When a Voice is All You Have

So, I haven’t touched this blog in about 5 years. It just no longer appealed to me to share my life, my struggles, my thoughts. These past five years have been a time for me to focus on parenting, dealing with a major faith shift, and learning to live with a chronic illness. It was also a time that I stepped away from writing altogether. I didn’t even write for myself. 

It wasn’t until this past November when I participated in NaNoWriMo that I realized what a large part of my life was missing, that writing is actually life-giving for me. I wrote a strange mash-up of a fun middle-grade novel centering around a scavenger hunt that was also a fairly depressing meditation on death. Needless to say, no other eyes than mine will ever read it, but it was the act of writing itself that was more important to me than what I accomplished. 

I had been so fearful, for so long that my voice didn’t matter. I was fearful that people would read what I wrote and find it wrong-headed or stupid and at once afraid that no one would ever read it at all. I’m passionate about reading books by people of color, so I was hesitant to even start writing a novel that would put a privileged white girl’s perspective out there. Don’t we have enough of those?  

Maybe. But I need to recognize that my white, privileged, cisgendered voice can either stay silent to what is going on around me or speak out injustices that I see. And sometimes I’m still hesitant to use my voice because I am afraid that deep down I just want people to see me as a good white person. But I feel like I just need to stand up and say no to separating families. Say no to treating people who come to this country illegally like they are criminals.  Say no to a country that is more concerned with the rights of unborn children than with the living, breathing black and brown men, women and children who live in fear of the people who are meant to protect them. Say no to being cynical and apathetic. 

I want to say yes to seeing immigrants who come to this country as humans, as people who don’t want to leave the only home they have ever known but know that they have no future if they stay. Say yes that black lives matter. Say yes to writing my congressmen (even though I don’t feel like it does much good) because if everyone feels apathetic and does nothing, how can we tell the people in power what is true and good?

I think I also write this with a fair amount of guilt. Guilt for not doing more, for not going to protests, for not having many friends of color. Because I have chronic migraines, most days I am just hoping to keep me and my kids alive and relatively sane for another day. In some ways that gives me a great excuse to do nothing. But I’m tired of doing nothing. So on days when I only have a voice, I think I’ll use it.  

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