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Our language is rapidly evolving into a series of abbreviations, which in a philosophical sense is quite appropriate since what are words anyway but an abbreviation of a concept or a thought.

In these heady times of texting and social networking, we have come to abbreviate the phrase “you are” with “UR.” This makes for a certain kind of sense, as it is the literal pronunciation of the phrase. But this isn’t about abbreviations and language, although I’ll be using both.

This is about UR. Or, rather, about who UR. That’s the question that most of us grapple with – who are we. It’s not always an easy answer – and it’s rarely a simple one. Who UR might be an athlete, a scholar, an artist or a professional; but those are labels and not the complete package. Who UR is not always who you appear to be; after all, we always want to present our best possible face to the world, so we tend to mask up our perceived flaws with make-up and masks.

Often we are ashamed of these flaws. They may be character defects; a tendency to curse inappropriately, or social awkwardness. Sometimes they are physical things – our weight most of the time, but also our physical appearance. We may think ourselves plain or even ugly; we deflect the pain of being thought of that way by going out of our way to make it happen – dressing in unflattering clothes, failing to take care of our appearance and so on. We’re strange little monkeys in that regard.

But who UR isn’t your body or your face – that’s just a component. Who UR is deep inside; the things that make you who UR; your personality, your dreams, your talents and so on. These things can’t always be summarized in a simple sentence, or even explained with the inadequate tools of human language.

Being ashamed of who UR is as damaging and soul-sucking a thing that can happen to a human. Yes, we all make mistakes. We do things that are hurtful and hateful and just plain stupid. We say things we wish we hadn’t, do things we wish we didn’t. If we were perfect, the world would be a pretty amazing place and we would have certainly figured out how to change water into wine a long time ago. Which would suck if you were a fish.

All you have is who UR. Therefore, it’s vital that you embrace who UR. You have to accept yourself, warts and all. It isn’t always a pretty picture, sure. I look at myself in the mirror and find enough bootmarks from all the places that I’ve kicked myself for all my transgressions and wonder what the heck happened to the DNA sequence that contained common sense in my genetic makeup.

Still, while I have my share of self-loathing in my arsenal, I have come to realize that we are who we are. While improving who we are is always desirable, the fact that there’s room for improvement doesn’t mean that UR a failure or a bad person. No, the truth is that UR beautiful.

And that holds true for all of us. We may think ourselves the least of all of God’s creatures – we have a tendency to take comfort in that. At least, if I’m the suckiest person alive, that’s some sort of distinction. At least it’s not just…blending into the crowd. And that sentence, my dear friends, holds more terror for most of us than thee and me could ever imagine.

We ache to fit in. We want to feel like we’re a part of the whole. Conformity is sometimes characterized as the routine of little minds, but in a very large way it is what drives us. Those who dare to defy conformity often wind up as innovators and artists who push the boundaries of human experience and endeavor. The fact that we aren’t still pounding sticks into rocks and wondering what that shiny hot red stuff is we owe to people who were willing to not conform.

Am I the smartest kid on the block? No way, Jose! Am I the dumbest? Chances are, no. Do I want the world to know all of my sexual fantasies? Um, probably not – there are some things the world just doesn’t need to know. Am I ashamed of them? A little bit, yeah but I’ve grown to discover that we all have something that’s a little out there in ourselves. It may not be something you necessarily want to share with everyone – but it something you shouldn’t be ashamed of. Some of my fantasies include things that people might find disturbing or distasteful. So be it. They can have their fantasies and I will have mine. And the world will keep on spinning around either way.

The point is you don’t have to be ashamed of who UR. You don’t have to share every little aspect of it – we all need a certain amount of things kept private – but we should at least acknowledge who we are and embrace our inner UR before heading out to do battle with whatever dragons it is our task to slay. If Shakespeare were alive today, he might be tempted to write “UR who UR…dude.” Shakespeare was always a MONSTER with the vernacular. Accepting ourselves as who we are – and not limiting ourselves to being that way forever – is what separates us from the other bus drivers on the short bus lane. It is the first step on the road to true wisdom.

Because for everything that is undesirable inside us, there are several things that are wonderful. You doubt it? Think about our capacity to love. Not every animal has it; in fact, most do not. The fact that we can give and receive affection elevates us at the very least. If we are willing to accept that aspect of ourselves, we should be at least equally willing to accept her bondage fetish, or his cross-dressing tendency. Hey, let it all hang out – there are many ways to stroke a cat, after all. The point is, it’s all okay; whether it’s a gambling addiction or a foot fetish, there are things that are unsavory in all of us. They may be slightly illegal or profoundly immoral but you take the good with the bad. The divinity in us allows us to forgive the bad while celebrating the good. The more we can do that, the more like Christ we become. When we judge, we are showing our petty human side. The one that is God’s own action figure.

But all kidding aside who knew that Popeye the Sailor Man would utter one of the most profound insights of the 20th century when he asserted “I yam what I yam and that’s all that I yam.” Converted into digital, it reads UR who UR and that’s plenty.


One Response

  1. Wonderful Carlos! Wonderful! UR who UR and I am me, ‘And the world keeps turning’, the title of a book I am working on telling the stories of people and the different lives they lead. Anyone got one they would like to share.

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