I wish I could say that I felt shocked. But I can not.
Charlottesville, VA– The place I learned to look more deeply at the privilege I hold. The place I first began to learn the depths of adversity and to truly question our society. Today saddens me, as I am sure it does you.
But I can no longer say that I feel appalled. The horrible things that happen in the world today no longer surprise me. The unfortunate reality is, that currently, brutally violent and horrifying actions have come to be expected.
In a lot of ways, I see all the things I never thought nor imagined would happen, turn into reality. A lot that of factors have been desensitizing us up until this point. Video games, movies, and social media are embedded with violence. We no longer see images on a screen as people. We are too far removed. We have grown accustomed to seeing blood, gunshots, and the loss of a human life on screens. We have seen it so much, that we no longer connect with the fact that it is happening to a human life.
Then, there is the layer of privilege. Often, we see and hear about the things people are experiencing, but our privilege keeps us far enough removed that we do not experience it for ourselves. We are not facing and experiencing these very real consequences in our day-to-day cushy lives.
Because of the color of my skin, the pigment of the cloak that covers my bones, I have the privilege of feeling a certain level of safety and respect within society.
Our sisters and our brothers walk around feeling like moving targets. Maybe it’s an unkind glance this time, or a snide remark. Or maybe it gets worse. Maybe violence starts. Maybe a life is lost. And is it really all because of pigment? Or gender? Or any sort of difference society skews to make someone feel less than a person, to feel like an object, or a walking target?
We need to take a step back from our privilege and step into connection. If we were to realize the ways we are all connected to every living, breathing thing, would we still act this way? Would we be able to see a life lost on TV and still go about our day? Would we allow laws to pass that tear apart our natural environment? Would we see someone else as less than ourselves? As less than a person?
As these horrific occurrences continue to happen in our daily lives, I do not want to be desensitized. I do not want my privilege to prevent me from taking action. But I also know that I cannot carry it all, nor fix it overnight.
But that does not mean I cannot do anything. What I can do today, is take a moment to connect, and encourage others to do the same. Today, I can feel and experience these things with every living, breathing entity that surrounds me.
Breathe. Connect with your body, your breath, and your mind. Notice the way the air you breath connects you to every other living thing. Every person that inhales becomes a part of your exhale. Learn to connect with yourself so that you can see the ways you are connected to everyone else. We are all one. We are all connected. Be kind. Be compassionate. Breathe.