When you do try, when you do make the attempt at "better", you glimpse something more. It is a natural occurence. The more chances you take, the more you see the possibilities of what could be. The more you risk, the more you see that what you thought was possible is in fact only a fraction of what might be.
But this is only with effort at and in the unknown, and this is not encouraged. We are encouraged to be defined, boxed in, and easily categorized. We are encouraged to be like everyone else. We are encouraged to be afraid.
What does it mean to be human? It is ironic to sit in a theater watching replicants fight for their lives when so many of us humans give ours up little by little with each passing year. We communicate through social media more and more, act through social media more and more, go out less, and fear each other more. We put our faith in the lie of pretending we are not human.
All around us are people who are not allowed to "be", either because of their skin color, their ethnicity, their religion, or who they love, there are many who are in danger because they want to be more of who they are, but our society does not allow it. We are taught to judge what we don't understand, to fear those who are not like "us."
So what does it mean to be human? I look around and I see the denial of humanity, the denial of aging, the denial of frailty, the denial of the pleasures of the flesh. People beating themselves to death for a little more money, a few more things. Judgment, fear and control seem to be hallmarks of the human race. We are convinced that we are not capable of great things, that survival is the goal of humanity. We have been put in a place where it has gotten harder and harder to just get by, let alone find meaning.
But I have been searching. Unfortunately a lot of that has come after I decided not to care what other people think. It has come after rejecting most of what society would have me do and be. I have never felt more human than when I am helping someone. I have never seen more of my potential than when I am truly engaged with another person. No amount of money or things compares to when I am cheering someone on, telling them they are amazing, or giving them a sticker.
I have lived in fear and judgment. Sometimes I even slip back into it. Sometimes I am so afraid, I am paralyzed. I curl up in a ball of self-pity and I lick my imaginary wounds. I rage at the world for putting me in such a fearful position, for making me doubt myself. But that passes. It always passes.
I realized at the end of A Love Rebellion that the camera was intrusive, that the power was in the meaningful engagement between myself and a stranger. I decided that I would keep doing this project wherever I went, with whomever I felt drawn to. Maybe on occasion I would do an interview. Maybe on occasion I would find magic.
I know I won't find magic in my emails or in my Instgram account. I know I won't find magic on Facebook. But I am going to keep questioning. I have felt magic. I have seen what humans are capable of and how afraid most of us are of that power.
We have the power to overcome this doubt we have been taught to hold. We have the ability to help each other out of this mess, to see beyond the differences we think matter, and into the heart of what it means to be human.
What we have created this human experience, limits us all. It is time to expand the definition and admit that being human means more than any of us really know. It is time to allow ourselves and each other to just be. It is time to stop punishing the human in all of us.
It is time to start exploring what being human can actually mean.