Friday, December 13 – It has to get better.
My dear mother died on this day in 2000. On my walk I came across this sidewalk art, “It has to get better” needing no explanation but raises some questions – how do things get better? And what things do we want to improve?
Darnell Moore, the author of No Ashes in the Fire: Coming of Age Black and Free in America, explores ideas raised in his book in a conversation with Krista Tippett on her podcast, On Being that aired on August 8, 2019. Immediately he explains that he doesn’t want to become a better man, but rather a better human being.
One of the challenges in breaking through the glass ceiling is being born female and ascribing to that lifestyle with all the entanglements and expectations associated with it, and most often, a care partner is a woman. Here is this man able to take advantage,“Oh, so I benefited from patriarchy; I benefited from this position of maleness” as the oldest boy in the family. Mr. Darnell explains that we must summon strength internally and “keep walking towards that joy to stay alive” and “to stay whole.” His words beckon us, one person, a care partner, most likely a woman, that we “become the architects of a plan that tells us what transformation looks like, actually sit down with ourselves and ask what it is that I need, what it is that I desire, what ails me, what is my freedom dream,” my courageous dream. I changed the pronouns but whether it’s a me or a they, at the grassroots level, the dreams are the same, but without human signposts guiding our way, we are on our own. The journey can be uncomfortable at times, and the conversations challenging, and Mr. Darnell asks, “Well, how are we gonna’ heal, if we don’t reckon with the truth?” Dr. Vincent Harding, author of Hope and History: Why We Must Share the Story of the Movement sums up the answer with his three C’s: courage, compassion, and creativity, explaining, “that determination to make our own action and our own commitment the focal point rather than a reaction to the moves of others” are those individuals who are loving themselves into new possibilities. My mother would have loved this! She held the three “C’s” in her heart long before they became the three C’s.
Self-care Ritual: find your signposts by learning everything you can, attending medical appointments with your care receiver, and joining support groups. There are no tangible signposts; we must glean our destination route from those who came before us and those sitting next to us.