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Erasing Any Doubt

What I am, and what I am not

By Coral LevangPublished 8 months ago 4 min read
Erasing Any Doubt
Photo by Heather Ford on Unsplash

I grew up in a world of labels. Those names or adjectives were used to give or take away value. It started out in my family, gender and pecking order, playing a major role. Shame, guilt, and (sometimes) extreme corporal punishment were used to control behavior.

Yet, how does one control a personality or spirit? All of the ridicule, name-calling, and physical bruises did not keep me from asking the questions, least of all, "Why?"

My innately curious nature, and learning how to negotiate through the maze of abuse, gave me skills that I may never have learned. Yet, it continued to cause issue, when I began to question ideas from the church, politics, society, the military, and within my very own family and close social systems.

I will skip all the details of this for now, but will reduce it down to this statement:

I learned how to ask questions and challenge ideas in a way that caught people off-guard. They never expected to have me get straight to the core of issues, make them think, and ask to challenge their beliefs.

I have been labeled as: "Not well-behaved," "too bold," "too outspoken," "heretical," "thinking (and questioning) too much," and a whole host of other terms that show their ignorance as to who I am, because they do not care to be curious and want to learn.

Most people do not know my upbringing in politics and religion, nor do they have any idea of the evolution both have taken in my more than six decades on this earth. You see, I don't often tell the story, because most don't really care to know. They simply want to know whether or not you believe as they do. If they know the truth, they must go through the pain it stirs up, usually ending in rejection of that which is an abomination to their sensibilities.

Several years ago, I was having a conversation with someone who was unhappy with the outcome of a recent election. When I defended the results (I did not say how I cast my vote, but simply pointed out the democratic process), she called me "a f***ing c**t." It gobsmacked me.

Now, having spent my first career in the military, I understand crass language, and have used colorful language often in my lifetime. However, never have I called anyone that term, especially over politics.

What made it more puzzling to me, this person claimed to be a born-again, evangelical Christian. Yet, she is a conservative, right-wing member of the Republican party. She thought I was the same.

Nowadays, I would rather speak openly upfront, rather than have anyone go through the "pain" of figuring it out in a more awkward way.

I am an atheist. I no longer believe in a G/god as I once did. I respect all people's right to choose to worship or live a spiritual life, as they see fit. I am a spiritual person, and borrow knowledge from many walks of life.

I believe as the Mahatma Ghandi is cited for saying, "God is not love; love is G/god."

I used to be a very conservative, card-carrying member of the GOP. Today, I call myself an "independent Thinker." My vote can be fluid, dipping into either side of a two-party system, most often troubled by the divisiveness within the parties. Over the nearly five decades I have been registered to vote, I have voted for third parties, or not voted. Most often, I weigh each and every choice I make based on what I believe is best for this country, state, local areas, and the good for all of us, as a community.

I am proud to say that I served this country in the uniform of two branches, and continued to work within the military/veteran community in a career, and as a volunteer. I served to protect the freedoms that allow for a democratic process to take place without a threat of fear-mongering, racism, xenophobia, religious oppression, or gender inequality.

I recognize that some might be shocked that I do not believe anything close to what others may believe, but I respect one's right to believe it. As well, I do not need to be convinced, coerced, shamed or guilted into changing my mind. I am quite capable of having a civil conversation and being open to new ideas. If I have not ever explored the ideas, I am open to possibilities, and will adopt a change, IF it is my choice to do so.

I also understand that some may reject me, the friendship I offer, and may think less of me for it. If that is the case, so be it.

But, under no circumstances, will I be disrespected, as I was several years ago. I certainly won't do it to you, and I expect the same in return.


About the Creator

Coral Levang

I share my stories with the hope of helping others to see beyond what they believe is possible, and past the pains of life. Unabashedly me.

Living with Stage 4 Neuroendocrine Cancer.(NETs). Former USAF/USN. Mom to rescue dog, Cooper.

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Comments (4)

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  • Colleen Flanagan8 months ago

    Written like a strong, empowered, free-thinking American woman who knows her mind and isn't afraid to express herself... loved it!

  • I can only imagine what that term was when you were called. I know I would be in another location had that been me. You are dead right with the image you uploaded.

  • Jazzy 8 months ago

    I think standing by what you think is important. It's hard to share with people info they might not like to hear but we have to learn somehow!

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