I just met Ricardo (that's not him in the photo:), my elderly neighbor, an American who was born and raised in Argentina. Ricardo’s story is a very American story filled with hope, vision and tremendous optimism. I know the story well. It is one shared by many immigrants who come to our shores for a chance at a better life in the ‘land of opportunity.’
The guy left with one dollar from his home country in his early twenties. On the way over, in the airplane, three quarters of his money fell out from his pocket leaving him with only 25% of the dollar he started with. It was enough. Upon reaching JFK airport with one suitcase in hand he found out that he could take the bus for a quarter all the way into Manhattan. He didn’t need to go all the way though. The guy was happy just to be in America and got off in Queens with his suit on and began to walk the sidewalk. Before he knew it, an old man patted him on the back and eventually took him to a bar where he found out that 11 Argentinians were living in an apartment. Ricardo became number twelve and soon enough became a dishwasher man. Eventually, somehow, he worked his way up, started owning a small business, met his wife, a Latvian women with blonde hair and high cheek bones, married her, had two kids who grew up and one, his son, is now a millionaire and the other, his daughter, is a lawyer in Manhattan making six figures. The rest is history.
There is a woman from the Bronx. Her story is a bit different, yet it is filled with tenacity and indomitable will like Ricardo also. She has catapulted herself over and over again with her dancing legs, her brilliant mind and incredible conviction. I consider her path filled with resilience and determination. Her story is remarkable actually and it continues to unfold. If you look into her eyes there is a depth of character. Fierceness and lightheartedness and maybe even some sadness (I dare say) are in her all at once. In a few ways, I relate to her. We share a culture and a love for artistic expression through (art) dancing. She is inspiring. There is a presence she brings that is much more than the energy she brings into a room.
This Bronx-born American is at the top of her game and seems to not be ready to let up any time soon. Being a mother of two and moving as fast as she does for so long is a feat in itself. Her track record in her field extends over two decades as she rose in rank from obscurity into dominating across her field as an artist. Jennifer Lopez is her name and artistic expression is her forte. Be it through her song, dancing to her own beats and rhythms or as an actress with an extensive film career, ‘Jenny from the Bronx’ keeps herself fresh like new waves constantly lapping the shoreline.
The ability to reach the top of one’s game denotes mastery and yet the ability to stay at the top of your game for so long is a whole different ballgame. It requires both insight (intuitive reflection) AND foresight (anticipate & predict) like a sailor to see what is coming ahead, what is around you and being able to continue to create your own course staying true to yourself and your craft. This is not easy. JLo is such a person. I don’t know her personally, but she comes across as someone who is humble and down to earth once you get past her incredible physical beauty.
I speak of her physical beauty last because this is the least important attribute I recognize in people. It is important to see people from the inside out rather than the outside in. The latter is like a flower than springs up, blooms and being that we are all human, eventually fades to a degree, while the former, the inner qualities that make a person can spring up, bloom and with care, continues to bloom throughout one’s life. Call it ‘innerbloom’ if you will.
I take my black hat off to Mrs. Jennifer Lopez as someone who is an inspiration to others to strive to be their best even in the face of rejection and formidable odds. She didn’t take ‘no’ for an answer and she has kept her feet on the ground through it all.