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Learning to live with ‘different’

Too many thoughts are swirling and bouncing around,
vying for my attention,
pronouns and identities, and orientations seem natural to me,
call someone what they ask to be called. 
I was always 'different', had people in positions of authority over me
who told me my name should be Natalie not Natalia, 
and punished me for questioning. 
Folks who thought it was okay to call me Nat, when I was already exhausted from 
the arguments about an "e" or an "a"; and all
the jokes about Gnats - and of course, where are your people from?
Yet here I am, still going, still questioning - why is it so hard to 
respect someone's wishes, 
to accept someone's own vision of who they are, and/or who they love?
I only experienced a small percentage of what some human beings experience
in the quest for acceptance, the quest to be seen,
though I have been mistaken for other genders and other orientations, 
because humans project what they want to see, and what they want to be true
about others, instead of enjoying the discovery of 
who someone actually is - which is often far more spectacular and interesting 
and joyful, than shoving someone into a little box with a little label.
My little box is now my stage, and I am happy to stand upon it and say 
I enjoy learning to live with different, far more than I ever enjoyed trying to fit in.
Photo by Anna Shvets on

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