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I prefer to be true to myself, even at the hazard of incurring the ridicule of others,

rather than to be false, and to incur my own abhorrence.

Frederick Douglass

 

It’s not easy to be on the winning side when the winning side doesn’t want you. General Lee was a racist, a slave owner, and treasured commander by all accounts. The Union wasn’t much better, than the Confederation. They were better, yes, they had the eloquence of Abraham Lincoln and perhaps a sliver of a brighter future, but they were no more accepting of slaves as their own equal than was the side that rebelled against them. And let’s not even talk about the aboriginal people at this time, who were once again caught up in a war they didn’t want any part of, and had to once again decide tribe by tribe, to be on either this side or the other, because letting life happen is never too kind, and had not been too kind.

This is why fighting other peoples battles is so absurd, both in war and in life.

It’s absurd and stupid because we can’t win.

Imagine being Frederick Douglass. You’re black, a former slave, and neither side wants anything to do with you. But you should imagine being Frederick Douglass, a far more important figure than all the generals, presidents, and leaders put together.

He was true to himself. True to himself even though everyone else communally disagreed with his human rights and personal desires. Frederick Douglass stayed true to himself. He was ridiculed, and threatened, and there must have been many times when everything seemed utterly hopeless. But no matter. He learned to fail and to fail better. He refused to be false. He refused any compromise. He wanted to be free. He wanted what was divinely his, because anything else would be a most abhorrent state.

You’re no different.

There comes a time in all of our lives when we realize that we will die. This reality is not as painful as the knowledge that we are bound to leave behind a lifetime of regrets, and a lifetime of regrets is a false life.

You have to be a Frederick Douglass. The fate of a people doesn’t rest on your fighting shoulders, but the fate of your soul sure does. And what you do with this moment and the one to follows is what is going to determine what side you’re going to end up on.

Be on your side. Be on the side of truth, no matter how difficult that truth may be to face? Face your demons. Face your failures. And most importantly, face your dreams.

Your dreams never stop calling you. Life never stops questioning you and no matter how old you are, how tired you feel, or what circumstances you find yourself in, you need to choose and be a fool.

Be foolish. Become an idiot in the eyes of friends and strangers.

The laughter that comes from the outside is never as deeply penetrating than the tears that flow on the inside. There is no time to waste. There is much for you to do. Much for you to build. At your own pace. With your own struggles. With your own challenges.

It’s time you are true to yourself. It’s time to be true to your greatness.

It’s time to forget the south and the north. A time to ignore the west and the east. It’s time to be true. It’s time to be you.