Darlings, we are not powerless.
I can’t be there at the women’s march in D.C. tomorrow, but I’ll be marching in my heart. We might even march around the living room. It’s SO MUCH LESS than I want to do. It feels so small, so ridiculous, silly even– but then I remember something that spilled out of my mouth last week when I was on the phone with a kindred spirit who was feeling hopeless and overwhelmed by it all. “That sense of futility is the real enemy,” I said, and as I said it my whole body broke out in chills because I had accidentally stumbled on something that I knew was true.
Many of us feel profoundly powerless right now. We have done all the things: we have donated to good organizations doing good work, we have called our politicians, we have written letters, we have made peace inside ourselves and tried to be that peace out in the world. But we feel scared. Angry. Traumatized.
It seems like all our efforts are for naught. How do we teach our children to be kind? Fair? Decent? How do we tell our daughters to go out and be brave when the leader of our country just gave every man permission to assault them without consequence? How do we carry on with our small contribution to the world when it’s likely to be wiped out by laws, policies, and interests that value us and those we love as less than human?
I don’t have a good answer, except–
WE JUST FUCKING DO.
Because what’s the alternative?
We just carry on, my loves. That is what we do. Because if we don’t do it, who will?
Like many of us, I turned to my favorite writers this morning on Instagram. Glennon Melton Doyle wrote, “I’m sad and afraid, but also: HERE. First the pain, then the rising.” Navjit Kandola wrote, “Resist the urge to deflate. Light up your heart.” And Elizabeth Gilbert made me laugh out loud because she wrote, “Without Voldemort, Harry Potter is a very ordinary boy. Without the terrifying challenges of darkness and evil, Harry never would’ve had the opportunity to find his own power, his own strength, his own leadership, and his own magic.” She went on to say, “So…who will be our Harry Potter now? I want it to be you. I want it to be me. I want it to be US.”
ME TOO, loves. ME TOO.
And for us to be the light in the darkness, we have to disbelieve the great big fat lie that we are powerless.
It simply isn’t true.
We have immense power right where we are.
I don’t mean this in a naive way. I’m not just whistling and hoping for the best. I fully acknowledge that some very fucked up shit is going down and by nature I’m a suspicious pessimist. I can believe in conspiracy theories much more easily than I can believe in affirmations.
But here’s the thing. Maybe you don’t have the power to change things out there in the world. At least not this very second, not yet. But you have enormous capacity to make changes RIGHT WHERE YOU ARE. In your home. In your office. In the classroom. In your neighborhood. Community. Town. School district. Church. Business association. Country club. Vacation community. Preschool. Book club. Alumni association. Mastermind. Mom’s group.
Guys, you have ENORMOUS power. And it starts inside you, right inside your own mind and heart.
It’s easy to forget that, because the media has us focusing waaaaay out there, out on all the scary and ridiculous things. I am not suggesting that we hide. No, not at all. We come out into the light, blinking, and look around. We see who we can help right now, today, this week, this year.
Do you know a kid who’s having a hard time? Do you know a mom who’s losing her mind? Do you have a colleague who’s getting stonewalled? Is there a family in your neighborhood that’s struggling? Is there an empty position on your local school board or city council? START THERE. Find a place in your own real world where you can make a difference, and start making it.
We are not powerless.
In fact, we’re going to show the ones “in power” just what we’re made of.
So if you’re marching tomorrow, please put my name in your pocket. I’ll be marching with you in my heart. And if you’re home tomorrow, make that immediate world a better place however you can. Clean it up so you can think straight. Do some yoga, so you’re strong for what comes. Write a check, make a phone call, send an email, cook a meal, volunteer to join a board, do a random act of kindness.
I find that when we’re doing what we can do that’s right in front of us, bigger things tend to find us. I think that doing the humble things– the ones that seem too small to matter– is actually how we build our muscle for the big things. And if you believe in such things, it just might be how the universe knows we’re ready.
We’re in this together, dearhearts. I believe in us.
P.S. I’m sure I’ll receive an email from someone, perhaps a fellow English major or perhaps someone who’s into the law of attraction, who’ll tell me that a double negative (not powerless) is weak writing, and that I should just affirm that we are in fact powerful. But it’s important to recognize the lies that are floating around out there, and in this case I think it’s time to shine a light on this particular one. Even insidious lies lose their power when we look ’em square in the face. So shine the full gaze of your radiant gaze on this one, and let’s evaporate it together.