People close to me say that I have a voice and that I must stop being afraid to exercise it. I’d forgotten about this blog until I started following another blog and I wanted to comment. In the past, I thought that I would use this forum to work through my desire to allow myself to be transparent in my imperfections. I planned to bring readers through my journey from being a people pleasing “good girl” to a more accepting and self-affirming person. The only issue was my desire to get things right prevented me from continuing to write. Writing is not so easy when you immediately police what you say or how you say it. So in my quest to relinquish my perfectionism, I stopped dead in my tracks and left you hanging.
Feeling inspired to write and writing with inspiration are two different things. Here I am just writing to dust away the cobwebs from the recesses of my brain. I used to love reading, writing and discovering new worlds. Right now, I feel overfull and overflowing with other people’s ideas and beliefs. Do you ever feel so many things but not know whether any of them are yours? Have you ever taken on the mood of another person? Well, I’m that person- I am influenced by the people and places around me. Sometimes my blue skies turn gray without my input. How does someone who is profoundly empathic find their voice?
We are living in profound times right now. For the first time in my life, we are living through a pandemic that has shut down not just New York City but the world. Outside of the pandemic, the streets around the world are filled with people protesting police brutality of black people and systemic racism. The streets are tense with people who have been cooped up inside for the last three months and the energy outside is contagious. I’ve been inside for most of the last three months working, praying and dancing. Despite my isolation, there are so many issues, people and problems vying for my attention. Sometimes I just wish for quiet to be able to sift through all the noise.
With so much activity going on, I’m not sure what to focus on. What is it that you might need to hear from me? I co-exist in many worlds being a New Yorker. I pray for peace, justice and the well-being of all. I thought that the pandemic would show people that we are all connected whether you live in Laos, Brazil, Michigan or London. For those who don’t know it- we are all connected and interdependent. What happens to people in Pakistan may seem isolated to them but in this global world, it is not. I know that the discrimination black people face in the United States is connected to the discrimination that black people face in other places. We are all connected. My greatest prayer for the world is that we will join and work through our differences, prejudices and pain. That is what I want more than anything. I want there to be no more ‘us’ vs. ‘them’…
Yes. It is not that simple. I know that it takes more than just a wish for peace, unity and justice. Nevertheless, we can’t get what we want unless we acknowledge it. Is it so pollyanna-ish to want people to see that we are all in this together? I’m not pretending that any of this is easy or will be easy. We will get things wrong in the process. I want this time spent with the world on pause to mean something. We were all put on pause for a reason. My belief is that we have to shift the direction we are going. We have to look deeply at ourselves, our lives and the direction the world is heading collectively. This pandemic has shown the light on the inequalities around the world. I have been blessed to have a job, home and food. There are people who were struggling before the pandemic and now are in dire need.
You might not have financial means to help someone at this time. That is fine as well. You can still help. There may be elderly people in your community who need a hand or a neighbor who benefit from a kind word. For many people who have been sheltering in place for the last three months, it’s been a struggle. I thought I would not last two weeks working from home and I recently completed week 12. We all have been forced to exercise resilience. At this point, you may be tired of it and ready to go back to business as usual. Before you return, ask yourself- what can I do to prevent this from happening again? What can I do to be a part of the solution?
For many of my friends, they are ready for 2020 to be over. They were waiting with great expectation for the arrival of 2020. This year has brought us some really tough challenges. Nevertheless, it is a turning point. We have the power to make 2020 the start of a better tomorrow.