By Elizabeth Hudson:
I don’t use labels like “slut,” “faggot,” or “retard.”
In the words of Tom Petty, I grew up much like Mary Jane, tall and right. I worked hard in school and even harder during my summers off, introducing myself and smiling and apologizing for ingredients out of place just to put myself through four years of college. I studied and kept the scholarships, I lived at home and commuted through pink dawns and starry nights, and often drove straight from campus to work, changing my shirt in the car with knees guiding the wheel.
So no, I’ve never used labels like “slut,” “faggot,” or “retard.”
But daily, hourly, with the same amount of disgust in my voice, I have used these:
“Snobbish.” “Filthy rich." “Shallow.”
Along the way I’ve deluded myself into thinking I’m a Robin Hood of sorts, stealing dignity from the rich to feed the poor. But I’m the undignified one in this story.
I stuck the labels onto the glittering left hand rings and swanky right hand wristwatches, assured that they’d never peel. But it didn’t work like that. Instead, the labels stuck to me, fastened to the same dirty fingers that tried to stick them on those with six figure incomes. They took on the shape of simmering anger, bitterness, and snide remarks.
And I’m sorry. Because those labels lie. And because we're all in this saga of humanity together. And we all feel the same burden of the human condition strapped across our shoulders. And we surely all feel the sting of brokenness and loneliness and worthlessness.
I know this because I have those scars too. And that makes us human together.
That makes us partners in this story of redemption and grace.
And that makes us all brothers and sisters.