Monday, March 7, 2011

How Flat is Your World?

A friend commented on a facebook post today that she had learned that the world wasn't as black and white as she once thought it was.

In high school, I was a very conservative person. A very conservative, occasionally judgmental person. There was either right, or wrong. And if it was wrong, I didn't want much to do with it. This was due in part to my southern roots, and mostly due to my southern baptist raising. There were just things you didn't do.

Being gay was one of those things you don't do. However, when my cousin and one of my biggest role models announced to the world when I was in middle school that she was a lesbian, I had to make adjustments in my world view. Maybe it was ok for her, but still, it was bad, wrong, something you don't do. I found myself defending her at school, because in a small southern town, people talk. A lot. It was ironic to me that I was defending things I didn't even believe in. Which made me question whether or not I did think it was something bad. Even more, whether or not I or anyone else had any reason to judge someone for living such an unspeakable lifestyle.

Right after I was a legal, registered voter a law came through to decide the definition of marriage. I'm ashamed to admit that I voted that marriage is a legal binding document that excludes same sex marriages. I thought I was doing what is right. There's that word again...right.

Fast forward to college. I went to a "liberal arts" college. I wasn't political enough to know anything about liberal and what it meant to me. But let me tell you, it meant culture shock. It meant same sex couples holding hands and kissing in public. It meant purple hair and giant gauged earrings, and baggy pants, and whatever the hell else you wanted to do with your appearance. It meant freedom. It meant you could actually be whoever you wanted to be. Most importantly, it meant learning that not everyone had to be like me.

The world can't be so black and white when there are people who have lived through African civil wars teaching classes on humanism and how to make a difference. There isn't so much right and wrong when you hear a professor telling you that it was either their father go to war in Austria because they were allies with Germany. It was either fight or die. That's not black and white anymore.

I learned so much in college, and most valuable to me was learning that I would not fall off the face of the earth if I went a little farther out of my comfort zone. The world isn't so flat, black or white. I learned that not everyone who is gay is the same as every other gay person in the world. Not every blonde sorority girl is the same as the girl walking next to her. There are very few definites in this world, I hope that you take the time to look around and realize this, because it's pretty important.

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Anonymous said...

"Most importantly, it meant learning that not everyone had to be like me." If everyone was the same and ate vanilla ice cream and drove beige Camry's, this world would be an awfully boring place. I am a gay conservative granola mommy. How awesome is that! But I'm awesome, so there ;-p
ps, I love your blog Dakota!

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