Not Sitting Down
I don't normally set "New Year's Resolutions." If I decide on a Tuesday at noon that I have a new resolution, I start then. I don't even wait for the next day. That being said, I do sometimes like to think of a theme for a new year. Last year, I said that in 2020 I wanted to live with more intent and purpose and to love people better - I feel very confident that I have acted in accordance with that theme all year long.
Of course, 2020 brought us COVID but it also brought us suppression. Oppression. A system that is doing its best to dominate us. So as I think of 2021 and a new theme, I keep thinking about the words resistance and freedom. I think we are convinced that if we question anything anymore that we are weird, that we will be labeled a conspiracy theorist, that our friends and family will roll their eyes or shun us. And yet the more I talk about this with people - such as random uber drivers, delivery people, friends, and coworkers - I find that a lot of people are questioning what is happening to our society.
People keep saying things like "the new normal" but I cannot accept this. I will be 38 in 2021. I have dreams. I have goals. None of which can be achieved in this new environment. And over the course of this year as we went from a 2-week lockdown to 12 weeks to now going on 9 months of limited freedom, my need to speak out has far exceeded my fear of being ridiculed.
I am fortunate that the people who love me best are like-minded. They think as I do, that freedom should always come before security. And I think they support me speaking out, even if it could put me at risk that organizations and people that I have associations with may want to censor me or cut me off if they are unable to do so. But the life I want to live requires freedom, it requires personal liberty, so what is life to me if I lack those things?
I am still unsure in what ways my behavior will change as I resist this oppression. But it begins first with speaking out. Because someone reading this may say "I am not alone." And then I am not one, but two. And then more. The voices get louder and harder to ignore. I am committed to doing my best to support small businesses whenever possible going forward as they are hurting the most (I recently just made a very large furniture purchase from a local small business). I am committed to loving the people I love (which, last I checked, includes hugging, kissing, and spending time together in close proximity!). I am committed to resistance. To non-violent civil disobedience where appropriate. And this is not because I am a troublemaker (though my mom may beg to differ here!), but it is because I care about people, and I cherish freedom.
I dread the idea of being seventy years old, looking back and realizing I didn't live the life I wanted because I was scared. Fear is fine. Fear is normal. But I will not let fear be the reason I die with regret. Not when I can choose courage instead.
I will not take this sitting down. And I know I am not alone.