HUMBUG. I didn’t even make it a fifth of the way before I failed. Two days without a written gratitude. I should have gratituded someone or something. I will make up for it today, now:
Day 6, back-dated:
I’m preemptively grateful for the grammar Nazis who will bite their wicked tongues about my turning gratitude into a verb. Go on then, feel the hate inside your hearts, pour it in absentia all over my soul. As long as you don’t bother me in my real life with it, I’m good.
Day 7, back-dated:
Yesterday I’m grateful for — stop it, grammar Nazi, just stop and take a deep, slow breath; and remind yourself that time, in particular past-present-and-future, is a fluid concept and requires fluid use of language tenses. Right. Yesterday I’m grateful for… Well there’s the rub. I wasn’t feeling very grateful yesterday for anything.
I was feeling weary and sad, and sick of the way humans make up pretextual reasons for the cruel and thoughtless ways we hurt each other out of fear.
I was feeling angry about how people who talk about community and the village are often the same people who put their own tiny cohort ahead of anyone else, and reject the concept of a village when they’re afraid, proving that Darwin was right, the biological imperative to give our own tiny pool of genes the best chance of carrying on overrides altruism and generosity.
I was feeling used up by the mental health complex, which generally refuses to see a human as a whole, compartmentalizing her challenges and abandoning her when their “expertise” in a tiny niche is exceeded, rather than digging into the creative process of connection and understanding and healing.
I was feeling enraged by the mental health stigma that has recently reared its head in our community, masquerading as a whole lot of things, but still nothing more than a small-hearted, feral beast of ignorance and avoidance, lashing out at a child in public forums, a child whose authentic story we don’t know.
I was feeling disheartened by the abject failure of my work of the last few years, wondering what more I should have done, what more I could have said, to help move us further past this ugly space my community apparently still resides in. And then I was feeling really angry at myself for harboring the arrogant thought that I’m so important I could make any real difference.
So all I can say is… Yesterday I’m grateful I was able to handle these feelings and still get out of bed; still cry and rage senselessly at the injustice of it all, because that means I haven’t yet despaired of hope; still think tactically about what to do, and how to garner support for compassion and kindness; still accept the loving hug a friend offered me when I dropped my son off at a birthday party; still wonder and hunt for compassion for people who appear to have lost their own; and still look in the mirror and know that I’m as flawed and pathetic and ugly as the next person. Because nothing is worse than smug self-righteousness. Dear reader, just slap me hard upside the head if you see me going there, and yell at me as loud as you can: SNAP OUT OF IT.
Day 8, real time:
Today I will engage in exactly the hubris I just asked you to save me from. Today I’m grateful for my big, fearless mouth; my blunt, opinionated ways; and my black-and-white sense of justice. I mean what the hell, I’m only going to live in this body and in this time once. I might as well just go for it and speak for what I care about. What I care about is inclusion, acceptance, tolerance, kindness, empathy, compassion, the true village — wherever it’s needed, whoever needs it, when they need it, even if it demands courage of us. Because a world without those things isn’t a world worth sending my children into.