Last summer I made a decision. It was shortly after the murder of George Floyd. For years, my way of dealing with people who had different oppinions than I did, was to smile and nod. I just didn’t want to get into it. I didn’t want to talk politics, I didn’t want to talk about Planned Parenthood, I didn’t want to get into system racism – I didn’t want to do any of that with the moms of our girls’ friends, or with people on FB (when I still did FB), or with anyone, really. We had enough going on in our lives – I did not need to open a can of worms for the sake of arguing something I was quite sure I wouldn’t convince the other person of.
That stopped last summer. I may have even written about it here (2020 is a blur, yo) but I decided it wasn’t okay be silent about injustices or things about which I feel strongly. It’s a bad example for our girls, it’s a bad example for my friends and family, and it’s a bad contribution to humanity.
Lately, instead of smiling and nodding, I’ve been writing about how angry I am with the state of the world. I never used to write posts that might offend anyone who held beliefs that are different than mine, or I tried to be vague in an effort to seem neutral. But this month I’ve been mad. Not like 24/7 raging mad – not at all. With my family and friends I’m delightful, I’m sure, but when I sit down to write I get angry. Because seriously – this is madness. Am I right? It’s f-cking madness. And as someone who does not tend to live in fear, I’ve been incredibly worried about what comes next in this story. Anger and fear are not emotions with which I’m very familiar. They are also not things I like to put out into the Universe thank you very much. Recently I’ve written posts that I just couldn’t publish because the world is a sh-t show for all of us. My reinforcing that for you isn’t doing any of us any good.
So, I’ve been in training all week and today we had a guest speaker named Orlando Bowen. Someone I’d never heard of. And I’m sorry, but when you’ve been in back-to-back Zoom trainings/company sessions for the past two days…it’s tough to get enthusiastic about the next one. I’ve never wanted a treadmill or bike workstation so badly in my life as I have this week. Sitting still session after session, cameras on, with very little opportunity to participate feels like cruel and unusual punishment.
I digress…Orlando Bowen.
Friends – I cannot put into words how incredible he is. I can’t even tell you how much I needed to hear him today. I have at least three blog posts swirling around my brain from the 50 minutes I spent listening to him. It was like a wake-up call, a reminder, a breath of fresh air, and a party all in one. When he was done and I had a few minutes to inhale lunch before the next session I looked at the notes I wrote while he spoke and thought about the past ten months.
It’s been like a merry-go-round we can’t get off. Every time it starts to slow, and we gather our things to get off the ride, it speeds up again. Whether it’s the pandemic, or politics, or systemic racism, or jobs and the economy, or – closer to home – working out and then feeling like what’s the actual point of working out (or wearing jeans) ever again? There’s just so much going on all at once. It’s like a constant game of dodgeball. There simply cannot be any more balls to be thrown…and then…here comes another one at our heads.
I don’t know about you, but for months I’ve been acting on sadness, resignation, waning hope, anger, sheer inability to predict the future, and – frankly – I’ve been doing a lot of REacting. Honestly, that’s just not who I want to be anymore.
We still have zero idea how all of this will end. Or when it will end. We have no idea if we’ll ever go back to anything resembling what we considered normal eleven months ago. And probably in a lot of cases, that’s good news, right? But as someone who isn’t great with ambiguity or the unknown, and admittedly has a pretty big fear of failure, it’s not easy to figure out how to proceed.
Orlando Bowen spoke of acting on belief. Acting on the possibility of winning. And it felt like a directive. One I desperately needed. I’m ready to move into a new headspace – one of belief, faith, hope, confidence, and the idea that maybe – just maybe – I could start to do some winning. Even in the midst of a continuing pandemic, economic uncertainty, political unrest, and the knowledge that what the future holds is truly a mystery.
I want to act on good stuff. I no longer want to react to what we can all agree is a staggering amount of bad stuff. Continuing to do that is nonsense. It’s a bad example for our girls, it’s a bad example for my friends and family, and it’s a bad contribution to humanity.