I won’t lie, this past week was tough. I don’t know whether the change in temperature reminded me of a mostly lost summer, or whether the continued stress of clients related to the NYC educational failings had me struggling after each day. I came home unready to relate to my small family except by means that pushed them away. Not good for any of us. And, then Friday night, as we were hopeful in celebrating the Jewish New Year, we heard the sad news of RBG’s death. Like with so many, it feels like a personal loss.
As I have learned in the process of past bereavement, there are physical manifestations of loss. Saturday I felt achy, with shallow breaths. It is not Covid-19. But it is similar to symptoms that prevail among my close, female friends & family who also found a hero in Ruth Bader Ginsburg. A very human hero. While she championed gender equality, she did so within a binary model, and may not have given voice to certain minority groups within our population.
So much has been written about her. And, it’s hard to choose my favorite among her many admirable qualities. But given these times, given what we’re going through individually and together, the trait that stands out to me presently is her respect for differences. She appreciated the ways we connected, and understood that we are not all the same.
However, it’s not a stance I see often these days. I am saddened at the hate and judgement I hear and read about related to opposing points of view. Honestly, it’s hard to take in. Why can’t I believe in womens’ rights, human rights, and Black Lives Matter without being seen as soft or a bleeding-heart liberal? Conversely, what is wrong with doing my part as I see fit rather than it being not enough if not done in a louder or more forceful fashion?
Normally I stay away from political subjects, unless you consider wearing a mask to protect each other from the Coronavirus political. I suppose I open myself up for criticism in stating my beliefs. Fair enough. It’s time to live influenced by those who inspire us, rather than by those who insight our divisive natures. I choose to respect those who differ in their views. Nonetheless I will not be bullied by those who don’t respect my views. I am grateful to the notorious RBG for paving the way for shared appreciation of personal and political divergences. We can respect others’ differences while living our own truths.
On a personal note, I will continue to pay attention to my own distress working and living through this pandemic, learning new ways to care for myself. Forgiving of my sharp edges, while having the courage to be vulnerable, letting in imperfect support.
- Remind yourself of something for which you know yourself to be good. You can write it down, or simply remind yourself of this and other things that you know to be good.
- Give yourself one moment to make a choice of what you will do in the next moment.
- Use RBG as an inspiration and take an action inspired by her life’s work.
- See if you can take one item off your “should” list. Not by doing it, but by crossing it off as something that no longer “should” get done.
- Do an anonymous kind act. It might be cleaning up after a family member, or it could be opening up a door for a stranger, or making a donation. See if you can do it without acknowledgement and see how that feels.