Othered

You’ll have to take it on faith when I tell you that I understand how a coward thinks. I used to get beat up after school. Not because I was a coward. Mostly, I think, it happened because words matter.

I had so many to choose from, and I loved that.

I love that fact still.

The coward’s way is the ability to stop listening. To filter out the voices that disagree. The ones that offer another perspective.

The ones that are smarter than I am. They are better at othering than I am.

It’s all scalable. I’m not, by any measure, the smartest one. I hope only to be among those found, by the measure of history, to be one of the ones most able to listen.

I probably won’t matter enough for history to notice, but that’s most of us. That’s the 99%. I love them, and I wouldn’t mind being relegated into their tribe.

I was only human.

It is why I unblocked every single person I’d ever blocked recently. We all have a voice, and I want to take every one I have the time for into consideration. If this is a popularity contest, and it is, then I need to figure out how a spray tan man took the highest office in the land. Then I need to figure out how to end his reign.

Live as if you were to die tomorrow. And everything else that has been observed by the weak who refused to give away their power.

Be the change you want to see in the world. Refuse to filter out that with which you cannot stomach. You will grow stronger. As a coward who wishes to grow into some other state of being, I can tell you from long experience that scars are not shame. Wear them proudly.

Write down the names of your enemies. Burn them in effigy. Join your tribe with that of another and rejoice. The weak ones always win when they band together and make demands.

We can do that. If we overcome the fear.

I will not allow my weakness to be my master. Not should you. Study your enemies. Invite them into you house. Tell your tribe to keep their knives sharpened and their eyes and ears always open.

We win because we are legion and they are cowards more craven than we.

I will fight. Will you be my tribe?

I won’t other you. I won’t let them other you. I won’t take your humanity away just because we’re different. You can be my tribe, if you learn to listen.

Tear down the wall, or just refuse them the power to build it.

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The author

Pen has been writing in a professional capacity for two decades. He started his career as a combat correspondent in the U.S. Marines.

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