The world has been a tough place lately. (Understatement.)
I undulate between opening up wide and trying to absorb everything, listening and trying to learn as much as I can, and just shutting down because it's too much.
I think it's important to do both. How are we ever going to grow in ourselves and in our understanding of other people if we don't listen to what they are going through or have gone through? Everyone has his/her/their stories and we must be ready to hear them.
But in hearing them, so much evidence of hatred seeps through with it. A straight smack in the face for people who have largely been able to live outside of it, and how others can be so goddamned cruel. If I cover my ears I could just go on believing that most of the world is good, but that does not do a service to people who have been affected as deeply, daily, as they have.
And so I keep wondering, How do I help?
I hear so many different responses: Speak up. Say nothing. We need you. This is not your fight.
And so I am often rooted into "inaction" because I fear doing something "wrong". That whatever path I take will inadvertently add to the clamor of instability, misunderstandings, and/or injustices.
I have never been so worried about this before because acts of love were always so straight-forward to me. I felt most people could see that I desperately try to come from a good place. But now it seems like acting or speaking from love is harder to identify because of all this other shit going on, because maybe it isn't enough right now, or because things are just much, much more complicated than that.
Before, I often said I don't care if you are black, white, gay, straight, Christian, atheist... and this came from a good spot. In that I wanted people to understand I saw, and still see, the humanity in them. But I understand that, because of these differences, people have had experiences I haven't. And this is important to me. It is.
So, I just want to say I am listening. I am listening and I promise I am trying. I am trying to open myself up and hear you and understand how people can be so cruel to each other without letting it destroy me or you or this entire word. I want to believe it can get better. And maybe some day I'll have the courage or the wisdom to start speaking out, but for now, I am listening. And I care.
Come tell me your story.
Tell me your dark nights,
tell me your dreams. Tell me of the
hidden scars I could never
that live inside and
under your skin,
behind the edge of your teeth
and that gentle place of your heart.
I see the humanity in you —
it is all I have seen
But I know there is more.
I know there is more I cannot know
because I am not you —
come tell me your story;
I will listen.
Tell me how it has colored
tell me over and over, in dark-veiled conversations
and in the bright unashamed eye of day.
Tell me until you have said everything
you’ve needed to say.
Until we, all of us, are a blindingly
beautiful swirled mass of fabric and paint,
patterns and shapes and shadows
and words and hands and hands in tender grasp,
together. Different, you and I,
and the same.
© s.e. carson <3