Just a quick hello to share a very clear truth to me.
No one actually wants to be an advocate.
We do it because we are sick of almost getting killed all the time (or loved ones of ours have actually been killed), and we feel that our lived and learned experience could be helpful to others in creating change.
However, the constant immersion in death weighs on us (for instance, a driver killed a five-year-old boy on a bike in a crosswalk this week and no amount of advocacy work seems to make a difference), and we have other parts of our lives that are continually put on hold or compromised. (Plus, there’s significant economic value to what we do, and we’re tired of giving away the shop for free.)
I have other parts of my life. I write fiction and poetry (in addition to nonfiction). I’m an urban farmer; I’m a street photographer; and I wrote for magazines and corporations for twenty years about all kinds of stuff that didn’t have to do with death (and would like to take the time to pitch some life-affirming things again).
I have a husband and two grown daughters, and four elders over the age of 85*, all of whom need me in different ways (and I need them). I like to paint, read, watch movies, and have long conversations with friends — and strangers! I like to ride my bike to find free fruit (not to spend years arguing with city hall over their failure to provide safe access).
I’m kind of simple, but I still have some big dreams. I have a new novel for which I’m trying to get an agent. Plus, I was supposed to leave for Peace Corps Uganda** last June (delayed due to COVID) and am still awaiting my departure date. My husband and I are talking about moving first, and there’s lots to do in the house, which is overwhelming. I’m trying to learn Luganda, which isn’t going well either lol. I’d also like to feel funny and light again (with full recognition of the conundrum of joy). Is that possible?
So I’m rethinking things. I’m spending National Bike Month here in the USA choosing which part of the advocacy work I do seems to make a measurable difference, and cold-hard-stopping the rest. I’m gonna try to stay tapped out here for the rest of the month. I’m gonna trust the journey. I’m gonna keep taking leaps of faith. I’m gonna pray (which for me, is usually a moving meditation while Traveling at the Speed of Bike).
It’s time to find our way forward. As a world. As a country. As a community. And as our
best most authentic selves.
And so I’m working on that.
See you soon.
*we lost our fifth family elder to COVID
**if interested, see Leaving Suburbia for the Peace Corps