It seems lately, according to the global media and certain politicians, that the downfall of humanity will be our differences. As though people have not been mingling and intermingling with others since the dawn of humankind, it appears this recent movement of different people to another space will be the final straw in the evolution of civilization. As if movement weren’t the single consistent story of humans throughout history. Or perhaps it won’t even be movement. Perhaps it will be the standing up of communities asking to be allowed to exist, asking to be allowed to survive, asking to be allowed to flourish. Stating that their lives matter as well. The conclusion seems to be that what is frightening is difference and what is comforting is sameness.
Those of us who have lived on the fringes, are well accustomed to being found different. To have to go through the journey of self questioning and often self loathing. Of repeated failed attempts to belong completely. To have our differences punctuated at moments when we least expected it. To have to answer for our differences with knowledge and patience and calm lest our frustration or ignorance be catalogued as an attribute of our difference.
Apparently it is an incendiary claim, to love one’s own difference and choose to live proudly in it. To not compromise one’s self for the majority but still want equal rights.
I’ve had the privilege to meet a lot of different people from really different places and experiences. My favourite moment of interaction will always be the discovery of the point of connection: when we realize that something in ourselves is reflected in the other person.
The points of connection are all about the sameness of beings. The repetition of histories. The isolation of fears. The mirror of desires: to be acknowledged, to be appreciated, to be loved, to be understood and perhaps most significantly to belong and to be set apart simultaneously.
This should not be used as propaganda for the erasure of our differences. Our differences should be shouted down the mountains and held up as feats of humanity: Look at how unique these beings are that they employ their individuality to build bridges! And not just bridges that close the gaps between existing peoples and communities but bridges that lead to the land of unexplored elsewhere.
A new space made possible only by a unique few who envisioned a future that does not rely so heavily on a script from the past but on daydreams and wishes and above all justice and equality…
Equality. The experience of “equal-ness”.
Which is another word for sameness really. A sameness that I can stand behind and acknowledge as both fact and fantastical fiction. Here is what I am trying to say: I am the same as you in all the ways in which we are different. Time and again I step into my differences and find myself standing shoulder to shoulder with others who feel the same way.
Imagine if we treated each other with that in mind?