Our world is not a neat and tidy place.
If you’ve been in my family room, you know.
But outside of my little home, it isn’t neat and tidy there either. There are not baskets and bins to separate emotions and beliefs and, most importantly, people.
We all live here together, doing the best we can.
Our world is full of love, hope, anger, pride, fear…men, women, children…everyone has their way of dealing with the differences. Some love it, some don’t, and most of us want to make it neat and tidy.
I know my brain can’t function well when there is a ton of clutter around. Of course, it’s adapted over time with 2 kids and a husband who likes woodworking tools and camping gear and jackets…I know, I don’t get the jacket one either, but he’s got a thing. Anyway…I literally just had to step away to clean up spilled nail polish all over my kitchen floor. It happens. Like I said, a mess.
It is human to want to understand the world and make it straightforward. We study, we have a scientific method, we have a control and a variable. And as we go through life, we see the world around us and get used to its images. But then, we see something we’ve never seen before and our brains can’t process it immediately. We try to figure it out. And if we can’t figure out, a few things can happen. We either:
– ignore it
– investigate it and try to understand it
– feel threatened by it and make it known that we think it’s unacceptable.
It’s so simple and clean when you can look at an image, and you can see it’s blue. We understand that. It’s blue. But then 5 other people come along and say, no, it’s green. You keep looking at the image and you don’t understand how someone else can be looking at the exact same picture and see something else. We feel uncomfortable. We want to know why we see blue when others are seeing green. I mean, take that whole internet dress color thing for example. It was just a dress and people all over the world were flipping out. Is the dress white or is the dress blue? What is it?! We need to put a label on it!
What I actually loved most about the dress color internet phenomenon was that an article was posted about the eye’s cones and rods reading color differently and whichever you have most of, that is what determines the color. And then it said, the dress is actually white. Um, what? Why can’t it be both? You see it as white, I see it as blue. It is a dress all the same.
My daughter, Maddie, has always been into boys’ clothing. It’s what she loves and what she feels comfortable in. She also has short hair. With the two combined, she looks like a boy to most people. When meeting someone for the first time, be it a new friend or the person helping her try shoes on at the store, they may refer to her as ‘him’. I used to correct them. I would say, “She’s a girl.” And they would apologize. And of course, I would say it’s fine, no problem.
Then one day, I asked Maddie how she felt about them calling her “him”. And she said, “I don’t really care.” And with that, my 8 year old taught me something that changed my outlook forever – it’s okay to live in a world of not knowing. Our society’s need to put a label on everything – to plant ourselves firmly as a Republican or Democrat, as a Methodist or Baptist, a boy or a girl. I don’t care anymore if she’s mistaken for a boy and I no longer say anything when someone refers to her as “him”. Our world is a free-flowing mess of light and energy. It’s okay for it to not be neat all the time.
But that’s life, isn’t it? It’s messy. And you can consider all of us being different…men, women, white, black, gay, straight, ..we all live here together. We can’t put each other into an organized Ikea shelving system with labels on each bin. And that is what makes it beautiful.