I aim for tolerance and love. Yet I understand the lack of. I understand when some people fight for their beliefs even if their beliefs are not my own. Even if they're fighting to keep minorities from getting the same benefits (rights) as others. I understand them because being on the other side of the proverbial fence, I am struggling just as they are. I am struggling to make peace, and to understand. We are all the same. I sometimes think less of them and see the parallel. It bugs me.
We are all the same.
In 7th grade, we were asked to choose a controversial topic and pick a side we were passionate about. I chose illegal immigration. I suppose I was drawn to the topic because I felt like a French kid on American soil, even though I was legal. My stance was yes.
I belong here. They belong here. No one is illegal. It is not something a human being can be.
I'll never forget this moment. Our teacher came around to each of us to get our topic and our position on it. When I told him I thought illegal immigrants should be given a chance, the girl next to me said something to the effect of "Why? They're not allowed to be here?"
It seemed obvious to me that I was right. I felt it as a truth. The teacher said, sharply, "Let her talk". I was, at that tender moment, given the right to speak what I believed was true, in my own words, from my own mind. I was certain of it in my heart. And from the understanding in my teacher's eyes, my certainly was validated, solidified.
This shaped me. Mainly, because it was important and I had verbalized it, despite what I believed was the societal consensus. It was mine and it was innate. I didn't run it by my parents. I was sure of it all on my own. And it was true. Proven, in part, by the "A" I received. But, mainly, from the extra something I didn't quite understand. Yet.