The symptoms of suppressed rage and grief are still there, whether we acknowledge them or not. I’ve come to appreciate this as an inexorable truth. As I rankle with my own experience of whiteness, I’ve been paying particular attention to my internalized scripts around conflict. Picture a child holding her fingers in her ears, going, “Lalalalalala, I can’t hear you.” That’s pretty much how I’ve dealt with conflict…
Having recently participated in a webinar about ChatGPT for nonprofits, I plugged in the parameters for a blog post on this topic. In less than 60 seconds, it spit out a fully articulated (if bland) exploration of the topic, including a laundry list of things to do to encourage or invite balance into our lives. If you don’t like it, you can hit refresh and it will do it again!!
The first time it happened, it was really unplanned. I was twelve. My best friend had thrown me over for cooler girls. There I sat at home on a Friday night, not at a slumber party with the rest of them. So, I invited Loneliness over to hang out. Always so obliging, so eager, that Loneliness. Unlike me, she never begrudged being the substitute friend when there was no one better or more interesting to fill the social calendar.
Somewhere in the middle of that discussion, I was hyperlinked back in time to this moment in my early twenties when I had yet another temp job, sitting in the lobby of an insurance company. I was subbing in for the receptionist who was on vacation. On the final day, I listened to the staff upstairs as they enjoyed their holiday party while I sat and looked out the window, watching ice pile up on my car…
There’s an invisible mountain of emotional weight that comes with someone’s itchy trigger finger on the mute button. That seemingly small impediment, the blocked red microphone icon, prevents spontaneous thought from bubbling up, spilling forth, being shared in the moment.
I would never buy a bottle of water.
Many people who know and love me recognize that I have this kind of extreme hangup about environmental waste, carry my own water bottle pretty much everywhere. Given that water in this country is often free and clean, I always wonder why more people don’t insist on doing the same. The answer, of course, is that we’ve been marketed out of understanding and believing it.