In yesterday’s edition of the Scranton Sunday Times, our engagement announcement was published. Although we knew that it would be in, it still felt exciting to see it in print. To know that friends and family would see it and that we would be declaring our love to the world. We also knew that it would be a vehicle for social change, to show others that it is possible to find and keep love, no matter who it is we are compelled to love.
One friend of mine commented on how I have always been at the forefront of social change. I thought about that statement, and realized that to a certain extent, that is true. I have always wanted to fight the good fight, to be standing up for others, and for myself, for the right to just be. And, there have been times in my life when I thought that what brought about social change, was the movement of a group of people, the larger the better, and the changing of laws and policies.
I don’t believe that anymore. Not fully anyway. What I believe more deeply than that, is that in order for society to change, I have to change. I have to remember my innocence, my original state of being as a child, and to return to that.
When we are children, we are innocent. We run, we play, we demand what we want. We work really hard at influencing our world. We are really good at being who it is we are. It is only as we begin to grow up that we put all of these rules and responsibilities in place, that we then believe dictate not only what we do, but who we ARE. We stop having fun, stop being ourselves.
We stop being free.
When we stop being free, we allow what Miguel Ruiz calls in the Four Agreements, the Judge and the Victim, to be in charge. The Victim portrays us as being helpless to change, and the Judge finds something flawed in everything that we do. However, we get to change it all, at anytime. We don’t have to be passive about what we want for ourselves.
In order to become free, free to be ourselves, we have to wake up and acknowledge that we are not free. That we are bound by those teachings that we have received as an entry into adulthood. We have to declare our own innocence, for no one else will do that. I could wait for someone else to do it for me, or for the world to change, but I will be waiting longer than is necessary. Because it is always up to me.
It didn’t take the overturning of DOMA, or 14 states allowing equal marriage, or the end of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell, for me to want to be myself. It doesn’t matter if we are ever legally allowed to marry in our state of residence. None of that matters. What matters is that in the here and now, I am being me. I am declaring who I am, with love, intention and passion.
And, that is my innocence. To simply be me.