Bill McKibben, one of the lead organizers of the People’s Climate March, reflects on Sunday’s turnout.
Life is going well for me right now. I’m moving into a great apartment. Doing the school thing. Even the class I’m teaching my students don’t seem to think I’m a complete asshole. I have the most amazing friends. I am not sure how I became so lucky, only having lived here for a year. I have also been keeping in touch with people from LA and Portland, everybody is so amazing. It’s hard to believe that someone who used to be such a scumbag could have so many amazing people in their life. I am grateful and humbled.
My heart is also breaking wide open. I haven’t spoken to my mother in almost a month. Last contact I had with her it was near the end of August and she was going to be evicted. A friend of mine went and got her cat to take care of while my mom figured out what to do next. My father cannot get a hold of her either. I feel so sad. I feel so powerless. I feel guilty and ashamed. There is absolutely nothing I can do. Seems to be a theme with the women I have encountered lately.
It’s perplexing that such a multitude of mental states (or thoughts or ways of being) can exist in the same person at the same time. Here I am happy, excited, and grateful, but also equal parts sad, frightened, and ashamed. The fucked up part is that those shitty feelings are what drives me to do the work that I do. To feel that injustice, that pain, and sense of wrong so deep in my bones that I want to scream. THAT is what burns so deep within, I get scared those things will engulf me, that I will cease to exist as an individual and just become a product of the injustices I see/experience. This world is so confusing to me. I could go on and on but I’m tired. All I know is- tomorrow I will wake up, get ready, drink coffee, feed my cat, grade some papers, and go to class. Meanwhile, a child in some country I can’t pronounce will die of starvation and my mom will probably cry; and somewhere else it will be the best day of somebody’s life.
Thanks for giving a shit enough to make it to here. Please be good to yourself.
— Pema Chödrön, When Things Fall Apart: Heart Advice for Difficult Times