As I do the daily work to unlearn harmful messages I've been taught over my lifetime, it's clear that we as individuals and a collective HAVE NO IDEA what life would be like without these messages.
Here's what I mean:
We've been stewing in a toxic sludge of patriarchy, sexism, ableism, racism, homophobia, and weight stigma. As a result, we're bombarded with messages that tell us that only people in certain bodies deserve to have their humanity respected.
This is our reality.
We don't know what it's like to live in a world where there's no hierarchy of bodies...a world where straight, cis gender, able-bodied White men aren't perched at the top of the heap.
What would it be like for all bodies to be considered worthy, regardless of color, gender, ability, sexuality, and size?
How would we operate? What would we do? Is it even possible to create it?
These beliefs are so entrenched into our language, our behavior, and the way we relate to each other that it can feel impossible to even imagine something different.
So if we can't imagine it, HOW can we possibly create it?
Of course, I don't have the answer, but this quote from Sonya Renee Taylor of The Body is Not An Apology is a start:
"To bring forth the world we say we want, we must be willing to CONSTANTLY look at how we are replicating these systems of body terrorism in all we do. Not IF we are but HOW. Because we always are."
I'm committing to taking a hard look at the ways I'm perpetuating systems and ideas that deny people's humanity. Because I am.
This is a big part of my unlearning process.
I'll continue to use writing to unravel and explore ways that I can help create a world that is nourishing and affirming to all people.
I know it will be tempting to just fall back into what's comfortable and accept that this is just the way it is.
But we have to do the work to untangle this mess from our minds, our bodies, and our lives. We have to unlearn.
It's up to us.