The identity crisis: Guess what you’re human.

Today Sam was looking at comic strip, the intended message was that sexism goes both ways. He felt that the comic only further divided the genders. Men and women are not a separate species. What we should really be focused on is the way that we treat each other irrespective of gender, age, bank account, race etc. So much of human history we’ve spent deciding who is human, who is civilized, who is worthy. Now days money plays a significant role in determining who gets to be human and who doesn’t. As humans we often argue our superiority over the other life forms that share our planet. We even argue our superiority over each other and there probably isn’t a single person out there who hasn’t viewed another’s circumstances as either a source of inspiration or affirmation of their own successes.

I watched a TED talk about how we view people with disabilities as either heroes or victims. So here we have Joe, Joe has no legs, he has a good job, a wife, 3 kids, a house, hobbies, friends, ex girlfriends, a gym membership, brown eyes, a cat, prosthetics, a wheelchair, a collection of vinyl records etc. Joe is a human. Some people will question Joe’s right to have children or even exist. Some people will assume that Joe is receiving special treatment that accounts for his success or that his wife is experiencing a significant burden. Some people will say Joe is amazing to have overcome such hardships. Many people will assume that Joe is suffering and struggling with the supposed limitations of his disability. Joe is a human. Not having legs is normal to Joe, he was born that way. Given the choice of having legs Joe might choose to remain as he is because he does not view himself as limited, lacking, or wrong. He is, simply. We are, simply.

Humans are notorious for crises of identity, their constant need to establish norms not just for themselves but for those around them. We are all fighting every minute of everyday to maintain and establish “self”. In establishing ourselves we are all too eager to promote and demote one another. We get mad at others for imposing definitions and yet how often do we adhere to those limitations in order to establish a sense of self and belonging?

I am human. Often I assume there is no place for me so I avoid company. I have decided the kind of poetry the world deems “good” and determined that my poetry does not satisfy those requirements. I have decided that to write the sort of poetry I have arbitrarily determined to be “preferred” I would have to compromise my ideals. To be famous I’d have to churn out pretentious bland poems but is this even true? There are published writers for whom I have the highest respect. How did they achieve publication? Were they just born better? Influential friends? Money? Was it a miracle and thus not something that can be achieved willfully? Isn’t calling someone else’s success a miracle or a matter of congenital genius a huge dishonor to them and the tremendous amount of work they’ve put into achieving their goals? Are we simply making excuses for ourselves encase of failure? How much of success is based on talent as opposed to passion? My guess is success is 90%+ drive. How many successes can one expect to achieve without first experiencing failure? 0%?

I detest most systems feeling that groups are often persecutory but what do I actually know about the system? Even if the system I envision exists by what criteria am I determining its members? Do people of authority automatically belong to the system? How do I determine compatibility in avoidance? Does having standards of any defined sort prove membership in the system? Or should I say does having standards of any sort that might preclude my immediate success and initiation prove membership in the system? Do we invent systems to avoid responsibility? Isn’t most of what we know comprised of opinions masquerading as indelible laws?

I have decided that the system is huge and all pervasive, that there is no profitable alternative to the system, and no niche in which I might prosper. I have absolutely no idea if the system is even real but if enough of us believe in it and if enough of us live our lives as though it were a fact, then the system real or not possesses an indisputable power over our lives.

As a child I determined the best way to handle bullies was simply to be myself, to not allow them to dictate my choices or my venues. I went on with my life and eventually they went on with theirs. I mean really if they want to make me the center of their universe that’s their issue but I can choose not to make them the center of mine. So why not submit the poems you love writing whether or not there is a system? We set the norms. If you want poetry to be relegated to Hallmark Greeting cards keep those profound juicy pieces to yourself but if you want to read good poetry for fuck’s sake submit good poetry over and over again until the “system” changes.


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