We are all unique individual people who neither existed before we entered this world, nor will be repeated once we leave this world. Everything about ourselves is different and unique, from our heights, to our skin, to what we love and to what color we see the dress (it’s gold and white y’all).
Some of us believe we were formed from a creator, others from millions of years of evolution and natural selection. Whatever framework of life you accept, there is one thing: you are not an accident. I’ve dabbled into the study of evolution during my time in college and it would be surprising to note that every aspect of you, aside from that which is socialized, was selected through a complicated series in genetics. I won’t get into it, but I learned through these courses that biology itself is an art form.
And yet, with all of this beauty and perfection, comes the sting of socialization. Though many societies in the past have been more or less egalitarian, our current society likes to pick on the “less worthy” minority groups. Many of us live within these minority groups. People who are not white, people who are not straight, people who identify with the gender assigned to them at birth, people who identify as women. These are all groups marginalized by a society that values one idea of a person over another.
But I believe that in every generation there are groups of people who reject these elements of oppression. I have faith that there are those of us who will see injustice and act on everyday occurrences to make the world a better place, one action at a time.
One of my favorite characters from Tolkien’s The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit, came from Gandalf the Grey. Gandalf was commenting on the state of the world. Gandalf wisely states, “Saruman believes it is only great power that can hold evil in check, but that is not what I have found. I found it is the small everyday deeds of the ordinary folk that keep the darkness at bay. Small acts of kindness and love.”
The world may seem scary. It is. The world may seem big. This is true. The task for social justice and peace might seem too arduous. Exactly. But we must work towards justice, peace and truth.
Aside from physiological components to mental illness, I think it is safe to say that much of the hurt and pain we feel comes from injustices in society. Whether it’s sexism, racism, homophobia, these large systemic issues affect our innermost sense of selves. But we can fight this.
We don’t need to hire six figure lobbyists to persuade senators and congresspeople in Washington to hear us. We can simply listen to each other. We must help each other.
In a society where political figures dedicate their lives to defend hate-filled policies, the status may seem grim. But there is always a dedicated team of people who is willing to shine light and justice back into the world. Whether it’s through voting, activism, running a student group or becoming a volunteer for the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline, everyone has a voice.
It is overwhelming, I know. There is so much injustice and hate in this world, but I truly believe that one person can make a difference in anyway they can. That one person is you. Let’s get our hands dirty together and make this world a better one.