Thursday, May 14, 2020

Resurfaced



Sometimes I think of who we used to be,

And I remember those moments 

that could have become more,

The moments that

were more than I expected,

And the moments 

that were exactly

how they should've been,

And those moments

we wished we could've erased.


I know you're here still

Though I no longer see you 

Every day.

I wonder if you feel me

Like I feel you

Sometimes 

whenever I ask

Or need you with me. 


Do you see me in your dreams?

Do we have the same conversations?

Do you wonder if some of it was real

When you wake and start to remember

Or know that you've seen me

And heard my voice

Asked the questions we never said

Started down that road

We couldn't here.


Do you wonder if it was love

Or something else?

A bond built on a toxic mingle

Of separate histories that intersected

For a flash, a moment, a breath,

A piece of darker blue sky.


I still don't know exactly what to say.

Do you?

Could we even speak

Or would the words get in the way?

Would it be better to speak with silence?

Would it get through?

Would it matter

Enough to change the ending?

Or would it remain the same?




Wednesday, April 8, 2020

Reflections in the Time of COVID-19 Continued...

Reflection #3

Better times could come tomorrow, if we hope enough. If we strive enough. If we do something enough.

Does closing myself off from the world become more than an emotional or psychosomatic survival technique and morph into a physical one?

As I sit in my ability to see my privilege surround my daily moments, I know it stems from socioeconomic structures I still can't fully see. Yes, I have worked hard. But so have others who aren't here.

So, why aren't they here?

That's a question we don't ask enough. Or maybe we already know the answers and don't want to acknowledge them. Because our "normal" would be no more and we could no longer see a world created on a foundation of lies and half-truths.

Masks. We're supposed to wear the physical ones now. The ones you can touch and see.

But the ones that people with privilege like myself don't see until it's pointed out is that wearing the physical ones, even to save lives, can put some of us without privilege in danger of being harmed or worse, killed.

As the majority of those in my mostly white, middle-class, suburban neighborhood continue to not wear the physical ones out of defiance, ignorance, or the masks we can't see, those without privilege who wear them are being escorted out of stores, looked at even more suspiciously, and targeted out of fear. Those without privilege aren't choosing to not wear masks because of blindness or out of the inflated sense of security privilege affords, but because they see and experience a different set of rules.

If we're going to learn, if we're going to build a new "normal" that works for everyone, we need to ask the questions and we need to look at the answers without masks.

No, not the physical ones. The ones we can't see until we realize too late that privilege won't protect us from our interconnectedness.



Saturday, April 4, 2020

Reflections in the Time of COVID-19


For as long as I'm able, I've decided to start documenting my racing thoughts, anxiety, anger, and sadness regarding the COVID-19 outbreak. As someone who has three family members on the frontlines in healthcare and as someone who is still considered an essential worker, I am having difficulties sleeping and processing the weight of what is happening around the world right now. I'm not sure if these reflections will help any of you, but it might make us feel less alone.

I cannot promise that certain portions of these reflections will not be political, as I firmly believe that this is partly a political issue. #stayhomesavelives #doyourpart

Reflection #1

What's on my mind? Today I managed to work from home and get most of my lawn work done, but without much concentration. People are dying because the hospitals are already having to make the tough decisions of who lives and who goes without a ventilator or a bed. Don't believe this? Ask a healthcare worker you know on the front lines.

While our president accuses them of stealing PPE and I see people making posts that the media is lying and blowing this out of proportion, our healthcare workers are loading bodies into refrigerated trucks, running out of Tylenol for patients, reusing masks and wearing garbage bags, getting infected and dying, isolating themselves from their own families in hopes they don't bring the virus home, and wondering if they will be next to die at 26 or 39 or 55 or 65. As they cry after and during shifts as they care for patients who have to die alone or say their goodbyes over FaceTime to their loved ones, I hope if you still think this is fake or a media hoax or a Democrat hoax, or this administration is doing a good job or prepared our country for this appropriately, that you don't end up saying goodbye or not to your loved ones this way.

As our cases keep growing due to a lack of a coordinated response and people think things are going back to "normal" some day, I hope you get to see a "new normal," where we fix all the things that have been broken for too long with our country and our society. As more people lose their jobs without a social safety net and as more people can't get the health care they need because our system is based on only profits instead of human welfare, please look at who is advocating for humanity instead of things that are subservient to that. Please realize that the public sector, the government is not a business, is not the private sector and for very good reasons (some of which we are tragically seeing now) is not supposed to be. Nor is it supposed to function like a business, as even econ 101 teaches.

Please let us choose more competent and humanistic leaders who understand the basics when this is over. As people like myself continue to feel disingenuous in professions like marketing during this time when we'd rather be on the front lines helping, we have to find solace in the fact that there are other ways to help if we do a little research or start small with what we can do. I don't know what's going to happen, but I know I don't want my family to die or get sick, but the odds might be against that. I'm making my will in case it turns out to be me. To be continued...

Reflection #2

1. A sign on the store's door begins with the exasperated plea of "please buy only what you need." It's a stark reminder that our overvalued system of capitalism is missing the value of empathy.

2. Signs on the floor remind us to stand back and practice social distancing, but it doesn't stop some from pushing forward too fast and too soon. They are stopped with an annoyed and concerned look and step back. A reminder that this is no longer just about "you."

3. Telling the truth and advocating for others' well-being instead of lies that protect the failures and smokescreens of those at the top sometimes means retaliation. Some of us have known this all too well, but we aren't sorry for doing what was right.

4. More Americans will die or sustain permanent scars than what had to. Examine South Korea's response, see, and learn.

5. Many of us are scared. Some of us feel betrayed. Some continue to hold onto the lie, the con, because it's easier than facing the fact we were manipulated. Some of us were bracing for the day the ominous feelings of 2016 raised, but we had hoped it wouldn't be something like this. No, not the virus. The lack of action/deliberate inaction/inability to understand/lack of cooperation between ideologies/lack of real structural change that nearly ensures this will personally impact us all.

6. We will survive as a species, but will we listen? Will we learn?

7. While I respect the human need to believe in something "bigger than ourselves" and a "guiding force," please be sensitive to the fact that there are many interpretations of what that means and there are those that do not believe in a "guiding force" at all. Prayer and meditation (the spiritual equivalent of prayer) have its place, but as a nation we need to examine our collective actions and choices instead of abdicating responsibility for those actions to an unseen force or higher power. Quite frankly, we are living in a cause and effect paradigm and we are experiencing collective effect. With all due respect, science will provide the answers. If we are to turn to the Holy Bible, perhaps we need to take a hard look at whether Jesus's example would have matched with our collective choices and the choices/characters of our chosen leaders.

8. Differences may exist, but many of them are fabricated social constructs. The similarities we all share are human fragility, vulnerability, and the need for interdependent solidarity.

Sunday, January 12, 2020

Getting Past the "What-Ifs" - Part Two


If life gave us easy answers, there wouldn't be any heartache, what-ifs, and regrets mixed with relief and the wisdom of knowing we made the "right" decision.

The other day as I was watching one of my favorite shows, I was reminded of the dangers of ruminating about the "what-ifs" in life. One of the funny things about collective consciousness is that it's everywhere and can show up with answers and messages in places you weren't looking for them in. Anyway, two of the characters on the show were having a conversation that ended with the words "two of the most dangerous words in the human language are 'what if.' Other people made their choices and you made yours."

In the moment that I heard those words, I reacted with a feeling of wisdom as I smiled a little in profound "knowing." In less than two years, I've made difficult choices to leave environments that had turned toxic for me. These were environments where I once felt safe, comfortable, cared for, appreciated/valued, and enjoyed. I had made investments in each, grown in these environments, had achieved something within each, and both contained aspects that I did not want to let go of.

One of those environments was my place of employment. The other was my first home.

Of course, for years I had known that it was time to let go of each and take the next steps in embracing a different kind of "what if." The kind that fits and embraces who you are now, who you are becoming, and the different needs that have surfaced as a result of growth.

I let go of my employer first, in the spring of 2018. Since then I've debated about whether I should or could have communicated differently. I've wondered if it would have made a difference, while knowing deep inside that the outcome wouldn't have been any different. After all, I'd observed some co-workers with similar issues communicate in more "forceful," "direct" ways with the same results. And - one of the resolutions I had made after leaving my previous employer before this one was to not escalate disagreements, problems, and frustrations in this way. I had wanted to be a better person. Unfortunately, I think that some people will make choices to either intentionally or subconsciously take advantage of those who want to "be the better person."

So, while I'm aware that people around me made their choices that led me to ultimately make mine, I now realize we were in two different stories. I wish that other people's choices had respected me as a person who likes to make her own choices, who doesn't want to be controlled, who values open and honest communication from the get-go. Yet, I also understand the other version and that people are ultimately people, with their own flaws, Achilles' heels, inner struggles, and difficulties. Someday, I hope everyone can move past their inner demons, find purpose, happiness, and the ability to breathe.

At the end of 2019, I finally decided to let go of the home I purchased when I was 31. It was a good first home that I had made several upgrades to in the past three years. However, the noise from the neighbors, the shared walls, and the changes to the neighborhood had become a constant source of irritation. As a quiet, reflective and sensitive person, I need my home to be my sanctuary. This one no longer resembled anything close to that. Despite the sharp increase in CO home prices, I knew I needed a different set-up. That meant letting go of the work and progress I'd made and having to face the reality of starting over on some things in a different house. But as soon as I stepped into my new environment, I knew I had made the "right" decision. It was the same sense of elated relief I felt on the first day of my new job in 2018.

Yet, if I want to be completely honest that second decision of "letting go" has been easier in the moments afterward. I've had to learn that unraveling your heart from a place where you invested your heart in the first place is a process. I'm not sure if I'll be able to do that again. While I'm reminded by one of my own character's voice that "there are no destinations. Only steps. And time," I don't really know if I'm moving. That's the hard part of choices. You make them without knowing what's going to happen. You can't see if you're moving forwards, backwards, or simply stuck on a wheel that gives you the illusion that you're going somewhere.

That part comes afterward, as your choices mingle with others. Producing effects that no one can see until they become a lesson, a chapter, an obstacle, a blessing, a way out, a revelation, or one of the countless moments that make up our existence.

The thing about "what-ifs" is that all choices contain them. And while each of us will probably spend moments of our lives wondering about the effects of alternative choices, the paths and "what-ifs" we made were chosen for good reasons and with the knowledge we had at the time. And, if we had to make choices to respect our boundaries and needs, the real "what-ifs" are the costs of relinquishing who we are and need to be.