April 12, 2022: The Days When the Writing Shouts at Me
To Our Union (To the Revolution), And the Hope That It Provides
In the dream, I am working in a PR office in LA. I have been there days and nights on a project. I have been waiting there for a long time to meet someone, but we are both under scrutiny of sorts, and there’s nowhere to meet that isn’t going to end up raising attention.
A friend at the agency, a man who wears those ear loops designed to minimize trauma from hypervigilant sound response (you’ve seen them on Instagram, no doubt), has finally figured it out. He has, as it were, cut out the noise.
The man I am meant to meet is brought to me, carried into a conference room, wrapped, quite literally, in a trash bag. (He is hiding as something someone else has thrown away; this is a field day for therapy, but so it goes).
He has hidden there to avoid detection by the press and the paparazzi, and he arrives this way to protect both of us from our respective sets of prying eyes. Our friend with the tool to avoid trauma pulls the plastic threads on the trash bag and the man I am there to meet unfurls himself. We are aware that this has been a long time coming. Our friends have had to pull some magic to bring us together.
We are so, so awkwardly and quietly overjoyed to finally meet. We embrace, carefully. Ah you, we say to each other in the first glances. You are finally here.
And then, we are left alone.
The conversation is full of smiles and the wisdom of all these years and it is quiet and it is tender. We listen and we recognize each other. There are words we don’t say and stories we don’t tell, because they will invoke too much pain. There are names we don’t say out loud because the energetic imprint of the ones who left a mark does not belong here. The boundaries are clear.
We are careful with each other, not cautious, but careful, and slow. We take our time. We have each come a long way in life to arrive at this moment, and we both know it. There is an excavation of the yes and the no of what is ok to ask and answer and divulge and what is not, and those boundaries are respected. It is a dance. It is thorough. It is patient.
And the kiss, when it comes, is gentle. It is all there is. That, and the heavenly smell of his neck, and the trace of my finger along the top of his breastbone just below his open collar.
It comes with the promise of more.
We have forgotten how to be kind.
We are tripping over ourselves in the public domain to find the quickest way to cruelty.
We do this even when we claim to stand on moral high ground, and we do it because we are traumatized.
It’s not like we don’t have good reason.
We’ve lived through the death of nearly a million Americans in the last two years. Four years of an absolutely mad president hell-bent on wreaking narcissistic abuse on all of us using all the power he was granted and then some. Corruption. Enabling. The crawling out from under a rock of every malignant white supremacist and the light shone on the darkest corners of what humans can do to one another at war and in our own families. Disinformation designed to split our lives and psyches into pieces. I could go on.
But this morning, I find myself recognizing that the way forward will not be lit with rage.
The revolution, when and if it comes, will be marked by the tenderness we show to one another as we rise and reclaim the power that has been taken from us by so many years of hate and othering and caste and denial and exploitation and harm– centuries of it, that have stripped all of us our dignity and humanity.
The way forward will be lit with kindness, and with joy.
I’ve pondered how they did it, the organizers who beat Amazon in a union vote last week and now have 100 more locations chasing them for strategy toward the same result.
Chris Smalls and Derrick Palmer didn’t build a movement to unionize against the behemoth that is Amazon with hate or demonization of their opponent, though.
They built it by literally feeding their fellow employees, by pulling together the collective threads of hope for a better future for that workforce, and through careful and consistent conversation– despite millions of dollars, overt racism and bullying by Amazon to silence it. They created, in the words of Chris Smalls, “a family.”
“I know what I sacrificed,” he said. “I know what they sacrificed to get there.”
We get to decide, you know. We get to decide how we proceed from here.
We get to decide whether to take each other back toward grace and humanity, whether to listen and honor and dignify each other.
We get to decide whether we will create union out of love and power out of kindness.
We get to decide whether to listen and receive one another across distance and time and so much loss.
If there is hope, it is in this: that we have the capacity, after so much harm, to find our way toward a better way of being here, among and between each other.
After waiting so long, we have the chance to meet one another where we are, to greet each other as survivors, to take back the power we’ve been denied by all we’ve lived through–
–to find our way, finally, to union.