I Lit a Fire With the Love You Left Behind

My brain is buffering.  My thoughts are lagging.  I feel the pressure and weight of the world around me pressing into my face, like soft bricks, blow after blow, day after day, it seems that everyone is being beat down in some form or another, and my brain cannot keep up.  I read my social media timelines everyday, mostly absorbed in beautiful, supportive activism, or sharing of “devil’s advocate” posts, thoughts from every crevasse of the internet, and I scream to myself every morning why we have to negotiate everything.  Why we? Why us? Why now?

I know why, please don’t jump on this.

My brain is lagging and I need to emphasize this.  I cannot have any other thought than what I posted on Facebook earlier this month:  I am reaching out for the goodness, and offering it in return.  It seems as though giving goodness comes in short supply these days, and so we stick together.  Despite feeling tired, and half full right now, because of the world around me out of arm’s reach but also more strongly in my own communities right now I believe that is important now more than ever to give the goodness you can to those in your communities who need it.

We all work hard.  No one works harder these days, that isn’t a comparison.  But people do give and take more or the other, people are aware of the amount that they have to give, be honest, but give graciously, because the goodness is multiplied when you share.  And even within this, when you feel beat down, tired, share that too because once it leaves your body its less for you.

Shoulder the weight right now, shoulder the weight for someone, it is that time.

We live in such a selfish time.  Because we are all in it to gain happiness for ourselves, to find that perfect meaningful person, moment, project, that will give lasting change to the world.  We want to be remembered, but by whom?  If you are remembered for a lasting imprint in technology, who will remember you?  The people you worked with, the people you lifted and who lifted you to get there.

I was sitting at a wonderful colleague’s desk this week and while doing paperwork she was shuffling my coffee cup around the surface, trying to find a place to put it, and found one far away from me, when she laughed and as I finished handed it back.  Small, caring moments, that are full, and small, so so small, but memorable because of the weight taken and given, goodness found and appreciated.

There is no solution.  This isn’t just the new normal, people, and it is hard to think about.  But try to remember that you are not an island around here, we are an ocean of islands pinned to our spots together, so let’s lean on each other to get through.  And if its too much to talk or think or give right now, fine, but don’t cast shadows on those who search and give hope right now.

We sit together and drink coffee, and cry, and scream loudly while alone together, and clink glasses and run through the rain and take a risk crossing a street when its not safe and stay out too late drinking with friends so we’re not alone and we use our cane every night so even if we’re alone we are supported and strong.

We sit at tables and drink coffee across from each other quietly.

We sit at tables and drink coffee across from each other quietly.

xx Jess

Focused Networks for Support

Mondays look pretty routine over here: I usually sit in on the First Year Lecture that I am TA-ing for, proceeded by an appointment or meeting, followed promptly by hours of reading and written responses.  Usually peppered in there is responding or sending emails for the handful of jobs (volunteer or paid) that I do on top of being a full time student.  Mix in a good serving of caffeine, free cheese, and a sprinkle of Netflix and there sits my Monday.

But today has been different.  Despite having no Lecture to sit in on (lucky undergrads and their reading weeks) but I had an upswing of other-than-school-work to do today.  Consulting phone calls, work/study emailing, an impromptu coffee with my best friend aside I spent a good chunk of my morning reflecting on the National Young Leaders Summit that I participated in this past weekend, which I suppose I helped organize, which was part of the reflection it iself.

Following up with the attendees who shaped my experience, contributors who deserve to be thanked (more than once, it seems, do I find myself writing “this would not have been remotely enjoyable without you” in so many messages today) and ultimately making notes moving forward has just taken up all of the thoughts I’ve had.  What can I say? I learned a lot about myself, a young lady who has very little interest in pursuing program development as a full time gig, but finds herself directly impacted by programs and program development constantly.

I just can’t help myself, I love it too much.

This is probably why I love TA-ing and planning lessons so much for my classrooms: I just love seeing a group come together from so many different interests and backgrounds and come away better and more connected.

Needless to say trying to establish a National Network might be a work in progress for the best of us, trying desperately to find a platform that is accessible and easy to use, but the concensus has been that listening to each other and learning from our experiences, despite being involved in very different career paths, has put us all in a better place moving forward in our professional lives.

Or I could just be talking about my own experience here I don’t know.

Needless to say the benefits are paramount in terms of meeting new people, especially in a time of my life that my struggle with graduate school, conferences, networking, and friendship all are directly correlated to my lack of vision.

My right eye, the little eye that could, is starting to let go of its strength, so I’ve got to find strength for it elsewhere.

So I seek my wonderful, strong blind community, and this Saturday rejuvenated that desire to seek the support of the people who know what its like to not literally see the whole picture but see the BIG picture.

So as my Monday progresses, and the dishes in my sink continue to sit and the laundry folded on my bed sits waiting, I round off this post to thank the people who support me, my friends, my family, my colleagues, and the connections I’ve made.  The definition of a network is not only people who can lead you to your future, but a group of people who will hold you up while you get there, or atleast that’s what it means to me, anyway.

Big hugs, cheers.

xx Jess