Pushing Through

The post-holiday plague that I managed to come down with last week is continuing. I didn’t make it into the office at all last week. I worked from home Thursday, Friday, and Monday; I made it into the office on Tuesday, but just barely. I’m definitely improving, but it’s slow going.

Monday night, I had a gig. By the time I got sick, it was too close to the gig to try to get out of it, and I really wanted to go, anyway. I practiced over the weekend, and prayed I could get through the 25 minute set without going into a coughing fit.

It started off a little rocky. I felt shaky, and not just from the usually performance-induced butterflies. But as I continued to play and to sing, I felt myself falling into a groove. The longer I pushed through, the easier it got to keep going. By the end, I felt pretty good about how the whole thing went. As soon as I sat back down to listen to the rest of the performers, of course, I felt completely wretched. But what I want to focus on is the idea that doing the work is what makes the work easier to do.

I feel like this is going to be an important lesson to remember as the year wears on. There is no pretty picture to paint about the political landscape of America right now. There’s a lot of work to be done. I feel totally overwhelmed by it. But if I can just push through and take the first few steps toward sustainable action, the sense of overwhelm will, if not lessen, become easier to deal with. Just like practice improves ability at anything else, forcing myself out of my comfort zone repeatedly will expand what’s included in my comfort zone.

I’m not saying that I’m doing a good job of applying this lesson right now, because I’m not. But it’s a thing I’m going to work on. I hope you’ll join me.

Looking for Light

I’ll be honest – I wasn’t sure what I wanted to say this week, and I’m still not totally sure that I’m saying what needs to be said, or that I’m saying what I am for the right reasons. But it is what it is.

I don’t often veer particularly political on this blog, but given recent events, it was really only a matter of time.

This seems to be one of those weeks that just feels so incredibly dark, not necessarily in my personal life, but in the world at large. People are being particularly horrible to each other, with notable examples in both states I have called home. I feel like every time I log into social media (which is where I get most of my news these days), there are more and more reasons to scream and feel really horrible about the state of humanity.

On the one hand, I don’t want to do anything to make light of the horrible things that are happening, and I think they deserve all the attention we can give them. On the other hand, I find myself looking around for reasons to believe that it’s not totally hopeless, because hopelessness is not a thing I can cope with right now.

It’s tempting to believe that the world is broken beyond repair. But you know, when I look into the darkness, that’s where I find the light.

I have friends protesting at the 4th precinct in Minneapolis (and supporting the protesters in innumerable ways), demanding #JusticeForJamar, facing arrest and police brutality as they stand up against corrupt power. I am so proud, and so in awe, of the incredible people I know, and I am well aware that I might not have that courage if I was in Minnesota right now. I know people who are facing off against incredible odds because they believe the world can be a better place, and they’re doing what needs to be done to make it so. Justice doesn’t come out of unjust situations on its own. It takes work to dismantle oppressive power structures, and I know people who are doing that work. They’re making me think about what concrete steps I can take to join them in that work. And they’re reminding me that as long as there are people willing and able to do the work, there’s a chance that the world won’t be such a horrible place forever.

Jamar Clark’s Family’s Fundraiser

#BlackLivesMatter Minneapolis Bail Fund