Empathy & Honesty


I have put off writing this.

Put off, put off, put off.

I have avoided, delayed, distracted, made excuses.

First it was about privacy; my discomfort with sharing my thoughts and experiences with strangers – justifying to myself that sharing my poetry was different because I was somehow removed from those words and the feelings they expressed due to the form and structure of the writing; that the writing was abstract and not too personal or revealing.

Next it was about my state of mind; my depleted energy – the despair, loneliness, sadness; the anxiety and uncertainty. I couldn’t find the will to write, not after a full day of having to keep it together for my job; for my daughter; for my partner. Hours and hours of having to find a way to interact, to smile, to normalize, to strategize self-care, to avoid the feelings of entrapment and resentment and hopelessness that were closing in on me.

Then it was about comparison – who am I to bemoan my situation when I am still healthy, employed, sheltered, fed, and loved? What is my suffering in light of the agony of the sick, and their loved ones, and those who are abused and oppressed?

Finally it was the guilt of privilege that kept me silent. The privilege of having the access and technology to share this post; the privilege of having the education that afforded me the skills to be able to write it. The privilege of having steady employment, income to pay the bills with money left over, a safe home, a vehicle, a phone, clothes, food, entertainment. The privilege of having access to a library brimming with free books that can slake my thirst for imagination and information. The privilege of options. The privilege of safety. The privilege of not having to fear or fight, or my child not having to fear or fight, cruelty, discrimination, hatred, injustice, systematic oppression, violence, murder because of our beliefs, ethnicity, orientation.

But the words refuse to stay bottled up and pushed down inside of me.

The words are in my blood and my breath and my hands now.

I search for a glimmer of promise that a world ravaged by a pandemic will soon find and distribute a safe cure to end this illness; that a world ravaged by fear, hatred, and intolerance in all its disgusting forms will actualize true reconciliation and reform to uphold the right to dignity, equality, and safety for all people; that apathy, greed, and selfishness will be replaced with compassion, generosity, and serious, sustaining action to heal and protect animals, the environment, and humanity.

Let us honor the experiences and feelings of others – amplify the voices of those who deserve and need to be heard. Consider the causes that stir your spirit and take action. Help to influence and implement growth and improvement – in your life, your home, your interactions, your community, your country, your world.

If you are reading this and feel angry, depressed, frightened, hopeless, but desperately wanting release, relief, and progressive change – you are not alone.

Share your story; I will continue to share mine with empathy and honesty.

2 thoughts on “Empathy & Honesty

  1. Beautiful words. At times like this being a sensitive, empathetic person can be tough. People are hurting and a lot needs to be done. But you can only do what your able to. That might be going to a protest or curing the corona virus but it can also be talking to a friend and sharing stupid memes, or keeping your family safe and well. Don’t compare yourself to others, just do your best.

    In Timequake Kurt Vonnegut is talking about the importance of writing and communication. He asks himself “Why Bother?”

    The response is – “Many people need desperately to receive this message: ‘I feel and think much as you do, care about many of the things you care about, although most people do not care about them. You are not alone.’”

    I’m really glad you wrote this.


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