Post election days fill my social media feeds with so many messages, I can hardly wrap my mind around the state of things. We all want so desperately to say the right thing, to the right people, about the right stuff. We all want to be heard. We want you to agree with us. Hear me out, believe in me. Like me.
I struggle with words every day, not just as a writer, but as a human being. I wonder if words are losing their meaning. I am like you — I too “feel compelled” to say what I’m thinking. “I have been silent for a bit but now I must declare …”
We all think we have the answers. Or, no, just a part of the answers. We should love. We should get angry. We should fight back. “I know we’re all tired but …”
What do our words really mean? It is heartening to see my friends post links to websites where you can donate your money to worthy causes. I do not have extra money, but I can share in sharing those voices. That’s something tangible. But beyond that, I’m not so sure.
I keep trying to avoid political discussions, mainly because they end in heartbreak and helplessness, but also because I, admittedly, don’t have a lot of informational currency from which to draw. I haven’t “closely followed” much of anything that doesn’t have to do with me. I have that luxury.
I find myself frustrated, content, tired, and nursing a three day head cold that makes my whole body ache. You know how we’re all saying, “open your eyes to the problems of the world?” And we think we’re helping. Maybe we just sound like assholes.
In college I used to complain to my friends about fill-in-the-blank and they would nod their heads and agree. This is how the world turns. I didn’t seek advice, I just wanted to put my heaviness out into the world, with the hopes that someone else could up a piece. “I’ll carry this for you for a while.”
I sat down to read and here I am typing. “I think it’s important for everyone to know …”
No one says anything new. Every story has been told. We don’t have any power anyway, so.
But I still find myself typing. A lot of you do, too. The quiet humming of thoughts on a keyboard. Is yours also dotted with sticky food? We can start there. We’ve got that in common. Does your dog stare at you, eyes wide, from the couch, begging you to come pet her? Add that to our list.
We can’t stop thinking and talking and shouting because it is how we exist. But we can listen more, and better. We can move to our couch with our laptop and pet our dog because if she doesn’t deserve our love and attention, who the hell does?
For every word you want to say, listen, deeply, to the words of others. It isn’t easy. It may turn out to be fruitless. You may be worse for wear. Perhaps you’ll feel as if you’ve lost a little bit of yourself. Far more terrifying — maybe you’ll feel as if you’ve gained something, too.
It’s certainly worth a try.