I’ve been waiting for a strong emotion to wash over me. But so far, I guess I’ve not processed my emotions or I’m still processing. It could be that I’m processing so fast that all that is left is for me to contribute to the movement by being present and doing what I have the capacity to do, or perhaps, maybe I’m just numb. Maybe both strong and numb, at least that was my response to someone’s either/or question. I often imagine freedom fighters and justice advocates who have been doing this work, repeating the same words, marching these streets, taking their knees, asking for things like equity and fair treatment, sometimes for unity and collaboration, other times just to breath easy…see with their own eyes as they get painted as instigators and dividers, and dehumanized in the name of maintaining status quo…I imagine they wake up to see all of this performative allyship (learn new terms everyday) and debate whether the bandaid wins that result from it will actually be the step closer to real policy change they aren’t distracted away from.
On Cookies vs. Going Naked
For my own sanity, as I wait for the cool wave of reality, (and the strong emotion I’m anticipating) to wash over me… no, I’m not giving out participation awards for being decent human beings. I liken it to when a grown man who has finally drained all of the resources of freely given generosity to the point of codependency and enabling behavior that has transformed over time into entitlement leaves his mama’s house, finally gets a job, and pays his bills, then goes on Facebook to ask for everyone to give him a cookie for adulting. Nope, there’ll be no cookies over here. I come from the field of social work and social services, this ain’t new to me. This ain’t new to agents of change at all. As many people who come from these lines of work know, we have to take the good, bad, and darn right ugly of humanity as it is and not as we would idealize it. We have often done and continue to do thankless work for crap pay/no pay and the deep seated hope that the effort of planting seeds will bear good fruit one day. And still, we do the work anyway! We do it behind the scenes, we do it while the rest of the world sleeps. We do it naked, vulnerable and exposed, with our whole being-ness on the frontlines, backdoors, sidebars, and ad-libs.
On the shoulders of the ones who came before us
We bring our joy, our pain, our anxious thoughts, our worries, our prayers, our dreams, the experience of existing in our flesh with hand-me down labels, and with the labels we claim and the boxes we fight to not get placed in, with trauma trapped in our souls regurgitated to our children and our children’s children all in hopes of a deep healing that crosses dimensions of time.
On being while doing
And what feels like suddenly, (but of course, I recognize and understand the build up of burnout residue) a colleague and fellow mental health advocate shut down their business and started deleting social media accounts and I am worried and feeling completely useless.
And just a short while ago, I celebrated 12 step recovery quietly with some cake from a local bakery. A young lady comes out to the parking lot where there’s a space between each car and puts the cake in the trunk while wearing a mask and plastic gloves. She smiles with her eyes as she sees me in my mask and also wearing plastic gloves (‘cause I’m paranoid and stuff) waving cheerfully at her for doing what she does…ok, yeah I was also excited about the prospect of eating my cake.
And then the other day, in one of my peer support groups, I vented my anxiety about the risk factors involved with getting on a plane coming from Jersey vs maybe renting a car and driving west with all my identity factors on full display to a restless nation just to get to seminary and start my grad school education.
And the day after that, I had a call with my spiritual director. I rambled on and on about my own internal affliction with being called to walk the Path of Love but feeling unworthy and ill-equipped… and it sort of had nothing to do at all with the happenings around the world and yet perhaps it did, but even if it didn’t, I decided that I was allowed to have that moment in this movement too.
Until Next Time…Peace!
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