gratitude.

The rain and grayness of the day feel appropriate. It suits what I think so many people are feeling. Chadwick Boseman’s death was announced last night, and I feel like for a lot of people it’s like a last straw. I don’t know, the world just feels especially devastating today, especially broken and sad. I think that losing people like him who seen so powerful, so invincible, and above all so good makes keeping the faith really hard. But I know that this day will end and this collective grieving will eventually end, too, and hopefully there’s something better for all of us on the other end, even though it really doesn’t feel like it right now. Most days I post affirmations on my Instagram story to set the tone for the day or reflect on something that was important to me that day, but today I couldn’t decide on something to post. It felt wrong to claim joy or beauty when the world is broken in so many ways. But I guess if there’s one thing I’ve learned, it’s that grief and pain, of others and of ourselves, require, no demand the presence of love, joy, and gratitude. There is no beauty in choosing darkness out of respect for suffering. Too often, we see the pain of others and feel the need to diminish our joy in response to it, out of respect for it. When we ourselves feel great pain or loss, we feel like we have also lost the right to joy and love. We feel obligated to our pain, like we must spend all of our time feeling it. We feel that the proper way to grieve is by locking ourselves in a room with only our grief, by burying ourselves alive with our grief. But truly, the only way to honor loss is with love, joy, and most of, gratitude. When you witness the losses of others, let it be a reminder not to take things for granted. When you experience loss yourself, let it be a chance to cherish the opportunity you had to love what you’ve lost, and a reminder of all that you still have. It’s disrespectful to people’s pain, and your own pain, to ignore the beauty in your life. It’s disrespectful to act as if you have nothing when you see that someone else has lost something. I truly believe that the only, the only way to honor loss is with gratitude.

I do feel a little lost today. I feel really confused by the world, and by the bigger picture. I’m finding it terribly difficult to find comfort, and to ignore the various ways in which the world and humanity are being ravaged right now. But what’s grounding me are constant reminders of everything I do still have. I have a warm bed and a safe home. I have food in my belly, and time to be alone. I have space to grieve my own pain and loss and the pains and losses of others. But above all, I have the power to take action against the injustices that are causing so much of all of that grief and pain and loss. I have a laptop, from which I can donate money and sign petitions. I have social media accounts through which I can both connect with the pain of others and share information about how others can join the fight and take power back for themselves, too. I also have the opportunity to use my social media as a platform from which I can amplify black voices, and black joy. I know this post is about me, because this is my space or whatever, but that’s not what my social media is for. This is one of the few situations in which I’ll say this, but my voice really doesn’t fucking matter right now. Social media is my opportunity now to amplify the voices that need to be heard and listened to, as well as share information that white people need to educate themselves on. I am so grateful for these opportunities, because they give me the chance to help others while also melting away bits and pieces of my own pain. Helping others is also helping yourself. Empathy is power, I’ve always believed that.

The truest thing that I know is that you cannot be grateful for what you have without also wanting it for others. This is one of my most fundamental, core beliefs. You cannot be grateful for your safety, for your comfort, for your health, for your home, for your access to food and medicine, for your loved ones, without believing that everyone, and I mean everyone deserves to have those things too. And you can’t be grateful without dedicating yourself to the fight to ensure that everyone has those things. So today, and all day, I choose to express gratitude for all that I have. And then I’m going to get to work and fight to change the world so that everyone else can one day be entitled to those things, too.

I’ve said before that every day I write a list of 10 Gratitudes. This is mine today:

  1. my health, my safety, and my comfort
  2. the resources I have to help others and to educate myself
  3. my friends and family
  4. the connectedness between my mind, body, and spirit
  5. the knowledge that there is joy in the world
  6. the deep-rooted feeling that better things will come
  7. peppermint tea with oat milk and a spoonful of sugar
  8. books. all the books.
  9. writing, having that as an outlet to work through and process things
  10. feeling the full spectrum of emotions

My mug seemed like an appropriate photo.

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