In Pursuit of a Peaceful Pillow

"An honest man’s pillow is his peace of mind." ~ John Mellencamp

Been thinking about those words. Also, lately, I can’t seem to shut up about things that are troublesome. I started talking about this on the most recent podcast with Keith.

I feel like I should apologize or go back to sharing nothing but anecdotes or funny memes because who doesn’t love those, but I can’t promise that because I have awakened, you could say.

The problem with awakening to reality is that it makes you want to go back to sleep, but while providing the desired escape, it perpetuates the problem. The only thing I can do is whatever is within my power. So, I’ve been using my voice.

Yes, I have one. It’s not very loud, and historically I haven’t used it much. That’s more comfortable. People-pleaser that I am, potentially pissing people off, terrifies me. It doesn’t reconcile. Or, it’s fear that being outside my box won’t be welcomed. My kids, who know I’m greatly affected by disapproval, tell me "say what you think you can live with." That’s been a bit like stepping out onto a tightrope. Along with my voice, though, I’m working on locating my spine.

I don’t know why it has happened now, with today’s current issues. I don’t know that it matters why. I just know that to sit in my artificial little bubble just going on with things mostly as usual, knowing this too shall pass, isn’t working. This too shall pass, but at what cost? To just shut out the unpleasantness is also ignoring what’s really at the heart of it.

I am discouraged. Humanity has disappointed me in a crushing way. I see people now in ways I didn’t allow myself to before. Factually, I knew to some extent who people were, but seeing it play out in living color has been overwhelming. Focus on the good, they say, but that is superficial comfort. I’ve relied on that for a long time. It’s a necessary piece if we’re to survive, but I can’t successfully ignore the ugly anymore. From all sectors, it’s rampant. "Leaders" encourage - by leading with - the most troubling behaviors. They justify injustice, intimidate, name call, lie, and contradict. They do whatever necessary to get us on their side. Like kids on the playground, we then pick a side. There’s no sense of fair play, no integrity, standing for right, or even attempt to find commonality. And that’s just the political. It doesn’t end there. Our behavior is just as bad. What ever happened to "do unto others as you would have them do unto you"? "Love thy neighbor as thyself?"

It makes me want to scream! IT’S NOT ALL ABOUT YOU! What you want! What’s comfortable for you! Your rights! Your side! Your privilege! We’re in this together, they say, but I see less and less of that playing out. There’s no listening. No civilized exchange of thought. No willingness to cooperate for the sake of the greater good - and far too little consideration of others. This should be basic stuff. I told my kids growing up when they were at cross purposes, "if you would be willing to listen to each other and give a little instead of just pushing more for what you want, you might find you actually get more of what you want." They seem to have gotten that, but I don’t see much of it out there.

Howard Beale plays in my head: "I’m as mad as hell, and I’m not going to take this anymore," but the rest of his words also resonate. They are linked below in their entirety. More so, though, I am profoundly sad.

"The Man in Black," Johnny Cash, has also been ringing in my ears. Keith was playing the song by the same name the other day. Still holds true, sadly. Seriously, listen if you aren’t familiar (also, linked below). Johnny knew his message would not endear him to some, even his own fans. His thought on that? The song was released in 1971. "The Man in Black" and Howard Beale’s character were both written many years ago, but change is slow, friends, and it doesn’t happen on its own.

This has been a long time coming for me. Perhaps recent events and time to reflect have just been the accelerant. My kids and their partners have been big motivators for me, too. I admire all five of them for their convictions and desire to make the world a better place; for believing you stand for truth and speak against injustice. Kahlil Gibran said about children, "…You may strive to be like them, but seek not to make them like you. For life goes not backwards…" Words I believe to be true. The teacher has become the student.

And there is Keith; always willing to speak up, whatever the consequence. He pushes me to do the same. He says with such easy conviction, "F**k ‘em if they don’t like it." I’d like to say that with a lot more confidence than I can right now, but I’m working on it.

And while Keith is "The Voice," and I, simply the "Wife to Whom," I am not so devoid of critical thought that I can’t speak beyond who I think the next Bachelor will be. I will face more judgment from those who disagree or just want me back in their idea of my box. I’ve become weary, though, of staying silent for approval; to keep peace. Real peace will only come with real change; in the world, and in my mind.

Maybe I’m finally understanding my peace of mind should not be attached to what others think of me but rather what I think of myself. That is the pillow on which I wish to rest my head.

Wife to Whom