It's not because things aren't happening in my life - they are. In fact, almost too many things have been happening. I bought my own home, I moved to the 'burbs (barely), I settled in at my new job, I made peace with leaving the old job, I played a dream role in Hairspray, I began my first steps towards an academic teaching career, I committed myself again to being the athlete I secretly am underneath my chubbiness, and, oh yeah, I agreed to do a burlesque show. Things are happening. Lots of things. I race from one place to another, from the moment I wake up until I collapse back into bed, exhausted, after 12+ hours away from home, then I wake up and do it all again the next day, with no reprieve.
But these things have felt really, really insignificant in the face of what is happening outside my very privileged bubble.
Since I last blogged?
There's been over 500 terrorist attacks around the world. In places we assume are safe, like Brussels, and in places where fear is now a way of life, like Afghanistan, Iraq, Palestine, Israel. Syrian death tolls are now estimated to be well over 400,000. Scores of families displaced, destroyed.
Brock Turner got off with three months in a county jail and a lifetime ban on competitive swimming.
Fort Mac burned.
Jo Cox was murdered for being committed to uniting her constituents and her country.
Trump continues to get away with spewing bigoted, misogynist, ignorant hate with no signs of it letting up, while Hillary is vilified as the anti-christ.
And Orlando. Oh, Orlando. My heart literally aches with sadness and with a white-hot fury that America can still not make the connection between gun control and the prevention of horrific massacres.
It's hard for me to think I have anything worth saying, in the face of the trouble our world is in. Now, more than ever, I'm finding it difficult to see the good, amongst the war and the hate and the climate destruction, and no amount of cute animal videos shared on Facebook is going to fix this, for me or for any of us.
It's tough to feel helpless. It's tough to feel like the life I have built for myself is frivolous, ephemeral, compared to the suffering that also exists in this world. It's hard to know where to begin to make changes in my own life that can actually have a positive impact on our wounded world. Sure, I can (and do) throw money at the problem(s). I can volunteer more, recycle more, protest more, be more aware of my privilege, understand more, listen more, forgive more. Yes, there's so much more. And also, I can be, and do, less: buy less, judge less, talk less, be less focused on myself, be less complacent in the face of injustice. There's so much more, and so much less, that I can do, and be, that I don't really know where to start.
But I think where it has to begin for me, right now, is with love. 49 people died in Orlando for being brave enough to love who they wanted to love, to love themselves for who they were. The only response to Trump's hate rhetoric, his ridiculous visions of walls, of deportation and banning of those who are "other", the only response to the madman that killed Jo Cox over a fear of difference, to governments who will not welcome refugees fleeing for their lives, is love. Unity, not division. Love, love, love. I commit to being brave enough to love more, every day. Love my family, my friends, my colleagues, my community, strangers near and far, of stepping outside my comfort zone to show more love. If we can all commit to being a little more loving every day - to consciously acting in a loving way towards our fellow human beings and our world - even doing one small, deliberate, loving thing each day, then maybe we can drown out the evil, the hatred, the sorrow.
Lin-Manuel Miranda (as Benedict Cumberbatch is my husband, so Lin is my best friend) shared, in verse, his thoughts on our world, at this time, at the Tonys last week, during one of his many acceptance speeches for Hamilton. His sonnet has now been shared millions of times, but there a few lines that have stuck with me every day:
We chase the melodies that seem to find us
Until they're finished songs and start to play
When senseless acts of tragedy remind us
That nothing here is promised, not one day.
This show is proof that history remembers
We lived through times when hate and fear seemed stronger;
We rise and fall and light from dying embers, remembrances that hope and love last longer
And love is love is love is love is love is love is love is love cannot be killed or swept aside.
What can you do to be more loving? And when will you start? For me, it starts now. I won't say love is all we need (with sincere apologies to John and Paul), but it is where we need to start.