Who’s Driving this Car?

15 Jan

That’s the question I want to be asking because lately, my questions are all about power. Who has it? Who wants it? Can I have some? Do I have some? Can I let some go? Who has the wheel? Who must step aside?

Whether I’m talking about my tween and homework, my life, or my work, it always eventually comes to this: Who’s driving the car?

But let’s back up. I posted a question on Monday, and I aim to answer it. Here’s a refresher . . .image

Do you know where you are on your journey?

~ Kobi Yamada, ever wonder

After curating our year-end campaign for work — inviting staff, allies and supporters to map their journeys and share with the hashtag #MapYourJourney — I was supremely tickled by this question. There is a synergy at play, or perhaps it’s simply that “journey” is the word for 2015.

My word, anyway.

But which journey do I address?

* * *

I began my blog shortly after my stepmother died, acutely aware of how little time we have on this earth, how any impact we’re going to have must happen here, now … imperfectly, passionately … and here I am, still bumping around inside the heart of imperfection.

* * *

To pinpoint where I am on my journey as an activist for equity and justice, a too-quiet activist these past few years . . . I’m drawn back to something I wrote in my journal a few weeks ago . . . The morning after a Grand Jury failed to hear the case against Darren Wilson, I was livid. Quietly seething, truly horrified. There are not enough adjectives in my lexicon to reflect all the sparks, or all the tendrils, of my emotion. I stayed silent on social media. I didn’t have anything helpful to say.

Even as I left the house, even as I rode the train, walked down the sidewalk, smoldering inside – still, I had no words.

I walked directly into my coworkers’ office before removing my coat, my hat, before opening the door of my own office – I needed human contact, perspective, SOMETHING. I need to talk with someone as furious as myself – as hurt, as angry, as appalled.

We shared our outrage. I took off my hat. We told each other how we’d each heard the news, how it impacted us, what it reminded each of us of. I unzipped my coat. There were flushed cheeks. Tears. Intensity. Hugs. We come from different places, but we stood together. In that moment, we stood together.

I would have imploded without that.

Silence is not an option, not over the long term. Which means . . .

My opinions and my mistakes – so many of them – are coming out more and more now because even if I’m wrong or stupid or sheltered sometimes, even when I see it wrong or say it wrong, I know I have to keep talking until I get it right.

* * *

And listening. I have to keep listening, too.

I landed in nonprofit communications as a drifter with drive but no direction. I’m learning as I go — as we all are, I suppose.

I am learning not just how to be an online marketer or a non-profit storyteller, a social media manager or a website content creator – it’s bigger than that – I am learning what it means to listen. To be humble. To sit in a room with people I respect, people from many walks of life, and to support – truly support – one another as we grow.

It isn’t easy.

For any of us.

* * *

I consider each journey. To each journey, I bring my full attention.

Where am I? Who’s driving the car?

I am a poet, a mom, a blogger, a dreamer, an Aquarian in the middle of my life. I am a woman, a mom, a stepmom, a wife. I’m an auntie, a mentor, a daughter, a friend, an activist, a writer, a communicator. I am sometimes a bridge. I am overweight and under-styled. Down-to-earth. True to my word. I have never been happier. I am lonely sometimes.

Rilke says, in his Letters to a Young Poet:

“Be patient toward all that is unsolved in your heart and try to love the questions themselves, like locked rooms and like books that are now written in a very foreign tongue. Do not now seek the answers, which cannot be given you because you would not be able to live them. And the point is, to live everything. Live the questions now. Perhaps you will then gradually, without noticing it, live along some distant day into the answer.”

I had a really hard time with last week’s question, I have to confess. I nearly scrapped the whole question-and-answer idea, except that … I am loving the conversations.

I love to see how we’re all on a journey, each of us with our own answers, our own ideas, our own responses or explorations, our own blinders, stumbling blocks, strengths, insights and passion – and it’s okay – it’s really okay – to see all these words we share back and forth across the screen as a living, breathing conversation. I can still change my mind. You can still change yours. We can change direction. Over and over again. And we will. These words do not need to box us in.

No.

I put words out here on my blog to be examined. I write them where I can see them, turn them over in my mind, rub them smooth with my fingers like shells or stones found on the shore, gifts from the sea, something I can hold onto, a kind of magic, daring me to make them into something liveable and real.

Where am I on this journey?

I am learning to love the questions.

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2 Responses to “Who’s Driving this Car?”

  1. verilp January 20, 2015 at 12:18 am #

    Oh my! You posted Question 4 already, but I’m just now responding to Question 3. I’m impressed by your discipline for posting. I have always known that regular posting requires a lot of discipline and have admired it in you, but now I’m experiencing the need for such discipline first hand. But wait, I have an excuse – I’m a retired guy!

    “Do I know where I am on my journey?” The logician in me would simply answer, “yes” or “no,” and be done with it. But the humanist in me acknowledges the question calls for somewhat more than that!

    The current leg of my journey began about four years ago with two nearly simultaneous life-changing events – retirement and the loss of my spouse. The former event had been planned well in advance, but the latter came as an unexpected and enormously difficult roadblock to those post-retirement plans. Difficult journeys are possible, however, with a loving family, good friends, perseverance, and a generous dose of hope. For me, these components continue to propel the vehicle by which I am open enough to venture into a few territories for which there is no Google Map. Oh sure, I enter such strange lands thinking that I know what lies ahead, but I’m seldom right – hard as that is to admit!

    Thankfully the adventures of these four years have brought me today into a land filled with great memories, appreciation, gratitude, choices, additional friends, meaningful “work” (as a volunteer), and promises of more new adventures.

    That’s where I am on my journey.

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