Humans need validation. Whether we like it or not. As isolated as we may make ourselves, we want, we need to be seen. We need to recognize, even if just to see that we want to be alone. Humans are, even today, a social species that needs one another. I know that as much as I have pulled away from social media and many people, I knew that I still am not ready to become completely invisible. I am not ready to disappear.
I want to be seen.
If just to be mourned for not quite existing anymore, the angsty teen in me still screaming their heart out and raging at the world.
I am lucky though because I AM seen.
I have been seen.
I have been generally accepted for who I am.
Too many humans don’t get that same grace.
Too many hide who they are, where they are from, who they love, and how they love.
Too many hide how they worship, or that they don’t worship.
We all open our arms to one another, just wide enough to let people like us in and no one else.
We refuse to see the commonalities that unite us but focus solely on our differences, like a small mark on an unblemished exotic car. The mark changes nothing save perhaps a perceived value, but the car is still the car. Alas, that mark though.
Alas, you may be human, may be loving, may be compassionate, may believe and worship like you do, but they love differently, or look different, or are from somewhere ‘else’ so they are less in your eyes.
They are not equal.
This ‘Otherness’ is not new. Humans process information in a way that makes us need to create sides, and lists, and order from chaos so we can understand things. This is salty. This is sweet. Both may be GOOD, but we need to know which is which if we are going to use them in a recipe. There is usefulness in knowing who stands with you and who stands against you. In days when treachery were life and death you needed to know who was for and who was against you.
Today, too, that has use as we need to know who is friend and who is foe.
The problem though is that we elevate every difference into a WITH ME or AGAINST me matter.
If you are not the same gender as I am, or color, or sexuality, or religion then you are my enemy.
If you are not ‘from here’ or think differently then you’re my enemy.
We want to know who to fight and who to fear because the world has become very blurry. Very gray. We want clarity. We want God to point and say THERE, that is your enemy.
But that doesn’t happen.
That’s not God’s job.
That’s our job.
And we’re lousy at it.
We want things easy. We want Good Guys. Bad Guys. That isn’t life. That isn’t reality. Our ‘enemies’, if we are so bold as to call anyone an enemy, have families, have love, have hate, have hobbies, have dreams. They are just like us. We work so hard to conjure up our demons we forget that they may see us with the same lens we see them. To our monsters, we may be monsters. There is someone, somewhere who doesn’t like you. I guarantee it. It doesn’t mean you did something to them, or that you intended to be cast as a villain, but someone somewhere was hurt by you, annoyed by you, or just doesn’t like how you look. With the times we live in perhaps they simply hate you for believing the way you do.
We have ‘Othered’ one another to such a degree that everyone is our enemy.
People you simply want to be left alone to love who they want to love to have consistently had great swaths of society against them and with that the very ‘system’ that was supposed to protect them. They were told over and over – you are wrong, you are an aberration. Told this by people who bend and break their own moral rules, but we are a society that is all about Do As I Say, Not As I Do. How many times do we see politicians or religious leaders pointing their finger and decrying something as human as simple love only to be discovered to be sinning themselves or doing things even more monstrous.
We give abusers the platform and shout down the abused.
We deify people because they are louder and reach more people, influence more people, and hold them less accountable.
We are a people who love to judge but only if it means we are not judged.
‘Only God can judge me!’ We cry out.
We should be raised to accept people for who they are and then put those people in charge of showing us that they are not our friends. This doesn’t mean we trust everyone outright, but we should be raised to trust cautiously, so at arm’s length. Never let someone in who wants to hurt you but don’t ignore their plight because they are different.
That isn’t who we are though.
We are raised to loathe those that are different and need to work back to acceptance if we find it in our hearts.
The fabric of humanity has many colors, many peoples, many genders, and many songs.
We should fly this like a flag of peace, not a war banner.
Has history not bled enough for us?
But we need our villains, don’t we?
It’s heartbreaking to see how hard we work to justify the murder of men of color these days, when the police push further than their training and the law. We see men being executed during police interactions when things could have been de-escalated and then all of the pasts of these people are brought out for the world to see. ‘Oh, well, they were wanted for this, and this, and they did this other thing also’. And they may well have blemished pasts, they may have been justifiably detained, but our law officers are not in place to serve as executioners. They are not our judicial system. I have watched too many people who are White act crazy and dangerous only to be peaceably detained but then see a person of color act in a way that is similar be shot or wounded for it. It’s a double standard and it’s dangerous.
But here we are, making villains.
So many of us got outraged when people took to the streets, but these men were sons, brothers, husbands. They are mothers, wives, sisters. These are US. These are AMERICANS. We don’t have to agree with all of the actions that happened, or all of the language that was used but we should be able to mourn the lost and weep with the mourners. We should be willing to see these people as humans that, as bad as they may have been, didn’t deserve execution, intentional or accidental. They deserved to face justice and live to see it. We point our fingers so easily at others but woe unto us if everyone saw us at our lowest and most selfish.
Woe unto us.
We validate the hate we feel by watching people who tell us that, yes, those are our enemies.
We validate our hate and fear by going to websites and news sites and message boards that scream at us about THEY, THEM, THOSE and their agendas.
Yes, we see with our eyes, hear with our ears, and understand with our minds but we question ourselves. What if we are wrong? These faceless voices, these screaming faces that it is hard to deny. If they believe these things so strongly, then perhaps I am wrong?
We are bullied into becoming bullies because it’s easier than standing up and standing out.
It’s easier than being different and feeling as if all eyes are on us.
It’s better than being the enemy.
We are so afraid of being singled out, being pointed at, laughed at, or cast out that we validate the craziest ideas and theories because we want someone to fear. We hear the word Woke, which means we were asleep, yes, and we fear it because it means change. But if we were sleeping, and are trying to be ‘awakened’, then what were we dreaming, or was it a nightmare?
Was the America we convinced ourselves was a land of God and Christ and was given to the White man because of our faith, not the way we seemed? Was it not as Just and Golden as we believed? Is it possible that there were some of our fellow Americans, who we speak about and sing about and preach about, that they are not among the chosen who receive the bounties of this great land? Is it possible that we are then waking from a lie and into a world closer to a whole truth? Is it possible that the fear of a Woke world is the fear of a world where certain among us are not all powerful and must share what they feel is theirs by Right of color or creed or belief?
So what do we validate when we validate the lies?
So, we validate the worst people see in others because we need validation ourselves.
We just need to be seen, as we hide those who we don’t agree with.
But what if we were finally willing to see one another, and to open ourselves enough to see for ourselves?
What if we loved ourselves to validate our humanity and trust that everyone isn’t out to get us?
What if we had enough faith to validate it and trust in that Lord that we worship?
What if we simply validated ourselves, our pain, our worry, our fear, and worked through it all to find the glory beyond those things?
I am lucky, because I am seen.
Are you just as lucky?
Yeah, but what if we weren’t so lucky, and we were made villains because of who we were?
What would we do to be seen and heard?
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