The internet has been chided as the playground of fools, the empty rainbow of the wishful, the funhouse mirror of the self important or the opportunistic. It’s been categorized, classified, vilified, celebrated, lauded, objectified, amplified, even censored.
And today, it triumphed.
What a world. What a time of change, of upheaval, of opportunity and inspiration. Of introspection and the awesome power of communication and identity to rise up in concert and create the smallest seeds of change that can reforge people, lives, and global societies.
I am…emotional, about this to say the least.
My small, personal journey perhaps pales in comparison to the risen voice of thousands today. But I am reminded – moved – by how much the trappings of communication have given way to the very essence of human connection in a way that has changed my life dramatically.
I have explored who I am through the writings of others, and sometimes, me. Through observation and sometimes deep consternation, I’ve seen and felt the actions of others and learned with difficulty what I don’t want to do and be (along with a good dose of humility when I’ve seen shadows of myself there in any case). I’ve learned about the sort of things I want my daughter to understand. I’ve absorbed, espoused, disputed, and eaten a few choice words with a fine glass of regret.
The love of learning has been re-ignited in me in ways that it likely hasn’t been since my childhood years, poking through the volumes of children’s encyclopedias. My amazement at the diversity and beauty of culture and people and passion and art has been magnified in ways that I’ve few words to describe. Hatred and judgment has stung me personally, and saddened me from a distance. Hope and generosity have landed unexpectedly beside me and shone a light on the gentle kindness that lives in the most unassuming and beautiful of places.
My passion has learned to apologize in its overzealousness, and yet breathe a bit more freely in the moments when it used to fear being seen and felt. Fearlessness and insecurity have had some not-so-quiet discussions with one another, and realized that each could learn a bit from the other.
I have learned to let go. I have loved with abandon. I have feared, despaired, cried, challenged, affronted, ignored, embraced, laughed…breathed, and did them all again.
Thank the heavens we can do this. Can look at the path beneath our own feet and question its destination, let alone change it if we so choose. That we can walk it with belief and resolution. That we can always find freedom in the contemplation of not just where we are, but where we see ourselves hence. What a gift. What terror and freedom and exhilaration.
Today, I fear nothing more than I do being compelled to stay still. To have shoes that as yet have no scuffs or scars or smudges of dirt. To have said that I didn’t because I didn’t know how to start or how to get there. To hold my breath for fear of the rush of air that the gasp will bring.
The imaginationless can stand aside, including those that would not deign to indulge my optimism, my hope, or my wonder (even those small little trolls in my own mind). There are treasures yet among these well worn paths. And my shoes are yet finding their stride.