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  • Aeons before we were even born, there was a story waiting to kidnap us.

    We inherit our stories from our ancestors, our parents, our genes. We borrow them from our culture, from history, from society.

    Stories of being an outsider. Stories of privilege. Stories of disadvantage. Stories of being an insider.

    These stories are like a virus. They infect generation after generation. We become the carrier of stories.

    We define ourselves by our stories. We say this happened to me or my parents or my race or my gender.

    With our stories, we justify our courage, exculpate our cowardice.

    We say I am gay. I am Asian. I am white. I am a wife. I am a husband. I am a doctor. I am a janitor.

    Some stories are horrendous. Genocide. Sexual maiming. Psychological torture. Addiction.

    Some stories are sublime. Compassion. Kindness. Altruism. Love.

    There comes a point though when we realize that no matter what stories we have--magnificent or tragic--we all
    suffer because we are born into a world where everyone we love, everything we hold dear, will perish,
    decay, vanish over time.

    Not all stories, of course, are the same. A tummy ache is not the same as having bayonets plunged into your intestine
    by French soldiers. Some stories are indeed worse than others.

    But I see no point in fetishizing suffering, composing some metric to weigh the relative value of one person's pain
    against another.

    In the end, whether we consider ourselves privileged/disadvantaged or outsider/insider, we are human beings
    and by virtue of this fact we are all outsiders knocking on heaven's door.
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