Years ago, I read an essay by science fiction author, Robert Heinlein, called This I Believe, and it was a piece about the ideas that gave his world shape, the things that he believed in. I wrote something similar in my cancer memoir and some of it has changed since then.
I wanted to revisit the idea and throw down the gauntlet to my friends here. I’m asking you to take a bit of time and write your own version in a note, then ask your own friends to follow suit. I want to know what shapes your world, what gets you up in the morning and through the day. Write as much or as little as you like. It can be religion or not. It can be values. Anything that you truly, deeply believe in, that you believe helps define who you are. Write as much or as little as you like. I really hope you’ll do it.
I believe that people are born complete, whole and in no need of saving. We don’t need any sort of God to save us from sin. We all have our challenges, but we are not, in any way, inherently bad or ugly or flawed. We do not need to be made more beautiful by fashion or cosmetics or any of the multiple industries designed to make us feel ugly. We are all beautiful and flawed and amazing and capable of changing the world, if only on a tiny basis with one other human being. We may need improving, but we don’t need fixing.
I believe in kindness. I believe that we all have to be good to each other and watch each other’s backs and be prepared to help each other up when we stumble. If we don’t, we are nothing better a disease and we don’t deserve to survive as a species. We also need to be kind to ourselves, not beating ourselves to death when we make a bad decision or falter. Just pick yourself up, dust yourself off and start all over again. We make mistakes to learn.
I believe in truth. But truth without kindness is nothing but a weapon. The truth shall set you free, but first it’s going to piss you off. We have to be ready to speak the truth, and also to listen to the truth when it is presented to us. But always, we need to speak that truth from a good, healthy place. Not a place of wanting to wound.
I believe in words, in their power. I believe in their ability to take us away, to sway our hearts and to ennoble us and make us better than we are. I believe language should be protected and nurtured and respected, so as not to descend into an pit of LOLs and Prollys. Say what you mean, and mean what you say.
I believe that trust is not something to be earned, but something to be given and then retracted should the situation arise. “The man who trusts, can never be betrated, only mistaken.”
I believe that my friendship is something I give, a choice I make. Whether you choose to take it, or enjoy it, or want it.
I believe in love. Not as a panacea. It definitely doesn’t conquer all, but it’s one of the most powerful weapons we have. Acting from it can rarely go wrong.
I believe in sex, in embracing that we are sexual beings, our bodies designed for it. I also believe that sex needs to come from a place of sharing and communication and desire to give pleasure as much as receive it. Even a one night stand needs to be positive for any and all parties involved.
I believe that there is a power that is in all of us, in the universe around us, far beyond our physical world and our physical bodies. I think it expresses in music, art, the written word. I believe I see it in acts of kindness to both those we love and to complete strangers.
But I also believe that the universe is indifferent to us. It can’t be swayed by prayers or supplications or lighted candles. The power to act is ours, and sometimes we get dealt a crap hand
I believe everyone deserves a second chance and no one deserves a third.
I believe we are all stronger, braver and more beautiful than we think we are. We just need to be put to the test to see it.
I believe in chocolate.
I believe in humour as a way to deal with all that is ugly and difficult to face.
And I believe in each and every one of you. You are amazing, wonderful, funny, beautiful people and I am ever glad that you share your thoughts with me.