I spent the morning writing in circles.
My husband asked me when I came out of my writing cubby, “So what did you write about this morning?”
“I wrote about slowing down and Covid, and appreciating every moment, then I thought about George Floyd and it felt wrong to be writing about anything but. I tried to write about the kids, about the frustrations of not seeing them and that felt superficial. I started to write about dealing with anxiety during these times and that didn’t work. Of course there’s anxiety? The world is troubled. We can’t just do down dog and feel better. We have to more than that. All of our problems feel small and unimportant right now.”
And he responded, “But we know they are not. Just right now they are.”
I sent a text to my friends and asked them if they’d seen anything good on new vocabulary.
“I feel like we need a new vocabulary. White women over 50 have a lot to learn. We have to speak in a more conscious way even if we thought we were not “racist” and we were raised as open-minded and liberal. It turns out we were not. We didn’t do enough. We were silent when we should have spoken up. Now when we speak up, the words we use may not be appropriate ….there’s new language and better language.
There’s so many new terms and so much to learn. “A run on books about racism has reordered best-seller lists, driving titles like “How to Be an Antiracist’’ and “White Fragility’’ to the top. And language about American racial dynamics that was once the purview of academia and activism appears to have gone mainstream.
Half of my Blogging group made up of 12 women over 50, all white, wrote about the protests. They felt like they had to. I was so glad they did. We were in a space where we could discuss what we were learning and how we were falling short.
Since many of us can’t alter the C-suite, our day to day actions are where we can do better. We were in agreement, determined to do the right thing, but unsure how best to proceed.
I was talking to my 20-something friend about how the world has shifted over the last 3 weeks since George Floyd was killed. She told me she was having a hard time posting about her new business with all that was happening in the world. I so get that. I urged her to please post. She is launching something fantastic and it’s important to her to get the business off the ground. I told her we need to live our life in balance.
And then I tried to practice what I preached and I realized I too am having a hard time writing.
Guilt and fears of mis-stepping are having their effect. This is a time to listen, read and learn. But I want to talk about the challenges of learning, I want to talk about how to do better.
Yesterday I rode my bike with the destination of joining a moment of reflection a friend told me about in our community. Amy Schumer was leading a circle to remember George Floyd and take a knee. She has been doing this for the past few weeks.
Riding my bike to this gathering felt like the right balance. Breathing in the smells of sea and meadows and all that is fresh and good filled my soul. Reflective but energized, the ride worked its magic of calming. It was easier to ride knowing I would join this circle. Just showing up felt like I was doing something.
I set aside my bike and joined the 30 or so people at Beetlebung Corner in Chilmark. Amy Schumer spoke beautifully about our world and suffering and the importance of remembering. “,”Say his name, say his name, say his name she repeated… she was speaking about Ray Shard Brooks. He was shot in the back by police. He didn’t have a gun. #rayshardbrooks #sayhisname And it was emotional to join our voices.
It felt good to have connection with this group who was trying to work through how to honor what had happened and better understand their role in moving forward.
There’s so much to learn and we must keep trying. Even if we stumble, we need to keep learning and try to help bring about this much needed change in our society.