I know better. I should have never clicked ‘play’ on that video. It is not as if it could show me anything new. It couldn’t teach a lesson any different from the one I peeped watching a fuzzy video with my late Grandma back in 1991, or the simmering emotion in the voices of my elders as they discussed it after Sunday dinner. There is truly nothing new under the sun. I was tempted to revert to my old way of doing things. Instead I managed to just say no to it all.
I said no to the national outrage that Amy Goodman addressed in yesterday’s episode of Democracy Now.
I said no to the urge to craft verbose posts of condemnation.
I said no to the threads I was tagged in to debate the controversy and lend back-up to my acquaintances.
I said no to nurturing the fixation on the adrenaline rush by frequenting individual blogs.
I said no to reading comment sections that just serve to compound my emotions and work me into a frenzy.
I said no to the petitions filling my inbox.
Last summer I challenged myself to check my reactionary tendencies. I didn’t seek this out of any delusion regarding my nation’s past and present. On a basic level, I know being oblivious is a luxury I cannot afford. And still, I live with the uncomfortable knowledge of how little my past tirades and zeal have done to advance the position of my ethnic group within the United States. I weighed myself and was found wanting.
Sure, it is cathartic to go in on these issues. And yes I’ve received applause through the years for it. But the question I find myself asking more and more is this: what am I doing regarding a legacy? I spent too much time speaking about it; it was past time for me actually to be about it. As bold as my words were they amounted to nothing.
I would like to see changes in my nation and within my community. But dwelling on that change on the macro level leads to burnout and frustration. Conceding that my whole mentality of looking at these problems was flawed, I backed up.
I thought of what I could do to affect change on the micro. It was time to narrow the scope my concern. I needed to focus on improving my situation and that of my family. If I lack the wealth and skills needed to thrive in the U.S.A. I’ll be unable to do for myself, let alone others. As a result, this is my chief goal, and more of my time and energy go to servicing it. And though headlines threaten to knock me off course I stand firm. I ain’t gonna let nobody or nothing turn me round this time. I remain aware, but the key is not to become overwhelmed by it all.