I Am

I AM.

Such simple and stark words, I AM. So often we are cautioned to remove ‘I’ from our thinking, from our language, from our definitions of self even. Yet how do we speak to who we are what we are without ‘I AM’. The truth is, until we define who we are as individuals, what we stand for, what we believe it is difficult to move through the world in a meaningful way. We can move like zombies, brainless, dumb to the world around us; but to what purpose? How do we serve even ourselves if we have no ‘self’, no ‘I AM’.

I AM.

Through life’s tumbles and stumbles I believe there is a distinct possibility I know 85% of the conundrum of ‘I AM’. We all ask this question, of who we are and what we are. It is a question we start asking at an early age and continue to ask throughout most of our life. Many of us change our ‘I AM’, sometimes through our life experience and sometimes simply as we search for what fits us best. My ‘I AM’ is a combination of everything, how I was born, what was done to me, what I have done and the choices I have made along the way.

This is my ‘I AM’.

I am human, first and maybe most importantly. No better, no different from any other human I run across in my daily life. What separates me from other humans is nothing but the surface stuff but certainly not our shared humanity.

I am a woman, always. This more than many other things defines me, defines my thinking and how I move through the world.  Vintage_photo_nude_woman_1

I am White of mostly Southern European extraction, though according to the DNA testing we had done some time ago there is a bit of other things thrown in there. It is my understanding some of my heritage is rooted in the Southern European Romany, however this is family lore only.

I am a feminist, not a man-hater but instead a believer in women and their innate power, strength, ability and capability.

I am a political progressive. Not a Democrat, not a Liberal but instead an Independent Progressive. I make no bones or apologies about my leanings; there are certainly some Socialist elements to my political stances. There are components in my thinking that lean outward, toward social good rather than inward toward personal enrichment (Capitalism). My tendency toward compassion, toward helping those of less fortune than I is ingrained a part of my core being, not learned but rather a ‘born this way’ feature of my personality.

I am a person of great spiritual faith and depth. I believe there is something greater than me; I simply do not believe that thing is an Old White Man on a Cloud in the Sky. I am not Christian; I am angry-godwithout a religious affiliation. I was raised in a mixed Christian household, depending on whom you asked, we were Catholic, Baptist, Methodist, Presbyterian or other. I have read the Bible, cover to cover more than once. I have read other holy books, thinking there must be a reason people are willing to kill and die for their ‘God’, their faith or their religion. The one thing I have come away with, there is nothing religion can offer me, not one damned thing man can offer me through religion.

I am pro-life. Yes, this is a true statement but it might confuse you. I am a staunch supporter of women’s absolute right to decide whether to end a pregnancy. This is true whether it is the morning after, early in the pregnancy or late in the pregnancy due to unforeseen and tragic circumstances. My stance goes much deeper. I am pro-life, I support any program that enriches, encourages and enables the lives of human beings already born, already living on this earth, we share. I believe strongly we should work to reduce abortion through making contraception readily accessible to all women, make childcare programs available, make sex education appropriate, factual and early enough to count. I believe we value life by ensuring healthcare for all, encouraging education and providing it to all members of society equally. We value life by removing weapons from our streets, making it more difficult to purchase and maintain arsenals, dismantling Stand Your Ground Laws and the Castle Doctrine in our states and shutting down the internet sellers of bullets by the thousands. I believe we value life by raising the minimum wage thus providing at least a ‘living wage’ for families with born children. We value life by insuring our elderly are cared for and their retirement funds are paid through Social Security. We value life by ending the Death Penalty. This is the short list, this is what makes me Pro-Life, anything less is anti-life.

I am a humanist. Yes, I think this is the best description of me. I believe in Human Rights first. I believe it is impossible for us to achieve a civil society without Human Rights taking a step forward. For far too long we have allowed a small cadre of selfish men to march this nation slowly into perdition. We have allowed the Human Rights of many of our citizens be trampled under the heels of kochbrotherthose who simply wished power and riches at the expense of all of us. We were comfortable with the social hierarchy as long as we weren’t on the bottom, so long as we could stand on the shoulder of someone else and point to their disadvantage we were fine thinking maybe we weren’t so bad off. The truth is, we are all the same, the only thing that separates us is the color of our American Express, the size of our bank accounts.

I am a person with a vast capacity too love and a desire to love and be loved. This is perhaps one of my greatest strengths and greatest weakness’. This desire to see the best in people, to believe others want what is best for me allows me to see the world through rose-colored glasses and never question motives, to retain a level of naivety despite my experiences and history; this desire and capacity to love allows me to retain an innocence, but it also breaks my heart.

For all my faults, for all my failures, for all that I am still seeking about myself there are some things I am certain of, these are some of them and oddly they haven’t changed in forty years. I have grown in my understanding, but my core values haven’t changed since I was seventeen years old.

Combinination

Comments

  1. I AM proud to have read your post today.

  2. “I took a deep breath
    and listened to the old
    brag of my heart”: I am. I am. I am. —Sylvia Plath

    {{Beautiful piece, Darling Val. xxxxx

  3. I love this piece – so few of us have the courage to define ourselves with candor. I am surprised to find that I’d only need to add a few edits to make this my I AM. I’d expand “I am a feminist, not a man-hater but instead a believer in women and their innate power, strength, ability and capability” to say that I am a believer in all people’s innate power etc. regardless of sex or economic status or ethnicity etc. I’d have to add that I believe in open borders; sounds like heresy but I am naïve enough to believe that such a policy throughout the world would end up benefitting all. I thank you again for this brave, and thought-provoking blog.

    • Oh, I could have gone on and on. I could have written more and more about all of these. I had to stop myself. I may expand upon them, each in their own time eventually.

  4. I like this. I think one of the toughest questions ever is filling in the blanks following the I AM statement, and you did so admirably and unapologetically. You strike me as the type of person who does not shy away from the mirror’s reflection.

  5. “I am pro-life, I support any program that enriches, encourages and enables the lives of human beings already born, already living on this earth, we share. ”

    Ironically many pro life anti abortionists do not have the same empathy to feel as you do as to the full span of what pro life means.

    • No, Carl they do not. I am not anti-abortion. I believe women must have access to safe abortion and must have full agency over their decision. I am anti-abortion in that I believe we must ever seek to reduce the number of abortions performed, the only way to do this though is through education and access to contraception for all women.

  6. I love that you know and accept yourself so completely – it’s a gift in this confusing life.

  7. And I AM so pleased to know the I Am of who you are Val.. And love you to your core of your BEing… for being who you are.. ❤ Hugs to you .. Love Sue x

  8. Val, This is a wonderful exercise, to ponder and write down what we are. Love what you selected to describe who you are. Favorite line: “…a believer in women and their innate power, strength, ability and capability.” I am a believer, too.

    • There was more I could have said, more that makes up the total. Some of course is far more intimate, I chose for obvious reasons to leave that out. I think it is a good exercise.

      I couldn’t imagine you wouldn’t be a believer Monica with some of the wonderful stories you have told.

  9. We are thinking alike again. I am working on just such a post for after my campaign in late August.

    You do indeed know all these things about yourself and admit them freely. The admission is what makes you stand out. Lots of ppl think but never bother to share, yet they have the propensity to cry foul when someone steps on their sensibilities.
    xxx

  10. Such an inspiring understanding of who you are – wise and loving and all the best and beautiful things that humanity has evolved into over aeons…

    PS I have the Romany thing in my distant ancestry too !!! Just how lucky can you get !!!!

    • According to the family mine is not so distant, two generations. But, my biological family are sometimes a bit insane. I would love to actually have the full DNA tree done one of these days.

  11. I think your definition of “pro-life” is more appropriate than the commonly accepted one, and those normally called “pro-life” should really be called “pro-fetus”.

  12. Val, I think you just got it right before the rest of us did! Love the pro-life paragraph. Perfect.

  13. An honest writing from your core about your core .. thus a powerful reflection.

  14. Reblogged this on The Militant Negro™.

  15. Beautiful, honest, inspiring post.

  16. You are.

  17. Honest and heartfelt as always, Valentine. I like that you’ve stayed true to yourself.

  18. Oh, what a powerful post, Val! There is nothing I can add. There should be more Humanists like you! Thank you for sharing your I Am!

  19. I am going to be thinking about this post all day now

  20. Reblogged this on It Is What It Is and commented:
    I am …. endless possibilities, “ad infinitum”. I’m still searching ….

  21. Awesome, sweet friend! Great post …. Hugs!

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