The Armstrong Family Circus

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Maineville • Ohio • USA

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We are finding who we are

Thursday October 1st 2009

by Paul Armstrong

Little Feet


It amazes me how easily we all define another person by how they aren't like us — we identify people by their differences: they're not a woman, they're not a Christian, they're not gay, they're not from California, they're not like us. We all naturally seek those that support our belief system, our culture, our world view because its comfortable and predictable (even if we like to pretend that we don't). It's time we start seeing what makes us simliar.


Uniqueness is overrated. I know I like to believe that I'm unique, I'm an individual, I stand out from the crowd, that I do things my own way; but overall I still seek out the people, the things, that are most like me (and honestly, to do otherwise is unnatural; not in a prejuidiced or hateful way, but its only natural that we identify with things that we're familiar with). Guess what? I'm not that unique. I'm not that original. I'm not some island of super-awesome-inclusion-love-acceptance-tolerance-human-machine, none of us are.


I'm big into comfort — and I don't mean comfort in terms of clothing or bed linens or shoes — comfort in my routines, my beliefs, my actions, my daily life. I like to do things the same way. I like to know that when I put our key in the ignition the car will start. When I go to the grocery store to get bread, that bread will be there. When things change, I get angry and anxious. When things aren't what I'm used to, I stay away. Suddenly everything unlike me is defined in the contrary.


We're all more alike than we'd care to think. When you strip away the traditions, the routines, the walls and shields you find that we all go through patterns of alikeness. We all have doubts, we all have hurts, we all have secrets, we all have anger and sadness, and we're all going through life pretending we have the answers yet often feel lost, alone, confused and scared. The difference between our beliefs and our traditions is what creates factions, groups or organizations. Our "beliefs" about the world, about people, about what makes us ourselves, keep outsiders from wanting to come through the door, from connecting with anyone else.


It's time we stop being so frightened things that aren't like us — liberal, conservative, Christian, muslim, atheist, gay, straight, married, single, sinner, forgiven, happy, sad — and find who we are by what makes us all the same.




Comments for "We are finding who we are"

Wow, insightful and honest and I completely agree. Our outside desire for individualism has become our new idol while our inner routine casts us away from those "different". We say we're not like our parents gen but sometimes we're just kidding ourselves.

Good thoughts on this Monday morn.

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