Of an onion, peeled away, one at a time. Cake layers, stacked neatly, iced to perfection. Clothing, thin to thick, piled for warmth.
Of a soul, walls torn down, brick by brick. Denial, years add up, easier to bury. Clutter, mental and physical, removal is necessary.
Of identity, placed strategically, make the man. Compassion, expressed sincerely, shared uninhibitedly.
Sitting in an airport shuttle van in Chile, I saw into my soul and said hello for the first time. The business professional in suit and tie got off at a stop in front of a shack; the well-dressed lady with perfectly coifed hair stepped out onto a dirt street, garbage blowing at her feet. With this glimpse into their reality, I felt that in the short ride we shared, we had all, in some way, bared our souls. I saw their roots, and for a split second, compassion and admiration gave me goosebumps. In a ghetto slum, in the middle of nowhere Chile, the bonds of humanity had been exposed.
Regardless of our outward differences, the people in that van were in no way different from me--race, religion, creed, it doesn't matter in the end. When you get down to it, once all the layers are peeled away, we are all one in the same. For a 25 year old girl, this realization was only the beginning of a long journey of self-discovery.
That first hello—to my own soul, to my fellow human—would certainly not be my last. Ten years later, our meetings are often not frequent enough, and don't last nearly as long as I would like, but I'm getting there.
Here's to another ten, one layer at a time.