I Don’t Send Light

“Sending love and light.” A phrase we use to show that we love and care about what you are experiencing. But what if there is no light to be seen? What if you are so deep in the trenches of sorrow and sadness that the darkness devours everything around you? Like a plague the darkness spreads and encumpasses everything you can see. The light that others send can’t penetrate the darkness, and instead the light is swallowed and never reaches you.

 

When you can find no light, what good does sending light to you do?

Rather than sending light to you I have an alternative. Where no light exists I will be the light.

I will not be swallowed by the darkness. I will shine brightly beside you, lighting your path so you can manage.

And rather than throwing you the ladder and telling you “climb out”. I will secure the ladder and climb into the trench with you. From there we can manage to get out together. As a steady and calm presence I will be there with you. While too consumed and burdened with your troubles to even see me I will still be near you.  When you do notice me beside you, the words we speak will pierce through the darkness.

 

When you are ready you may join me in the shelter of my light.

 

When you are prepared for the journey out I will stand behind you and escort you to the ladder that awaits us.  At your pace, we will climb out from the trench. You are never alone for a single moment. Each step you take you know I am beside you. Each time you think you can go no farther you feel my gentle support nudging you onward. So you keep climbing.

 

Suddenly the darkness isn’t so sharp. As we make our way out together you see the light of day. Another notch higher and you can hear birds chirping. With each step on up it gets easier to manage. When you doubt yourself you know I am still there. So you make it to the top. You leave the trench behind and let the sun pours down on you.

 

When you experience unimaginable hardship, I will not send you light. But I can be your light. I can be your guide as you make your way through these dark challenges of life. I will never send you light, because I can be the light.

Celebrate Yourself

As members of the human race, we put so much pressure on ourselves. We pressure ourselves to look a certain way, feel a certain way, dress a certain way, all of this pressure! This pressure that makes us have regrets, or find disappointment in ourselves. But it’s not fair, and it doesn’t improve your life.

Being a child care and birth professional (preschool teacher and doula agency owner), I see so many parents putting pressure and labels upon themselves. I see it in person when a parent struggles with a choice. “Should I start feeding her puree, or should I do infant lead weaning? My mom says I should start with rice cereal.”

I see physical struggles when newly postpartum moms feel like they are supposed to bounce back instantly. Celebrate your body, it just created a new life. You may never do something that awe inspiring and amazing ever again.

I read it online. So many facebook pages have women labeling themselves “I’m a regret momma, I didn’t know better!” or “I’m a loss mom.” or “I’m a bad dad today, I let my toddler eat a bowl full of chocolate.”

Just like that postpartum mom, let’s be gentle on ourselves. I believe that language is so powerful. Instead of giving yourself a negative title, give that title to the moment, and let that moment pass.

Sometimes we regret, sometimes we struggle, but we always do our best. Seeing where are, and moving past that moment is worth celebrating. Celebrate yourself. Celebrate that you left the house for the first time, with your new baby. Celebrate that you will be able to laugh about your toddlers candy meal years from now. Celebrate the challenging moments that you have overcome. Spend your life celebrating your triumphs instead of focusing on your failures.

Speaking Up

When faced with injustice or tragedy I’m the type of person who stays silent. I just feel like the awkward part of me emerges. This part of me that doesn’t relate, or doesn’t understand how to say the right thing. So out of fear for saying the wrong thing, I say nothing. I think that feeling resonates with a lot of people.

Recently a woman, someone I consider hilarious, inspiring, and awesome, posted on a public forum that she was scared to do her job. Essentially, she feared how clients would treat her based on her dark skin. I posted a simple message:

“This is a perspective I know exists, but I’ve never seen anyone actually living it. I’m sorry for your struggle, and I’m sorry that you would feel unsafe because of the color of your skin. It isn’t ok, and it isn’t fair.”

A seemingly simple message. Well someone corrected my message. She told me that she was calling me out. She said the way I phrased my statement was one of condescending sympathy. At first I was paralyzed, my intion was absolutely not to belittle anyone. That is never my intention. And then I was mad. How dare she twist my words? As I recently discovered, and continue to recognize, anger stems from other deeper emotions.

I wasn’t mad, I was scared. I was scared that when she called me out it would keep others from lending their support. I was scared that her critique of my post would keep me from speaking out against injustice.

I never once felt like I said the wrong thing. There probably was a better way to say it, but my message was crystal clear- everyone should feel safe in social situations. So I responded to her saying essentially just that. She may mean well, but calling out someone who means well rarely does any good.

The people of color liked what I had to say. Can I also note that saying people of color makes me feel icky? It makes me feel exclusive. Maybe I’m naive, but can’t we all just be people? People who strive to make the right choice, and be kind, or at least decent, to each other. Is there a PC way to say ‘people with dark skin’? I know African-American is off the list because not all dark skinned people are from Africa, but I don’t actually know what to say and that makes this topic all the more challenging.

Anyway- the people who I was lending support took it. They said that what you say isn’t as important as what you stand for. If you are like me, and you stay quiet because you don’t know what to say work past that. It’s important that we all stand for social justice.

I also feel like I never know the whole story. How can I have an opinion without all the details of the event? Maybe they did have prior records. Maybe they were reaching for their gun. Maybe they were a dirty cop. Maybe they did just make a poor choice. At the end of the day I don’t actually want to pick a side on these issues. I’m uncomfortable talking about police brutality, and I’m uncomfortable talking about Black Lives Matter.

I absolutely hate making statements because I don’t want to make the wrong one. But maybe if I talk more it will become more comfortable. Being able to comfortably have constructive discussion about social justice is important. I think it is important to work towards being more inclusive. Be more accepting. Spread more love, regardless of who you have hate for. If you’re like me, continue trying to say the right thing even when you don’t know how.

 

“Darkness cannot drive out darkness: only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate: only love can do that.” Martin Luther King Junior.