Finding information for something in my academic life led to reading an article about “positive psychology.” It is a new field of science which studies happiness. There are several truisms about positive psychology, like, what is good in life is as genuine as what is bad and positive elements are a buffer to negativity. I won’t diverge further but this is nice information to gently reinforce the cultural aspect of one word: nizhoni.
The dine’ba’zaad (Navajo language) word for happy is nizhoni; it is also the same word that captures the essence of beauty and it is a greeting. What is most interesting about this next post is that it captures a family, and, that is nizhoni- in all senses of the word. When we see the faces of family, one instantly becomes genuinely happy, naturally. Simply, I saw a family during the 2013 Annual Heard Museum Guild Indian Fair & Market and felt joy.
Even better, I had the chance to speak on a casual and somewhat deep level about this family’s style. I have become accustomed to asking people about style through presence 4.0. And, thankfully, I am continuously reminded of how insightful such a simple question can be:
NB: How do you dress the kids?
Charmayne: Baby Shawn loves to dress like his dad; he will be four soon. He loves the bright colors and will head straight to the bow ties and ties while shopping. It’s good to know that he can dress himself, even though; he’ll want to wear his nicer clothes to school. [As for] Saryah, I love dressing her in little leopard pants, top, and a cardigan. I know my mother, who is a great amateur photographer, took photos of me dressed up. So what I do is the same as with any parent.
NB: What about the adults’ personal style?
Charmayne: For me, I like to try different things. I prefer to try something new while remaining comfortable in my own body. But I wore baggy shorts and basketball shirts attire in my earlier days. Then, in high school, I became more of a girly-girl and more proud of my shape and size. Shawn, my husband, is more of a fashion person. However, he may get that [sense of style] more from his grandfather. His grandfather was in the military and Shawn spent a lot of time on the rez with him. When they would “go to town,” his grandfather would dress for the occasion- shirt and a matching belt. [His grandfather] was a sharp dresser. I feel Shawn resembles him in that way. He has come a long way from the same baggy basketball attire.
NB: I see the same affect that your parents had on you, you are reflecting on your children.
Charmayne: We try to have a good impact. Work out, take care of your body, and to be decent throughout your whole day. Also, to carry yourself well… with respect.
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