This blog post is part of #blogmarch2017, organized by the brilliant Robin Renee. This month, we are blogging in celebration of freedom of expression, knowledge and information.
Each Day in May, a new writer will join the March. Visit Robin Renee’s blog to read more about the Blog March, and find the master list of blog marchers. There are some fabulous posts in there!
It’s hard right now. Really freaking hard.
The news, the death, the illness, the housing instability.
The uncertainty about health insurance, the rising wave of hate.
The family stress, the relationship troubles, the fear about the future.
These things are real. Your pain is real. The difficulty is real.
But it’s not the whole story.
There’s more happening right now than you can even imagine.
It takes some effort to see it, effort that may feel beyond you right now, but it’s there.
This isn’t “focus on the bright side” or “cheer up, it’s not that bad.”
IT *IS* THAT BAD.
Anyone who tells you otherwise is either uncomfortable with how bad it is, or trying to sell you something. Things are hard right now, and that is a true thing. Another thing that is also true is that this isn’t the whole story.
The whole story includes sunshine, and bugs climbing on leaves.
The whole story includes people helping each other out, and pushing back against evil.
The whole story includes folks doing everyday things, just trying to get through it.
It might seem like there’s so little to go around, but there’s still a light shining, however dim. Because so many things are happening right now, all at once. It’s mind-boggling, really.
When shit gets bleak, I like to climb up a hill near my house. From there, I can see a whole giant swath of the Bay Area. Thousands of houses, cars bustling along on the freeway, planes taking off and landing. Birds float overhead on the updrafts, and I think about how they don’t operate on a clock, and they know and care nothing about who is president or what congress is doing. I think about all the people down below, and what is happening in each house….
Here is a harried mom and her two rambunctious kids on their way to soccer practice.
Here is an 79-year-old man, who looks forward to the mail carrier coming each day.
Here is an immigrant who came the the US in the 80s, checking on his rental property.
I sit there, making up stories about the vastness of experience happening across all those houses, putting myself into others’ shoes, living their lives for a few moments….
Here is 36-year-old man, taking a nap before he starts his afternoon driving Lyft.
Here is a teenage girl, whose dad works for the port, wondering if they are going to watch the Warriors game this week.
Here is a 12-year-old boy, freaking out about his math test tomorrow.
It’s almost incomprehensible how much is going on at once, how many people are going about their business, living, surviving, thriving….
Here is a 14-year-old girl, sobbing on her bed about her crush not responding to her text.
Here is a copywriter, scrolling through Facebook on BART on her way to work.
Here is a nighttime security guard, sleeping until the Oakland A’s game starts.
Most of these are moments they won’t even remember tomorrow, much less a year from now….
Here is a hairdresser flirting with the barista as she buys a cup of coffee on her lunch break.
Here is a bus driver silently cursing the double parked van in the street.
Here is a 71-year-old woman pulling weeds in her garden, singing songs from Hamilton.
I make up stories about all the people in all the houses and cars and planes, then I start thinking about real people I know. …
Here is a disabled single mother of one, sending her genius child off to school in another country.
Here is a lawyer with the brain injury, who just argued and won his first case since the accident.
Here is a man who has a pretty cushy life, who dropped it all to be with his sick mom indefinitely.
And I start thinking about things I’ve seen recently….
Here is a group of Muslim women in hijab, laughing with a woman with purple hair and a giant parrot.
Here is a meter maid writing a parking ticket on a Tesla.
Here is a guy riding a bike with no helmet on.
It’s not about accomplishment. It’s about living, and the myriad lives lived, even in a single lifetime….
Here is a suicidal teenaged girl who just got a dog, which makes her stick around.
Here is a queer 20-something, who can’t find work for months, no matter how hard she tries.
Here is a happy 30-something, who had her heart broken hard a year ago, and is delighted at the fun and sexiness this year has brought.
And I remember that nothing stays the same….
The kid who was arguing with his brother 15 minutes ago is now happily eating Cheerios and talking about Guardians of the Galaxy.
The 49-year-old lesbian who was at the gym 15 minutes ago, just got on the bus.
The office manager who was sure she was getting fired 15 minutes ago is walking out of her boss’s office with a sense of accomplishment.
The dandelions that were yellow yesterday are now puffy white. The birds have moved from their updraft soaring to perching in trees. The ground that was soaking muddy wet a week ago has hardened and cracked.
So much is happening at any given moment.
Whatever it is that’s going on for you right now, just remember: It’s not the whole story.
No matter what it is that’s happening, if you wait, something else will happen.