Once upon a time, there was a place. A world, perhaps we should say, that was both remarkable and unremarkable, depending on how it was viewed, but a place nonetheless.
This place was… magical. Not for the shamans who practiced, or the leaders who prophesied, or even the folk who shaped and moulded that place in the name of making profits. No, this place was magical, for one simple, certain word.
People, who happened to be of different colour, had different abilities, had genders they were born with, or were not, but still were. Those who loved those who looked like them, those who loved those that didn’t. Those that didn’t feel the need to express that love in any physical way at all. Those who believed, those who were sceptical. Those who spent their entire lives changing their minds through re-education. Those that were of different shape, born into different families in different places, all over that world.
Equal. Because no matter those differences, no matter the way that some were better at things than others, or had stronger opinions than their peers, or even just felt different; everyone, no matter those differences, were treated equally.
A couple could walk down a street hand in hand no matter the gender they identified with. A religious person could pray, and practice, to gods that no one but them believed in, and when groups of those people sharing similar beliefs practiced those faiths together, other people did not fear them, point the finger at blame at them for those who had wronged in the false name of that religion.
A colour wasn’t a death sentence.
A love wasn’t illicit.
A belief not grounds for persecution.
And a gender, not an expression of being weak, dictating where a person could or couldn’t go.
In this place, another important word helped keep things magical, and that word was, acceptance. Acceptance that no person is ever completely bad or good, completely right or wrong, completely weak or strong. Acceptance that differences are good, things that strengthen us by making us want to reach out into the world and understand, learn more, do better.
Naïve, you might be thinking. Impossible; because how can a person of that gender ever hope to achieved what that other gender does? How can a person from that country ever be welcomed anywhere else given the behaviour of some of those who happen to come from their same home town? How, can anyone be trusted, believed, left alone with our chocolate, when there is so much in this world that is greedy, self-centred, and hurtful?
By every day, finding your place in that world. Without belittling or prejudicing the place of any other just because they are different, because they look, feel, think, love different. By extending a hand instead of a fist, by giving a smile instead of a scowl. By stopping; every time you catch yourself thinking that you are more entitled to something because of what you are, or what you have, or where you came from.
Tell me, in this place that we have made so very hateful, can we claw it all back; can we get our happily ever after?