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ashandtoes

Community, for Real

We are made of stardust. 93% of each body.
So scientists say.
No matter our color or creed or culture, life crafts us of the same stuff.

But we’re still individuals, right?
Rocks. Islands. Separated at birth into lonely worlds of selfdom.
We labor to bridge the space between us.
We cultivate family and the bonds of blood. We make friends. We discover lovers.
We create community.

So we say. So we believe.
But it’s not true.

We may be unique, but we are not singular.

We breathe the same air, inhaling the exhaled gas of countless others.
We touch the same surfaces, open the same doors, write with the same pens.
We shake hands. We sneeze.
We hug. We kiss. We copulate.

Each time, from as little as a foot or two away, we exchange cells. The immune system integrates them. Cellular memory. Your immune system remembers every emotion, reaction, and place, every external and internal experience of your life.

If this is true, are we only ourselves? No.

We are amalgams of integration. Thinking of ourselves as singular is inaccurate. It’s not hippydippy mumbojumbo. We ARE each other. We are becoming each other. Embedded, intentionally or not. Every moment.

As the ash descended on our city, we inhaled and embedded the fire itself into our cells. Sadness. Fear. Destruction. It did not end there, because the fire is no longer its own. We took this most ancient force into our most ancient place–our immune system–and made its power ours.

As we have come together to fight and recover from the fire, we have discovered what was already true. We don’t have to work to share the pain. We are each other’s pain.

We don’t have to create community.
We must simply manifest the community we already are.

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