The quote pictured above is actually supposed to say “Speak the truth even if your voice shakes,” but I’m only interested in speaking my truth. That’s why I changed it to read, “Speak your truth even if your voice shakes.”
There was a time in my life, early 20’s, that I felt like I had to shout my beliefs to the world. I felt that I had something to prove. I thought I knew it all… I look back at myself and shake my head. I was a total idiot who knew nothing. And no one gave a crap about what I had to say. The more I tried to assert myself, the worse I felt, the more people I alienated. And the more I experienced, the less I felt like I understood the world… The less I understood about myself.
The past 5 years of my life have humbled me. I found myself in a place where I had to admit that I didn’t know much of anything. So I kept my mouth shut and I observed. I listened. I started from the most basic questions in life and pondered, prayed, and studied until I felt sure. Some things I still don’t feel sure about and that’s okay. I don’t have to know exactly what I believe about everything.
I’m grateful for my education and my life experiences. I’m grateful for my faith and spirituality. These things have brought me to a point in my life where I feel like I know mostly what I believe about the world. They’ve also taught me to be open to learning and changing. But I have been afraid to share. Afraid to alienate people, afraid to offend people, afraid to be wrong, and afraid that I would be alone. But I’m not alone. And that’s exactly why I’m taking a brave step today. I want others to know they aren’t the only ones who feel this way.
This isn’t an exhaustive list of my personal beliefs, just the ones that I think I need to share at this time-
- I believe I should live and let live. Of course, I don’t want anyone to tell me what I can and cannot believe. I don’t want anyone to interfere with the way I live my life. I don’t want to be judged for my beliefs. And thus, I can’t rightfully want to do the same to anyone else. You and I don’t have to agree. I’m going to respect you anyway.
- I believe in the Constitution of the United States. I remember my US History teacher in high school. I remember learning about the Constitution and realizing just how amazing the document was. I believe in the rights it protects and I believe that all men are created equal. I believe that the Constitution supports civil rights movements. I believe it supports equal freedoms for us all regardless of race, sex, ability, sexual-orientation, age, class, etc. I also believe that our Constitution protects freedom of religion and I think that allows churches to decide what they will or won’t do in certain circumstances. I also believe in freedom of speech.
- I believe in love. I don’t know how else to put it. In every lens that I look at this life with, I see that love is critical to our survival.
- I believe in the value of human life. I believe that we are all brothers and sisters. Every single one of us has value. We are all flawed. Every last one of us. Some of our brothers and sisters can’t or don’t see the value of human life and they make self-centered decisions to hate/harm/kill others. But if we turn around and perpetuate their hate, we are only moving their cause forward. The only way to combat hate is with love.
You might call me an idealist. You might call me naive. You might call me liberal. You might call me stupid. I might agree with you. I might disagree with you. I will definitely respect your right to your own opinion. You might say that I’m not really saying anything at all, so let me be clear:
Racism is still a problem. I’m glad that same-sex marriage is now legal, but I’m also glad that as of now churches have the right to decide whether or not they will perform those marriages. I will fight for it to stay that way. I personally would not seek an abortion, but I’m not about to tell someone else what they can or cannot do with their body. I believe that we will be judged for our actions and that it is not our responsibility to decide what each other is doing is right/wrong. I believe that we are responsible for ourselves. I think we can and should focus on our communities and be of service to those around us. I choose to use my example as an influence. I choose love over hate.
If you disagree, I’m cool with that. I might unfollow your posts on Facebook, but I’ll love you just the same.