“What are you?”
“Human”, my response today, intentionally highlighting the erroneous implications of the question asked, although as a child, this answer was not in my consciousness.
“Race?” (Fill in only one box) the school questionnaire asked. Staring at the form, unable to decide, I left the question unanswered, “Other” just didn’t feel right to acknowledge.
These seemingly innocuous questions, on state tests and by unknowing adults, haunted me growing up. My equal parts white and black heritage, made choosing one painfully impossible.
Believing I had to choose, I gave the answer , those asking wanted to hear. The side of me that made them feel the most comfortable with me, was the answer I offered. Constantly betraying parts of me, led to addiction, depression, and exhaustion.
So what changed? And why does it matter today?
The mistake I made as a child, once I corrected, changed my life. I had unknowingly accepted the inherent fallacy in the question – that there were only two options as an answer choice. I had not considered the third option.
To change “OR” to “AND”.
Simple and life altering. Because now, I freed myself from the limitations others placed on me. Not only did this simple change affect my view of my skin color, it changed my whole perception of myself and gave me the freedom to experience all the parts of me.
The PARADOX of life, I could choose them all:
Yes, I am black AND white.
I am pragmatic AND dreamy.
I enjoy solitude AND company.
I love the beach AND the mountains.
I can be good AND bad.
I laugh AND cry.
I have succeeded AND failed
I acknowledge conservative AND liberal ideas.
I feel love AND fear.
The power of PARADOX, does not mean indecisive or unknowing, it means appreciation for the opposites and acceptance of contrast. There is room for both.
You are not an “either/or”, you are an ” AND”.
Give yourself permission to choose “AND” and give others permission to be an “AND”.
The Dancing Zebra
“Out Beyond Ideas of wrongdoing and right doing there is a field, I’ll meet you there”~Rumi