This world is complex: We are so hyper connected, yet many of us don't know how to talk to each other; we are empowered to speak, but our lone voice drowns in the din of louder (and not often smarter) voices; we are seen in some of our angles, but we still feel - and are, often, - ignored. It's hard to understand life's purpose - truly what we are doing here - when so much bile and hatred - once latent - is exploding through the surface.
The last two weeks in this country have been confounding. Have we moved forwards? Does moving forwards require moving backwards? Does it have to be so painful and ugly? Maybe it does. Across my various social networks, I've noticed so many people talking about 'finding their voices'. They want to share their outrage and confusion, shame and empathy. We live in such a peculiar time where we can all publicize our opinions, but it leaves us open to such vile, ignorant, hateful criticism. They're scared. They want to show humanity and vulnerability, but they're afraid of repercussions beyond their control. Missiles of hatred leveled at them. They're reaching for the courage to speak their truth.
When I was 28 and got cancer, it threw me for a loop. It was very much NOT the plan. But I just pushed through - I did chemo, radiation, all of it, because I wanted to live. It was as simple as that. I didn't want to start again, and be better. Live life differently. Make it great. I just wanted to live. To breathe and grow. The way I was during my treatment garnered a lot of admiration - 'oh, you are so courageous', 'you're so brave'. Was I? I didn't feel especially brave. I felt stuck in a corner, actually. I was in a deeply uncomfortable situation with options of yuk or yuckier. And so I chose yuk (surprisingly, the better option), and dug into myself - to find my strength and weaknesses, and trust in my doctor and family and things that felt informed and right and good. Courage didn't fuel me; it came after the fact. Discomfort fueled me. Being on the ledge fueled me. I had to do something to resolve my situation. This is what I think: For the most part, one doesn't feel comfortable when one is doing something brave. One feels wobbly. So, if you feel compelled to say something, but you're feeling vulnerable and exposed and open to judgment, then you've found the seeds of your voice and you. should. speak. Only then, will you feel steadier.
Someone (or someone's) leave magazines around this public bench where I walk in the morning. It is such a beautiful, innocent, small gesture of community that - for me - resonates loudly. I think that in this big, loud, chaotic, dysfunctional global world of a lot of bad and a lot of good, change comes from the ground up, and manifests as a multitude of small acts/behaviors/messages that build to something bigger and, hopefully, better.