Sunday, January 22, 2017

Tell Them

This week the world is watching. We are on the verge of handing power over to a man that most of America's population doesn't trust. Instead of focusing on the negative, it is time to spread some hope. By combining some of my original thoughts from right after the election, with some of my more recent thoughts, I hope to illustrate that just by being kind and respectful, you can do your part.

Tell Them
Tell your family you're afraid. They are probably afraid too. Talk to them over dinner with full stomachs and happy hearts. Tell them you love them and you were raised right. You are going to do what is right. Tell your friends it's hard but you're glad you're on the same page. Tell them to stand up and come with you as you march in the streets. Tell your coworkers about it, invite them too.

Tell your kids you love them. Tell them you will love them no matter who they decide to love. Tell them you will be proud of them for being friends with a child who doesn't look, talk, or think the same, even if nobody else wants to be their friend. Tell them we have stumbled but that we will get back up. Show them the flaws we pretended this country did not have for so long and spend every day trying to show them the goodness as well. From the bottom up, we will change this.

Tell a stranger. Tell a stranger you are broken too but that you have hope. Scream from the mountaintops that you are not afraid. Protest so others know you will not let them spend four years in fear. Fight for them. Prove we are better than this. Stand with everyone for which our government won't. Fight for every person for which they won't. For each person the other side thinks is not worthy, say to them, I will love you. Say this: You. Are. Worth. It.

Tell yourself in the mornings that it will be a good day. When you turn on the news and see struggle, remind yourself you are trying to make the world a better place. Look in the mirror and tell yourself you are strong. You are brave but it's okay that you're not quite as brave yet as the people who have fallen for us. You are trying. You are lucky, you are breathing and there is still beauty beyond the brokenness. You see hope. You are someone’s hope.

I say this and more, to you in the middle of my journey.  Yes, I have been humbled by mental health struggles and trauma but I have also been shown hope from seeing the world and knowing good people. I have walked my own road. It's been quite a road. I used to have these nightmares, these truly terrible, life-altering nightmares. They were fueled by trauma and felt as real as the air I breathed. 

In these nightmares, terrible things would happen to the people I loved and I would awake shaken, drenched in sweat, and afraid. Often, I would reach for my phone, to talk to someone, to make sure that the ones I loved were okay. There is a moment between the time you press send or call and the time you get an answer that is unlike any other. It's the feeling that what you are afraid of most, could have happened. It's the fear that the ones you love might not be okay. 

I often think of the feeling of loss as lingering in that suspense forever. It doesn't really feel real that somebody is gone. There's nothing tangible as proof but you press send and they don't answer. I don't wish that feeling on anybody. I'm lucky that thus far, for the most part, I have received the answers I wanted. 

If that was you, in that moment, waiting for your child to answer, would it matter who they loved? If it was your sister or brother, would it matter they just started dating someone with a different color on their skin? Could you really think so low of anybody that you feel they don't deserve the peace of mind that comes with having an answer? They deserve a safe place to live, health care, and the education to make their goals a reality. The single mother with three jobs deserves the same peace of mind that you do, even if that means a clinic that you don't agree with stays in her neighborhood.

Aren't we at a place now where we should be lifting people up? Forget understanding each other but how about living side by side complacently in the same country, like a husband and wife who no longer speak but go about their routine and benefit from a shared rent check. Can we at least be that? It's just easier not to fight. Can't we as a country say, let me be me and you be you and we'll all have some peace of mind and we can go back to sleep in different rooms.

How many phone calls will end in voicemails if we keep going down this road? How many children awaking from nightmares in the middle of the night? Look at the people around you and be the best you can be for them. Be someone’s hope because they are worth it and you are worth it. We all deserve to be a little less afraid.

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