Uncomfortable

The quarantine has provided ample opportunity to spend time with the self; to look inward, evaluate, and take the time to consider new understanding and/or growth.

It’s also been a reality-check in that we have the choice to lean into it or run away from it. “It” being the self. There’s been plenty of weeks, especially in the beginning, where I had decided to binge-watch TV, cook everything possible, and sleep more than necessary.

But ultimately, almost daily it seems, I end up facing my self.

With these one on one conversations, a lot of challenging things have been laid on the table: Do I like my life right now? Are my priorities something I feel good about? Do I like the people in my life? Do I like the way I am living on my own? With my significant other? When quarantine is over, do I want to go back to the life I had?

I’m sure you have asked yourself the same questions. Or at least heard them whispering in the back of your mind, not engaging. Especially with the focus of the world right now on BLM, politics, and human-rights. I hope we are all taking the time to look inward; taking the time to uncover truths about ourselves, even if it’s not what we want to see.

UNCOMFORTABLE.

That seems to be the word that is most fitting to this strange time. It’s uncomfortable to be with ourselves. It’s uncomfortable to have our routines broken up. It’s uncomfortable to be locked inside without distraction. It’s uncomfortable to be faced with the truth of the hate, racism, and inequality that exists in our world.

Are you leaning in? Are you embracing it? Are you allowing yourself to feel the discomfort and open your mind to change or growth?

I hope so. I hope it’s true for you in whatever way it needs to be.

On a personal level, I’m realizing my own ignorance. I have lived in this privileged bubble of rainbows and sunshine, assuming that I have been doing what I’m “supposed” to be doing, assuming that everything does and will continue to work out okay for everybody somehow, and that racism was a thing of the past.

I have admittedly allowed myself to be uneducated when it comes to politics because it gave me an excuse not to make a decision. Or more so, not to have to take blame for anything; I didn’t have to take responsibility for my beliefs and choices because I claimed not to have any.

But I recognize now that this is cowardly and unacceptable. By not taking action, by not taking a stand, I have chosen a side. I have stood against the voices that need to be heard, the lives that need to be helped.

My Fellow Humans,

I am sorry for my ignorance. I am sorry for my silence. I am sorry for not recognizing my privilege. I am sorry that it has taken so long for me to see truth. I am sorry that I have not done my part.

I can’t promise you I will be perfect. I can’t promise you I won’t continue to make mistakes. But, I can promise you that I will remain opened up. My eyes are open to see what is reality vs. what I wish was reality. My mind is open to learning more about the things that I don’t understand. My heart is open to responding in empathy and with the drive to participate in change.

As each day passes I am conscious of what “moving forward” can look like. I am trying to be realistic regarding who I am and what I am capable of. And while it’s not something I need to proclaim to the world so I can be seen, I wish to share my ideas here. Partially to inspire the growth/action/change of others who can relate to what I’ve said, but also to be open to guidance and corrections if these things are not what is needed right now. Again, I admit to my ignorance and commit to being open…

I have felt guilty for not participating in protests. But, the idea of a high-energy crowd loudly proclaiming their truth leads me straight into a panic attack – unhelpful to anyone. This isn’t about me. And there are other needs within this movement that can be fulfilled by people like me – not everyone belongs on the front-lines. It’s okay to admit that.

So here’s what I have committed to:

  • LEARNING
    • It’s time to get my head out of my ass. I have acquired various resources through which I can educate myself more on the history of human rights, the ways racism still exists today, the politics that effect these things, and how I can be a more supportive member of an equal society.
  • VOTING
    • I voted once. By force. I could have participated consciously in 2 presidential elections, and countless state-elections. I know the impact of that now, and I am ashamed that I have let it get this far.
    • I am studying, I am registered, I am determined to take a stand and make a choice.
  • DONATING (TIME AND MONEY)
    • I am a big believer in the idea that individuals cannot care about everything. It would be too overwhelming and we would never make an impact. It’s okay to choose 2-3 things you are passionate about, not spread yourself thing. You’ll be able to give more and be more present that way.
    • I now understand my personal platform and am committed to being more active in those areas. My personal choice is to match the time and money I spend on my hobby (running), and dedicate that to those chosen things.
      • If I spend $120 on running shoes, I’m also going to donate $120 to a charity/movement I believe in.
      • If I spend 5 hours a week running, I am also going to spend 5 hours educating, reading, serving, etc.
  • PURCHASING POWER
    • This is a tough one for me. It’s so easy to go to Amazon and grab the cheapest thing that will get here the fastest. But, easy isn’t always better. I have started asking myself: Who am I giving my money to? Does this company align with my values and the things I say I care about? Would I put my face on the billboard of Company X?
      • If I say I believe in protecting the planet, should I purchase a product that comes in 12 pounds of non-recyclable plastic?
      • If I say I believe in human rights, should I purchase from a company that doesn’t pay people of color or women the same as white dudes?
      • If I say I want to help put an end to human-trafficking, should I be watching porn?
    • Think before you buy. Every dollar makes a difference.
  • LEADING
    • By owning Find Your MAVERICK (FYM), I have chosen to be a leader. I have the power to choose what kind of company this will be, what we stand for, how we treat people, and what other companies we support/partner with.
    • FYM is committed to promoting equality, openness, and empathy.
    • FYM is committed to standing up for what is right, even if it means a loss of business.
    • FYM is committed to admitting when we don’t get it right and making it better.

I have so much more to say, but I am ending this post here.

The conversations and the learning have only just begun. Please feel free to reach out if you want to have an open dialogue about anything you’ve read here. Please feel free to correct me if I have said something inappropriate. Please feel free to ask for help if this has moved you to make a change.

We are all in this together.

I want to remind everyone that your actions, growth, and support do not have to be public to be valid. We live in a strange world where social media and “living out loud” have created a heightened expectation of performance.

Please do what you think is right.  We’re going to move forward, we’re going to keep living. Educate yourself, keep an open mind, and speak when your voice is needed (in whatever form it presents itself, i.e. voting, conversations with others, purchasing, etc.)

Love you, humans.

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