I just got dressed, it’s Sunday, it’s a beautiful sunny day. I’m about to head out to water our garden, so I’m throwing on clothes that I don’t normally wear (the hose is dirty and I don’t want to mess up my “good” tee-shirts”.) I put on my “I Am An Immigrant” shirt. My shameful secret…I’m afraid to wear this shirt outside, in public. Don’t get me wrong, I’m proud of the fact that I’m an immigrant, of my Irish heritage, and of my story, but I hate, with a passion, confrontation and my fear is that if I wear this shirt (or others that proclaim my other disclosures) too publicly, there will be a confrontation because, sadly, these are the times we are living in. What is happening on our boarders is heartbreaking and shameful. And I am profoundly ashamed of my fear, so I’m writing this article to put it all out there; my fears, my shame, my hopes for the future, and for the now! As I always say, you can’t change what you don’t acknowledge or are not aware of, so here I go, practicing what I preach!
I am gay, liberal, immigrant woman. I am open about these things in my life, everyone that knows me know this about me but when it comes to being “public”, especially in the current political climate, I have fear. Not really about being gay, more about being very liberal and being an immigrant. Listen, I know I’m on the right side of history when it comes to my politics and my beliefs, no question. But I don’t shout it from the roof-tops like some I know (and greatly admire.) Why? Because of fear. A mundane fear of being hassled online, of being confronted in the street, or grocery store, or anywhere really. I call it mundane because I’m not in fear for my life, I’m not in any real danger, I’m just nervous. I call it mundane because it stops me from wearing a shirt, or speaking out in a more public way. And I realize how completely privileged this sounds to at least some. I don’t need to fear being shot for simply driving my car, or walking down the street, or standing with my hands up…I am in complete awe of those who have to be brave just to live their lives #blacklivesmatter. I am in complete awe of those remarkable students from Parkland Florida #neveragain who are so incredibly strong and brave and, who are harassed and threatened constantly online. The harassment is brutal, and scares the shit out of me! And plays into my fear, big time! It takes a village though, right, to fix these things that are so desperately in need of fixing? Some of us are quietly participating in post-card writing, or creating, signing, or sharing petitions, or calling our elected officials, or marching. We don’t all have to be on TV, spreading the critical messages that are being spread. Some do, we need many voices and we also need feet on the ground, doing the other work.
Here’s the thing, we are all brave in our own way, all of us. It might not feel like it, but I guarantee you that you do things every day that scare the bejesus out of others. For me, these outspoken activists are my heroes, doing and saying things in a way I wish I could. I’d like to think that I’m an inspiration for others, maybe there are things I do that others think is brave or they wish they could do. I hope so. If I’m brave enough to do those things, then I can be brave enough to not only write this article (because for me this is a very big deal) but to actually publish it somewhere! The question is do I select a major platform, like Thrive Global, where it has the potential to reach a large audience (especially if it gets featured,) or do I play it safe and put it on my own site, where it won’t get as much attention? You know the answer based on where you’re reading this but as I write, I really don’t know yet!
This post doesn’t promise to solve any problems, or offer any solutions, it is merely an essay, an exposé of my fear, and a celebration of those I admire. And it’s a call to action too. A call to get involved, in whatever way you can. Fear is not a wall, it’s an obstacle, one to be overcome and worked around. There is so much going on right now that needs to be addressed, that needs our attention, not silence or complacency. Think about what you can do to get involved.
I’m not going to let my fear dictate my actions (or inaction) anymore!
P. S. My wife recently bought me a box of Louise Hay Power Cards (mantras and affirmations.) Today I opened the box, took out the stack and picked a random spot to pull out a card. I kid you not, this is what came out… “I Release All Fears and Doubts”. On the flip side of the card, “I am Loved and I am Safe”. You can’t make this stuff up!