Tomorrow is my birthday (as I write this). I usually feel quite reflective on my birthday and this birthday is no different. I have also been a little low in spirits so the reflectiveness is tinged with bitter sweetness. What a couple of years it's been!
I've realized a lot of things about myself and others in the past 2 years. I've learned a lot. Some of my beliefs have changed. Some beliefs have been strengthened. I've lost friends and other relationships have withered. But I've made amazing new friends that feed my soul every day too.
I still look at the little book that my friend DeAnna gave me before she died. I don't look at it every day anymore, but I look at it a few times a month. I like to see what the "theme" is each month. June's theme is "Forgiveness." I am mostly thinking about forgiving myself. I forgive myself for not being able to forgive those who betrayed me... yet. I am moving in that direction and my heart is softening, but I am not there. And that is ok. I love the post by Jeff Foster which he called YOU DO NOT NEED TO FORGIVE. Thank you Jeff for that grace.
I also forgive my past self for being imperfect. My former friend said in her last email to me: "Your posts feel like proselytizing (I realize that is your right) and I believe what you are working to convince others of is dangerous." I had to look "proselytize" up back then. Even today, I looked it up again to make sure I understood. And I remembered another person saying something to me when we were moving to Florida - he said that it was different for me to share our reasons for moving (we could see the coercion and tyranny coming) than when I was trying to "convince" him a few months back.
And I've realized - I was trying to convince them. There is nothing "dirty" about the word "proselytize" although it felt a little bit like an insult at the time. I was trying to convince them that my family and I are human and worthy of being treated as such - even though we don't believe the same things and would make a different medical choice than they would. If that is proselytizing then call me a proselytizer! Yes, I am trying to recruit people to my cause - to support my human rights and also those that share beliefs and certain choices with me. As long as there are those who don't believe we have the right to exist and live as we choose, we will not be left alone in peace.
I've spoken before of putting science to the side and picking up the lens of philosophy. I think we also need to become knowledgeable of human psychology. When I was sharing in 2020-2021 I was feeling quite desperate. It's true. I think that air of desperation is partly why the word “proselytize” feels negative. But I could see what was happening in the world and I did want to persuade people, so things might be different. But the fact is: humans don't respond well to desperation. In fact, they are repelled by it. I forgive myself for my behavior and how I communicated, because I had little control over that feeling at that time in my life.
Before 2020 I believed in living by example and in alignment with my values. I figured that was the best way to bring people along the journey with me who were ready and willing. I was right. It is the best way. But desperate times bring out the desperate in us. So I've returned to a calmer state and sharing feels a lot better when I can remain here.
But I still miss some of those people and relationships. It's sad how many people have lost significant relationships these past 2+ years.
I've learned a lot. I still share to inform and inspire. And I still strive to remain curious, with an open mind and heart so I don't close myself off to people, information, ideas, and beliefs. Because we all have our blind spots.
And now on the eve of my 44th birthday I am ready to move on from this bittersweet reflection into pure sweetness. Tomorrow I will celebrate with the people who matter most and be filled with gratitude for this beautiful life. Because it’s really too short to do anything else.
Wife, mom, information and peace seeker.