In the last few years, I’ve watched people I know take on new personas online and spout off with positions on topics on social media and speak in tones and absolutes that would trouble me if I heard them talk that same way in person. I’ve seen how calloused and stubborn we have become in positions on everything from politics to medicine to foreign policy to religion and everything else in between. And in most of these areas, the people I’m referring to are not professionals in those spaces but speak with the authority and audacity (pride?) of someone who is. It is baffling. Why do we feel so compelled to sound right all of the time (and everyone else wrong)?
Is there room for me at the table?
Did you remember I was coming for dinner tonight?
I came hungry in anticipation
Even skipped out on instant noodles at home
There are a lot more cars in the driveway
Than I expected
I must have missed a group text
Hope it’s not a loud party
Where we can barely understand each other
And you know I’m even here
– March 2021
I was not ready for what this year became. I suspect you, reader, were not either.
This year was hard. Though like many others I tried to make do with what was dealt. I spent more time alone than usual and wrote about feeling the need to be cared for as a single person. Travel was mostly nonexistent, save for one coordinated trip to the South for a week in June to see & quarantine with close friends. The April marathon I trained for was canceled. Yet I continued running throughout the year and almost logged 700 miles. Neighbor Bob and I masked up and replaced the basement and stair tile. I completed a year at my not-so-new job. I also made some new friends while nerding out over stationary. So not all was lost.
However, I also found 4 gray hairs. That is not acceptable. Thanks a lot, 2020!
How much does truth matter to you?
Mm, what’d you say?
Mm, that you only meant well
Well of course you did
Mm, what’d you say?
Mm, that it’s all for the best
Of course it is
Mm, what’d you say?
Mm, that it’s just what we need
You decided this
– “Hide and Seek”, Imogen Heap
It’s a cliche at this point to say American culture is at a crossroads. Each generation says and feels that “it’s never been like this before.” And they would be correct. Our moment is no different; how we talk and write about it is, however.
Be the best supporting actor role in everyone else’s story
Me, Me, Me
American culture has an odd obsession with celebrity and being a star and unique. We are taught to see ourselves as important and as the center of our universe. Individually we are each the point from which all things revolve and rotate around. We each matter, probably more than the next person! It’s ok for goals, personal freedoms, and desires to take precedence over any unexpected repercussions in our ongoing quest for self-gratification. It’s self above all else.
Let us remember to look after one another
Life is rarely easy. No matter how independent or self-sufficient or introverted we are or say we are, we need other people. For interaction, companionship, to love & be loved, for help, and so much more. In-person interaction is vital to our existence. However, that’s not something we all have easy access to, currently exacerbated by the current situation with COVID-19/Coronavirus.
More Americans are living alone than ever before. Almost one third of the population lives alone. (I count myself among that population.) Like many introverts and so many memes, we’ve been “training for this all our lives” because we more often choose those times of solitude from interaction. Mildly funny, but a poor reflection of our current reality. That hasn’t previously excluded being alone in public, like coffee shops, stores, and restaurants.
I go from here to there
did you notice me waving
remove the mirrors blocking your view
to see beyond what’s at arm’s length:
a world of people, some whom don’t feel the focus
of familiar eyes upon them
you only see objects reflecting the elements of self
and nothing more
I’m sitting down, tired of holding my arms up in the air
and internally pretending i’m actually ok
come and look intently, patiently
until your eyes can see within, where hearts connect in silent union
and time pauses momentarily
when i can absorb the fact i am not being ignored
but am seen and briefly known once again
– January 12, 2020
It adds up to something much more significant than expected
“Every moment has led up to this.”– Every movie protagonist as they get ready to face their biggest foe
Change adds up
Over the last couple of years, on this blog I have examined questions about identity discovery, living in a space with less built-in promises, and on reliance and trust on people outside myself. Offline in the real world, I’ve been quietly preparing my mind and heart for a big change. What that change would be was very much unknown, but it’s clear through what I’ve felt compelled to share that the status quo wasn’t good enough anymore. In the process, I couldn’t see what that would add up to. I don’t have the final answer yet; I’m actually still doing the math and formula calculations, scratching out notes and numbers because I write in pen and never believed in doing my math homework with a pencil.