Dear family, friends, and co-workers,
I haven’t changed.
I am the same person you liked. The same person you enjoyed hanging out with. Dare I say that you may have even “loved” me?
I still strive to do my very best every day. I still make the same lame jokes you’ve laughed at in the past. I still have hopes, dreams, fears, and challenges, just like I did when we last talked or saw each other. I still make mistakes. I still have successes. I am the same today, as I was yesterday, and will be tomorrow.
I haven’t become the evil you seem to think I have, or that the world is telling you that I am.
So what has changed for you?
I feel your stare when I walk into the room. I hear your whispered conversations when you think I can’t hear you. I feel you treating me, seeing me, thinking of me differently than before. I feel the weight of your opinion about me.
You’ve always told me not to discriminate, to not treat people differently, to “walk in their shoes” for a while. You’ve always told me not to judge people based on their skin color, their economic status, whether they had a home or not, their sexual preference, their religion, their sex, their national origin, their political party, their language, or any number of other things.
Why has that changed for you now? Is it ok to discriminate against me because my choices are different than yours?
Whether I am not vaccinated or I am, does that make me a different person than I was the last time we interacted?
Why is it now necessary for me to feel the need to announce my status when I walk into a building? Attend a function? Arrive at work? Go out to eat? Receive medical treatment? Hang out with you?
Why is it ok for some to give me unlimited access and for others to deny me access completely? Why do some get special treatment and others no treatment at all? Why is this type of discrimination acceptable but others aren’t?
I haven’t changed.
But, for whatever reason, your fear seems to have changed you.
I am the same as I was before. You are not.
I still want the same things you want. That hasn’t changed.
So why are you letting something so little stand in the way of how it used to be?
I am not vaccinated.
I am vaccinated.
Does it really matter in the end?
I am human. You are human. Let’s treat each other like it.
That is all that really matters.