“I say into the phone, “Mom, it’s hard sometimes to know if you’re making any difference at all.” And Mom says, “Baby, don’t you know how lucky you are? They used to burn women like you. Bust down every door you have to and bring in everyone you can right after. You got a voice, right? Well then. Use it.”
— “Roll Call” by Cristin O’Keefe Aptowicz
I’ll be honest: I do not need another project. Not another self-imposed project, not another “growth” project, not another “it’ll be great – trust me” project. I am officially on project overload until further notice.
Which is to say that this project is being birthed out of necessity. It is to say that I have lain awake for the past several months thinking about this vague idea of a project and then dismissing it because…well…I just don’t need another project.
I have gone through many iterations of what this may look like in my head and, ultimately, I don’t know what form it will take. I have some ideas I will keep to myself in case I don’t follow them. There will be writing – I will post something, weekly, for a year, I promise that. And there will be careful listening before the writing to determine what I should be writing. I’ll be listening for what rises to the top and writing that — and listening for what is deeper, and writing that, too. I have never been one to swim in the shallow end of the pool.
Here’s the truth about this project: I am scared about our president-elect and I am scared about the next several years. I am angry, and I am something that feels like fearfully emboldened. As we close in on Inauguration Day 2017, I know in my bones that I am supposed to be doing something in this world that I am not doing. I am supposed to be giving something I have not yet figured out how to give. I am scared of becoming a click-and-share activist, which is to say that I am scared of becoming someone who reads and shares on social media but does not put her body or her voice where it matters. I have not figured out how to make more time. I have not figured out how to make my mental, emotional, and physical resources stretch farther so I can be more places and do more important, worthy things I want to be doing. Perhaps what I can do is stretch my voice. Perhaps I can expand it. Perhaps expanding it means that more people read it – or perhaps this is only read by 3 people who know me and think I’m cool. Perhaps it means that I write more frequently. Perhaps it means that I write more boldly, more authentically, or in a more embodied way.
Here’s the thing: I don’t write politics. I know I don’t serve anyone by writing the issues that can be better articulated by people more intelligent and more well-versed in the topics at hand than myself. But I have to do something, and right now, that something looks like writing. It looks, specifically, like writing boldly. It looks, specifically, like writing with bold honesty: a holy boldness, full of the voice that I can bring to this time we find ourselves living in together.
The timing of this post as we begin the week leading up to the Inauguration is not accidental. Rather, this timing feels right in a way that New Years and immediately post-election did not feel right. I have been sitting on this idea for months, waiting for it to become clear, waiting for it to be the “right time,” waiting to have more time, waiting for the procrastination and excuses to fade. The time, I think, is now, procrastination, excuses, and busyness be damned. This timing now is right. I can feel it.
Here is what I can promise you: I promise not to pretend to have my shit together because I don’t. Holier-than-thou writing does not impress me: it is the rugged grittiness of truth that encourages me to stay here, engaging, fighting, fearfully emboldened and attempting to live into this holy boldness with you. Attempting to live beyond bravery. To take the risk to blossom*.
We, none of us, can do these four years alone. As we move forward into a time that feels so uncertain, I feel small and inconsequential. It feels as though what I can actually do is so very, very little — and yet I will bust down any door I have to. I invite you and all your friends and neighbors in to sit at this small table and feel whatever connection it may offer. Will you sit with me – with us – whatever that may look like?
Will you come along for the ride?
*”And the day came when the risk it took the remain in a bud was more painful than the risk it took to blossom.” – Anaïs Nin