What Life Is and Isn’t

I posted this on Facebook today, because I was feeling blank and miserable and overwhelmed and … grateful and wistful and everything, all at once, in those ways that life sometimes churns up for you, like a tamarind sundae, sharp and sweet.

And I liked it, and what it brought out from others, so I’m reposting it here.

I wish every day the cosmic majesty felt so close and so pressing, but we couldn’t handle it if it did. I’m fascinated by how our feeble minds must fill themselves with thoughts other than the IS of it all, or we’d spend our days in a corner rocking…. or, more likely, in supplication, praying, being.

A dear, dear friend found out her father, from whom she was estranged, has liver and lung cancer, advanced, five days ago. He died last night. She was with him. I am feeling so many feelings, about her, for her, about the world, life, loss, everything we want this world to be, how it can’t be those things. And how we learn to manage that gap—between what we hope for and what we get—defines us in profound ways that have much more meaning than any of the little thoughts that flit in and out of our heads all day long. I want to stand up in the aisle of my train and ask everyone to bow their heads and just take a moment to revere our mortal mystery, this accident of consciousness, this unsolvable puzzle called life. I love you so much, friend. I am so sorry you have had so much pain to carry. You are a miracle. As are we all.

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Looking Over My Shoulder

I undertook a big renovation in my house this year, adding a new bathroom and a walk-in closet to the big open room I decided to turn into a master bedroom when I bought the house. This meant stealing five feet from across the back of the garage (which I thought was very clever of me), and then steeling myself for the expense and mess of such a big undertaking.

The workers started in April, about eight months after Zack and I had moved in, and they finished about three or four weeks ago. And it’s all amazing, totally worth it. Now the house is perfectly made for the life I wanted to live here. The master bedroom has windows all the way around it, and has a door that opens onto the gardens. It’s big enough to house both my bedroom and my office, all my beloved books in one place (as soon as the bookcases get here, in a month or so).

So this weekend I finally was able to undertake the labor of putting things to rights. With no closet, no bookcases, no office storage, it’s pretty much a giant mess of piles in here. A new file cabinet is tucked away into the closet, waiting to be filled. And though I didn’t have enough do re mi to finish the closet’s innards, I have two rolling racks at the ready.

I had already sorted out a pretty large pile of clothes to go to Goodwill this week, because—good news—I’ve dropped 25 pounds since June. Part of the weight loss was because of being sick with diverticulitis, but most of it is just because of Being Ready. Ready to let in that I might be safe, that I’m okay. How it is possible that I am still shaking off layers of grief and loss four years later, I don’t know, but that appears to be true.

So I was a little shocked to discover three full boxes of clothes in the extra bedroom, when I started rearranging all the clothing in the closets. (My clothes had been scattered throughout the house before the renovation, tucked into any open closet.) And I was more shocked to see what was in them: Clothes that don’t fit. Clothes from my “smaller” life. Clothes from four years ago.

I know I got rid of a ton of clothing when I moved. After all, I was a magazine editor, and if there’s ever a job that gives you permission to be clotheshorse, that is it. In fact, I often referred to myself in my job as a “pretty pony,” the shiny one, all dressed up and trotted out for advertisers and readers alike. Here I am on TV! Here I am at a fashion show! Of course it was all very fun, don’t get me wrong. But there were many moments I wondered if I’d get paid more as a spokesmodel for Redbook rather than its editor in chief.

So I was really, really surprised to see what must be at least 25 pair of pants, of all different sizes. Four different sizes, none of which fit when I moved (though from 2010 to 2013 I crossed the threshold of six different sizes, which is pretty amazing to consider). Why was I packing all that history up and bringing it with me?

I didn’t realize how much I was still holding onto that old life, life before everything changed all at once, until I saw those pants.

It wasn’t for the fashion, either. The fancy clothes I had sold off through a consignment shop. This was simply Old Navy jeans and J.Crew pants and skirts. Good news is that, yes, a lot of them fit now, but there are still bags and bags to drive to the Goodwill today, along with all the clothes that only recently became too big.

To me those boxes show how deep and intense the need was to hold onto all I knew when everything changed. It was impossible for me to know and see what life would look like moving forward—impossible to believe it would all once again be great—so I had to hold on to some artifacts, a promise to myself of where I would find myself again. I kept the clothes from that time, in the hopes that I could slip back into them, as easy as pulling a dress over my head, and be back in the security of those days before I lost everything I knew about who I was.

The subtle joke, of course—and, oh, doesn’t the universe always have a subtle joke for us?—is that you can’t go back. And I don’t want to go back. Part of me is even tempted to give it all away, as if anything I had from that time is tainted. And because I don’t need it.

I did find one or three dresses from my last winter that I was glad to see again. (Oh, there you are!) But I’m on the fence about everything else. These pants and skirts are my Rosebud. I can’t go home again. My parents are gone. That home doesn’t exist anymore. Nor does the home where a traditional idea of success could protect me and inoculate me from having to face down the wounds imparted during childhood. Nor does the home where life can’t touch me, a mythical place I believed in, for so very long. I had to—it’s what kept me going for years, until I was strong enough, and yes, weak enough, to let in the much more complicated truth.

But I am good with the truth, and the truth is good with me. The inevitable cycle of life has taken its turn, depositing me in a place where I am at peace, and healed and whole.

I don’t need no stinking boxes. I’m good. Really good.

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A Rare Talent

I’m posting a stub of my BlogHer.com review of the lovely and amazing Anna Whiston-Donaldson’s book here, because I want you all to know why her book is so special.

10629740_10203718326831035_1501378421310218795_n10363530_10203718337591304_8570551001346765294_nWriter, blogger and mother Anna Whiston-Donaldson—whom I first knew as Anna See, from her blog An Inch of Gray—landed herself the kind of internet fame we’ve all come to fear. She lost her son, Jack, when he was just 12 years old, in 2011.

He didn’t die after a long-suffered disease, detailed on her blog, as we all leaned forward to support and carry her and her son. Instead, he was snatched up by fate—and angry, roiling waters that turned a small creek in Anna’s backyard into a grave for Jack, and a black hole for Anna and her family.—her husband, Tim, and Jack’s sister, Margaret, then 10. A warm summer rain that washed away life as they knew it and tossed them all into the cruel, tumbling disorientation of having to begin again when nothing made sense, when everything hurt.

I heard about this unimaginable event on Twitter, which lit up instantly and sent the message around the broad universe of parenting bloggers, a keening cry in 140 characters or fewer. The suddenness and randomness of it took all our breath away; the reaction was immediate and deep. Hundreds of us headed to Anna’s blog, to leave messages and prayers and regrets on her last post, which had been a series of photos of Jack and Margaret on their first day of school, just two days before. It was too poignant and painful to see his gap-toothed smile and imagine him gone.

I wrote a post about it that day for BlogHer, where I wondered aloud about the onrush of community, the leaning in, the prayers and mourning. Was it too much? Was it all right that we wanted to be in her pain with her? I was aware of how her loss had ignited a deep and aching need in me, to touch her and look Anna in the eye and say “No no no no no no no!” as if I could bring him back, as if we could bring him back. How could we ask her to carry our needs, too, in this moment?

But death, like birth, is a community event that makes us all ask questions, pray harder, try to solve the mysteries of life and faith, remember to have gratitude for all the luck that we forget to see in our lives every day. In that way, death is a catalyst,  forcing us to allow the notion that good exists in bad.

This is what Anna captures so beautifully and so damn imperfectly (more on that in a minute) in her new book, Rare Bird, which details the dark and painful days, months, years after Jack’s disappearance. But the book isn’t a meditation on grief—it’s a meditation on life and faith, and the beautiful and gorgeous struggle of being a mere human being trying to make sense of this world in a dark time.

Click here to read rest of post on BlogHer.com. Thanks!

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The World, It Is Big, But So Small

I forgot to take a photo. I’m kicking myself. I had an actual Maasai elder in my home, staying here, sharing his wisdom and worldview, and I forgot to take a photograph of him in his resplendent native dress, the familiar red fabric pieces wrapped around his body.

This morning we all got up at sunrise—me, my son, the Maasai elder, and Tanya, a friend from college who is the reason he is here—so Sululu could bless our home, ourselves. As he reached his hands down to place them on my son’s head, I had the sensation of eternity opening up in front of me: centuries of men lifting boys to men, the rich connection of generation to generation, a line drawn from here to there and all the way to beyond.

Zack was sitting on a piece of the red fabric that makes up Sululu’s clothes, and after the prayer, Sululu gave the fabric to Zack, and told him to carry it with him and let it bring him strength and support. Zack nodded, paying attention very hard, listening with his most serious ears. He knew Sululu was telling him something that mattered.

“Your son, he is very spiritual,” said Sululu to me the night before. Yes, yes, he is, I agreed. And shared with Sululu some of the stories of Zack’s “hotline to God,” as I call it, the moments when he was clearly seeing something big and divine in the room with us, as I made dinner or paid the bills or some other quotidian task.

Once, I was showing Zack YouTube videos of the Sufi dancers, explaining that the “whirling dervishes” spin and spin to fall into a trance, doing a dance called the fare, or “the perfect,” and that they do this in order to get close to god, to become one with all of mankind and be nothing but love.

“But I already am that,” he said, staring me plain in the face. And goosebumps lit a trail up my arms and met at the back of my neck.

“I know honey,” I said. “But the hard part is that we forget. We have distractions like work and video games, and we get pulled away from knowing this.”

“Like when you are yelling at me?” he asked, back to just a regular kid, his glimpse into eternity shuttered momentarily as I take him into my arms, laughing.

It’s been a few weeks of these kinds of moments for me, the unknowable unfolding. Sitting on the bus in India, with my head pressed against the window, people zooming by on motorcycles, clutching their saris or goats as they go. I suddenly hear so clearly in my own head, “You are fine. How could you ever think otherwise? You are lucky, and strong and true. Everything is as it should be, all the time.”

Standing in the kitchen talking to my friend, Tanya, a sociologist and anthropologist, a Ph.D. who found herself in Africa—and then found herself in Africa. We were close friends in college and walked off into different worlds—as I built a big, sparkly career for myself in the city, the city where her father had made his name as a big ad man, part of the reason she was moved to choose another venue. In the kitchen it becomes again so clear our work has shared goals: to heal, to understand, to connect people to the divine in themselves, in others, to be able to carry pain with grace, to get better at finding the love and the communities that will heal us. It feels amazing to be standing in the same river with her, though we’ve been halfway around the world from each other for decades.

Sululu’s stories of the Maasai community are mesmerizing to me, the ways in which no one is ever alone, and each person is given a mentor with whom to share the secrets and pains that could not be shared with parents. Uncles are also your fathers; the community elders sit and ponder problems that are pulling on one or more in their tribe. No one is expected to do or solve anything alone.

I moved to Garrison out of an urge to be part of a community. Ironic given the fact that I am surrounded by woods, my nearest neighbor a few acres away. But the intention I find here is magnificent. I intentionally run into and talk to and invite over friends and guests and visitors, rather than being constantly surrounded by people who are hurrying by me. I have open gates and open doors, dogs and people streaming in and out on the busiest days, which happened when Sululu was here.

“Your house, it is open,” he said. And he wasn’t referring to the doors. “Yes,” I said. “It was important to me to be this way.” He nodded and said, “This is good.” And I felt blessed.

When Tanya and Sululu were here, we talked about villages and traditional life and the pull of modernity and what it is we lose when we separate ourselves from others. This is all part of Tanya’s book, Time is Cows, wherein she shares all the Maasai taught her and showed her, because she wanted to know them, live like them.

It’s been a big couple of weeks here, with the world knocking on my door and taking me by the hand and leading me places.

But the most interesting sensation of all is that it’s all felt like I’m heading home.

India wasn’t “life-changing” because I have been living a life where I’ve been trying to get to the quiet truth at the center of our busybusybusy lives filled with want and regret. It was “life-affirming” because it showed me all the work I’ve been doing to find my quiet and certain center is in fact leading me toward my own wisdom and my peace.

Faith. Such a wisp of a word to capture something so impossibly huge.

Thank you Tanya, and Sululu, for bringing to us what you live and know. It’s always an honor to stand in someone’s heartspace, shake hands and say, ‘Yes, this, it is precious. All of it.’

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What I’m Trying To See

 

Beautiful poverty.

Beautiful poverty.


I am a pretty confident storyteller. I know how to find a beginning, wend my way toward the middle, do some memorable flourishes, and then wind up to either an operatic or an understated end, landing softly on a pillow of words arranged just so.

But I can’t make sense of India. I have so many ideas and feelings and reckonings I want to share, but almost all of them look and sound not quite right when I commit them to these little characters, parsed with commas and m-dashes and separated politely with endpoints.

India is a car crash and a symphony. It’s chaotic and calming in equal measure. Nothing makes sense there, except, then, suddenly, everything.

Because the no-sense of it—and I’ll get to specifics eventually, I promise—is the IS, is the India. And, in a larger way, is the reality of most of the world. We, in America, with our proud attitudes and thirst for enchanting diversions and our indulgent luxury for pointless ideological conflict and and and….

I felt a lot of shame in India. Shame in the insane luxury of my house—a home I weirdly convinced myself is just an average home, because there are so many estates around me. Shame that I long for things, objects, treasures, even though I know that for me the love of design objects for me is almost a faith, the way they express the imagination, skill and humanity of those who made it.

But the shame wasn’t humiliating, self-abnegating. It was more like a constant thrum of:

oh.

And then:

huh.

And then:

wow.

A moment of reflection, and then I would be instantly swept back up in looking and seeing and greeting and smiling and pressing my nose up against the window of the bus and watching motorcycle after motorcycle, with two, three, four, I swear to you five, passengers zoom by. And the crazy tuk-tuks, which are basically three-wheel motorcycles with little cabs on them so they look like an amusement park ride more than a highway-safe vehicle, painted all manner of colors, with people constantly hopping on and off them, without waiting for the tuk-tuk to slow. In fact, the thing you see the least on the roads in India are cars. Tractors, yes, pulling flatbeds filled with logs or bricks or people, or all of the above. Bicycles, yes. Bicycles with crazy coop contraptions tied onto the back, carrying dozens of filthy dun-colored chickens with red caps to who the hell knows where. And an endless parade of construction trucks, painted salmon or aqua or red or green, and bedecked with long black tassels on the rear-view mirrors, and shining aluminum trim and hand-painted letters and decorations, and some of them even had silver bells hanging below the back bumper, or had painted patterns arrayed like eyelashes on the edges of the windshield.

In India, pink is just a color.

In India, trash is part of the landscape, inescapable.

In India, everything is so EVERYTHING ALL THE TIME.

I want this post to make sense. I want it to say something coherent. But for now all I can say is I am enraptured. The gorgeous and the ugly; the beautiful and the terrible… could there be another place on earth that so clearly captures the everything of the world in one fell swoop? That shows the undirected accidents of fate so plainly and clearly? That mixes up the impossible and the transcendent in one big fucking unbelievable soup?

I felt like I was out on the very edge of seeing what the world is, seeing something I know and recognize from within my heart —– but seeing it in person was so much deeper and wider than I could have known.

India is everything you’ve ever heard, except, for me, I found that it all added up differently in person. I wanted to freeze frame every single second and hold it in my hand and stare at the photo of it and take it all in and notice each little detail. But there’s too much to see.

I don’t know when it will organize itself in my head in a way that will allow me to bring you along on the journey with me. But I know I will be going back.

Posted in India | Tagged | 4 Comments

India: The First Post Is the Hardest

A big, adorable welcome at a public school in Bangalore.

A big, adorable welcome at a public school in Bangalore.

Finally. I finally gave birth to my overview post of what we saw on our trip to India, we being the eight social media influencers Coca-Cola invited to come see the community work they are doing to support sustainability and the advancement of women and girls and education and career development and and and….

There are a lot of things to support and develop in India, we can start with that.

But there are also so many incredibly lovely things, first and foremost, naturally, the people.

PEOPLE. People are amazing. Humanity is amazing. Man, the incredible luxury of being dropped into another culture, as special guests, with tour guides, and invitations into the most rural parts of society, places one would never see as a tourist…. Incredible.

I’ll write more about all of that, soon. Because I did finally finish the “official” piece, the overview piece, that delves into the history and role of Coca-Cola in India.

That post is live on BlogHer right now, so please, hop on over and read it.

And now I will be free to start throwing out memories and comments and photos and asides and all manner of chaotic, unorganized thoughts about India…. So watch this space.

And thank you, as ever, for being interested in the first place.

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What I Will Remember, Part I

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This photo for me — of a beautiful mandala, made of flowers, which was laid out for us at one of our hotels — captures an essence of India that I will never forget: The incredible welcoming spirit of this country. We were greeted at every destination with handmade gardens of fresh flowers and the traditional blessing of applying the tilak, a ritual mark of vermilion placed between the brows of the visitor. But the welcome was so much deeper than the ritual: the level of engagement and sharing was astonishing, humbling and uplifting. The pride that came through in every single interaction, whether the speaker was shy or gregarious, was truly memorable. It was galvanizing to see how clearly people’s lives have been impacted and uplifted by simple ideas, well applied, and supported by a unique combination of private-government-community. India has long been on a threshold, lurching toward modernity despite its many severe infrastructural issues; after these visits, it was impossible not to feel anything but hope and expectation that the country, and in particular its women, are coming into their own. On our last day, we visited the Coca-Cola supported Career Development Center in Dasna, and met young people who were bursting with pride at all they now knew they could accomplish, a very short bridge having been built for them by the center between their traditional village lives and modern world happening all around them. “What I learned here nobody had taught me before,” said one girl, “which was to have confidence in myself.” A woman who took part in the village Self-Help Clubs for micro-saving and micro-lending said it more starkly, and more beautifully: “What I found here was a second chance at life.”

I am deeply grateful to Coca-Cola and the International Bottling Investments Group for bringing me to India to see not only their work at partnering with India and its people to make sustainable progress on numerous fronts, but also the incredible majesty of a massive country and its people coming to terms with itself and its future.

#5by20 @CocaColaCo

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And So An Adventure Begins…

[Updated with links on Sept 8, 1pm India time.]

I am sitting in an, ahem, business-class lounge at JFK, waiting for my flight to India.

India is on my agenda because India is on The Coca-Cola Company’s agenda, and their International Bottling Division is bringing me and a handful of other women bloggers to see the various works they are doing to support women and girls and other sustainable development in this massive country as they build their own beverage business there.

Quite an invitation. Quite a destination. And the notion of getting to see such a huge global consumer products company in action at such a granular level was too amazing to pass up.

It will be whirlwind, to say the least. Our agenda is brief, and packed. We all arrive in the wee hours of Monday morning, kick off with a greeting-each-other dinner and then will fly to four cities, see seven destinations, learn about a dozen or so projects and meet who knows how many people in the following four days.

As if the jet lag weren’t already challenge enough!

But I’m up for the challenge. And truly excited and grateful for this opportunity. I did a lot of international advocacy work for women and children in the years I worked at Marie Claire magazine, which was an amazing learning experience, to say the least. Time and again, research and history shows that investing in women and giving them the power and tools to create local microbusiness creates more stable communities that thrive.

So why does Coca-Cola care that I know this and you know this? That I will learn more about over the next six days. Well, not the next day and a half. I’ll be traveling for that chunk of time, doing the weird time and space travel of crossing numerous time zones. (Alternately, it will take me six hours to fly home.)

But just think about this: currently, India is home to the largest number of impoverished people on earth, and therefore, cannot afford to buy themselves a Coca-Cola. Crass to point out, perhaps, but I don’t think Coca-Cola brought me to India just because it’s been a life’s dream of mine to visit here. So, yes, it’s only good business sense for The Coca-Cola company to be helping women start their own businesses… selling small drafts of Coca-Cola, served up from portable coolers. Good for women, good for India, good for Coca-Cola.

But there’s much, much more to #5by20 than that. Check it out here, to read about some of the hundreds of programs Coca-Cola has launched around the world, community-development projects that aren’t always about selling soda. Sometimes it’s about doing what will strengthen that community—yes, that customer base—for both a greater good and a business gain.

All of this is quite striking to me, as at BlogHer, I recently launched and am now kicking into high gear on a project called “Make Life Work,” in partnership with The Huffington Post and the Center for American Progress. The main thrust of that program is to start a national dialogue about how businesses and government have not adjusted to the shifting population, changing family shape and changing workforce that is America today—and, more than pointing fingers, instead point toward solutions that are being developed and launched around the country that work for business and for employees, families, people, citizens.

India may be a developing nation, but the question of how businesses support their employees and their citizenry applies no matter how mature an economy may be. Right, America?

I expect to be overwhelmed, intrigued, and enlightened by India, as well as very, very tired. And I look forward to bringing home whatever lessons I may learn.

In the meantime, watch my Instagram and my Facebook page for photos as we make our way around India. I’ll post as often as a jam-packed schedule and jet leg will allow.

Namaste!

For all those who inquired, here’s the itinerary. We will be in the following cities and areas: Bangalore, Jaipur, Tonk district (about 60km from Jaipur), Ahmedebad, Ghoblej village, Kheda district in Gujarat, New Delhi and Dasna, all to see specifics works of The Coca-Cola Company. And I am going to travel to Agra in Uttar Pradesh to see the Taj Mahal (but of course) before flying home.

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Thinking Out Loud

I was recently asked by a new friend and longtime distant colleague (took us four years to meet in person though we’ve been at the same conferences over and over and over again), Andrea Zimmerman, to take part in a new series she launched on her lovely blog, AngieCat. 

The series is called “Regular People Answering Hard Questions.” Before I even saw the questions, I was all “ooooooo! coooool!” Because as you all know, I love the hard questions, even though Rilke advises that they are best lived in the quote that consider the epigram for my life.

“Be patient with all that is unsolved in your heart, and try to love the questions themselves, like locked rooms and like books that are now written in a very foreign tongue. Do not now seek the answers, which cannot be given you because you would not be able to live them. And the point is, to live everything. Live the questions now. Perhaps you will then gradually, without noticing it, live along some distant day into the answer.”

So here’s the post, in which I talk about living some of the questions. Go have a read and come back here and tell me: Which question captures your imagination, soul or heart the most? How would you answer it?

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I Just Can’t

I just can’t make sense of what is happening in Ferguson, Missouri. I have spent hours being angry, sad, heartbroken, pissed, despairing, raging, digging for answers, looking for pathways where I can place all this frenetic energy, calling churches, trying to find local community leaders to say “I give a shit, what can I do?”

It’s all just me spinning. Spinning so hard and fast with nowhere to go.

Christ, I even looked at plane tickets to Missouri. I just want to be in the front lines, a white face, standing with the rest. Saying “This is a WE. We are a WE. Me-them-US. Who the hell are YOU?” police officers with your wartime gear and your disgusting commentary, your certainty and vile clarity on your supposed superiority.

I’m sick.

It’s hard to be an empath sometimes. I try to find the right ways to have distance. I have to constantly look at my decisions and say, “Is this appropriate? Is this appropriate? Is this appropriate?” Because I can take on the pain of a child having a bad dinner with her father whom she clearly only sees twice a month at stilted dinners just like this one. It can take me weeks, months — longer, I swear — to put down her frustration and loss and practiced detachment she is exhibiting, until finally, tears start pouring out from under her sunglasses and she refuses to dab at them, to pretend they aren’t happening.

I can take on the pain of a woman I walk past on the street, her hand out for change, a child in her lap, her shame the biggest thing you see. I can take on the pain of a community full of people in Missouri who know, really know, that no one gives a shit about them at the end of the day, and that the media will make up whatever stories it pleases, no matter how many good journalists may be down there fighting the fight.

Damn. But it is HARD to know what to do.

I barely slept last night. Out of my mind with the panic of looking back at myself in a year or four and being disgusted with myself for Not Doing Enough. I’m exhausted and electric with fatigue right now, which feels self-indulgent and foolish. I am not the hunted. The hated.

But I have no idea where to go with all this.

So I go where I know to go: to the voices and the stories and the many amazing women I know, and many amazing men and women I don’t, who have been writing the truth of their lives in a way that is simple and clear as clarion: This is truly what our life is like. No, we do not think about it every day. How could we and still go on? But this is what we live, even when we allow ourselves to believe it is not what we are living.

I am so, so sorry that this is part of what humanity is. But I can’t give up. I won’t give up. I am too certain that love and a universal trust that we are all doing the goddamned best we can, even when we falter, simply has to be the truth we are out here living and recording and fighting for.

I won’t give up. I won’t. I will keep finding my ways to scream into the void and call out all the darkness for what is is: the absence of faith, of trust, of a belief that we get what we get and we can’t get upset and that no one NO ONE is ever the reason our life has lacks. Not him or her or Them or You or the President or a circumstance.

What we get, my friend, is chance, brutal terrible chance. And right now, the brutal terrible truth is that the chance of being Black in America is a hideous and unjust sentence. And to pretend otherwise, no matter how casual and well-intentioned your disinterest, is a crime against dignity, humanity and sense.

Call it out wherever you see it. Call it out like the emergency it is.

We must do better. We must. We simply must.

 

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