Someone recently told me they were surprised to find out that when I first moved to Maine that I absolutely hated it. I was surprised that this person didn’t know that I actually hated Maine, hell I still have days when I am ambivalent about this place. Let’s be honest, Maine is many things, but for a Black woman from Chicago who is actually pretty fond of Black folks, this can be a challenging place. Sure, the state has changed in my decade here, I no longer go days without seeing another person of color, my life is fairly settled, all reasons to have a better attitude, but what really changed is me.
A number of years ago I was faced with a decision, I could either walk around with my half empty, cynical perspective about life which only fuels my anxiety or I could let shit go. I reached the point in my life where the amount of energy it takes to get fired up about every injustice is simply more than I can afford.
Don’t get me wrong, I still have setbacks. I still have moments when I get caught up, generally after talking with someone or reading something that reminds me of how fucked up this world can be and all of a sudden, I see nothing but sorrow and pain. Then I am riding the life is shitty roller coaster, trying to figure out how to get off. I don’t presume to speak for others, but that roller coaster is one of the worse rides at the amusement park of life. I would much rather ride the carousel of joy, that finds peace and joy in the midst of storms. On the carousel of joy, I can see the bad stuff, but I also see the good stuff.
For me giving into the anger and frustration long term creates a less than mindful me that finds myself acting up in ways that I am not proud of. I admit this post is a tad more woo woo than usual and probably more for myself than anyone else. Yet as I read this piece over at the Purpose Fairy this morning, I was reminded of the value of seeking joy. In a recent post I did on “us versus them” I heard some feedback that left me feeling uneasy, I momentarily felt bad that I wasn’t angry enough at the powers to be that are no doubt trying to oppress people. As someone whose first political action happened at 17, I have always been keenly aware of how fucked up our political system is. In the 22 years since I first got involved, the system has only gotten worse and I wish I could say I felt things are going to get better. I just know that for me, anger doesn’t serve me well anymore. I think anger isn’t serving anyone well, angry people become scared people and scared, angry people do irrational things.
In the end, while there is a lot we can and can’t do; how we choose to view or react to any given situation is often within our control.