Twenty-six years ago today I marched with some dear friends in Washington, D.C. along with an indeterminate number of people in support of equal rights for everyone regardless of who they loved. It was a beautiful day, a beautiful event, and in the quarter century since, there have been many, many beautiful changes and forward strides toward equality and embrace of all people which have made the world a better, safer, more loving place.
Are we finished? Never. Being alive is about evolution. There will always be ways we can improve – ourselves and the world. But, having fought and pushed and argued and striven for equality and recognition and understanding in ways that were sometimes angry, strident and reactionary to wounds I felt I (and others) had suffered, the very most important thing I have learned is that freedom begins in my individual soul, heart, and mind.
I am more and more careful with my words, with my reactions, and am much more easily shocked by the things people say to and about one another. I have learned now to remain silent – sometimes – at least until my heart stops pounding, until I am breathing normally again and can acknowledge the humanity of all the sides, all the points of view, until I can remind myself that everything – every word, every action, every atom of reality – no matter how heinous, hateful, and incomprehensible I may find it – begins at Love. It may become distorted, twisted, poisoned – but my goal as a human soul, is to always REMEMBER that somewhere – somehow – the initial intent, at the beginning, somewhere in EVERYTHING – there is a seed of Love.
I try NOT to respond until I have ACTIVELY thought that thought. And then, I try to respond FROM that thought.
I fail, every day. But, I’m learning. And still, quite surprised. As in today when I received an anonymous attack which began: “You talk waayyyyyyyyyy to [SIC] much. Why don’t you shut the fuck up.” And went on in that vein. I knew that I should NOT engage, but NOT engaging is difficult for me. So, I did, in a questioning way, saying, “I’m sorry my words caused this response in you but I’m not sure why you think it is incumbent upon you to share that with me. And, it should be ‘too’ not ‘to’.”
You can imagine the vitriol that ensued, including “The world is full of pussy faggots like you” and “Lucky me to get a spelling lesson from a pissed on old queen.”
First of all, no one ever has nor ever will piss on me. Secondly, many a Queen would be insulted to have me added to the ranks. And, old? We know how I feel about old.
It’s 26 years after the march. So, I had to wonder to myself where was the love in this attack? All I saw was sorrow that someone could be so full of hate and anger they had to strike out in such a way, and anonymously? And too, what had I done to encourage such a thing?
That’s my sticking point: in those things – the behaviors and words of others with which I have difficulty finding the seed of love – how have I shaped my life to make space for them? How have I allowed them in? And how can I let them (and the people who bring them) go? Is it hubris to think that I can help to heal such disconnect? Certainly I have been burned in the past by my ego telling me I could or should save someone. Who am I to decide someone needs saving? Maybe I should shut the fuck up. (Happy now?)
It’s about evolution. It’s about asking the questions and looking for the Love inside even the hardest, most hurtful situations, and moving on, growing on, becoming on.
Happy Weekend, Friends. And happy loving whomever you love.