Before you ask, I’m not anything.
I used to think I was a thing. I fit the dictionary definition of it, even. I thought I belonged. Then some people showed me that “belonging” is the warm fuzzy blanket lining the bottom of your cage. Who do you belong to? Who owns you?
In the world today, as ever, the person with power arrogates to himself the privilege to name, and thereby create, reality. A fawning populace contorts itself to kiss his hairy naked ass as he parades it in the virtual town square.
Still — still — no one hears what those without power have to say.
When belonging becomes rolling around on the floor in rags, clawing at the eyes of others who have nothing, grabbing at scraps, while The Man at the table stuffs his face with pork roast (or Big Macs, or kale-quinoa salad), pointing and laughing — being cast out becomes one way of being free.
Free to see that all the ways of being something were invented by The Man himself to keep us at each others’ throats. The things to be were never about us, at all, regardless of the wish — sometimes a desperate need — to beat his swords into magic wands that might bestow the belonging that some ancient wiring tells us represents survival.
It is a mistake to underestimate the petty viciousness of people who think they have the right to define you. If they could get their hands around the master’s sword they would use it the same way he does.
In Ursula Le Guin’s story Solitude, the protagonist, Serenity, resists her mother’s efforts to separate her from the culture in which she has been raised. “It’s time, past time, that we all got back to our own people,” Serenity’s mother says. “All of us.”
“I have no people,” Serenity replies. “I don’t belong to people. I am trying to be a person.”
I, too, am without people. This is me, here, trying to be a person.