So I’ve gone through a few rough things in my life. “Few” is the term I’d like to highlight here as well as “have gone,” meaning it was a temporary time in life. I lost my mom, I ended an engagement, I had a rough end to a relationship after moving across the country to give it a go. I mean, look, that’s about it. There are some other things but none that I’m willing to divulge on such a public space. Maybe another time.
The other night, I whipped out my phone and listened to my therapist’s response to my recent voice memo. (Yes, I’m partaking in online therapy and yes, I love it and am happy to talk about it with anyone who has questions). After I listen to my therapist’s responses, I usually let it digest a bit before I respond. I’ve found there’s a higher likelihood that I’ll actually form a cohesive thought in my response. This recent time, he struck a bit of a sore spot so I responded right away. I was teary and emotional throughout my response and at the end of it, I asked “Why do I have this deep rooted need to be perfect? Where does this come from?” I sobbed as I just spiraled with all of these questions, wondering where this drive to be perfect came from and why I just become so devastated when I inevitably fall short.
I wiped the tears from my eyes are my response, let out a big sigh, and opened up Instagram. I was met with a video, one I don’t think I’ll ever forget. I watched a man just slowly drift away at the hand (well, knee) of a seemingly unaffected man. I watched him kneel on his neck despite the gasping and the pleading for it to stop. I sat and sobbed again, thinking about that man. In that moment, the tears I had shed for myself just moments before seemed so silly, so small, and most of all: so privileged.
How lucky am I to have the opportunity to cry to my online therapist about the struggles I am having as a young, white woman who simply wants to be perfect. What a privilege it is to have the opportunity to be stressed about the doctorate program I’m enrolled in. Have I had heartbreak? Sure. But it ended. Yes, sure, I carry some of it with me but it ended. It was a season. It was a blip on the (hopefully) long timeline of my life.
I recently was talking with a friend and former classmate of mine. She is living in Alabama and I was asking her how things were going. She was saying how prevalent racism still was in Alabama. I couldn’t believe it. I had a hard time fathoming the possibility of racism still being a “thing”. And yet, there it was on my timeline and that’s only because someone was recording.
Yesterday morning, I watched a video of black parents explaining what to do if they encounter a law enforcement officer. I watched a little girl cry and cling to her father as he told her about the time he was tased but didn’t know why. I sobbed. I didn’t know. I didn’t know because I didn’t ask. I didn’t educate myself. I didn’t talk to the people in my life about what it’s like. I didn’t ask.
I don’t know what needs to be done. I don’t understand how to talk about something I’ll never have to experience. As one person in this giant, perpetually messed up world, I constantly question, “What difference can I make?”
While I desperately wish I had answers as I wrote this out, I don’t. I currently have videos of riots playing on my phone. I am seeing hundreds of calls to action on social media but it all seems trivial right now because it’s clear there’s so much hate in the world.
I don’t know what to do but my Enneagram One sees the injustice and loathes it. My first inclination is to run around and call everyone to change. I want to walk around and bop everyone in the wrong on the nose and tell them to get their shit together and knock it off. Let’s face it, I’d just get a bunch of funny looks and probably get bopped right back.
Blogging 101: end with a call to action (actually something I’m working on with my writing). I don’t know the call to action here. I just know, something needs to be done. Me? I’ll ask more questions. I’ll start more conversations and I’ll be sure to keep conversations going. Yesterday, I posted the video I mentioned earlier on my Instagram. I was messaged with, “You’re playing a role in changing this culture” and I responded with, “Thank you for saying that.” My response should have been, “How can I be doing more?”
It’s a heavy world right now. It hurts to see what is happening right now. Let’s keep the conversation going. Let’s keep being pissed off at the lack of change. If you’re like me and were living in a small, privileged bubble, don’t beat yourself up but just simply be better. I don’t know what to do, friends but I do know something needs to be done. If you can provide insight, please comment, send me a message, whatever it may be.