sketchbook philosophy

While some seek to
make our world
less unified and diverse,
I'll imagine cities 
packed with colorful harmony.


I’ve been away. Away from writing. Arting. Any type of routine. And in this time away, the world’s troubles have multiplied and become more complex. As has my distress. So, what happens when you’re mad as hell, don’t want to keep quiet, but also long for peace and normalcy? I ask myself this question almost daily, but no answer has bubbled to the surface. Instead, new questions arise.

What do I do while I wait for the answer? Do I spout off, act up, make good trouble?

Or do I settle down and get on with my life, hoping for the best when it comes to the injustice and inequality I see?

For me, it’s impossible to look the other way, but that impossibility isn’t because I’m so brave or wise. It’s just written somewhere in my genetic and spiritual code.

Face the problem. Call out bad behavior. Push for fairness. Push more when challenged. In fact, push until they surrender to goodness. Push. Push. Push.

I’ve been like this since I was a kid, and at times, the drive to act feels burdensome. Heavy. Unwelcome. Especially when there are a million other things that need my attention. Especially when making noise feels scary and unpopular. Maybe this is why lately I find myself waffling between the desire to distance myself from those who choose to look the other way and the desire to join them. Between wanting to end relationships because of contrasting ideology and wanting to accept others’ right to an opposing opinion or disinterest in the current state of culture and politics.

One thing I know for sure, I’m not the kind of person who wants to try to persuade people to my side. At least not anymore. I probably discovered this a year or so ago and it’s tied closely to the fact that I’m an overgiver. The thing is, after years upon years of offering help, feedback, or deeds to folks who didn’t appreciate it, I noticed how physically weary and emotionally spent I felt when I delivered to a closed door. It’s the same thing with concepts and ideas. People either get it or don’t. Either care or don’t. Still, up until last month, the teacher in me continued reaching out to friends and family, hoping to pass along knowledge and form coalitions and huddles to fight the good, progressive fight. Was I surprised that my calls to action were met with a silent majority? A little, but it's okay. I don’t have power over what others count as worthy or true, but they also don’t have power over what I deem important. That doesn’t stop me from feeling sad, though, and when I see large meet-ups broadcast by Women’s March, Indivisible, and Swing Left a pang of jealousy strikes me. I’d enjoy it very much if the people already in my life and my community had the same energy I had to build a progressive future.

As a writer and artist, much of my time is spent on my own, sorting through ideas. I work in a quiet, solitary place. I'm also always alone when I push send on a submission. I'm not the first to feel lonesome in my craft. And I think another part of my genetic and spiritual make-up is to be sturdy enough to handle all of this creative aloneness. But in a world gone topsy-turvy, I'll admit: this Creative could use a tribe.

Lucky for me a couple of handfuls of people in my world are like-minded, and of those, a few have joined me in creating a fuss. I’m quite grateful to these women. And today, amid a whirling twister of confusion, chaos, and probable corruption at the White House and within the Republican party, it felt critical to thank them and anyone out there who’s part of a small group or is completing their day-to-day activism alone. I honor you, in your slight gatherings and individual presence, for showing up, not keeping quiet. For refusing to deny that persistent voice inside.

“There are others like you," it says. "And across time and space, you create a massive entity. So push on. In the name of equity and dignity for all, push on.”