One of the most significant things I’ve learned as I’ve gotten older is the importance of ones’ willingness to learn and grow. We become new people every day. With each encounter, every heartbreak, every good or bad deed we commit, we evolve. It’s important to remember that staying stagnant is a choice, and that with each day, comes new opportunity. A chance to shed our weathered skin and show the world a better version of ourselves. To apply new knowledge and show how we are made better by it.
This is more important now than ever.
The world is in limbo. We reject those who are different from us. We villainize those across our borders who seek nothing but asylum and a better life. We push our history lessons out of our minds and allow families to be separated and put in camps. We block these things out because, yes they’re sad, but they don’t directly impact us.
We silence women and bury their stories. We let their perpetrators off with warnings, community service, and with the confidence to go out and do it again. We turn on those who speak their truths because ignoring it is easier than facing it. We don’t hold our friends accountable. We stomp out the flames until they’re embers. Still hot, but not enough to be kept up at night by it – the way that she is.
We hold men to ancient standards of manliness and strength. We tell them that their self-worth lies in their fists, their pocket books, and in their ability to dominate. We scold them for showing emotion as if it’s a sign of weakness. As if things like love and loss are ever things we should be ashamed of.
We ignore racial injustice. The systemic ways of oppression that have plagued our country since its birth. The demonetization of those who were ripped away from their homes, their culture, and their loved ones. Tasked to build a country that refuses to recognize them in the same way as those who held whips and wore hoods.
We condemn the LGBTQ community. We criticize fellow human beings for being born a certain way, just as you or I. We close our ears to their hardship, their shame, and their stories. We push them back into their closets and lock the door. We give them air to breathe, but not too much.
We kill the planet in which we reside and ignore our Native brothers and sisters who have spoken of this for centuries. We knowingly poison our water and the people who are trying to protect it. We turn our backs when they tell us you can’t eat money. You can’t take it with you.
All I ask is that we reflect.
I am not who I was yesterday. I am made new by my choices and my circumstances. It’s okay to mature from our past selves – to not find contentment in them. I choose to acknowledge my wrongdoings. I choose to forgive. I choose to move on. I choose to help those in need. I choose the harder path, the one less traveled. It is on those paths that we truly grow. It is on those paths where we will find peace.