It was brought to my attention, after changing my IG name, that the messages we have received our entire lives contradict one another. As children, if we are lucky, we are told to reach for the stars- to dream big. We are told that we can do anything. As adults, we see all of these messages that are disguised as positive, but are really meant to keep us nice and tidy and in line. Deviations are inconvenient. Let's just say "everyone wants progress, but no one wants change".
I worry specifically about phrases like "If you want to change the world, start at home" and "First I was smart and I wanted to change the world, now I am wise and I want to change myself". Who exactly does this mindset help? If the expectation that we have for our people is that they are only responsible for their little square of earth- that seems like a very low bar. Like somehow the fact that am actively trying to learn and grow myself is enough to make everything better? This world we live in is much bigger than a 10 mile radius we run to and from daily. And the effects of what we eat, what we say, what we touch... they ripple to everything. Why, then, would I only be responsible for what looks back in the mirror?
A friend of mine broke it down to mean that we must start with ourselves... but those of us who can, have a responsibility to move further. If you have the mental capacity to think past making it through the day, you are gifted. And you deserve to be life-changing and life deserves you, too. In fact, it needs you. It's like we've become so concerned about being kind that we forgot to be real. We drew lines and decided that you can't ask me if I think it's ok for my kids to watch scenes about violence but not scenes about sex; but I can tell you you look pretty like it was my decision to judge what you painted on today. What we really need more of is parents getting together to have conversations about why a teaching methodology makes sense, and no one puts walls up but instead hears intently. Cause FUCK I want to do a good job. I want to surround myself with people who tell me that parenting is the most intense form of therapy instead of "well, I turned out okay" and I want to stop apologizing for wanting to make the world a better place and wanting to learn how from everyone who wants to do it also.
She says, people with high IQs lack all common sense while she doesn't realize the joke was made about someone right next to her, and maybe the common sense you think you have really just comes from the ignorance of thinking you got the joke. Maybe when you should "worry about yaself" is when you told your kid to never smoke as you lit up while running late for the show that's already starting inside. And maybe the guy with the gun to the cashier's head is the very definition of "worrying about himself" and making sure he gets to eat, or drink, or sleep somewhere with more than cardboard underneath him. And that shit is getting old. Worrying about yourself like the world is just a sum of each of us. Let me tell you something. A group of people pulling in a tug-o-war are only as strong as HALF of their strengths combined. TRUE STORY, look it up, it's called social loafing. The sum of each of our parts is not the same as the sum of each of our efforts and maybe if we actually believed the effort was worth making, if we believed it was important, if we believed we were entitled to internalize the struggles of the world, MAYBE we would make the effort.
Where would we be if we all had worried about ourselves? Where would black people be? Women? Gays? You, so worried about yourself that you forgot to make it out to vote for those also worrying about themselves when writing laws and exemptions to those laws that benefit themselves. Maybe if I put it in rhyme and flowed with a beat someone might actually hear that I don't give a shit if it's not my place to "fix the world" because it makes you feel a little bit small that I think I might have brilliant ideas. If I'm letting you in on all my secrets, it's not just me that has them. Listen to the voice of the 4-year-old, or the demented Ms. What's-her-face that HIPPA makes me shush about, brilliant ideas that we silenced in statements of "If you want to be successful start by making your bed" and microaggressions that took away the sense of responsibility we had.
We even added it into words like "She got drugged", "she got pregnant", "she got raped". Worry about yourself. Like it was her responsibility to keep it from happening, this expectation that if something happened it was becuase she wasn't careful, dressed appropriately, drinking cautiously. She wasn't worried enough about herself. Isn't it time we worried about something much bigger than ourselves? In truth, the only responsibility we actually have is to STOP worrying about ourselves, and start worrying about everything else. If we didn't have the responsibility of us, we could actually accept that when someone says something, it might not be about us at all. We could put walls down and accept information as it pertains to the greater good, without crying in class about your professor thinking people who failed at committing suicide never wanted death anyways. Because it's not about you. None of it ever was.