Someone put it more eloquently: In times of crisis, in times of pain and struggle, there the depths of the human capacity for change can be glimpsed.
There’s no question about capacity. It’s capability that bears limitations. Capability is interesting since it’s closely related to capacity, yet one is finite and other doesn’t lend itself readily to boundary markers.
This is where activism can find its pass/fail. To change anything, it’s often forgotten that you can’t change others, only yourself. A proverb drilled into my head many times over, but until tonight, I didn’t quite understand how I could be affected by its consequences and opportunities.
Consequence and opportunity. Both are descriptions of an effect of change. The connotation is the difference. The effect of change is framed by the identifying label.
No, this isn’t a post for praising the eternal optimist (I have yet to come across any person who existed that can justify that label. You can throw Jesus at me, I’ll point out that garden scene). The point to recall here is our humanity. That’s right. Our. This isn’t about me, this is about me.
This past Thursday night, I was at the end of my rope. I was overwhelmed, I couldn’t think of anything else but ending my suffering. Embittered by accepting the burden of sole responsibility tossed at me, I decided to die. I had enough, God was too busy saving my life pointlessly – I supposed God was waiting for me to do it myself so He wouldn’t have to bear the guilt.
Now I’m contained in a more secure environment with my safety needs being met and a longer-term plan coming together. Anyway.
Today I heard it in my voice. I was blaming others. Nobody forced me to choose death that night. Nobody forced me to take up the abused mother character. I had choices each step of the way. I decided my behaviours, my actions, my reactions, my responses.
Feelings are information, they are no way the sole validation needed to engage any course of action. My behaviour is entirely on my shoulders, my responsibility.
My cohort, family, anyone really, aren’t required to see me as a human, aren’t required to look past my surface. No one has to listen to me, no one has to hear me, no one has to acknowledge me, no one has to comfort me, no one has to accept me, no one has to love me. I’m not responsible for how another person, let alone people, utilizes their will.
Nobody betrayed my trust, because I am the one who gave that trust in the first place. It was offered, it can be revoked, overturned, rejected … at any time according to choice.
This is the problem with free will. Free will is everyone’s. Nobody laid out a binding contract when free will was negotiated – there is no negotiation. Free will means that the will itself, the choice, the decision process, all of it is up to the person. Extrapolate this to people, then to society, and so on. So how much is determinism and how much is free will?
Is there an actual difference beyond symbolic representation? I’m no philosophy major, one undergrad class hardly makes me an expert on that topic. Formal versus informal education, now that’s a longstanding debate from human history.
The question has become: “Now what?”
Indeed. The answer to that is, and has been:
“That’s a choice.”
Yes, I’m safer at this time, for any who are concerned. As I stated above, my living situation is currently more secure. A plan is being developed and enacted with my school’s support and the Region’s assistance. I won’t lie and say everything is all right, but I can say it’s okay.
Andrei, thank you for being you. Thursday night and the ensuing events, our responses at every turn and where there was no turn, showed me many times over again the strength of your tenacity, and the force of your will when you chose hope over despair at every opportunity, every consequence. If I ever had need of a situation where my ability to trust anyone would be tested severely in awful ways, it is this. Thank you for your vulnerability, your humanity. This crisis is not about me alone. Thank you for trusting me and having faith in me as well.
Thank you for believing in us.
- “Injection.” Composed by Hans Zimmer, vocals by Lisa Gerrard. Notable on the Mission Impossible 2 soundtrack.