So far 2017 has been a series of WTF-is-even-happening moments. I feel as if I'm leading a double life. On the outside, it's awesomeness as usual: Exploring the neighborhood woods with Pete, getting lost and getting found. Going to a Valentine's Day canal crawl at Schoen Place, where we check in and are handed a tiny cupcake that is perfect in every way. And we eat popcorn and chat with a nice bartender who tells us all about his tattoos and meditation practice. And we walk into a wine store with a sign that says "Love the wine your with" and I cringe and say (out loud, because I have no filter apparently) "That sign is incorrect and it's bothering me" and an employee overhears our conversation and immediately comes over to fix it, saying "The sign has been up for 3 days and you're the first person to notice" and then I feel bad for not being like everyone else but also wishing I had the power to point out other things that are wrong - actual important things - and have someone immediately come and fix them (As in "That's sexist/racist/homophobic and it's bothering me." "That is a straight up lie and it's bothering me.") Running down snow covered roads, enveloped by the silence, darkness and solitude, and marveling at how life sometimes just zaps you with random moments of breathtaking beauty. Shoveling the driveway and thinking about how ridiculous it is that I am pushing around piles of what are basically water Cheetos. Watching friends complete amazing acts of physical endurance and strength of spirit. Being part of a marriage that I am severely under-qualified for and and yet have somehow been lucky enough to find.
And then on the inside, there's this seething and inconsolable ball of outrage and profound disappointment that alternates between a bloodcurdling scream and a tidal wave of expletives. Because I am so fucking weary. Of lies, greed, discrimination and fear. Of gorgeous, talented, intelligent (cis and trans) women being body shamed and silenced. Of another Grammy awards where Beyoncé doesn't win Album of the Year. There are so many problems and I feel useless at solving them. It is brutally unfair that my life is rich with privilege, opportunity and love while others' lives are not. Everyone deserves nutritious food, clean water, safe spaces, civil rights, education, love and the opportunity to build a good life. Everyone. But I don't know how to help make that happen, how to help people treat each other as people, not labels/stereotypes/adversaries. There is no us vs. them. There is only us. We are all in this life together. That is the whole point of existence, of everything. To live together, work together, make things better together. Your problems are our collective problems, your struggles are our collective struggles. We cannot turn our backs and say that does not concern me, that is not my fight. The more privileges we have, the more responsibility we have to use them for good.
I don't know how to do this. I don't have the answers. But I do know there is only one person I can change: myself. Change starts from within. I want to be a force of compassion, honesty, love and happiness in the universe. So I'm working to cultivate those things from within. I will continue to read/watch/listen to the words of people whose lives and opinions are different from mine. And try to do so with a sense of curiosity and objectivity rather than judgment so I can react with understanding rather than defensiveness. I will only engage in respectful discussions of politics/problems/potential solutions. I will strive to act with gratitude, honesty, integrity and empathy in all situations. When I make mistakes, I will apologize and make amends. When I fail, I will try again. When I feel like giving up, I will give more.
If you're reading this and you agree, please tell me how I can help. If you're reading this and you disagree, please tell me how and why. Even if we don't see eye to eye, let's try to connect heart to heart.
Lyrics of the moment: "I see problems down the line, I know they're not mine. I see darkness down the line, I know it's not fine. But don't wash the dirt off of your hands. You're doing the same mistake twice, making the same mistake twice. Come on over, don't be so caught up... Don't let the darkness eat you up..." ~José González "Down the Line"