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This is just to say we have two ears. One for listening to our own hearts and one for listening to the hearts of others.
This is just to say that the juxtaposition is striking
as we put the chocolate cake in the oven, or scan for cheap flights for the upcoming holiday, or press the wrinkles out of a dress, iron steam wafting in our face
all the while the threads of our democracy are fraying and police can murder black people.
This is just to say Philando Castile.
This is just to say Philando Castile was murdered and it was legal.
This is just to say this morning’s oatmeal wasn’t quite as creamy. Was is too much water? Not enough milk?
This is just to say that fat people are not before pictures.
This is just to say if you care about the ravages of white supremacy then you should care about the ravages of thin supremacy.
This is just to say some of the least woke people call themselves feminists.
This is just to say the plants on my balcony are outgrowing their pots—crawling out of the soil like a child does last year’s shoes. This is just to say that I wonder “Am I outgrowing my soil?”
This is just to say it’s not Flint, Michigan that doesn’t have clean drinking water, it’s the human beings in Flint, Michigan that don’t have clean drinking water more than 1,000 days later.
This is just to say I tried one of those online clothing resale sites. I got a sweater. I think I overpaid. It’s warm and perfect for summer in San Francisco.
This is just to say my cycles have been irregular and it’s unsettling.
This is just to say I think I’m still trying to get what I needed when I was eight. You too?
This is just to say that we have two ears and many people have known for a long time how to listen out of both. The Syrian parents who throw birthday parties while bombs drop around them. They know that we need both ears open wide. They know that it’s a privilege to listen with only one.
This is just to say that we have two ears and one of them is to hear our own life. Through it we get the call, we find the switch to lift us out of the gray. Through this ear our hungers point loudly north, we discover how to start our day, the name of the chapter we’re in reveals itself. Through this ear we find the detours around our resistance and pleasure, and the urge to make, and the imperative to be together. This is the ‘follow your bliss’ ear. The ‘well-fed living’ ear. The ‘live your best life’ ear.
This is just to say the other ear is to hear the babies crying. Through this ear we hear injustice so it makes, wakes and shakes us towards our one mouth. This is the ‘we’re all in this together’ ear. This is the ‘privilege isn’t a choice’ ear. This is the ‘talk less, listen more’ ear. This is the ‘blindspot shattering’ ear.
This is just to say thank you.
Thank you to those fighting today and to those whose shoulders today’s teachers stand on.
Thank you to Shaun King, Kelly Diels, Desiree Adaway, Melissa Toler, Linda Bacon, Ragen Chastain, Jes Baker, Janet Mock, Cecile Richards, Ethan Nichtern, Ijeoma Oluo and Sonya Renee, and and and…
This is just to say you deserve to eat. You’re allowed to eat. Food is not the enemy. You are not the enemy. Your body is not the enemy. The enemy is anyone or anything that tells you to mistrust yourself, to shrink yourself, to override yourself, to cover either of your two ears. The enemy is anyone or anything that tells you that trading ease for the illusion of control is a good deal.
This is just to say Sandra Bland.
This is just to say Kalief Browder.
This is just to say go register to vote. Go now.
This is just to say that one time at a dinner party, many years ago, the woman seated next to me casually mentioned that she and her husband saw a therapist for general relationship maintenance. I cried. Right there. The ache for a partner willing to do the work was so deep in me. Listen for this ache. You have two ears too.
This is just to say you’re not alone.
This is just to say that Greta, my niece, learned to crawl this week.
This is just to say I want to circle around the fire with you.
This is just to say that the week our president took office my face broke out in a rash.
This is just to say that the cake is almost ready to come out of the oven.
This is just to say your faith can be as simple as believing in your own worthiness and our interdependence.
This is just to say white nectarines are my favorite of all the summer fruits.
This is just to say we have to hold both.
This is just to say the juxtaposition is striking and we’re not supposed to feel comfortable.
This is just to say that we all have two ears and one mouth.
This is just to say I struggle to listen too.