Sunday, June 26, 2016

History Has Its Eyes On *Us*

If you have looked at the news or been on any form of social media recently, you will have seen something about "Brexit." Now before you think to yourself ugh, another opinion post about Brexit and scroll past this, bare with me for a second. I promise this isn't an opinion post about Brexit. Well, not really.

For those of you who are interested and don't know what I'm talking about, please click here.

So if I'm not really talking about Brexit then why am I bringing it up? Well I want to talk about my current favorite musical Hamilton... and a thought that struck me today while I was listening to the song "History Has Its Eyes On You." In this song General Washington is looking back on a mistake he made, using himself as a cautionary tale, telling those listening to be mindful because their choices will affect the people that come after. He warns them, particularly Alexander Hamilton, that "history has its eyes on you."

Back to Brexit for a quick sec. This decision, if the UK does indeed break away from the EU, will affect people in generations to come. And, it's important to note, the vast majority (approximately 75%) of people under the age of 25 voted to stay in the EU. Meaning most of the people who will be living with this decision the longest, voted against it.

Not seeing the connection between Hamilton and Brexit yet? One of the founders of the US sings this short but powerful song about thinking through your decisions and learning from your mistakes. A message that we all need to hear constantly. But this year in particular, on a macro-level. The world is changing. The UK just voted on this referendum that will change economics and the EU and immigration and many other things. The US has a major election this year that will decide its fate for years to come (think: Supreme Court justices). We need to realize that history has its eyes on us. Future history books will talk about these decisions. We need to make sure we are making the best choice not only for us but for the people who are coming after us. For the people who will have to live with these decisions.

I also want us all to listen to the voices of people that we might normally ignore. The "young people," the "poor people," the "uneducated people." But, from my context especially, I want you to think about the young people. The under 25ers who mostly voted to stay in the EU. The people in the US that "feel the Bern." The people who are told that they are the future but who's current opinions are usually ignored. These people are not the only the future. We are the NOW. We have a voice that matters at this very moment. Please, don't dismiss us.

History has its eyes on us. All of us.

Monday, April 11, 2016

Tu me manques.

This has been a difficult post for me to write because it’s about loneliness and I don't always feel lonely, which is a wonderful thing. But today the waves that are a balance between loneliness and whatever it's opposite is reached high tide again. So here I am, months after I started this, writing. 

A pen appeared and the god said:
"Write what it is to be
man." And my hand hovered
long over the bare page,

until there, like footprints
of the lost traveller, letters
took shape on the page's
blankness, and I spelled out

the word "lonely." And my hand moved
to erase it; but the voices
of all those waiting at life's 
window cried out loud: "it is true."
                                   The Word by RS Thomas

Loneliness is something that I think everyone experiences differently. For me, loneliness is usually me missing someone. The French expression for “I miss you” is “tu me manques” (maybe you’ve seen this before) which translates to something like “you are missing from me.” And I think that’s what loneliness is. My mom was here for Christmas and it was wonderful! I loved showing her around and spending time, just me and her. But when she left, I experienced stronger loneliness than before she came, even though I had just spent a fabulous week with her. She was (and is) missing from me. Now this week one of my sisters is playing an important character in her high school's musical and I'm missing it.

Like I wrote above, loneliness comes in waves. Some days I see a picture of something or, like in today's case, I watch a show and somehow something reminds me of what is missing from me. I thank God that this isn't a perpetual state or I would have gone home months ago. But I think it's important to speak to our loneliness because like the poem states, loneliness is part of what it is to be human. We all experience it. And I'm not going to write about how to get over said loneliness because I don't think that's what is important here. I think naming and acknowledging my feeling is important. And knowing that, in time, this will pass. Because the ocean doesn't permanently stay at high tide and neither will loneliness.