I’ve had the urge to write over the last week and I found myself balking every time I flipped open my laptop. The world outside my window has been loud and the things I read and attempt to interpret on my scroll through social media and the news leave me wondering if I should be covering one eye and then swapping to the other so I don’t focus on one thing too long and lose the desire to understand the human experience at the root of it all. History, perceptions, empathy, understanding, fury, loss, fear, the desire to balance the scales of justice…..whatever it is you’re feeling, from whichever angle your view is coming from, it’s personal to each and every one of us.
My thoughts feel like they’re a baton being thrown into the air, making twists and turns as they move from one thing to the next. I think I’ve been hesitant to capture them in any way because I feel like I should be listening more than anything else right now. I was born and raised with the experiences and culture my family had to offer. I joined the Air Force and left home to figure out what values, traditions, and engraved thoughts matched my mind and soul as it grew and outgrew those things. I’d like to think that I’ve had diverse experiences in my life and encountered people from all walks of life- but there’s not one part of any of that I can compare to the unfolding of events happening now and those that led up to it. I can only speak from the place in my mind where kindness, understanding, and the complete repulsion of intentional harm are housed.
So I listen to it all. I listen to the why’s behind the angry and frustrated shouting. I listen to the quieter roar of those who will never understand yet choose to stand in their own way, for their own reasons. And, I listen to the frustration of those thrown into negative generalizations where light and care exist- not all peaceful protesters are looting and not all law enforcement officers are out to do harm. Nayyirah Waheed said “I love listening because it’s one of the only places where you can be still and moved at the same time.” I couldn’t agree more.
I quite literally have not given two shits about peoples opinion of me in years but during these times of wide spread unrest, it feels awkward, at least for me, to talk about joyful things because that might be interpreted as I don’t care or I’m not concerned. It’s like I need to draw an invisible line within me where one side meets the world head on and absorbs it all and gives back what goodness I have to offer and the other side, well, it’s where I retreat and where I can put down the heavy things on my shoulders. It’s a place where I believe I’m worthy of deep happiness and even deeper peace and it’s a place where I want to feel the miracle of simply being.
Maybe that’s the place where I take the time to listen to myself and become aware of what’s tugging me by my hair in a particular direction or a place to take inventory of what creates a spark or casts a shadow inside of me. Maybe it’s the place I go when saying something is too much and doing something is too little. And, just maybe, it’s the place I go when I want a quiet space to enjoy the pieces of people left behind in my heart by changing circumstances and situations. I think most of us seek refuge in other people when we feel “off” or when things feel out of control but sometimes, it’s just as comforting to fall back into yourself and reconnect.
With a public health crisis, an economic crisis, and civil unrest going on, we are all going to go through some type of transformation. I can’t imagine there are too many people that aren’t looking forward to being able to say “this is how I use to feel” about some of the intensity they’re feeling in these moments. Some people may even look back and say “I’m not the person I use to be” when they look in the mirror. I’m not sure how to navigate through expect or accept, trust vs tolerance, energy in place of ego and all the other things on the growing list of things that mold and shape our thoughts and actions. At the end of the day, I’m the only one that knows what’s right for me and I can only hope to have a level of self awareness that allows me to ebb and flow my way to what matches with my core, what sits well with my soul, what’s right for me.