There are many things I understand now that I didn’t understand before.
My views and thoughts have morphed as I’ve had different experiences and conversations over the course of my 36 years of life, as well as exposed myself to different material (books, podcasts, graduate school for mental health therapy, etc.).
I do not hold the same beliefs I did in my 20s, or even five years ago.
Sometimes I cringe to think about some of the things I espoused in my religious and far more judgmental days.
I also hold remorse for some of the ways I ignorantly acted and treated others.
I recently wrote an essay about how I often think about the actual meaning of words, as well as what is implied beneath them (you can read it here).
In that essay, I shared about a time someone said something unintentionally hurtful and insensitive to me.
After writing the essay, I thought of the times I had ignorantly said something insensitive to others.
For example, when I worked as a high school art teacher, I teamed up with another teacher to lead a club about social justice. He wanted to teach about power and privilege and started discussing our cis-white-heternormative culture. I simply didn’t get it. I was not educated or exposed to such topics (yet) and I said some extremely defensive and hurtful things.
I now believe very differently. I understand privilege, power, and other concepts with better depth (largely thanks to self-education, hundreds of conversations with experienced friends, and grad school).
If that high school teacher came across my writing today, he might feel it is hypocritical or that I am hypocritical, given his previous experience with me. He wouldn’t be wrong if he was measuring me by my past. I made mistakes, and didn’t even know I was making them. That does not absolve me from their impact.
And yet, multiple truths can exist at once. Those mistakes exist, and I am also a different person. This is the beauty of life. We get to keep evolving. Keep shedding what does not serve us and others. I am likely still making ignorant missteps that my future self will see and claim.