Posted by JM, a member of Brand New Aspiring Writers
The journey of one thousand words is a path every “other” has had to walk. Even if you are part of an “us” that still make you part of a “them” to somebody else. As many of us are all too aware, being a “them” can often lead to having judgment rained down on you and being condemned in willful ignorance.
The journey of one thousand words does not start with a single word. Rather, like any other journey, it begins with a single step. That single step will often be the hardest step you will ever take and the most painful, this step having cost some their lives. Just as you step out of your metaphorical closet, there are those who will seek to shove you back in it just as your eyes are adjusting to the light.
Some will go back in the closet and never come out again.
By stepping out, you are labeled whether or not you care to claim or accept that label. It is human nature to name and label, no matter if the label is actually true. The safety and security for most comes from the label, not the correctness (or lack thereof) or the label. That which is labeled is safe and predictable and therefore should be boxed appropriately. Left to wander free, the being could change the thoughts of others and even bring out more of those with the same label. This would be considered detrimental because with each newly labeled person, the label changes slightly.
And no one likes a changing label.
Some lose their lives because of their labels. Others retreat back to their closets and try to forget they ever stepped out.
For those who have successfully stepped out of their closet, the journey truly begins. Labels are often, if not always, wrong when applied en masse. The journey of one thousand words is a path to be traveled many times in an effort to gain acceptance and understanding that often doesn’t come. Still the words are uttered in hope and, indeed, in longing.
Many of those from closets revel against the longing and delight in being different. Yet many, many more simply want to be treated like humans. Things often escalate into an involuntary war. One that so many don’t want to fight but end up as victims of anyway.
The journey of one thousand words is not one person’s journey. For every speaker there needs to be a listener. Unfortunately, those who have valuable words are often surrounded by deaf ears and muted by labels. They are forced back into their closets and expected to keep what makes them different carefully tucked away until someone else comes along to poke and prod it. They are abnormalities of human nature to be feared and/or looked at with disgust. They are not to be understood but merely observed to better be able others who are “their” kind faster.
No one should be condemned to silence, solitude, or any sort of harm because they are willing to embrace who they truly are and are labeled because of it. A label that often isn’t true. Everyone is a part of an “us” and thus must suffer through the trials as being part of a “them”. Everyone is also on their journey, as both a speaker or a listener. The key is to speak wisely when others are listening and to listen more than you speak.