I wish I could tell you that I'm a bastion of resilience.
That when I look at the world around me, I always know exactly how to react in the face of pain.
But the truth is, I've lived the experiences that come with being in this body all of my life.
And I still feel kicked in the chest when I'm faced with the wounds we give each other because we refuse to recognize that the human in you is the human in me.
I didn't always know what to do with this pain. I've tried running. Bitterness. Accusation. Shaming. Finger-pointing. Distancing. Pretending. Ignoring. Hiding my true feelings. Wearing masks. Intellectualizing. Achieving.
And finally, at the end of it all, I was left with me.
I get to choose how I treat humans. I get to use the life I've been given in ways that help all of humanity. I get to choose to have conversations, make decisions, connect, and build an everyday life that respects all human beings. I get to use my voice, my story, my vision, my soul to treat others in precisely the way that radiates who I am in my core.
My choices belong to me.
Which means that even when the deep well of sorrow bubbles over, when I feel in my bones the decimation and infliction of pain, when I sense the searing agony of being in this body, I will choose in the midst of that sorrow to look out at you as I look in at myself.
I will choose to see you. Just as I choose to see myself.
And I will choose to live a life and make choices that respect your humanity just as I choose to respect my own.