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An Ode to Lost Joy: Facing a Mirror with Eyes Wide Shut

Each day we awake and look in the mirror, we do not say to ourselves, “today I will do evil.”

It is not our mission to ruin the lives of strangers. So much in the world is bigger than ourselves, how could we affect the course of history from our innocuous way of life?

As children, we did not aspire to cause harm as our profession. Our goal was to be astronauts, artists, dancers, dreamers. Yet every day we forge our future while blinded by the safety of routine and familiarity.

We make choices for our gain from limited options that means someone else will feel a loss due to our greed. An accumulation of wealth can be eliminated overnight, but not the wake and damage of how it was acquired.

Life is lived a moment at a time, in all the little things we do or choose not to do.

Our heart is shown not in the big efforts but in a collective of all our insignificant actions. Our life, like any Empire, moves in the swing of either rising or falling. Often momentum is the only indication of a course change in direction.

Failing to do good is not the same as doing something harmful.

But if we lack the courage to make a stand and be accountable, we allow darkness to encroach. It is easy to be afraid, cautious, disconnected, and take the path of least resistance.

But are we confined by gravity, a force that guarantees everything will fall?

Giving a grand speech is easy to define what we stand against, especially when we risk nothing to do so. It is easy to criticize and protest, far harder to take a stand and say, “This is what I believe.”

Showing kindness where it is not expected, offering hope in the absence of any, shedding a tear when the loss is too great. Our lives are built on these small acts of charity, and the grace of things we can never earn.

Living is done in the frailty of suffering and struggles in isolation that we turn a blind eye to. Each day that we wake we are counted among the living, by making the choice to fill our lungs.

We do not start out being selfish, possessive, materialistic, but getting lost along the way is no excuse for where we end up. And if life is a journey, the paths we cross, the experiences we share, how we travel is the purpose and not the destination.

After compromises and deals to acquire what we want, we end up becoming the very thing we swore to avoid and then ignore this truth.

One day, today will be our last, but we live under the illusion that “that” day will not be “today.”

Each day that passes is an affirmation that we are indeed alive, but time itself is not an accountability for our life.

We do not need a mirror to see our reflection if we but open our eyes.

I want my friends to understand that “staying out of politics” or being “sick of politics” is privilege in action. Your privilege allows you to live a non-political existence. Your wealth, your race, your abilities, or your gender allows you to live a life in which you likely will not be a target of bigotry, attacks, deportation, or genocide. You don’t want to get political, you don’t want to fight, because your life and safety are not at stake.

It is hard and exhausting to bring up issues of oppression (aka “get Political”). The fighting is tiring. I get it. Self-care is essential. But if you find politics annoying and you just want everyone to be nice, please know that people are literally fighting for their lives and safety. You might not see it, but that’s what privilege does.

– Kristen Tea

© Photo

Lee Matz

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