I don’t know about the rest of you, but I feel confused most of the time. This constant confusion is a result of an ongoing and bewildering mixture of wondrous, joyous, human decency with stomach-churning vileness, and moments of deep, personal sadness. I find it impossible to determine whether I’m merely “having a rough few days/weeks/months” or if (as the beautiful, late Stephen Covey put it), I’m simply experiencing the “permanent whitewater” this shapes our lives in this time.
I believe that most of my bewilderment comes from a mental picture of my past as a more calm and stable period but I also know that probably isn’t true. Even if it were, it all began to change in 1998 (17 years ago, almost a third of my life now) and hasn’t been “calm” since. Everything I read tells me that most people experience some amount of upheaval throughout their 20s and 30s, and that shit really gets tough in the 40s. But I can’t shake this nagging suspicion that somehow, this is a result of me making wrong choices, that I’ve somehow brought it, whatever “it” is, on myself.
So that’s my personal baggage, this belief that I’m simply incapable of creating some idealistic, perfect, shining life where I make only the best decisions and experience only the best outcomes. And yes, as I wrote that, my eyes nearly rolled out of my head. It’s astonishing sometimes, how writing down the words in my head highlights their obvious silliness. But….onward.
Today, despite my personal griefs and hiccups and grouchiness, looking through my Twitter feed brought my feet, head, heart, and hands into a smiling, happy place. All the posts about the two recent SCOTUS decisions, big wins for Obama and the citizens of the US, rainbows and hearts everywhere, more scorchingly incredibly quotes from the Notorious RBG, the incredible bravery and grace of Bree Newsome taking down the Confederate flag, reminded me that things are not always going to hell in a very, very small container.
Today I am reminded that people can be brave and generous and kind and loving, at least for a few moments. It is true that there are many, many people who feel the opposite about all of these events but for the moment, I’m not thinking of them. I’m thinking about all my dear friends whose marriages will now be recognized in the entire country, all my students who will be able to get and afford healthcare after they parole, the women who look to Ruth Bader Ginsburg (1993), Sonia Sotomayor (2009), and Elena Kagan (2010) as glorious role models and shining feminist spirits, and now, to Bree Newsome, whose act of nonviolent civil disobedience helps mark our ongoing struggle to address the deep wounds of racism in the US.
Thank you, Twitterverse, for making my soul lighter and my day better.