I have decided to stick with love. Hate is too great a burden to bear. – Martin Luther King Jr.
America is a glorious place to grow up. You’re encouraged to think and act freely. You’re given the opportunity to create your own success, and your own failures if you choose that path.
On a holiday like today, it’s easy to forget exactly how much freedom some of us only recently were given.
It’s easy to forget how much freedom some of us still don’t have.
In the Bay Area, and particularly in Marin, the message of equality is a very strong message throughout all of our schooling (at least in my experience). The idea of embracing everybody and being good and world peace – it’s everywhere when you grow up in Marin. It’s everywhere but nowhere at the same time.
We preach a lot of diversity and acceptance but really, in Marin, you won’t really quite understand it unless you leave. As beautiful and loving as a community it is, there’s a really false sense of acceptance that goes on here because there really isn’t that much diversity here. And I’m not trying to clump everybody here into one giant non-accepting ball. I’m just saying, as much as we educate our kids on what is right and what is wrong, they’re not going to truly understand until they witness or experience it for themselves.
Growing up, Martin Luther King Day was a) a day off from school and b) the yearly reminder that racism is still alive and to check in with myself to not be a racist. I think I’ve done a good job at that. I still tell the occasional racist joke, but it’s not because I hate the people who “inspired” the joke. I as a person am not fueled by an intense hatred of a person or their skin color or religion or whatever. I dislike people generally because of their ignorant or blind stupidity. And I can’t even say I really dislike those people because I always end up empathizing with them at some point. I’m not a 100% good person, because who is. But I’m no crazy evil-doer either.
Last week I watched the film Selma, which shows the events leading to Martin Luther King Jr.’s march in Selma, Alabama. I’ll have a review for that later on this blog. The message, the obvious one, was to be good, and kind, and accepting of each other.
But the other message I got was to be incredible. Not just “incredibly” nice. But to push towards what I want. To achieve the fullest potential. I’m not trying to enact massive social change. But to live purposefully.
Last year, my project was to be happy. And to see happiness. And to live happiness. I’m never letting it go. Last year, my word was happy.
This year, my project is to be fearless. To be purposeful. To experience everything that I can. To have an incredible life.
I let a lot of hate go in the last year. There’s still a lot I need to work on. And it’s being worked on. But Dr. King was right. It was all such a burden. It feels good to not feel so much of it anymore. Happiness abounds, and I’m never letting it go.