I used to think that this was complete bullshit. How could that be, if there is all this bad stuff that goes on?

How could that be true when it takes more courage to be loving than hateful?

How could it be true that even if you choose to be loving, others will still funnel it through their own hatefulness?

That part is not true unless you let it be true.

I used to feel like it wasn't worth it and the old adage of "If you can't be ‘em, you might as well join ‘em" was the only way to survive.

Well not anymore. Simply surviving is not enough for me anymore.

Janis Joplin sings "Freedom's just another word for nothing left to lose." And that is where I am at in life.

I am starting to realize that love might be the only thing that is real and consistent.

That when people are nasty and mean, it's just words and sometimes actions, but unless those actions are murder — meaning they kill us — we still have the choice to choose love.

And love does not mean being a doormat. Love does not mean to be completely selfless. Love means respect.

It's the simplest way I can put it. And unless you have respect for yourself, you can't have respect for others.

If you make the decision not to be nasty to yourself then the decision to not be nasty to others will be made automatically.

Why? Because you have to have nasty in you to be nasty.

It's like when the terrorists attacked. A lot of the machinery they used to grow their "gang," if you will, were weapons that we gave them during the Gulf War.

Think about it: they can only get you with your own weapons.

It seems so simple, yet it seems that the connection through hate has become the stronger bond.

I used to be so scared that if I expressed my compassion I would be attacked so kept it inside and didn't express it.

I became the ugly out of fear of the ugly.

See it's like the camouflage suits they wear in the army — you try to blend in so the enemy won't get you.

You stay small to make others feel comfortable.

It doesn't work. The enemy will never feel comfortable until they surrender to love.

I have been attacked for my compassion but I don’t care. The attack means nothing. Really it' s just words that cause feelings.

It pricks old feelings that are from words that were told to me about myself that aren't true.

So from now on no more shrinking to make others feel comfortable, no more camouflaging myself so you don't see me.

It's only words and words can't kill me, but they can make me walk around dead even though I'm alive.

So not until I am dead will I stop, will I shrink, will the spirit leave my body.

I have the courage to stand up to the ugly with love and I believe others have it in them too because as long as there is breath there is hope.