Saturday, May 12, 2007

Choosing A Movement

Once, someone told me that my scope and capacity could only be so big. If I tried to work on healing the world, I had o choose my mission and run full strength on that mission. The person, said that there, maybe, I could make impact.

This bugs me.

Mainly because I see the world so fractured in so many ways that I feel a human responsibility to act.

For the first four years of my work in service, I chose to work with young children, helping them have a childhood. You see, for me, a group of friends (one young man in particular) gave me that gift. And though it may seem inconsequential, knowing what life could be like burden-lite was a motivator for me. And in tough moments a safe haven I rolled around in. So logically, mission number one, was doing the same.

From there I chose to do work on the ground with high school students to get them into college. This was/is one of the greatest blessings of my life. The more work I did the more I realized that it was at least in part my calling. There will never be a year in my life, where in some way, shape or form, I do not do this. College access to me, is the grand equalizer. Where you can go from being a young woman born and bred in a low-income community and be given the gift of choice. The world, looming before me after my college graduation was at once the scariest and most beautiful thing I had ever seen. I could do, at that point, whatever I wanted. And so many people had invested in me, it made sense to invest in the communities that shaped me.

Very recently, my role in this has changed. I now seek, identify and motivate other change makers and get them involved for the same causes that grew, challenged and reinvented me. It is my great honor to be a red kool-aid peddler. And I'm good at it btw, solely because my product helps create more whole individuals both on the student and volunteer end. My true and unwavering belief that this is the case, makes me want to yank people off of streets and get them active.

This all brings me to this week. Where I sat in a room with 1,000 other people listening to a call to arms around the cause of Darfur. It took one statement. One, to literally get me to lose sleep the last few days. "Women are in charge of cooking. To cook they need firewood. To get firewood they must go into the brush with the Janjaweed militias. At this point they are in danger of being raped repeatedly. To feed their families, these women must risk rape every single time they walk out of their door." And that one phrase, hurt my heart so deep, I sat the rest of the night hearing the phrase echo in my head. Fighting tears, even when engaging in other conversations. I now must figure out what action looks like.

I am a 6 time survivor of sexual assault. And in my worst moments, it feels more than any human (not woman, human, I have known quite a few male survivors at this point and I honor their path as well) should ever have to bear. The long term repercussions of this violence have left scars I have to wrap my brain around every day. It is my struggle not only in selecting, opening up to and trusting men. But my struggle in everything. My own personal safety, my self-identity. I constantly ask myself to stay aware of filters this abuse could be affecting. I refuse to live a half life running from the skeletons or closing my doors to them and that makes life just a little harder. So to hear that a woman, half way across the world, has to live with that fear more intensely, and bear its repercussions more literally every single day and every single time she fulfills her maternal instinct to feed her home, it absolutely floors me. It makes me want to scream at the top of my lungs to make good people stop and fight on their behalf.

I write this to say, I can't choose one movement, I am a heart divided. There has to be more that one human being can do well. I am in a period of new education of a new issue that I am sure to take on as my own. How? I'm not sure yet. But I can't sit here and pretend that this injustice isn't happening now that I have been made aware. Now I just have to figure out what I do.


Ryan said...

Right ON!! I hate it when people try to get you to limit yourself that way...become an expert now, blah blah blah---Follow your HEART, I say! And that is what you do...

Ryan said...

Right ON!! I hate it when people try to get you to limit yourself that way...become an expert now, blah blah blah---Follow your HEART, I say! And that is what you do...