The civil unrest in Ferguson, MO last summer was a tremendous wake-up call for me, but thinking back there were a lot of things that lead up to it. The astonishing open racism that was taking root within the Republican opposition during Obama’s 2008 campaign, election and Presidency has blossomed into a full-fledged xenophobia that has made it quite clear that there is a large and vocal portion of this country that will never see me as anything other than an impediment to their ideal of a “pure” America. The discovery of a black geek space online has introduced me to a whole world of people who feel the same way I do, and making inroads back into my culture has given me a stronger sense of self. Knowing so many brilliant and passionate people who have been disadvantaged in various ways just for being who they are has made me far less capable of looking the other way when I see inequality in all of its various forms rearing up in front of me. Being more open about my own experiences as a minority and with mental illness has introduced me to a number of people who have their own troubles, and I’ve felt a tremendous kinship with them.
There are so many problems in the world, so many behaviors borne out of ignorance or malice, so many people affected by the personal and institutional acts that marginalize and belittle them. Every day in the news there’s another account of a mass shooting, or some beyond-the-pale statement of bigotry from the mouth of someone with far too much power, or another warning that we’re driving our planet over an environmental cliff and simply won’t be able to change course very, very soon. It’s exhausting, being this angry, disillusioned, frustrated and afraid of what we’re doing to each other and our home as a species.
Yesterday marked the point at which there are only 100 days left in the year. I really wanted to do something to close out 2015 with one last push of positive change, but I wasn’t quite sure what it should be. Should I resolve to meditate every day until New Year’s Eve? Or write at least 500 words a day for the rest of the year? I’m already planning on doing that.
I learned about the 100 Happy Days challenge a little while ago, and remembered it when they so helpfully sent me an email earlier this week. Perfect timing, guys! What I’ll be doing is posting a picture a day over on my Tumblr of something that made me happy and spazzing just a little bit about it. Focusing on the good things in my life won’t make all the terrible things happening in the world go away, and it won’t mean that I’ve given up on trying to change them — but it does mean that I can see more of why I’m fighting for change. There are great things in the world, and my life, and I really don’t want to lose them.
If you’d like to join me over on Tumblr, I would certainly welcome your company! I’m here at Scrapalope — and if you want to join the 100 Happy Days challenge it’s not too late! Just sign up at the webpage and post your picture to your social media platform of choice — Twitter, Tumblr, Facebook, or Instagram.