The Nine R’s of November: Recognize


I heard something recently that really made me think: What if there is a purpose behind this election?

And I mean a purpose that is deeper than electing the next American President.

What if this election is meant to force us to:

Recognize our own hatred.

Recognize our own prejudices.

Recognize our own misogyny.

Recognize our own ignorance.

Wouldn’t it be nice if all this hatred that Trump is spewing is really just an exercise in people looking deeply into themselves and recognizing the things that need to be changed?

When I first chose the word recognize for the Nine R’s of November I thought I would probably write something about how I don’t recognize myself anymore post-chemo. But then I started to think much deeper into what the word really means (plus that other topic already bores me and I can’t stand the thought of talking about my hair again).

The Hindu have a world for recognizing the light in others, sale or the divine in others, or the humanity in others – depending on how you want to interpret it. This is the word we throw around at the end of a yoga classes as we are slowly coming out of our savasana nap.


One of the translations I’ve often heard is “The Spirit within me salutes the Spirit in you.”

The recognition of one soul to another. That we all deserved to be recognized in some way because deep down, at the very core, we are the same: human.

And I know there are things I need to work on. Living in my very white city, in my nice neighbourhood there are things going on out there in the world that I cannot fathom.

I will never know what it is like to be an immigrant struggling to make ends meet – and then to be faced with such derision by people who feel threatened. I will never know what it is like to have to hide my religion or worry if going to a certain area is going to be dangerous for me because I am: black, gay, Islamic, or even mentally ill.

(I have, however, been well-versed in sexual harassment from an early age.)

And let’s not fool ourselves that this doesn’t happen in Canada.

My dark-skinned brother-in-law got stopped by the RCMP once for driving a nice car across Saskatchewan. The did not recognize his right to own such a vehicle. (It was an older Nissan Maxima sedan – just to set the picture in your mind, he wasn’t stopped for speeding.)

One of my nephews got harassed repeatedly at work for being a ‘terrorist’. Not that it matters but he has a Canadian mother (my sister) and a beef-loving Hindu-raise father (who isn’t allowed to drive a Nissan Maxima across Saskatchewan).

And I have to confess that it seems really weird to me that someone would feel uncomfortable in their own skin to the point where they believe they aren’t the gender they were born with. I honestly can’t imagine how that would feel. But it would be wrong for me to discount those feelings. It would be wrong for me not to recognize that those people are just as human as I am.

I honestly don’t know what is going to happen tomorrow after the election. I can’t imagine there are that many people so filled with fear and hatred in the United States who want to make America Great Again in the way that Trump is promising – instead of making American Grateful Again. (I personally think that is a great saying.)

I think I will probably cry if Trump gets elected.

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