Meet Juan Carlos!
Photo by Derek Dandridge, Shot by Specks
There was a child whose parents seemed to favor Juan Carlos during his adolescent years. They saw Juan Carlos as someone who was “polite, smart, and hard-working,” and it was obvious in the way they treated him; a stark contrast compared to the way they treated their own child. This awakened a rivalry between the two boys which led to animosity between them and even broke out into physical confrontations at times. During an argument Juan Carlos and this kid were having, Juan Carlos admitted that he did not care what people thought of him, suggesting that if this child also stopped caring about what his parents thought of him, he could somehow be free. A revelation that felt real, but this child said “you do care… because that dictates much of who we are.” What this child’s parents thought of him often stirred affection away from him and into Juan Carlos.
Another lesson arrived later in life through his tight friendship with Monica Casarez. They often collaborated on local economy projects and community efforts, but they also butted heads plenty. Perhaps the age gap in this peculiar friendship gave enough room for differences in work style and other values. Monica was in her late 40s, and about twenty years her minor, Juan Carlos often brought a rather different perspective to the table. They came to value each other’s unique input by understanding who each of them was. He knew who he was in Monica’s eyes and he found value in it. This also meant that after all—he did care what some people thought of him.
“I learned that I can’t know myself unless I know myself through others’ eyes, and in a way whomever they perceive me is just as real as who I perceive myself to be.”
Juan Carlos is a confident father, who in the family, believes in strong bonds by choice over blood relations. He does not generally care too much about what other folks think of him, you can tell in the way he is open about his life experiences in life, love, his craft, his interests, hopes, and dreams. He is a very transparent person. However, through these lessons, he has learned that he does care what others think of him, but only a few, including himself. “I want to be truthful, kind, and simply a good human. I don’t know whether I am, but I like to think I pursue it.”
In his road to self-discovery, Juan Carlos has learned that he can be an oddball at times and a bit basic in taste at others. He likes the color white, he loves board sports (e.g. longboarding, snowboarding, etc.), and would one day like to care for an iguana pet. He also has learned that he does not care for literature that dates back too much as it often carries within airs of racism and other tones of oppression.
As a child, Juan Carlos wanted to be a stunt driver, but now he’s much happier knowing he’s making a difference in people’s lives. And he has learned that he does care about what others think of him, not because it preoccupies him, but because “it’s a way of learning about myself and the world.”