Once you really understand something to be true, there is no placing the butterfly back in its cocoon, or cat in the bag, or potato in the potato can (now you have a sense of my dietary preferences).
The more time I spend on this precious green and blue sphere, the less the compulsion to question myself, à la Phoebe Robinson’s Please Don't Sit on My Bed in your Outside Clothes.
If I wrote a letter to young people today, it would say:
Believe your perceptions, they're all yours and they're important. You may not be correct all the time, but that doesn't mean your voice lacks credence. You'll drive yourself nuts in this world questioning yourself as much as you do!
Even as others may not understand your experience, you do, and that counts. You may not always be popular if you choose to move against the status quo, but you'll be able to rest soundly on your cool pillow at night. Just make sure to be good to other people, too.
Take to your deep breaths, good books, kind people, and pen and paper when things get hard and you'll make it through.
Also, success is not a thing. It's a store-bought item that breaks as soon as you open it.
See an earlier post of mine pertaining to Paul Simon for similar musings.
Part of accepting that your perspective has credibility usually means choosing to speak. The pandemic revealed significant blind spots and mutual opportunities for elevating voices not traditionally heard.
Recently, Douglas County Voices from the Community Report was published, regarding residents' experiences with prejudice, racism, and social determinants of health. It could be easily missed amongst everything else happening in the internet ether. One quote in particular, I'll highlight:
"As I think about health, I think about the stress of having to navigate these spaces. . .[and of] constantly being aware."
How can we make our community spaces feel less stressful for all its citizens? How can we turn down the levels of cortisol? Thich Nhat Hanh wrote, "Your true home is in the here and now."
I can imagine for some, though, that continuous threats and subsequent vigilance born of trauma may not contribute to a feeling of being home.
Now is the time for fresh movement. Your voice is important, even if it hasn't immediately found recognition. The Lawrence-Douglas County Public Health Department is conducting a survey on Community Health Issues. There is so much that we simply cannot control and yet, if we start somewhere, all is not lost.
One day everyone will be heard with equal weight.
That is, the weight of being human.
Christina Holt, in collaboration with community residents. (2021). Health Equity: Voices from our
Community, Douglas County, Kansas. Center for Community Health and Development, University of
-Theresa Bird is an Information Services Assistant at Lawrence Public Library.