Merriam-Webster.com defines understanding as: “the power of comprehending; especially: the capacity to apprehend general relations of the particulars”
Earlier this week I participated in a discussion around a Yahoo! Article about Maria Kang. For those that don’t know, Ms. Kang is a 32 year old mother of three in California who came under fire for a photo of herself in her work out gear with her three kids, all under the age of 3 and a six pack. Not a six pack of beer, six pack abs. In bold type over the photo was the phrase, “What’s Your Excuse?”
I watched as friends battled one another about thin shaming and fat shaming. I watched as reasons like, medical disorders and money were tossed out as to why Ms. Kang was able to have this fit of a body, while other mothers were still hanging on to the body fat.
With bullying, eating disorders and social media at an all-time high, I can completely understand why people are scared. As a fat kid who was teased, not only by strangers but by my own family. I understand why people are so divided on this topic. I say kid, but hell, I was standing at my grandmother’s hospital bed when one of my aunts completely bullied me about putting weight back on. Not years ago, months.
I watched the battle rage on and in my truly helpful nature thought, “What can I do?” How can I help these two sides understand?
What we as a society need to do is just learn one word. That word is understanding. We as pagans, we as women, we as fat kids, we as abuse survivors. WE ALL, need to learn understanding. Now, I’m not referring to understanding how or why someone else feels a certain way.
As pagans, we do not have to understand why a non-pagan believes what they believe. We as women, do not have to understand why men believe what they believe. We as fat people, do not need to understand why thin people believe what they believe. We just have to understand that they do.
To be clear, you don’t need to understand why I hate sweating. You don’t have to understand why I prefer to spend that extra hour a day in the craft room with hubby making a witch hat prototype instead of jogging, or going to gym. You do NOT need to understand why. You just have to understand that I do.
Just as I understand that Christians choose to follow Christ, I hope that they will understand that I choose to follow Hecate. I understand that Ms. Kang wants to be in shape, and she may even really want to help those that also want to get in shape do so. I also understand that there are people who physically cannot, or who choose not to spend their time in the gym. Just as I won’t judge the Christians, or Ms. Kang; I’m certainly not going to judge those who are not in that same body shape.
I believe we need to stop making assumptions about each other. Stop looking for a way to twist a sentence or turn a quote around to make it mean something more than what it really means. Learn to understand that we are all very very different people. We are all very important in what we offer to this world. We need to become more understanding.
When I look out my window I see my feral cat colony, I see my hens pecking the ground. I see my grape vines and my black walnut tree. I don’t need to understand how each individual one goes on its daily life. I don’t need to understand why the tree leans to the east and not to the west. I don’t need to understand the intricacies of botany or animal husbandry. I can gaze out my window and understand that each one of these things is precious. From the snake to the fly. From the weed to the fruit, each one of these things contributes to the ecosystem.
As a human being, I can look at others in the world and understand, that each one is special. Each life force is individual. I can understand, that in order for us to live up to what we see ourselves inside to be, comes from understanding that there is no one out there quite like us. If we want to be understood, we need understanding.
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