Dear Human Beings who are like me–screwed up, good, decent, screwed up, fun, sad, angry, encultured, conditioned, screwed up, and so well-intentioned–
I know you don’t really want to other anyone. You want to be safe, to have a voice, to feel at home in your body and on this earth, as I do. You want to feel you’re serving something worthy, that you’re capable of more and more love, that you can find and occupy peace. Maybe you fall down on the job, as I do. Maybe you can’t always figure it out…maybe you think you’re unbelievably smart and why can’t everyone else figure it out (yes, I really do think that, regularly).
I’m writing this to tell you that I am committed to giving you and me, every part of me, and of you, the BENEFIT OF THE DOUBT. I will not classify you, I will not OTHER you, I will not put you into a category and refuse to acknowledge that you are like me. I have internalized the things I fight against–homophobia, sexism, ageism and racism. I am trying to grow toward enlightenment. Some days it’s effortless, some days it’s a slog fest. Please remind me, gently, if I’m off the path. Please know I assume you fall off it, too, and feel just as badly about it as I do. (Do you also have insomnia? If so, FB chat me at 5am.)
And yes, okay, this post is in reaction to the posts that start “Dear Democrats,” “Dear Republicans,” “Dear White People.” I have, in the past, written, “Dear Straight People,” and straight people have heard me anyhow, because they felt the pain of those words, the exile and the oppression. I can’t 100% be sure I won’t get super pissed off and want to say those words again. (Actually, I can pretty much guarantee I WILL get 100% pissed off and want to say them.) ANYHOW, I hear the pain behind the words, but this is my gentle reminder…those words are othering words. And knowing the pain of being an other so well, I can’t believe we heal ourselves or each other by saying them.
Dear Members of My Human Family. I am trying to see you, I am trying to make “Namaste,” something more than a phrase I say at the end of yoga. I am committed to the BENEFIT OF THE DOUBT. I am committed to gentle reminders rather than accusations. And because I am screwed up, I will fall off this path (seriously, I probably fell off it while writing this…ask my partner. No, on second thought don’t ask her. Don’t even tell her I said all this. She’ll hold me to it.)
Okay, okay. I will also keep trying to get back on the path. With my whole heart, I’ll try.
Please join me. (Hell, I’m such a hothead, you’ll probably be better at it than I am.)