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On Waking Up, after Beirut, Baghdad, and Paris

For the sake of what do we feel, do we write, do we wake up in the morning and do something other than make ourselves numb when the world is exploding into terror, xenophobia, racism, again. Compassion, in this world, takes so much bravery, because there is so much suffering to feel if we are actually going to suffer with others, as the word originally meant. If we are going to venture into the terrain of empathy, rather than sympathy – understanding and connection, rather than pity and condolences. If we are going to be brave enough for grief. I woke up early this morning in a strange space of grieving distant miseries from childhood, wondering why on earth I was thinking about years of deprivation and isolation that I don’t revisit anymore, and it made no sense until I checked in with the morning newsfeed – ah, yes – the world’s current grief is so overwhelming to the child inside me that it awakens her grief for the scale of personal sorrows she can almost metabolize. I don’t know how to metabolize this scale of global sorrow – Beirut, Baghdad, Paris. I don’t know how to metabolize the scale of suffering that would lead people to join groups like ISIS and become suicide bombers in the first place. I don’t know how to metabolize the grief of refugees venturing from hostile homelands to hostile European lands. I don’t know how to metabolize these things except in community, except in communities rising up in resistance and remembrance. I don’t know how to metabolize these things without also metabolizing my own grief. For the sake of what do we feel, do we write, do we wake up and do something other than make ourselves numb? For the sake of being fully alive and fully human. For the sake of resisting the internal disconnection that makes us such convenient, complicit subjects of empire and greed. For the sake of waking up to the fact that we are not actually powerless, and we are not better off silent and small. We are better off powerful and connected and part of something. Vocal and honest and brave. Even if it involves all the feelings and all the not knowing. I am tired of not wanting to wake up.