We all live on this planet, damnit!

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One of my New Year resolutions is to simply write more. I frequently write in my personal journal — but I’d like to share my thoughts more publicly this year.

To start off — I’d like to say that I feel I have always tried to be inclusive. When I was a pre-teen, I lived in an apartment complex where I socialized with all my neighbor friends, despite their background. I was far more concerned about whether or not my friends would climb trees with me and play night games than what church they went to (or didn’t).

I sometimes look around me when I’m in a busy place and take a moment to soak in the people that surround me. I have this realization that these strangers have lives. They have families and friends. They experience joy and they’ve endured pain. They have jobs. They have burdens. They have memories. They have troubles. They have happiness. And it really hits me. It’s a really surreal moment of remembering that I’m such a small part of this world. And it truly humbles me.

This past year I’ve reflected on several things, but what always has me constantly investing my heart into is my humanity. I think about changing future strangers’ lives as a Social Worker. I think about helping someone less fortunate than myself when I can finally get to a place where I’m not living paycheck to paycheck. Even now, when I barely make ends meet each month — I still think about helping people. Because I know there is always someone less fortunate than me — even when I feel lonely, poor, or depressed.

Something that I’ve thought a lot about this past year –with the emphasis of Trump building a Wall on the US and Mexico boarder — usually has me cringing  –is the word “illegal” when referencing a human being. We use it to describe people who are undocumented in a country. As if they as a person — by living and breathing in a country where they are not citizens in — are illegal. They are wrong. They are criminal. They are not allowed. They must be shamed. They must be kicked out. They are a menace to society. They are rapists. They are deviants. They are harmful.

It destroys my heart  to hear such hateful descriptions of HUMAN BEINGS.  People are not illegal. Somewhere down the line someone decided the law of boundaries. And they decided to create regulations that was intended to control population — or some other lousy excuse. But really a politically correct way of banning people from parts of the world. A world that we ultimately share. And there is only ONE WORLD. We all live on this planet, damnit! And we should embrace our global citizenship and stop labeling people foreign, or alien — or illegal. It’s like a bully on the playground not allowing certain kids to play on the toys. It’s cruel. And unfair.

People who fear “illegals” have never looked outside their own peripheral vision to see the beautiful things that we can learn from strangers. From people who were born in different countries than our own. From people who have struggled. And from people who only want to be free.

Pharrell Williams recently said on Ellen that “We all have to get used to everyone’s differences. And understand that this is a big, gigantic, beautiful, colorful world. And it only works with inclusion and empathy. It only works that way.”

I truly admired his courage to say these things out loud, and use his platform to spread kindness and understanding. I feel the same way. I don’t always agree with people — but I value everyone’s opinions — because without them, this world wouldn’t struggle or hustle or work hard enough for what’s right — and what’s good.

WE are all human. WE should practice more this year extending our humanity to a world that needs a lot of healing.

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What unconditional love is.

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Unconditional love is when you can’t wait to tell your best friend that you’ve been accepted to the college of your dreams that’s 3000 miles away and instead of bitching you out and throwing a fit because they are jealous or pissed or whatever; they embrace you and say “I’m proud of you, and I knew you could do it!”

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Unconditional love is when you come home from an extremely shitty day and all you want to do is curl up in a ball and play video games or watch your favorite movie that you could play over and over again and never get tired of. But your parent comes into your room and asks why you slammed the door and you don’t want to explain yourself because you’d rather just not face another day so you shrug your shoulders, and instead of walking away because you are giving them the silent treatment, they wrap their arms around you and silently say, I love you.

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Unconditional love is when you’re playing an intense game of cowboys and indians, rough housing around, and your mom keeps telling you and your friends to stop being so rambunctious but you’re just too damn excited that you even have friends, so you want to impress them by playing their favorite game, and it’s too cold outside so you’re inside…still making too much noise and running around until you crash into the wall where your mother’s once hanging shelf falls to the ground and the tea set that sat perfectly still on the shelf before, is now shattered into millions of tiny little pieces. And you look into your mother’s eyes, certain she is going to explode, because it was her favorite tea set that her grandmother gave her, and her grandpa built the shelf with his bear hands. And you know how much it means to her. And surprisingly she says, “Thank God you’re okay.” And you realize that she loves you far beyond any material items.

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Unconditional love is when you go to school wearing your favorite rainbow colored belt and you tuck your shirt in on the side just enough for everyone to get a glimpse of your stylish new accessory and further down the hall you hear a familiar voice that brings a kind of fear to your memory, who yells out “Faggot!” and points to your once cool, and now shameful article of clothing, and you immediatly cover your belt with your shirt and pull your pants up just enough that the belt can’t be seen and you hide in the bathroom crying because you thought your belt was the coolest thing ever. And because that word killed your pride just enough to cause you to hide in the bathroom stall until next period. And then you hear a voice and you stop crying because you don’t want anyone to know how much you’re hurting and then the voice says, “I really like your belt.” And suddenly the word faggot and the tears disappear and you leave the stall where you see a complete stranger standing next to the sinks. And you tuck in your shirt so that entire belt can be seen and say, “Thanks.”

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Unconditional love is when the condom breaks and you don’t have enough money to buy the “Plan B” pill and you are horrified to tell anyone, because you don’t want them to think you’re a slut or whore or whatever, so you wait. You wait too long to say anything and then suddenly you’re throwing up everything you ate for breakfast one morning and you go to the store to buy a pregnancy test and you can’t wait any longer to know the truth so you go to closest bathroom and you pee on the stick and you wait two painful minutes until you see the plus sign, clear as day, and you start to cry because you have no idea what the hell you’re going to do. And so you tell your boyfriend, and he says he’s not ready to be a father and you beg him to stay, and he won’t. And so you drive 2 hours with the little money you have left to knock on your parents door. And your parents ask you why your eyes are so puffy and you don’t tell them it’s because you’ve been bawling for that last 45 minutes. And you sit them down to tell them you’re pregnant expecting them to scream and throw something at you, but instead they take your hands and look into your puffy swollen eyes and say, “It’s going to be okay. We’re going to figure this out.” And you sigh, because that’s all you needed to hear.

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Unconditional love is when you feel completely alone in the world. When you’d rather just die because the alternative seems too difficult to bear and you don’t go to school for days. And no one comes to see you which reassures you that no one will miss you when you’re gone. And your mom is too high to notice the constant frown on your face. And your dad is in jail and probably always will be. And so you go outside on a rainy day and you walk down to the lake thinking that you’ll just drown yourself. Because it’s that easy. And you walk past your neighbor’s house that you’ve talked to like 2 times and you think about knocking on their door, but then you realize you don’t want to burden them. And so you keep walking. And you’re 10 feet from the lake where you could be gone in seconds. And you hear a voice behind you. “Are you going for a swim? I’ll go with you!” And you turn around and it’s your neighbor. And instead of dying, you go swimming.

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Unconditional love is when you visit a family member and they open their door before you can even knock and hug you until your bones no longer ache and they feed you until your stomach no longer growls and they sing silly songs with you and they watch your favorite movies. And before you can even ask them for a reminder of where their bathroom is, they give you a tour of the house. And they tell you it’s so good to see you. And they give you a blanket when you’re chilly. And they let you wear their slippers. And they make you a cup of tea. And they play cards with you and laugh in your face because they beat you twice, but you don’t care — because they bought you pizza with all your favorite toppings. And chocolate because they say they can’t live without it, but really it’s because you wanted some. And they joke around and burp and sometimes even fart. Because they are so comfortable with you. And when you need to cry, they listen. And when you need to complain they look you in the eyes and nod their head. And when you’ve talked so much and you can’t talk anymore they offer some advice. And when there is nothing left to say or do. They hold you. And they give you a bed to sleep on. And permission to be yourself. And you don’t hesitate to ask or do anything, because you know they wouldn’t want you to.

Unconditional love is exactly that. It’s unconditional. There is no ifs, ands or buts. It’s taking time to take a step back and evaluate a situation and think before you act. And realizing the most important things to do and say. It’s showing and saying I love you. And there is always room for you. And there is nothing they could do or say that would make them not love you.

Thanks for hearing me out.

(I don’t own any of the photos)