This is a sad and dark time in our lives. You may wince at hearing a statement of such resignation, but it’s okay to admit that. Nothing is okay right now, nothing is normal, and frankly no one should be comfortable.
We live in a society that worships at the altar of health, wealth and well-being. We deify happiness, as an object that is attainable to anyone, if they just put the right mix of effort and strategy into obtaining it. There’s a subtle incentivization for everyone to be in a good place all the time, and a subversive, critical expectation, that if you are not happy, you are doing something wrong.
It’s time for us to let that go.
You may be healthy and well, and rightfully, grateful for that. But it’s time though, that we stop thinking of our health and safety so individually, and start thinking more as a community.
It’s easy and tempting to tunnel vision our perspective and look ahead. To focus on our tiny corner of the world, our personal duties and the things that we find important. To take care of “our own,” stick your head in the dirt and simply wish the best for everyone else, because what can I do about it?
I see so many people, marching on with their lives in seemingly, blissful ignorance. Flaunting their good times with their friends, broadcasting their privileges, brandishing and reveling in their health, while so many are being deprived of these luxuries, right before our eyes.
And many of those people seem determined, to force things to get “back to normal” and live life as they always would, at any risk, no matter how prematurely. I see so many people turning a crass, privileged, insensitive, blind eye to the world that is burning around us.
What are they thinking? Are they really that happy and comfortable, or are they just selfish, ignorant and conceited? As tempting as it is to say, “YES” and dismiss them, it’s deeper than that.
I think they are scared. They are scared to acknowledge the dire reality that we find ourselves in. They’re scared or unwilling to confront their fear or anxiety, and to try to cope with it in a healthy way. So they pretend that everything is fine, to make themselves feel better and insist the rest of the world follows, so that they never have to confront their fears of death and mortality, or the fear of possibly changing their lives in a way that is not 100% comfortable to them.
How do I know they’re scared? Because how can they not be? They don’t seem sad, they don’t seem furious, they don’t seem absolutely appalled or disgusted at the toxic behavior and negligent response of our country’s citizens and leaders. Where is their outrage? Where is their empathy? They seem just fine, so they must be scared, because how can they not be?
I mean, are they not scared when visiting friends, after seeing a disease kill nearly 200,000 people in the U.S. in just 4 months, while infecting millions around the world, and can be passed on without a trace? And that it jeopardizes the lives of ALL their vulnerable loved ones? Not only are they at risk themselves but their parents, grandparents, friends, and their friends’ loved ones too. Aren’t they disturbed knowing that hospitals are bursting at the seams with literal truckloads of body bags, being hauled away?
And aren’t they at least, the slightest bit unsettled, that meanwhile, our President maniacally encourages the sick to take unproven and DANGEROUS “miracle cures,” that are hurting people, when our citizens are the most desperate for help?
Aren’t they devastated, to watch their world literally burn around them, in every direction, and poison the air with smoke, with a lack of healthy humans available to fight these fires? Are they not deeply disturbed to comprehend that on top of everything, the devastating effects of climate change have only just begun… to make themselves known?
Are they not horrified that three men threatened to murder, robbed, beat and threw bottles and a SCOOTER at 3 human beings because of their trans-identity and LIVESTREAMED it?
“He held a crowbar to my face and threatened to kill me unless I stripped my shoes off and gave him my jewelry and all my (possessions),” Joslyn Flawless wrote on Instagram. “He said if I was trans, he would kill me. He then forced me to hold his hand while he looks for my friends to kill them for being trans.”
Aren’t they mind numbingly infuriated, that these hateful criminals were released from jail with no charges?
Are they not sick to their stomachs after literally watching a man, be slowly murdered for 8 minutes and 42 seconds, under the knee of a man with his hand in his pocket, whose duty it is to protect us?
Are they not shaken to their core, that a woman can be SHOT IN HER SLEEP because the cops went to the WRONG HOUSE and that NOTHING will happen, even MONTHS later, to the people that killed her?
Are they not repulsed, that this woman was SHOT THROUGH THE WINDOW OF HER HOME in front of her 8 year-old nephew, by the police, who were called because her FRONT DOOR WAS OPEN.
And now Jacob Blake, a 29 year old father of 3, is shot by police 7 TIMES in front of his children, after breaking up a fight and walking back to his car.
**UPDATE @4:19PM 08/26***
Kyle Rittenhouse, a 17 year-old vigilante, murdered 2 protesters in Kenosha, Wisconsin using an assault-rifle last night.
He was arrested this morning by Kenosha police, charging him with first-degree intentional homicide.
Although he was too young to open-carry an assault rifle and was violating the 8pm curfew, officers in armored vehicles at the scene, gave him bottles of water and told him moments before the shooting,
“We appreciate you guys. We really do.”
There’s a difference between welcoming your grief and living in it. It doesn’t serve us to wallow in our misery or pity. You don’t need to make yourself miserable or depressed, to have empathy. We don’t need to act through our sadness and pain, we just need to experience it and then let it be; don’t reject it, don’t run from it. Feel it, let it out, turn to the ones you love for support and lean on them.
If you want to begin healing, I encourage you to, but you can’t heal unless you express and confront your pain. If your healing looks like sharing your happy moments with friends, working out, cooking good food and taking care of yourself, please do so. Though, remember to express your full self, your pain and your uncertain side as well, to present yourself as a complex and complete human being, to remind others that they are as well.
The world isn’t necessarily good, and a good life doesn’t guarantee that you are pleasant and comfortable. Life does guarantee, that there will be balance. We have to accept the periods darkness, along with the light. We can’t only seek out what makes us feel good and reject the things that don’t. It is the only way to truly live, fully realized, and the only we way we can grow and heal, together.
So I challenge everyone to invite in their grief, to be brave enough to show their fear. Have the courage to express your anxiety. Have the strength to have empathy and take on another person’s pain, if not for just a moment. Showing, expressing and talking our fears, is the only way to process them, and it gives permission for others to do so and feel that they are not alone. Strength isn’t wide-eyed, resilient and unwavering; strength is showing your vulnerability and extending your compassion to others, despite the fact that you are hurting too.
It’s important to reflect and value, all that we do for self-care. Now, be honest and think about what you have been doing or can do, to care for others?
We cannot afford to stand idly by anymore and watch, as if things are okay. We can’t accept the atrocious behavior and events we see unfold before us, as normal. It is not normal, to act “normal” right now.
If you are comfortable, it’s time to get uncomfortable. STEP OUT of your life, your routine, your perspective. EMBODY the experience of others, LISTEN to the voices crying for help, THINK about what you can do to help, get creative, every one of us has something to offer.
We need to weather this storm together, we need to look to each other to make real, dramatic changes to our lives and how we spend them.
Hang in there, I deeply believe that better days are ahead. And it is always, darkest before the dawn.
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