well…. As if I’m some sort of predatory human that will reach out to them verbally just be simply being on the same sidewalk as them while going in opposite directions.

Trust me when I say … I do not miss any of this garbage and noise and I don’t want any of it in my life (which I think is obvious from some statements above haha).

I’ve been told during the pandemic that I’m not “empathetic to women" in a context that was an insanely mental and major projection. I’ve shared this with close friends (most of which are women for me)…. and they were floored. So what makes people so desperate to fit people into boxes …. And what makes them so all seeing and righteous to believe that…. They can make wild assumptions that support their abilities to arrive to “such" conclusions…. Then further to that…. Stretch that conclusion as if it’s “conclusive”.

Anyway…. All of that is how I feel when people have these blank zoo animal stares at me…. I can’t win… if I ask why they practiced the behaviour I noticed… normally I’m told… “I was looking for it" (an excuse lol)…. Or “oh I didn’t notice I actually did that" (excuse#2).

For me… the zoo animal looks are tantamount to asking me to prove my worth/existence in the reality of whatever the “zoo animal” practicer previously believed to be “real”…. Essentially my life is a “black swan” sighting for these individuals… and I want no part of being that discovery item.

What I found intriguing this morning…. Is I have a limited experience in my past of being thwse construction workers…. And I used to gawk at these types of houses commonly in Rosedale when I did service work/general labour on weekend jobs. Thinking “oh my God imagine what this person’s done to live here…. What they’re responsible for…. What they’ve accomplished….” Essentially…. I assumed these folks must be Bill Gates reincarnated in that “past" life….. when you’re thinking that then you see a identity like “I am" likely stretches their own personal assumptions and projections from them.

All of these individuals have a right to where they’re at mentally and a right for how they frame the world/realities around them…. However they don’t have the right to assume that I participate in their “general understanding” of the world. That’s where communication comes in…. And often times it doesn’t happen… it results in a “weird state"… as I have to justify why I’m not a UFO on my casual morning walks (LOL!).

Essentially, the world’s crazy and often times we’re doing it to ourselves.

There’s likely more to come on this one but I definitely started this blog writing about labels and how damaging and dangerous they can be… however they’re very useful in enabling us as “humans" to assume how we scale to our personal goals….. we all need to find a way to use these labels for good…. That’s essentially what’s happening on social media with #hashtags and sub-reddits…. And way back on internet forums…. We build niches that ultimately confirm/create tribalism in our lives (which is likely just inevitable anyway)…. But why then do we enable the sorting out of “tribes" into haves vs have nots…. That’s where everything just loses its lustre for me!

Anywho… I’m off to enjoy my day and glad I got to flush the 4–5 construction workers staring at me this morning. Lol….. I’m dramatic and totally saying yes that was 4–5 unnecessary instances of trauma I didn’t ask for in my life :-P…. (To go full blown movie drama mode…. I’m gonna fight back and put my Superman cape on and use my reach “for good"…. Or I can be Homelander and … ya know… just do what’s best for me lol).

Ajani O

U of T Grad... Project Management Career Seeking Extraordinary Human Being...