I used to think everything was black and white. I led myself in these hard defined limits, expecting everything and everyone to conform. I think a lot of my view of the world had to do with how I was raised. My life was set in hard lines, this was right, and this was wrong. There was no room for flexibility. One of my favorite examples to get this point across is explaining the Catholic view on doubt. I was taught from a young age that to doubt God or the church was a sin. There was no room for different. I spent years in this void believing I was wrong, the very things I was and felt were wrong.
I have a scientific mind, which means I question and test things, then come up with new hypothesis and test them again. This meant taking anything I was told at face value felt inherently wrong. I was the kid who tried to breathe water because being told I couldn’t wasn’t good enough. (I ended up with pneumonia because of it. I’m not saying I was entirely smart about this process.) I was also the kid who told my mom apologizing when you weren’t sorry was a lie and if she forced me to I would go to hell. I used to sit in the back of CCD class and bite my tongue. Most of the other kids would actively participate and I’d dread being called on, not because I didn’t know the material we were quizzed on, but because I found fault in most of what was taught. I found often I knew the text better than the teacher, which was comical as these people didn’t fully know what they were preaching, but that’s a topic for another blog post. I wouldn’t even say I dreaded being called on because any of these people were mean. Most of them were quite nice as people go, they just couldn’t understand anything other than their own experience. Humans are inherently born with a fear of the unknown. It’s nature, part of a basic instinct for survival. It’s hard to break away from the view different is bad. In all aspects of life.
I was born queer. I’ve always been attracted to more than one sex, as long as I can remember, and I’ve always felt like I fell into a gray area between genders even before I had words for who I was. This is part of me to my core. So many people will never know what it’s like to feel this way, to be how I am. It took me a long time to come to terms with this. It took me even longer to realize just because I’d grown up being told who I am was wrong, is nothing more than people unable to see outside their own experience.
I’d never wish the religion I grew up with on anyone, but I’ve realized that by no means makes it wrong for everyone, nor does it mean there aren’t tons of great people within it and in other religions. We have to step outside ourselves and try to view the world from a different perspective. We need to accept different isn’t bad, unknown isn’t bad. And even if we can’t begin to imagine understanding something so different from ourselves, that doesn’t make it wrong. There is no black and white. Even good and evil are skewed into shades of gray.
For the new year try and take a step outside your experience and understand a different one. Step back from a hard line and spend some time in the gray. You may learn something.
Happy New Year. I’m going to blow this year out of the water. I have a lot of big things coming up and even bigger things planned. More news on my up coming Carnival anthology Follow Me Into Darkness coming next week.
To do list:
Finish rewriting the second half of Clouded Hell (Yes, I know I have issues)
Decide a writing plan for 2016.
Decide which piece to finish next. (Comment to let me know what you want to see)