Some days are just more difficult than others.
There are mornings I wake up and can’t wait to hop out of bed and go eat breakfast. Other mornings, I can’t explain why I have this dreadful feeling at my core keeping me pinned under my covers.
I don’t think there is a person on this planet who cannot identify with that feeling. Everything is safer in the comfort of your warm bed.
When you first wake up, your mind has not yet encountered all the world’s grievances of that day. It’s a fresh start.
As soon as you pull your phone from the charger and ‘plug-in’, everything shifts. You are no longer ignorant to the shitty things that happened while you were lost in dreams.
You are forced to be a walking, talking person rather than a sleeping zombie. You have responsibilities to attend to and expectations that have been thrust upon you by others that will determine your worth in their eyes. Time to get up.
Every day, you have a choice. You can stay quiet and be reserved that day, simply doing the bare minimum and choosing to not draw attention to yourself OR you can be upbeat and responsive to those around you.
There are some days that I wake up to see horrific news stories and think “No, not today. I don’t know how to appropriately respond to this so I just can’t. I have to stay in my bubble.”
There are other days that I think, “I have a voice. I must say something. Silence gets us nowhere,” and then proceed to write a politically charged Facebook post or sit with my friends and talk about the news, all of us just trying to figure out how to make a difference.
Staying quiet is the easier choice. It is always going to be easier to do nothing. Always.
Deciding not to post a response to current news does not mean that you do not care, but I experience a sense of guilt having a privileged voice and not using it.
On the other hand, I never want to post something and act like I understand a struggle that I have never had to endure. I am privileged, I am white, I need to act accordingly. I need to recognize that my voice is not the most important one here; I am simply the echo of a much more important voice that is muffled by the sounds of power and ignorance. So when I feel I can, I will use my privilege as a vehicle to get those people’s voices heard.
Some days are just harder than others. But you know what is harder than getting out of bed on those days? Being the person that the news is covering. Being the family member of the person that the news is covering. Being a member of a community that is being pushed under the water and just when they get to the surface and start to take a breath, get pushed back down by the hand of power.
Some days are hard for everyone. But some days are unbearable for others.
Pull your head out from under the covers. Breathe in the air. Remember that you are lucky enough to be waking up that day. Check your privilege. Be a person, an active citizen of a fucked up country. Use your voice. Whether you use it publicly or privately, use it. Write a letter, make a phone call, talk with friends, educate yourself. Let the cries of victims’ family members seep into your soul and respond to that pain with action.
Wake up, stand up, speak up.
Thank you to Sylvan Huynh for the Check Your Privilege graphic. Visit http://www.redbubble.com/people/theonlysylvan/shop to shop all of Sylvan's artwork.
To see more designs by Sylvan, visit http://sylvanvisualmedia.wix.com/portfolio.