WHITNEY CAIN, PHD

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uniquely the same

uniquely the same image.jpg

I have a new truth to add to my list:  We are the same in every way and only unique by our situations.

The reverse of my truth is this:  each of us is inherently unique and our distinctiveness allows us to choose from opportunities evenly offered to all.  This feels better to believe than my truth because it doesn’t demand a reckoning with the randomness or inequity life brings.  It’s one way to view the world.  I just don’t think it’s accurate.

See, some of us land in places where we have choice and freedom; others face places where choices are limited at best and absent at worst.  Whether the constraints are of our own making or imposed by others, we weave them into our ideas of who we are so that simply leaving those constraints doesn’t necessarily let them leave us.  To get back to our essential sameness, we must unpack, deconstruct, rebuild, and re-open.

A friend found my ideas of sameness unnerving.  She said it was depressing to think we are the same, not unique or special.  I get it.  We are, after all, a nation founded on the idea of the individual and her or his singular promise and hope. 

But I find our sameness incredibly unique.  We are collectively special because we are uniquely the same, not because we are uniquely different in the same context. 

This core sameness connects us. If we reconnect to our sameness, we reconnect to one another.  We relish the truly unique in ourselves.  We see one another for who we are, not what we’ve constructed.  We get about the business of relishing our utterly, uniquely same selves.

Whitney Cain