My original point in writing these blog posts was to stretch myself. I’ve learned a few things this week. The first and last three hundred words are the easiest, it’s the four hundred in between that have me dawdling and struggling. I don’t know how to not write from experience, even if that experience is second hand. And, to no surprise at all, writing is therapy for me.
I’ve always been an external processor. Whether it was talking to my mom at night before I went to bed, texting my best friend when something happened, writing in a diary, or ingesting far too much caffeine pondering the wonders of the universe during college, I need to say things out loud (or write them) to finally to put order to my thoughts.
I’ve been doing a lot of writing over the last thirty hours.
I sat in a coffee shop last night and found myself ugly crying in public as I wrote an email. The extent of the emotion was probably due to the fact I was running on three hours of sleep, but even this morning, well-rested, I welled up as I read the comments rampant across my social media.
It would probably be much healthier for me if I stepped away from the internet for a few days. But I can’t, because I feel like I have a job to do.
I feel like the next four years are going to be so much more on myself and my compatriots. Perhaps would should have realized the gravity of our individual influence long before this, but now we can take up our mantle.
I think about my Niblet. I think about my cousins. I think about the children starting elementary school.
I want you to grow up in a better world.
I want to teach you to not be afraid.
I want to teach you to be curious and full of wonder.
I want you to see someone who has a different skin color and to reach out and say, “Play with me?”
I want you to see two men or two women holding hands, and not think that it is shameful.
I want you to see a hijab or turban and want to ask questions, not alert security.
I want you to eat well and exercise, I want you to be healthy. But when you see someone who is skinnier than you or fatter than you, I want you to see their soul, not their body.
l want you to make eye contact with the homeless, and extend humanity to them.
I want you to listen to the words of the older generations and learn from them.
I want you to befriend the person who doesn’t speak your language, and use your actions to communicate. (Oh, dear Zuzka, even eight years later, I’m still grateful for your kindness when I arrived in a foreign country, lonely and afraid.)
I want you to not be afraid of different opinions, but to realize you can ask questions without changing your position.
I want you to open your eyes to the needs around you, to defend the defenseless. I want you to have your arms be a safe haven against abuse, against grief, against ignorance.
I want you to turn off your lights, to reuse your bags, to recycle your trash, to bike instead of drive.
I want you to donate your books, and to not shame those who cannot read.
As an adult, I want to do the same. I want to reach out to you in love. I want to donate my limited dollars to organizations in need. I want to
be an advocate, a safe haven, a source of justice. I want to buy products from ethical, sustainable companies. I want to use my voice to reach out through the darkness, and my words to encourage and strengthen.
Do you remember that the Statue of Liberty is inscribed with a part of a poem?
Give me your tired, your poor,
Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.
Send these, the homeless, tempest-tossed, to me:
I lift my lamp beside the golden door.
Dear America, let us remember this. Let us remember that it is our responsibility to teach our children. It is our community. It is our planet.
Study constitutional law. Study business law. Study economics. Ask questions.
This world can be an ugly place. This world can also be a beautiful one.
It’s time to be an activist. It’s time to use your voice… and your dollars.
Peace. Love. Coffee.