Letters to Life

Letters to Life (19)

“He who can suppress a moment’s anger may prevent a day of sorrow”
– Random Paper Wisdom –
(but the actual quote is from Tryon Edwards)

Dear Life,

As the Dutch National Rail announced they are changing their “Dear ladies and gentlemen” into a gender-neutral “Dear travellers” I wasn’t sure what to think.

For starters, I thought it was a bit too much. Come on now, we try so hard not to be labelled and here we are creating yet another label: gender neutral. Then I reprimanded myself, because I think I should be open minded and accepting of everyone, including people who feel neither male nor female.

Then I told myself my opinion shouldn’t make me turn on myself: even if I believe I should feel differently, I am entitled to feel what I feel.

Then I just got confused.

For my Blue Sky Tag I scrolled through my Norway pictures and saw some I took of the Northern Lights. I was reminded of one of nature’s most wondrous creations and seeing those images again brought back feelings of happiness and amazement.

The Northern Lights are truly unique (I am not sure if it’s supposed to be spelled with capital letters, but this phenomenon hit me right in the soul so I reckon it’s not misplaced to give it some extra credit). Not just because it’s different every time you see it, but mainly since there is NO WAY you can show someone else what it looks like.

That green colour in the pictures? Yea, it’s in the pictures only. Fun fact: your camera will register Northern Light activity sooner than your eyes will – something to do with the way eyes and camera lenses catch light. So many times, long before your eyes will spot a strangely moving, weird-looking cloud-like thing in the sky and send an excited message to your brains: NORTHERN LIGHTS, your camera display will already show a green smudge across a dark sky:

Please note my camera was not meant to be able to take ANY picture of the Northern Lights, let alone this blurry one.

Your eyes, however, cannot work with this colour. At the most, you’ll be able to see a green or a red glow around the “cloud” you’re staring at, but usually it’s merely a see-through kind of grey.

And even that differs per person.

So you see, there is no way to show anyone exactly what I saw when I experienced the Northern Lights in Norway. It’s different for every person on this planet. Even my co-travellers from back then probably have seen it in different ways than I did, and they were right there standing next to me!

The point is, Life, you are different for every person on this planet. Unique for every family member and close relative. Different for twins, even. Because we’ve all got our own set of eyes with which we perceive you. And there’s no camera in the World that can capture exactly our images of you.

I don’t know what gender neutrals go through, as I’ve felt female for my entirety of you, Life. And that which seems like a silly subject to me might mean the world to someone else, so who am I to judge?

You are like the Northern Lights, Life. Ever changing, ever captivating, and ever so unique. Perhaps it is impossible to show others what you look like to us, but it is not impossible to open our own eyes a bit wider and try to see you in a different (Northern?) light.


I find it difficult to imagine what a gender neutral person must feel like. I don’t mean to be hurtful, honestly, I just really want to understand what you feel like and go through. Unfortunately, I don’t know anyone who is gender neutral, but if you are and you’d like to explain to me what it is like for you (without being judged), please let me know.

4 thoughts on “Letters to Life (19)

  1. I think inclusive language is important these days. However that seems to be a moving target of what people want to be called. Pronouns are important but it seems like that rule changes frequently. Doing the right thing by people can be very hard. No one wants to be offended but eventually it will happen. Perhaps grace and information can help people be more considerate, more kind to one another.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. You grasp my thoughts exactly, Tony. It’s difficult to not insult anyone these days, yet I find more and more terms and labels to use that I never even heard of before. Everyone has the right to be themselves, but a little explanation would go miles. Also for understanding each other.


  2. All genders or non-genders equally welcome here, but some of terror, tip-toeing, and trembling about the latest theory of which words to use gets to be a bit much, I agree. It reminds me of David Sedaris’s story about how he had a lisp as a kid and would avoid sibilants; thus, when queried about his post-Christmas plans, instead of saying “take down the Christmas tree and eat seafood” he would say “take down the pine tree in the living room and eat marine life.” Hilarious story. You should get it if you can find it :)

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Maybe that is the true problem indeed. Political correctness gone overboard or such. As you said: everyone is welcome, but I get a bit lost in all the terms used and which ones are the proper terms and which are offensive. Makes my head spin sometimes.

      Liked by 1 person

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