These days are strange. I usually wake up feeling great and then wear down as the day goes on. Yes, I’m tired. Yes, I want to go somewhere. Yes, I long for all of the things that I’ve always longed for and I long for some things that I didn’t even really know I wanted. But I think the weariness sets in most of all because I feel sad. I can pick myself up through writing, singing a song, being with my family, cooking, tidying, fooling with my roses and plants, or talking to a friend, but there is a heaviness in the air right now. I know we all feel it. I know we all want to help it lift.
I took a week away from here to try to do my part in creating some much needed space. It wasn’t that I had nothing to say — I, of course, do, like almost everyone does, but I needed to mostly defer to the old adage about keeping one’s mouth shut and allowing people to suspect my idiocy rather than opening it and confirming such. I only tried to share what I know and what I feel in the least harmful way possible. I will continue to do so, but also hope to continue listening first and talking later, if I talk at all.
When I sat down a few minutes ago to take this up again, I thought about where I was a year ago. I sort of missed what I was doing here then — taking the word I had used as a title from the year before and exploring where I had been and how I’d grown, or not, in the space between — so I read my entry from a year ago. The title was “comments.” That title seemed appropriate for this moment.
During the past two weeks, one of the things that has bothered me the most has been the messages and comments I’ve seen on social media. Good lord. One person says, “if you don’t post x,y,z then I’ll unfriend you or unfollow you or I don’t want to know you.” The next person pipes up and has crap things to say about anyone who is in support of the BLM movement and in turn comes off as defensive, ignorant, riddled with fear, and in support of the very opposites of progress and love. One has nasty things to say about the person who’s just trying to show up in the best way they know how. The next directs shittiness toward this or that awkwardness or stumble or black square or hashtag or even what most would consider a perfectly formed statement. It’s all disheartening, frustrating, and exhausting and misses the point entirely, doesn’t it? It leaves me wondering if this social media thing helps us or hurts us. I hope, and have to think that it is the former rather than the latter on the whole because let’s face it — it’s where a good portion of us get most of our information — but I also think that such important matters should not be primarily discussed on forums that mainly serve as ego-feeding machines. Messages get muddled when they are wrapped in personal agenda. But it’s hard to know what is and isn’t personally motivated, isn’t it? And let’s not forget that without the personal, there can be no universal. Confusing, to say the least. It all leaves me wondering where we are, period. And I’m not sure.
Here’s what I do know: Whatever your views, when anyone is silenced and/or ignored, it creates an unnameable sense of loss that grows and gathers and eventually comes out, usually, attached to a heap of emotion. And that goes for everyone. If we don’t have an outlet or forum of some kind, any kind, we eventually erupt. I told H. this morning that it had occurred to me, when looking through all of the newsletters and blogs to which I subscribe in the past two weeks, and seeing those in charge of them make efforts to include BIPOC, that I’d finally GOTTEN IT on at least that level. What if, everytime I opened a magazine or website or tuned in to this show or that, I repeatedly and endlessly saw faces that didn’t look anything close to like mine and I was told, either directly or indirectly, that the color of my skin isn’t the one that is desirable? Wouldn’t that make me feel like this world is not a place for me? Wouldn’t that make me feel excluded and pushed to the margins of everything? I think it would. And I would not like feeling that way at all. That realization made me uncomfortable. I didn’t like admitting to myself that I have been getting the message, all of my life, that I belong, am chosen, and am good because of what’s wrapped around my bones, and that people who have a different wrapper do not and are not. And then that realization made me grow. I was so glad it did. And I think that is what 2020 may end up being about. Growth. Whatever that means for each of us individually. I think that means we have to check in with our hearts, do it on the regular, and act accordingly. Hardly anyone I know or even know of has a mean heart when it gets down to it.
If we can take time to think before we respond, to consider before we come up with a hurtful rejoinder, to allow ourselves to expand and not be scared of the results of that expansion even though it’s uncomfortable, to remember that we are all very much connected, to remember what empathy truly is and act accordingly and above all, be KIND, we have a chance at improving the world. That is a simple concept, yet isn’t it the one that makes the most sense? I’m completely, wholly, 100 percent, for calling out injustices and trying our very best to right them through whatever means we can, but I’ll tell you — a mean comment on a social media post never made me do any of the things that I believe make me better. I don’t want to forget that the world is in our hands, and that every single thing every single one of us does and says matters.
Peace, Love, and Happy Wednesday,