Do I Want to Battle with the Old Ways or Co-create New Ways?

I had an illuminating experience last week. Sleep deprivation (I'm on day 10 of 3 hours of sleep a night) + multiple funky situations I witnessed on Instagram got me up in my feelings. I was anxious, frustrated, and angry. My brain wouldn't stop obsessively processing. I wrote thousands of words as I worked through my thoughts. 

Eventually I realized the source of my angst is deep despair for all the pain I see, and for the people on the side of social justice who are adamantly defending dehumanization in the name of accountability at all costs. I questioned why I bother and whether anything will ever change.

I wrote a few posts from that angsty place and it caused me more anxiety because I walked the edge of criticizing the popular justice narrative and we're not supposed to do that. I got a small taste of the big fear a lot of young people are feeling right now and it was awful. It was the first time I had to disconnect from social media for a couple days to emotionally regulate. 

Now I'm reflecting on what I really want to write from here. I could continue getting caught up in reaction to the ugliness I see, or I could offer visions of other possibilities. 

I believe we suffer from a lack of imagination and visioning of alternatives to supremacy culture. I think we need to start imagining what an equitable, liberated, consent & nurturance culture would look like in action and then start practicing in our little spheres of influence.

This is what we did during my years with The Impropriety Society. We created a values based, safe space to be free and celebrated for authentically expressing ourselves, which is too rare in this world. While I can't create physical spaces anymore, I can inspire others to envision and explore ways of relating safely in families, groups, and communities. And while the dominant culture will be very slow to shift, I have to remember culture is remade by the individuals on the edges who try something new.

I didn't enjoy last week's experience, but I'm grateful for it. It showed me I'm lacking intention about where I put my attention both as a reader and a writer. Fortunately serendipity stepped in and I'm listening again to voices that speak to the best of humanity rather than the worst.* I'm being reminded of what I'm working for. While I will inevitably have moments when I react to the dark side of human relationships, I'm committed to exploring new possibilities for being and working together. 

*The latest episode of On Being with Ocean Vuong is beautiful. I'm also reading Mariame Kaba on transformative justice and Valarie Kaur on revolutionary love.