I am not dissatisfied with my life; nor am I satisfied. I am just existing—– maybe even living (I know I am literally alive). In all seriousness, I realize that I find myself in a place that many people have found themselves in before, or right now. I think Dr. Seuss called it the “waiting place” in Oh, the Places You’ll Go. I am waiting for something else while passively seeking more. I could instead try taking an active stance on something/anything; but, right now I wont. It’s not that I don’t care about anything; those who know me will let you know that I do in fact care about many things. I guess my problem is that I just don’t know what to focus on first.
Some will say that I focus too strongly on the negative, but I do not consider myself a pessimist or a cynic. I believe that focusing on what could be positive is a more productive way of living than living while solely focusing on the positive. Today, I reflect on my life with my not-pessimist/ not-cynical lens. I realize that the world has changed very little since the day of my birth. Possibly the only thing changing is the rate in which our environment is deteriorating, but some people will say that this is not the case—–so, maybe nothing has changed. People are still dying today in accidents, in premeditated incidents, in childhood, adolescence, adulthood, in houses, hospitals, street corners, at the hands of others, at their own hands, in oceans while attempting to get somewhere, in war, at work, at war, in automobiles, while leaving, or coming, or going, going anywhere, going somewhere, going nowhere. I guess it’s all a part of being, of living, of existing.
Maybe I’ve always been in this waiting place. Waiting for the end? Waiting for a change? Waiting to get out of this place? I am still unsure. Yet, I know more about my situation than I make people believe I know. In this waiting place I think about changes. Tupac claimed to see “no changes;” will I see any in my lifetime? Obama campaigned with the slogan “Change;” and although I see him trying, I instead choose to criticize him and make comments about how I get more change every time I go to the supermarket than I get from any political party.
I’ve been told to look at the bright side and to focus on the small victories that have happened over the years in movements striving for equality. In the hopes of finding some inspiration, I look at the efforts of black and other people of color, feminists, religious groups, refugees, educators, immigrants, and LGBT communities. I never find what I am looking for because, although outwardly I like to exclaim, in the words of Sam Cooke, that “a change is gonna come,” inwardly I no longer believe that I will see this change come. It’s as if it’s in my nature to focus on those instances where we’ve seemed to have gone nowhere or backwards instead of admiring how far we’ve come. A step forward means very little when two steps back are simultaneously taken. I need to remember that two steps forward and one step back makes a difference.
This morning I was remembering that Malcolm X was speaking about racist police in 1964; why am I still reading about it in 2016? If President George W. Bush signed “No Child Left Behind” and Obama signed the “Every Student Succeeds Act” why are students in disadvantaged educational systems still not performing at the same level as their peers in more privileged educational settings? —– I later realized that people continuing to attempt to get somewhere is noble and beautiful, and maybe this alone can one day cause the change I hope to see. Change takes years, decades, and centuries; it does not happen overnight. Hope arises in me as I realize that issues that mattered yesterday still matter today. Some issues continue to be acknowledged; these issues are worth our effort. I realize that the battle for equality is just passed on to the next generation, or the next group of people. If I wont see the change, then I hope that somewhere down my lineage my descendants receive a better world than the one my parents handed me. Living in the United States as a Mexican-American woman in 2016 is a lot better than it would have been two centuries ago. I need to remember the many movements that were successful enough to grant me the privileged life I live today.—A life in which I am privileged enough to be able to vote, work, receive an education, earn a living wage, etc.,
Although I might have a hard time seeing this, I know that in the past, movements have led to change. I know that today I need to take an active stance for something/anything/everything; I understand that I need to pay it forward so that the future is even brighter than the present. I just wish that being selfish was an option because I am tired and I don’t want to keep looking into the future and focusing on others. I want to start thinking about myself and my present. I seem to be doing neither right now; I am not looking forward and I am not living in the present. I am focusing on the past to try to get some insight on how I should continue moving forward.
I have not lost faith in humanity. I’m not sure I ever had faith in humanity. I don’t even know what is meant by “faith in humanity.” Should I have faith in humanity? What is even humanity? An understanding of culture alone is a headache; how am I supposed to understand something that contains all humans? I do not know what humanity is so I guess that to have faith in humanity is like to have faith in what I do not know. I don’t know where I am heading with this— possibly nowhere; yet, even if I go in circles I am still doing some moving. I am just trying to feel like I am going somewhere. I am typing my thoughts to see if reading them over makes anything appear more clear. I don’t yet know what to do to get out of the waiting place. I’m not sure if leaving the waiting place is even a good idea. I am not comfortable here and simultaneously I am not uncomfortable. I am just here. I think the potential for change is in this space. All of us here, in this space, can do so much more than what we are doing. I have done a lot of waiting; I will continue to wait if I am not actively working towards change. Right now, it looks like I am going to stay here a little longer. I need to take some time to decide how I want to proceed.