Truth is, I was scared.
Not of anything external.
But rather, of myself.
Or, at least, my likely response to something external — that being the whole wide world around me, and the continuing political and social lunacy incited and inflamed by He Who Shall Not Be Named.
No need to rehash the last four months, much less the last four years. He will do that himself, either in person, online, or from prison, repeating the same lie ad nauseum, until it no longer fattens his wallet.
The point is, like a rotting, stinking, zombie, every time we reasonably think that thing is dead, it pops back up.
Here we are, more than four months after one of the most divisive national elections ever, followed by weeks of discord, 60-plus failed court cases, and finally a terrifying, treasonous attack on the Capitol by insurrectionist trolls, and it still won’t die.
Each passing day of non-passage brought more worms of frustration and fear and concern for the lasting evil this one man wrought.
They burrowed so deep into my tired writer’s brain that I haven’t been able to write much of anything. Every attempt, no matter how innocent or unrelated the topic, veered off onto some trash-covered back road of angry abstraction.
So, rather than expose the dark spots on my soul, I just stopped writing.
And for that, I say, shame on me.
Now I don’t want to suggest I came to this point of self-correction purely due to my own intellect or intuition. Far from it.
This time, as with so many others, I saw the truth only through a friend’s eyes.
Just recently, I was kvetching to a dear and respected friend and fellow writer about my self-imposed writer’s block (I won’t name him here, to protect the innocent.) Turns out, he’d been suffering the same blockage.
Interestingly, we share many connections, but our politics differ. Yet, he too hasn’t been able to sort or sift, much less dispose of, his own anxiety over the impact of the recent presidential election.
He admitted he too, had “opted out” of the writing game rather than lose the intended message or open himself to potentially cruel criticism.
I’ve said it a million times if I’ve said it once: there is more that binds us than divides us.
This revelation – that it wasn’t just me – was just what I needed to clear my mental clog.
Knowing that someone else shares your struggle is often ennobling and emboldening. It brings strength like braiding cords into a rope. It brings courage like linking arms against an opponent.
Yet, knowing someone agrees with you isn’t enough.
One must also choose to act – and more importantly, accept responsibility for choosing.
I believe to the core of my burdened bones in the grace of giving. “Charity” is a soul function that both defines and measures our humanity.
But Giving and Getting are equal parts of the equation. Frankly, too many people ignore the “getting” part because they fear, or are too lazy to deal with, the responsibility that comes with accepting someone else’s reflection, nudging, guidance, or even criticism.
And for that I say, shame on them.
Look, it’s simple: if a gift horse appears and nips you on the nose while you dither around checking its teeth, don’t blame the horse.
So, with gratitude for my friend’s camaraderie, I hereby reclaim my God-given voice and promise to use it to say whatever I feel like saying, however I want to say it.
If you agree with me, fine. If not, fine. But you-know-who created problems that, we now know, won’t go away anytime soon – maybe by accident, maybe on purpose.
Either way, there’s so much to do to fix what is so clearly and awfully wrong right now, and the first step is to speak the words.
About the state of the world, or the state of my spirit.
About things that lift up or things that pull down.
About the flowers of spring or the flowers of death.
About everything terribly important and nothing terribly consequential.
Whatever the subject, I have a voice and I will use it.
I must overcome any obstacles.
Even those self-imposed.
And I will.
Because I am a part of We.
And we must overcome.
And we will.