Tuesday, January 24, 2017

No, you own it to me

Goodwill Hunting is one of my favorite movies. I have used a few different scenes from it for my Introduction to Masculinities and Men and Masculinities and Criminal Justice courses. This morning, I woke up thinking about one of my favorite scenes, one that I have never thought of using in a course, or as an exemplar for anything. However, today that scene has a great deal of currency.

I also spent a good deal of time this morning lamenting that I am not going to any of the marches or protests. I have spend more than a night or two in jail protesting Apartheid, the "secret" war in Nicaragua, death squads in El Salvador (by military personnel trained in the US), and the last two wars in the middle east. I have marched, I have protested, I have put my butt on the line.

Why am I writing this? I am saying this not to impress you, but to assuage my guilt. My arthritis is just too advanced to stand or walk for any length of time without being in a ton of pain. I can cycle for hours, but I don't think I could even run a block or two. Sigh.

So, I write. I will continue to write about the criminalization of immigration and transnational social work-these are the two topics I write about out of my commitment toward social change. They are important issues today, IMHO.

But today, I am going to focus on an autoethnography I am working on. It has nothing to do with social change or justice. It is for me. I get to write today because I owe it to humanity to actualize my sense of who I wish to be in the world. I get to write with my lovely dogs in my lap, and my fantastic girlfriend in the other chair. I get to feel love, and frankly, I ##((^$ing owe it to humanity to love today, to express the best parts of who I am.

Yes, I owe it to humanity, and will continue to own it to humanity, to write, to teach, to be of service with my coaching. And you know what? 95% of those conversations, of those actions, will have nothing to do with Trump and the current sociopolitical movements. Those #($*(#(#s do not get that to impact me there. They do not get to have that part of me; they are not permitted into that space. Never.

And your work? That which you love? You not only own it to yourself, but guess what, you own to "me".

Yes, you own it to "me", the universal "me," to continue the work that you do. To express the best parts of who you are, of what you wish to be and actualize in this world. You owe it to me to continue to do what matters to you, the passions and research you have cultivated over many, many years. You owe "me" the best of who you are.

I am not saying you can't be troubled or deeply saddened about what is going on in the world. I am not saying you can't be stuck. What I am suggesting is that self care, self actualization, and personal growth are going to be a key part of what we will be called upon to do. When it seems futile and hopeless to engage in work that is seemingly so disconnected from what is happening in the the country today, just remember that what you do is part of creating what is happening in the world. You are the embodiment of the world, and we need you to write, writing joyfully, write with love, but damn it, don't stop for anyone else.

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