Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Choosing Human-ness

(I am going through and finishing old posts, this one was started months ago and is simply a reminder of something I think we all know, and the image, well, I agree with that message as well)

I was having one of those afternoons today when nothing seemed to be going right. I showed up in the wrong place for the thing I needed to do, got lost going to the other place, didn't have the right stuff, blah blah blah. I am sure we have all had those moments - I was hot, sweaty (I was biking this whole time) and tired of the backpack that seemed to have grown twenty pounds heavier during the whole experience. And then a person treated me in a less than human way...I knew it wasn't personal as he had treated the woman in front of me in a similar way, but still it jarred me. The next human interaction I had (other than between me and drivers of cars) also felt less than human...and my initial response was to retreat, be less than human to others myself and simply stop interacting as much as possible.

And I thought about people who receive less than human treatment every day, due to the color of their skin, their class, their ability, their gender or sexual orientation. First I thought about how awful that must be, but then I realized that many of these people manage to remain human, and treat others as humans despite of, or in defiance of how they are treated.

The retreat always feels safer, more protected. When faced with an awkward situation, it almost always feels better to be aloof, or disdainful, or just plain ignore a human. And when we are hurt, or down in any way it also feels good to retreat into ourselves, assume the weight of the world, and either martyr ourselves or others. I know all of this because it is my usual response. I hope that some day I can find the strength or the inspiration, or whatever to maintain my human-ness in defiance of all that is not human.