If I’m going to be living with anxiety my whole life, I’m going to goddamn write it all out.
Here’s to life again. I’ve been hiding in a shadow for a little while.
It hasn’t been fun.
I have been scared of most things.
And I do not cope well with being a scared and dependent person.
I want to laugh again. I want to float around the world like it doesn’t have a point or a harm for me, nor I it. I am tired of fighting the world.
I am tired.
So let’s talk about other things for a little while.
We are officially homeless at my work.
The movers are moving everything today, and we should be ready for work again on Monday. It seems metaphorical to our work with displaced persons, that we should be displaced across town together, with all the chaos that comes with movement.
I want to have coffee in Sudan.
That’s going to take a lot of work.
Getting better has to be my number on focus for right now. And it has to be my focus for the rest of my life. We’re all trying to survive. But the way my mind tries to help myself, like many of you can probably understand, leads me astray. Just entrenches that bad behavior, instead of flowing away from it.
I want to stop looking for safety, and find it within myself. I want to stop looking for a savior, and find it within myself.
Can I save myself?
Can I save myself?
So today we helped the community get to our new buildings, three bus stops and a hour and a half later, we’re there. We all wait in the sun for about 20 minutes, and then do the trip back.
We took Troost. One image along the bus route– a young man and an older and sitting on a bench along the street, playing chess in the June sunshine. There was another man waving a shirt around on top of the game.
Walking to the bus stop. Somali women with babies on their backs. Brightly colored clothing. I wonder if they ever fear what I fear. I assume they probably don’t fear life in the same way I do. They are just trying to have life.
I guilt myself with my privileged hell I’ve created for myself, and then I try to also realize that everything is relative. And mental illness is constantly dismissed as a legitimate obstacle to overcome.
So what, you’re worried about touching the hand holds inside the bus? You see your coworkers from Somalia, Sudan, Azerbaijan, and Iowa who are all over this bus. They’re having a great time. They are maybe bored, but they are not in constant fear.
They are right for this job. What the fuck am I doing here?
And then I realize, no one belongs anywhere.
No one belongs anywhere.
We all belong everywhere.
We all belong everywhere.
I have a conversation with one of the volunteers on the bus ride back. And we talk about getting out of our comfort zone, and I tell her I’m really happy she came today.
We talk about how you can donate money, you can throw resources at non profits, but the real work to be done is bridging the divides. To hearing the voices. To becoming a world community, so that we do not need the non profits anymore.
I talk to my coworker from the Middle East, and she tells me “HA! Why cannot we be political in our job? Why can we not protest and mobilize the community in a radical way?”
We are supposed to ‘stay out of politics,’ so that we do not push away any potential donors.
Well, why do we want those donors anyway? Money is money. Support is real.
Let’s have some support, let’s raise voices, not just money.
Money, money, money.
I talk to my coworker some more about a few issues and roadblocks I’m having with mobilization.
“Don’t worry! Never worry! Just try, do, and go from there. If it goes badly, you don’t do it again. This is how the world began, and this is how it must continue to survive for the whole. With risk and chance and change. Change always.”
Find something you love more.
Find something you love more than your fear.
I am in an abusive relationship with fear.
America is in an abusive relationship with fear.
Our world is in an abusive, obsessive, toxic relationship with fear.
Abusive relationships entrap everyone around you. And these prisons are covering the world.
We have walls of fear dividing our colorful world.
And I don’t want to contribute to the walls anymore. I want to devote my time to breaking them down, whatever kind of walls they are.
Find something you love more than fear.
It’s hard as hell. And we can’t compare fears. We have to accept them. We’ve all got our own.
But we don’t have to let them affect us.
We don’t have to let them affect us.
We are a society of fear.
We are human.
We are scared. We are powerless. We are transient.
We are running. We are crying. Scraped knees and long hot summer days without anything to drink.
We are the people of the world.
We all like to smile when someone smiles at us.
And it’s really just as simple as that.
It’s about a smile.
A smile is the opposite of fear.
A smile is acceptance. A smile is saying that I trust you not to hurt me. And a smile is realizing that the world is a place with no real trust.
A smile is a leap.
Anything and everything.
Nothing is known. But we have to keep going.
And we have to feel what is happening in others lives, even though we are in our own mind struggling. Struggling. Struggling.
How to take something so internal. So haunting to the self. And move forward and think of the human race. Put yourself out there.
Shake hands with every person you see on the street. And don’t use hand sanitizer.
Sit next to the people of the world on the bus. Walk next to them in the street.
Introduce yourself, even when they don’t know your language and you don’t know theres.
Realize that there is more to life than fear.
Realize there is more to life than the old ways.
Tear it all down and start again.
You should be respected just as much as the oldies in the race. You should respect yourself just as much as the ones who have been doing it for decades.
You, you who have no experience, have something that the others don’t. You have the ability to listen.
You have the ability to be molded. You have the ability to change. You have the ability to become, even when it feels hopeless. Even when it feels like you’ve lost your art, you’ve lost your third eye. And you tried to learn the office eye. But it is eating you alive.
It’s eating you.
You don’t have to let it.
Make it yours.
How do you make it yours?
How do you make your life yours, and put yourself forward with respect, and not placing others below or above you, but shaking hands with them as equals? Every goddamn person you meet. Every goddamn person you meet.
I feel overwhelmed, honestly. When there is so much to care about, it’s easy to check out and focus it all onto yourself.
“It’s me. I am unable to do what I need to do.”
These are the thoughts from the system. You are not the system. Exist outside of it. Be an idea person. Be a person.
These jobs that we require tend to take away agency from a person. We’re taught with our first job that the “customer is always right” or else we will not have a job anymore.
The customer is above us. We are below. This is ingrained into most of us early on, and some of us for a lifetime.
So I guess what I want to take away from today is the confidence and agency of a person who is doing exactly as they should. By my own standards. Trusting myself. I know what is best, and once I can acknowledge that to myself, the pity party can end and we can really start to get down to the real life.
We can live in the real life, and we can stop hiding in fear behind words and rituals and lines.
After we got back from the bus training, I went straight away from the world, and sat in my car. I sat in my car, and took in everything that had been happening that day. I thought about the weed and face tattoos at the bus stops. I thought about the sweaters and pizza boxes and booze bottles lying in the grass on the bus route. I thought about all my coworkers who were set on their own kind of revolution. And I thought about the strength of a solo revolution. And I remembered the power of a group revolution- remembering my experience in the mountains of California and the tundra of the Arctic.
I went back to my first week in Kansas City, where I talked to a friend from California who asked me what I wanted out of this year. I told him I wanted to work on connecting people. I wanted to get outside of my comfort zone, and I wanted to help others get out of theirs.
He asked me, how are you planning on doing that?
And I paused for a second, we were walking, and I stopped in my place.
“I don’t know.”