Too often, I feel like I come to my Facebook community, my blog, or my podcast with thoughts I’ve mulled over at length and tied up into a neat package for public consumption. But today? I just don’t have that. Instead, meet the messy middle.
I had a rough week… one marked with little pockets of awesomeness (like the triumph that is my students’ congressional simulation activity every semester), but overall pretty taxing.
I have friends who are going through transitions they did not want and probably would have preferred to avoid. The uncertainty of their futures weighs on them, and it leaves me feeling a bit at odds on how to be the best friend and support I can be.
We have students who are feeling unsupported by choices made in designing their end-of-semester/end-of-degree-program celebrations, and I’m hearing stories about behavior by those in a position to Do The Right Thing that make my heart heavy, my burning sense of justice flare up, and my desire to make it right uncertain how to proceed.
The degree to which my students are facing enormous challenges in their lives outside of our classrooms absolutely breaks my heart. Life happens, y’all, and when you care about others, they seek your consolation and support … but it comes at a cost, and the cost for me this week has been heavy. I am so humbled by the efforts that community college students put forth to finish their homework, classes, and degrees despite the enormous, shattering events that dominate their attention.
To recognize those struggles, and then this week to have been confronted with undeniable evidence that there still exists a strand of outdated, immediately harmful assumptions about our students? It fanned the flames of my already-burning justice rage, and I engaged in a great deal of emotional labor to try to contain the blaze.
Doug said to me Thursday night: “You don’t have to fight ALL of the fights, Liz.”
He’s right; I don’t have to fight them.
I don’t know how to walk away from the fights that involve injustice that is both preventable and in my bubble. I simply don’t. I don’t have the power to change these things that weigh so heavily on me right now … but I do have a voice, and honestly? I don’t think I can live with myself if I don’t use it.
I have no great lesson. No insight. No takeaway.
I just have this messy middle of a month in which there has been so much struggle, too much injustice, and me … wishing I could do more to make the load easier for everyone. Myself included.