I’ve been struggling what to write these past few weeks. I haven’t been motivated to say much after the election. The last few weeks have felt like a gut punch. Yeah, I know I’m a straight, white male, so I’ll be fine. Does that mean I can’t empathize? No. We all have pain. Lots of people have (and will have) it worse than me, but that doesn’t dismiss it.
So, here’s just spaghetti at the wall on what I’ve taken away from the last week:
Show up, give your gift: I am a person who likes to give. I’m fairly generous with my time. I could be more generous with my money, but I’m always generous with my listening ear. I’ve had trouble identifying what that “gift” is. I can’t remember exactly when this hit me, but I think mine is kindness and empathy. That’s what I have to offer. It took me a while to realize that that is a gift that is totally all right to give. There are times when I could give more, but start there. I spent most of the day last Wednesday reaching out to people I think we can burn ourselves out by giving too much of ourselves. I’m better identifying when I am no longer kind. I know that it’s untenable to be a kind person all the time. I do know it’s at my heart though. I know when the thing I am doing is out of kindness and when it is out of spite.
Showing up means exactly that. Get out of your house. Get away from a computer screen. Come to those volunteer events. Go visit a friend, or a relative and just talk to them. I think our generation has been conned into thinking that tweeting or changing your Facebook status is the same as showing up. No, it’s not. Get out there and show your big beutiful face. People want to see it.
Don’t offer a gift that you are not willing to give: I have a friend who is particularly distraught by this election. She’s been going on and on about it on social media. It pains me to see her dismay. She also seems to be resentful to people who haven’t reached out to her. Granted, this person is not one of my better friends, but we’ve kept in touch over the years. I asked her via social media, “So what can we do to help?” She responded with a “I don’t know.” I’m not willing to be a constant listening ear to he, but I tired. I don’t live close by this person, so I probably can only give so much comfort. I showed up and offered, but that’s about all I can do right now.
Put out what you want in this world: There’s been a lot of people in dismay over the various racist acts that have been enabled due to Trump’s election. I haven’t seen, or heard any yet. I haven’t run into graffiti, nor have I heard any racist slurs. Maybe I live in a bubble. However, this has enabled me to be a nice person. I’ve tried to say hi to more people. I’ve tried to be just slightly extra kind to those who are different from me. I’m trying to go on offense with kindness. Will it make a difference? I don’t know. I’d like to think it will. That’s what keeps me going.