Definitions are a strange and inherently arbitrary requirement of life.
How could we understand anything without pinning a list of it's attributes to its chest?
And of course, this works so well with inanimate objects.
A Pot: a usually rounded metal or earthen container used chiefly for domestic purposes (as in cooking or for holding liquids or growing plants); also : any of various technical or industrial vessels or enclosures resembling or likened to a household pot
See? All well and good. All definite, all concise and concrete.
There is simplicity and ease in these assignments of meaning. It reduces confusion, it gives us clarity.
However, just like so many things, it fails when applied to the complexity of life.
A house could just be a place to live, of course.
But it could be a refuge. A sanctuary. A castle. A prison.
What makes a house a home?
It gets murky, when we give connotations to words. The grey area grows when we involve our feelings.
What is a tree? Is it shade? Is it life? Is it beauty?
Can it be more that what we tell it to be, if someone thinks it is?
Of course, it can.
A tree is more than an amalgamation of leaves and bark.
What I'm getting at here is how we define people.
Because everyone is more than what you'd expect. We all live and breath, we all know that the inside of our heads is complex and manic and messy. There is vast depth inside everyone.
But still, while we carry a universe inside us, we treat others as if they carry nothing.
No soul exists without duality.
Even knowing this about ourselves, we search for black and white explanations of people around us.
So, inevitably, we are always mistaken in our appraisals.
We fight to keep people in boxes, and feel fear when they fail to adhere to what we expect.
And we package ourselves up for others, the prettiest version we can manage; whatever we think they'll like best.
Even now, writing, I fail to stay true to the point I'm trying to make. I am tangled up in definitions and expectations and how I choose to present my own list of attributes. I am entwined in my need to define other people.
I hope, in the new year, I learn to better see nuances in those around me.
And I hope to embrace my own.
It becomes almost impossible to hate, once you try to understand.
To understand is the first step towards love.