My heart is breaking again today.
I’ve been cycling through those first four stages of grief on repeat and on shuffle for the past few weeks, and the last few nights have been restless and fearful. I know I am not alone in this, but it’s hard to remember that sometimes, when everything seems so big and so very wrong.
Today, a man who has lied, bullied, and cheated his way into power will lay his hands on a sacred book and pledge to serve us all. I do not believe that he will serve anyone but himself.
His promise is bullshit.
I will make a real one, to myself, today.
I can promise to serve as many people as I can, for the next four years and beyond, in whatever ways are within my control.
I can promise to learn from my friends who are from different backgrounds, and continue to understand, in deeper and newer ways, that my own experience is not universal. I can pledge to be a better listener, a better advocate, and a better ally. I can reflect on all of the many ways I’ve screwed up in the past: where I have not listened, where I have unintentionally hurt others because I was not aware that my words or my actions were ignorant or selfish. I can swallow my pride, apologize, and move forward. I can do better.
I can share my heart, my home, my resources with those who need it. I can comfort those who are grieving and who are afraid.
I can pledge to listen more.
I can pledge that when I talk, it will be to affirm a simple truth: helping other people is good. (That’s what this all boils down to, isn’t it? Helping others is good. It’s the way we all survive). If you don’t already believe this, I don’t yet have the words to convince you that you should care about other people, but I will do my best to find them.
I will recognize and call out injustice when I see it.
I will try to educate those who are genuinely ignorant. I will not tolerate those who are willfully bigoted.
I will speak up on behalf of those who are afraid.
I will teach more children to develop skills of kindness and empathy.
I will teach adults to do the same.
I will ask for help when I need it.
I will march tomorrow and use my body and my voice to join with other bodies and other voices, shouting as loud as we can that hate has no place in our home. I will remember that the march is only the beginning; it is symbolic of the real work, which is longer, and harder, and more difficult, and more complicated.
I will allow my setbacks to propel me forward, not sink me into despair.
I will read more books.
I will learn from the women who have come before me. I will learn from their courage, their mistakes, their frustrations, their incremental victories.
I will cry. I will be angry. I will allow those feelings to move me forward.
I will remember that I am fighting for all of us to live freely, to pursue happiness, to love whom we love, and to do it in a place that is safe. I am fighting for our right to education, and our right to control our own bodies. I am fighting for all of our rights to be free and be happy. I am fighting for our right to love and be loved, even if I do not know yet what form this fight will take.
I will remember that I cannot do this alone.
I will remember to tell you that I love you.
I will fight like hell for all of us.