“Anything that’s human is mentionable, and anything that is mentionable can be more manageable. When we can talk about our feelings, they become less overwhelming, less upsetting, and less scary. The people we trust with that important talk can help us know that we are not alone.”Fred Rogers

You know who is awe-inspiringly human ... kids. Children are the most remarkable embodiment of what humanity can be. What would our world look like if we sought to emulate the humanity of children? We have our humanity tamed as we grow older. Children are carefree, fearless, and zany. They show affectionate readily, communicate candidly, and ask questions. Their curiosity for the world around them is their greatest asset. Kids are weird. They do things without reason but also have this profound worldview that is less clouded by socialization. They don't hold back for better or worse. They cry, express joy, laugh a whole lot, and feel their feelings. They can be so human it hurts. 

We used to be able make connections, claim friends, and show love easily. All it took was one compliment, liking the same color, and geeking about the same passion, and we were attached. We aged and the space between us grew. We started hesitating in reaching out to others; we started being more secretive; and we spent more time apart from one another. Don't we remember being able to talk about anything, everything, and nothing at all? Those long conversations where when we were at our most human. We laughed, cried, shouted to the wind, and ranted about it all. Now we're distanced from one another more than ever. Vulnerability terrifies us, and yet its what we need most of all. Candor, and conversation that is when our humanity is most satisfied. 

We need people to be human with. We need people who remind us that we are human. We need our humanity to make appearances more often than not. We learn to comport ourselves. Our behavior has been so radically altered by all the agents of socialization we've encountered - family, friends, education systems, religion/belief, media, etc. We are quieter. We stay silent more often. We are more selective in when we choose to communicate. The fight, fire, and flight has been taken out of us. It's not second nature to defy. We're afraid. We're holding back. We're trying to not stand out. Who were we before we were told to not be us? Are we happy with who we are now? What could we be if we fused our humanity with our present self? We can be more. We can be more us. We can be more human. We are at our best, our brightest, and our boldest when our humanity is at the forefront of our minds in guiding our words and actions. We get to be remarkable - are we taking that in? Are we recognizing how much our humanity has been stiffed, turned off, and chilled? We have to take our humanity back. 

There are so many ways to be human. Someone quite special to me said that once, and coming from him it meant a great deal. I didn't know how right he was in that moment but reflecting on that sentiment since has been transformative since. There's a multitude of ways to be human. There's not one perfect guide to living life. Each of us does it differently. At least for us, our way of navigating this lifelong adventure in humanity is right for us. What kind of life do we want to live? What does a life well-lived mean to us? How do we want others to experience us? There's power in intentionality. Sometimes things happen because we make them happen. We choose to communicate and to act when it matters. If we want others to know us as generous, noble, kind, supportive, reliable, empowering, courageous, uplifting, loving, and so on, then we can be those things. It's about being human with others in both the ways that come natural to us, and the ways that we aspire. Are we honest, thoughtful, and timely in what we say, and how we say it to others? Are we letting who we are when we're not pretending shine through or are we hiding behind who we were told we were supposed to be. We have to find our ways to be human, and then be them. 

Thinking through the last few weeks I am struck by the moments where I've been able to a person. Spending time at dinner with friends meant conversation that was in the moment. So much of my days is spent given prefabricated answers to mundane questions. Any dialogue where I am challenged to think through my answers, contemplate how I share my responses, and what doing so means for me. Any dialogue that brings me back to my body, makes me feel, and asks me to be fully present is a moment of humanity. I am finding that doing things that prioritizes my humanity has become increasingly necessary. Whether it be exploring a MetroPark where I am lost in wonderment out in the wilderness, volunteering at the public library getting to hear what kiddos spend their days thinking about, and getting lost in the crowd of a concert both part of a temporary community and still my own person, I am fully there. It's refreshing to get out of my own head and into the rest of me. I am just there living, breathing, and experiencing. The chill of a sharp blowing through a jacket out in the woods, the kid accent in trying to share multiplication tips & tricks, and swaying to the beat in a transcendent neon lit cramped basement. That's when I'm human. That's when I'm me - with spontaneity, with purpose, and with vigor. X


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