Love harder.

"Inability to make decisions is correct. God made you who you are so deal with it"
A comment made online earlier today in relation to transgender people 'deciding' which gender to be; specifically in reference to today's announcement.
There is much I don't yet know about this world, about this life. My own experience is so small... and yet...

Blunt denigration, dismissal, and disregard for another human's experience... isn't acceptable. It isn't the answer.

. . . . .

Let's break this down into a too-basic example.

"Cilantro tastes bad." 
Just because you think cilantro tastes bad, doesn't mean everyone does.

Some people don't care one way or the other.
Some people hate it.
Others love the flavor.

So what you really mean to say is, "Cilantro tastes bad to me."

Another step might be, "Cilantro tastes bad to me, but I'm glad that you enjoy it. Can I pick some up at the store for you?"

Or maybe even, "Cilantro tasted terrible to me the last time I tried it, but I'd be willing to try again - would you care to share your favorite recipe with me?"

Consider this approach when it comes to something you don't care for. Or something that you have no experience with. Or that you don't know about. Or something that makes you feel uncomfortable.

Your opinions and experiences do not validate or invalidate someone else's opinions and experiences. Our opinions and experiences and stories intersect and weave together - helping us learn more about ourselves and each other, if we are only patient and kind enough to listen.

Because while I don't share that experience (being transgender, being a refugee, being a drug addict, facing an eating disorder, whatever experience or condition you'd care to insert here), I seek to understand that journey with love. I empathize. I imagine - what if that were me? What if that were my children, my spouse, my family? I have my own experiences that you may not share... and our lack of intersection does not mean we write each other off, erase each other, strip each other of our dignity.

I don't often speak up and out. Debate and arguing for the sake of getting louder and butting heads isn't something that helps or interests me. Anyone who knows me is aware that I often retreat within myself to really think and consider a large topic before I feel prepared enough to share - and often, that sharing is done in person, with a smaller group of people.


Because it takes time to work through. My experience, my assumptions, my preconceived notions, my baggage. Then opening up to acknowledge any discomfort, uncertainty, fear, or bias that's surfaced as a result of the issue or topic at hand. Being willing to consider a perspective beyond my own. Quietly doing research, asking questions, seeking clarity.

That process is incredibly hard in the typical ooh-something-shiny social media whirlwind.

No one seems to have time or interest for that consideration, for that weight, for that respect.

People are shouting louder and louder in the desperate attempt to be heard, to be acknowledged, to be right... that they aren't listening. I refuse to join that shouting match. It's non-productive. I want to listen. To consider. To sit within your perspective, your reasons, your why. And then share my own with you.

Today, a simple comment set loose a tide within me. As I've been considering my place, my purpose, my place in this world, it keeps coming back to love. To compassion. To connection. Striving to do better, to know better, to act better.

I am not transgender. And to my knowledge, I don't personally know anyone who is transgender. (I'd like to change that - I'd like to meet many more people to continue learning and growing beyond my own experience. But that's a topic for another post.)

But here's one thing I do know. It was (and continues to be) so challenging to find my own identity within this life - in the midst of puberty, society, family, friends, media, and personal expectations. How difficult must it be for someone who doesn't conform to a "norm" as I am lucky enough to conform to? 

I believe that we are more than our bodies. More than our spirits. More than our minds. We are greater than the sum of our parts. And within the infinite miracle of our existence, we can't hope to comprehend all of our brilliant, tragic, rare complexity. How could we ever hope to fit everything and everyone neatly into a box? Into a clean division of black and white? 

We are here to learn from each other. To hear each other. To lift each other up and find our voice, our passion, our purpose - and then fight like hell to keep that flame going against all odds, to connect, to speak up, and to listen. 

And to love. 

If my child, or my best friend, or my spouse turned to me with some revelation - with some worry of being different, nonconforming, being other... I hope they know that to me - love is love. And while I may have some some learning to do, some questions to ask... my love is never in question. Help me understand. Help me ask the right questions. Help me to love you better, to serve you better. 

So. Here I am, uncomfortably perched on the edge - putting myself out there, where I'm not sure I care to be. But the tide within me says this is bigger than my discomfort. Bigger than my worry about what others will think. Bigger than my doubt, my lack of words, my fear. 

I will hold this space for you, and for myself. Whole or broken. Lost or found. Scared or at peace. Or somewhere in between. 

You are worthy. You are heard. 


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