To those who would call me strange, I say that I would rather be your kind of strange than mine because, to me, strange is denying the truth of our nature.
To me, strange is ignoring the pull of the moon’s tides in our veins simply because we can’t yet measure its influence.
Strange is pretending that our bones aren’t made of the same dust that’s beneath our feet, or that our bodies aren’t filled with the same water that crashes in waves on the shores.
To me, strange would be to deny kinship with the animals, even though we’re born of the same union between the earth and the sky.
What I consider strange is clinging to one identity, like a summer that refuses to concede to the coming autumn. And stranger still is to reject our responsibility to one another, like a maple tree denying the birds and squirrels a home in its branches.
To those who would call me improper, I say that I would rather be your kind of improper than mine because, to me, improper is the desecration of our mother earth.
To me, improper is interrupting the natural flow of water through her veins.
Improper is poisoning her breath with pesticides while tearing down her lungs with tractors.
To me, improper is raping the land and forcing her to give birth out of season, while wondering why she seems to fight us every step of the way.
What I consider improper is the way we’ve drawn imaginary lines across her body for so long that we think they’re real and, even worse, that they will somehow prevent the cancer from spreading.
Improper is that no one seems to mourn a freshly stripped forest, as if its roots weren’t also our own; and pretending that what’s done to it isn’t also done to us all.
To those who would call me weird, I say that I would rather be your kind of weird than mine because, to me, weird is choosing an imitation over the real thing.
To me, weird is covering my feet with dead leather instead of walking barefoot on the living earth and feeling her heart beating beneath me.
Weird is covering ourselves with chemicals to protect our bare skin from the same sun that helped to create it.
To me, weird is needing entertainment when every evening a great invisible artist comes out to paint one stroke of color at a time across the entire sky until the day’s blue transitions into midnight’s black.
What I find weird is the way that we’re taught to fear the wild, as if we are not wild ourselves.
Weird is how we’re supposed to trust what comes from a factory but not what came before that factory existed. Even weirder is the way that we eat food from a bag while we bulldoze the forest, or we hide from the rain and then go home to take a shower.
To those who would call me naive, I say I would rather be your kind of naive than mine because, to me, naive is believing that the creator is separate from her creation.
Naïve is believing that the Painter feels no pain when you spoil her canvas. It’s pretending that the Great Writer’s soul doesn’t live in the poems she carves out in the rivers and the songs that she sings on the wind.
To me, naïve is calling for God’s help as we slay sparks of her soul that live in the fields and the forests, in the corals, the coasts and the clouds; and more naïve still is to convince ourselves that those sparks were never there.
What I consider naïve is the assumption that we can kill pieces of a body without its consciousness slowly dying.
Naïve is expecting that we can hollow out the ground beneath our feet and somehow remain standing.
To me, naive is incessantly talking to God rather than shutting up long enough to hear to what she’s been trying to tell us all along.
To those who would call me strange, I say that I would rather be your kind of strange than mine because, to me, strange is listening to the weather but not hearing the wind. It’s living under the sun but never seeing the light. Strange is drinking earth’s water but never swallowing the truth.
To those who would call me strange, I say let them call me strange; this is a title I will happily accept, because in a world that lives in denial, the truth will sound false. I accept it because in a society of conformists, authenticity will seem rebellious and because when it’s built on dualism, oneness will be frightening.
I say let them call me strange, because if it’s strange to live as my mother intends rather than according to what my brothers and sisters pretend, then I would rather be their kind of strange than mine.
©2016 Cristen Rodgers
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