embracing radical acceptance



I have a friend who gave me a name for what I do in this world: radical (self) acceptance.

Ironically, it was hard to accept that name for it. I wanted to spread love. I wanted to spread kindness. Acceptance doesn't seem strong, or encompassing enough. But maybe it is. Maybe I need to lean into it and see what it feels like to focus on it, right now. So I am going to practice it, here, in my writing today.

Last year, I focused on expanding. (Words of the year have power.) Rooted in the belief that had spread through me, like wildfire, after a year of practicing believing. I expanded my sense of self, my sense of community, I expanded to be that which needed no expansion.

And this year I am focusing on embracing. Embracing the expansion, the contraction, the ebb and the flow, the belief and the disbelief.

Acceptance and rejection.

What do I reject? I don't know that I can practice radical acceptance without rejecting something. Acceptance is, after all, just like every other word in our lexicon: a dichotomy. English doesn't have much in it that isn't polarized - on purpose - into opposites.

(This is a serious limitation which annoys me a lot, linguistically and personally.)

These past few days, I am having a lot of trouble with the gendered conversation going on everywhere around me. So many people buy into (and perpetuate and dig in further) the gender segregation that western culture implants in our psyches.

There's a difference between embracing who you are (which of course includes your gender presentation sexual identity and sexual orientation, amongst other things) and celebrating it and the perpetuation and furtherization of gender dichotomies that keep us all separate.

Can I accept it, radically? That people feel the need to divide themselves into boxes?

(That's something I prefer to reject, for sure. As a gender fluid, sexually fluid person, I dislike duality immensely.)

I don't know. I'm always practicing.

It fucking sucks that people get targeted and killed for being themselves. Any time that happens, it sucks. I am not denying that.

But how are we fixing the problem when we target and lash out at a group of people in retaliation out of fear? When we entrench ourselves in victimization? When we try to affirm that every single member of our group is a victim? Fear only serves to entrench us deeper. Fear only manages to feed fear.

I don't have an answer. I'm still searching.

Still trying to expand my radical acceptance. Still trying to find a way to combine instead of exclude.