It’s Juneteenth, which is the anniversary of the day when so many enslaved people in Texas realized finally that they were free. That knowledge happened two and a half years after the Emancipation Proclamation.
Knowledge is power, right? And when you want to keep people oppressed, you take away their knowledge.
Today, I hope you educate yourself about your self, about your community, about things outside your circle. Today, I hope you find bravery in your thoughts and deeds as you seek the knowledge of who you are and your part of your community and society.
Today, I hope you will be brave with me as we think about people who are now being so brave in so many ways. Today, I hope you will hope with me and work towards a future where bravery isn’t always quite so necessary, where it can be a choice instead.
Here’s my random painting. Much love to all of you.
Share this if you want and also because it would be super nice of you!
Over the years, I’ve talked about the time my dark-skinned dad and I were fishing at a stream in New Hampshire and white men surrounded us, got aggressive, and called my dad the N-word. I was eight or so. I am very white and I had never seen overt racism before. When I was a couple years older, I volunteered for Jesse Jackson and saw it again and again and again, so much so that they wouldn’t let me do doors with the other workers because they were protecting me, the random, little, white kid.
I have always been shocked at my white friends’ shock that racism exists in big ways and small, in our society and ourselves.
That’s it. Because this is not about me and it damn well shouldn’t be. It’s about learning, growing, and doing what we can do to be active allies in making our communities and our selves better, united, equitable, and just.
It’s Be Brave Friday and here is a work in progress because aren’t we all works in progress?
Be brave, friends. I am so sorry when you are forced to be brave and proud of you when you choose to be.
Here are some links where you can help, many of which come from Inside the Kandish (linked below)
Two years ago, on the last day of 2017 (the no-good, terrible year), I was in the grocery store line and the cashier said something nice about me making a good meal for my man and how cute we are together and then she said, “You’re best buddies. Best buddies forever. Me and my — ” Her voice caught on grief. “We were like that.”
And my heart broke right there.
And I said, “C–, you’re breaking my heart and you’re working and I can’t get over there on the other side of the grocery belt thingy and hug you because you’re working.”
The bagger girl at the end of the lane looked away. I don’t think she’s good with emotion.
But C– just smiled at me and said, “It’s okay. It’s okay. I have a new man in my life and he’s so sweet to me and he showed up just when I needed him and my J–, I think he sent him to me.”
Her J — is her long-time, forever buddy, her husband who died.
So, I basically emoted all over the place while she rung up my crackers and I was like, “C–! You are killing me. I’m crying because I’m sad. I’m crying because I’m happy for you. I’m crying because you’re so beautiful. And this is all… it’s all so… It’s poignant.”
The bagger kept looking away.
And when I walked out of the grocery store, this person I don’t know, he touched my elbow to make me stop my mad-fast hustle to the car. It was -2 out. It was cold.
The guy who was all bundled up and wearing some Carhartt’s said, “You know. When you have a heart as open as yours, it’s going to hurt sometimes.”
And I said, brilliantly, “Oh.”
“It’s worth it,” he said. “Do good out there, Carrie. Do good.”
I was a little freaked out, but I thanked him, got to my car and sat there, and I just stared at this cold, Maine, parking lot and the people rushing through the grayness that seems to sometimes overwhelm everything during winter and my heart got so full that I started emoting everywhere again because that random Carhartt-wearing man took time out of his day to talk to me. He stopped in the cold to talk to me.
This guy knew my name somehow, but bigger than that? This guy knows about hearts.
Gifts Out There
So, here’s the thing – there are gifts out there (big gifts and little ones) and they can come from the weirdest places. They’re connections. They’re motivations. They are these tiny times where you get to see inside other people’s minds and hearts.
Savor them this year. Try to dwell on those good things as much as we all dwell on the bad.
And let both the good and the bad inspire you to make a difference in your own life and maybe even other people’s lives (big ways and little ways).
Thank you all for everything you’ve done for me this year. You’ve listened to me worry about things like suddenly being a full-time mom again. You’ve celebrated with me about book stuff and podcast stuff. You’ve mourned with me when Charlene died.
You haven’t mocked me too hard because Grover (the muppet) is my internal cheerleader and John Wayne (dead cowboy movie star) is my internal editor. You’ve been brave with me on Be Brave Fridays when I shared my art, which is still scary by the way.
Some of you have bought my books and become my patrons. On social media, so many of you have been so kind over and over. And you haven’t unsubscribed to my newsletter. That’s such a big deal to me.
I really appreciate how kind and giving you’ve all been and if I write any more I’ll start crying. And there’s no random stranger guy here to make me feel better.
But there is Gabby….
Gabby’s New Year Wisdom
Love is being right in the moment. It’s about enjoying everything around you. And really feeling it, being open to it.
This includes the couch.
It even includes squirrels.
It’s not giving or taking, but who you are in relationship to all else (especially the couch) at that moment.