A recognition of self (edited from a recent school assignment):
Identity "this, that, the other" and identity politics are ripping humanity apart...it is completely unnecessary...and most of it coming from every direction is steeped in a false premise of "the other."
I was raised in a social eco-system that encourages constant improvement (improvement implies an awareness of self and an acknowledgment that there is room to grow--get better) whether in terms of athletics, academics or simply as a human being.
The U.S. Army's first principle of leadership is "Know yourself and seek self-improvement."
I lived in this "Army" world for more than 22 years.
I don't think in terms of all the categories and boundaries that humans continue to manufacture and further, place pre-conceived ideas and value-based labels (usually negative, hate laced narratives) on all of said categories.
When I walk into a Starbucks or an airport lounge and see people that don't look like me and don't speak the same language as I do...I see a coffee shop or lounge full of humans.
It remains one of my favorite experiences to be surrounded by 3 or 4 disparate conversations (each in a different language) none of which I can understand.
Difference and diversity are to be celebrated. Variety is what makes this such a rich and beautiful planet.
Yet no single category is superior to another.
Common humanity is to be embraced.
We are all on the same team--there is only one human race.
I am painfully aware of my flaws, the gifts & talents I do not have as well as the areas in which I can improve.
I am also keenly aware of my strengths and the areas in life which I seek to accent.
I'm comfortable in my skin...I've seen 29 countries on 5 continents over nearly 47 years of lived experience--I have not lived a sheltered or narrow life.
I've seen deep pain--some I have caused and some caused by others.
I've witnessed unjustified death up close and personal; the kind of death that makes the cover of Newsweek magazine…I have dear friends who made the ultimate sacrifice for this country and now reside in Arlington National Cemetery.
I've been a victim of structural power abuse by men who look just like me.
I've looked in the eye of patriarchy at the very highest levels of sovereign governments--and that patriarchy does not look like me.
Hate, lies, greed, prejudice, malice, and lust for power do not care what "category" a human inhabits.
There are too many counter-truths to the categorical truth claims of those who seek to maintain division and separation of category.
Smiles, kindness, generosity and forgiveness do not care what "category" a human inhabits.
And yet, this is my choice--my conscious choice--to maintain a world view that sees the best in humanity.
A choice that seeks to understand self, how and where I fit in and will contribute to humanity...and to forever improve each new day.
What if it Just Started Raining?