It's been a shit week.
And yet, I've laughed. Smiled. Loved. Connected. Even delighted.
I've managed to do all that because 1. I've made the choice every single day, and, perhaps more importantly, 2. I seem to be wired for resilience, for responding to darkness with unrelenting light (remember, my name means "shining light" in Greek). You know those people who respond to misfortune with, "I can't wait to see what good comes of this"? That's pretty much me. Still, my spirit isn't immune to faltering.
As I sit here on a squeaky hotel bed in Memphis, the sun warming my bare feet, I'm considering what to tell you about my findings from this past week. Some of what I've found has frightened me deeply. Some of it has made me sob and some of it has made me wonder if I'm losing my mind, falling prey to alarmism on the one hand and complacency on the other.
I almost told you I'm no activist; I almost told you I've never taken a public stand for anything, not really. But that just isn't true. (How quickly we forget our power, especially when our power isn't for power's sake—but for something far more important than that.)
I've been a nasty woman for a long time.
On numerous occasions, I've called out bad behavior and I've done it loudly and unapologetically and, to be honest, I've probably done it the "wrong" way (low-grade vigilantism, anyone?). My intention in speaking out has always been and will always be to prevent and/or reduce suffering in the world—whether that world was my small college campus or the small city I called 'home' for eight of my adult years.
I've also called out good behavior, and I tend to think we, as a population, are more comfortable participating in that kind of activism. (I know I am.) It feels safe. It isn't as messy. We can do it pretty quietly and without alienating our family members or newsletter subscribers who might feel differently. We don't have to put our necks out in a scary way. We don't have to be controversial out loud.
The thing is, both are necessary. Both are important. Both make a difference. Your preference might be for one way over the other, and that's okay. The world needs you, no matter if you're admonishing injustice or championing equity and its safeguards.
So, what I've found in the past week is this: If, at the end of my time here on earth, I am to say, I've done the best I could with my life, I must do both. I must take a stand against anything that hurts humanity and actively support all that protects humanity. I'm still learning what this will look like for me, going forward.
If you're in a similar boat, do hit 'reply' and we can toss some ideas back and forth. Even if this isn't your wheelhouse, reply to me and let me know how you're faring out there, in this big world we share. Dance is my favorite way to connect, but if we can't share a dance floor anytime soon, conversation is a pretty solid second best.
Traveled from Texas through Arkansas and into Tennessee, put my money where my mouth is (supported organizations that share my values) by setting up (in mere minutes) monthly donations to the Planned Parenthood Federation of America and the American Civil Liberties Union, cried hard, drank tea, drank beer, didn't sleep, walked until my legs hurt, slept 11 hours, talked to strangers, felt hopeless, felt hopeful, bought a Frida Kahlo pillow
"Second, we strengthen our warriors."
Be thoughtful about how (and where) you shop, and what you endorse with your dollars.
Your members of congress are in office to serve you; don't be shy about calling them and telling them when you need something from them, because that's their whole purpose. I was a bit nervous to call my legislators this afternoon (I've never done this before and didn't quite know how to address my concerns), but it was easy, quick, and felt right. I've saved each of them to my phone as an individual contact and will call again next week...and the week after...and the week after...
My current motto, mantra, mission statement: Be double kind.