If a random person were to approach you with a distressed look on their face, look into your eyes and urgently say, "My life MATTERS!" - would your first response be, "What has happened to this person that they need to assert their value as a human? I should find out and help them!"
Or would it be, "No shit. My life matters, too! ALL LIVES MATTER, buddy!"
If the former, then why would our response be any different to a large group of people asserting their humanity in the same way?
If the latter, then perhaps some serious personal reflection is in order. Because no one feels the need to remind you of their humanity, in the most basic terms, unless they feel like it's being threatened.
Does it make you uncomfortable when people say "Black Lives Matter"?
In a society where we are told that we deserve an easy solution to any/all discomfort we may be personally experiencing, the value of learning to lean in to discomfort, tolerate it, and sit with it while we process it cannot be overstated.
This is how we grow and get better. Individually and collectively. Not by taking the easy way out, avoiding discomfort, or passing on the challenge.
You want to excel at anything? There's a price. And that price often means discomfort: physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual.
And it's ok. If every athlete or dancer or artist or writer stopped when they felt discomfort, or tried to make it easier on themselves, they'd never fulfill their potential. After a hard workout my mom used to say, "It's gonna hurt good tomorrow."
We don't need to punish ourselves to the point where we break. That's irresponsible and doesn't help anyone in the long run. But also, we need to embrace the pain that comes with growth and change
The truth is that we are all struggling right now. And it's awesome.
Yes, some people definitely are - and have been - struggling harder than others. Often out of sheer necessity.
Some people are struggling and barely able to keep it together mentally and emotionally.
Some people are struggling while they have the weight of intergenerational struggle bearing down on them.
Their courage is a thing of beauty, and I am in awe of their resilience.
But we are all struggling right now, and I want to acknowledge what I've seen over the past week:
If you're struggling to come to terms with the fault lines in your country or community that you previously ignored or just couldn't see...
If you're struggling in good faith to make sense of the resentment other people have toward you...
If you're struggling to pay attention to this important moment, while dealing with a serious financial, health or family issue...
If you're struggling with the wild, swinging pendulum of emotions that you're not sure how to process, and you lack a safe place to talk through them...
If you're struggling to educate yourself and get caught up on history so you can add your voice to the chorus that is demanding justice...
If you're struggling to reconcile your previous words and deeds with the new knowledge you have after seeing the ugliness of some of our institutions laid bare...
If you're struggling with confusion from conflicting voices, not sure who to trust, and trying to make sense of what you see happening around you...
If you're struggling to find ways to put your deepest values into action, while feeling helpless and small...
If you're struggling to force yourself to keep your eyes open, when it would be easier to turn everything off and hide away inside your privilege...
I see you. I see you. I see you.
No one is doing it perfectly. Our job is to keep showing up and doing the work, holding ourselves accountable first and foremost.
Judgement is a waste of time and energy right now.
Make the tent as big as possible. Let people make the contributions they can to the best of their ability. Let's have some grace for ourselves and for one another, and keep. showing. up.
I have faith in us.