photo by Mil Ranon
Late last night I accepted a challenge.
One that makes my stomach bottom out.
Because if I do not meet this challenge by Jul 29 …
I have to make a $5 donation to the NRA.
The theory behind the challenge being this:
when we do not put our work out in the world
(especially work meant to positively change hearts and minds),
when we let our fear silence us
(as I confess, I have hugely let my fear silence me),
our silence, in effect,
is SUPPORTING the very things we say we oppose.
The ills of the world occur,
not because of the actions of random dark souls,
but because of the inaction of hundreds and thousands of people
who stand complicity silent and ALLOW those dark things to occur:
people who see racism occurring and say nothing,
men who see women being raped, abused and harassed and say nothing,
adults who see children being harmed and say nothing.
Those who turn a blind eye to cruelty and oppression of any kind.
The step I have to take to meet this challenge is nothing dramatic.
It is “giant and scary” only to me,
but it is the first step toward putting my voice and my true work out in the world,
and though most of my work in the world is tethered to gender issues,
a $5 donation to the NRA
was a stomach-churning enough symbol to drive the point home to me.
If you are not actively putting your love and talent
toward what you value and believe
you are inadvertently supporting its direct opposite.
photo by Pierre Pedelmas
I am posting about this challenge because:
a) I found it so compelling when it was presented to me,
(my entire body went cold when it was mentioned)
I thought you might find it compelling, too,
and reflect on it your own way; and
b) I wanted to up the ante
by publicly acknowledging that I’ve taken this challenge on.
I will not tell you what the challenge is,
but I will share whether or not I successfully meet the challenge.
And I promise to be honest.
The “lost choice” is a myth.
Inaction IS a choice and its own action.
The work I long to do in the world SCARES me.
I feel small ALL the time.
I feel irrelevant ALL the time.
I feel isolated and lonely ALL the time.
I think: “no one wants to hear what you think” daily.
My fear silences me.
When I started this post,
I was writing it nonchalantly on Facebook.
Because it feels safer to post a thought there
then to “publish” a thought here on my blog.
There I’m a “peer”.
Hitting publish on my blog has a different energy.
It isolates my voice, singles me out.
It is me claiming my space.
That is scary.
But I accepted this challenge.
And I am a woman of my word.
I … am a woman of words.
So, July 29.
Two weeks to meet this challenge.
I accept the terms.
What are YOU holding back on in life?
And what negative thing in this world is served
by YOUR inaction?
I invite you to ponder the challenge I’ve accepted
and think about what the equivalent of it would be in your world.
Feel free to take this challenge on with me, in your own way.
Post in the comments if you want to join me in this.
Just know that your word is your word.
Will you honor it?
p.s. thank you to Heather Day for issuing this profound challenge to me. You are Springtime, my friend.
UPDATE: Aug 3 — Woo -hoo!!!
I’m pleased to report that I did, indeed, successfully meet my challenge.
My first attempt at completing it got derailed
(despite 3 days straight of me pouring hours of work into the effort).
But things always go as they are meant to
and the derail prompted me to go another direction entirely,
one that brought me back to my foundation of being a woman,
not only passionate about giving a voice to the voiceless in this world …
but also a woman madly in love with stories and words.
“If you are an interesting story, I would like to know you.”
This is my tagline. This is who I am!
I love writing!
And I’d forgotten the LOVE part of it
(the JOY part of it)
in the shadow of trying to figure out
how to best use my words to help better the world.
This shift in course has started a domino effect
of me re-strategizing several projects I’ve been working on …
seeing a new, exciting way to creatively tie them all together.
But, isn’t that how life always goes?
It’s always the knocks off course that help us find our truest path.
And so … onward.
This challenge was simply the first step toward something.
Now, I keep walking!
I SO hope that YOUR challenge (if you took one on, as well) went successfully, too.
p.s. Sorry NRA, no donation for you!!!