*This is part of a series breaking down my Aliveness Scaffolding to discuss our collective (un)learning of racism in America. Today I talk about Engagement, the fifth practices outlined in my Scaffolding.
Going from engagement to quasi-engagement to disengagement and back again. It’s like an old, wooden-track roller coaster -- tossing me side to side against all the hard edges of things.
I’m deep in this back-and-forth-ness, and I’ve never felt such unease.
Am I this susceptible to distraction -- from media, shiny objects, the de-emphasis of the Black Lives Matter movement in conversations with friends, family? Am I so easily influenced to jump on the justice bandwagon after May 25th, only to fall back into comfortable two months later in July?
There is history in need of massive repair and reckoning. This is the friction, the fault and the fever-pitch. So why am I falling back into being okay, when nothing right now is “okay”?
Maybe I’m exhausted:
Maybe I lost sight of the self care I need, so that I can stay fit and ready for the long game. We’re 400 years in on this problem. Who am I to think that if I wear myself down in the name of white allyship, the country will change in two months? Not only is that irrational...it’s arrogant and short-sighted.
Maybe this isn’t complacency, but a shift in perspective:
Maybe my fury has changed to reckoning and a more paced commitment to cause. Maybe my shame for showing up this late to the fight is shadowed by the relief that at least I’m finally here.
Maybe this isn’t disengagement, but a brief respite for the sake of focused reemergence:
Because how can I support change if I don’t also rest and think and reflect and plan? Maybe it’s not distraction, but a brief intermission so that I can get back to work.
All I know is that my heart still hurts and I care enough to do my part to change what’s broken. I guess I just needed a little downtime to get back out there. And that’s not a bad thing. That’s material for resilience. And we all need it.
Because, let’s be honest...this is just the cusp.
Engagement is leaning in. Participating. Getting involved.
It’s a shared experience between people.
There is collective action and a certain joining-in.
It’s both doing and being.
For me, it’s a core value activated by curiosity and an alignment to purpose. It’s at the root of my own aliveness and the driver toward connection and change.
Even now, when it causes all this reeling. This feeling.
‘Cuz isn’t all this shaky introspection its own form of engagement?