For the 23.5 years I’ve been alive I have wished I didn’t live here. In this world. In this time. I longed for something far greater, for something less mundane. I created a fantasy world I preferred and as I grew up I chose to keep most of myself in it, and I thought I was content with that. Any restlessness I felt I attributed to something else. I never really concerned myself with politics or protests, debates or games of wit, and I abhor conflict of any kind. I stay in the shadows and nod my head and build my opinions inside of me. I live in my world of silence, solitude, and fantastic dreams.

Well, I have to say I’m not content anymore. And it is extremely satisfying.

What is currently unfolding in this country is for so many of us a tragedy. Nightmares we can’t pinch ourselves awake from that follow us as we leave our homes. I am not afraid for myself. My potential problems are the least of what’s to come. But this diverse city that I call home, and the very apartment I live in, is exuding fear and sorrow, and it is very real, and I can feel it, and I share it. I also know that I have never felt more like a Chicagoan than I do today. We are a community of artists and minorities and it is a beautiful thing to know we stand at each other’s sides.

Today I won’t preach any bright sides or silver linings. I will only say this: Let this election and these next four years light a fire under your butt. Do not let it happen in vain. If you don’t see a purpose to this, create one. Take this opportunity to be the change you want to see, to do the good you want done in this world, to build a community, to love those who need to be loved. For too long so many of us who say we care have sat idly by. This election gives us a chance to know exactly where we stand, to define what world we want to live in and to fight for it. Don’t let this chance slip through your fingers, or the pain and fear we feel today will be in vain and will never go away.

“Your tomorrow depends entirely on what you do today.”
— Mahatma Gandhi

There is a passion burning inside me that I’ve missed for a long time. But now this passion to do good, to help turn this broken world into something I finally want to be a part of has filled me in a way I haven’t felt in years. Since I was a kid I always knew I wanted to die fighting. I ached for battle (Despite my aversion to conflict. I know, just go with it). But Life is supposed to mean something. Let yours mean something. I may not be fighting with a sword in my hand, but this fire in my chest feels pretty damn close. Let’s set this world aflame (Not literally. Please, please not literally). But let’s blind the world with the light and love that we can spread. And while the next four years aren’t gonna kill me, by God, it’ll be one hell of a ride.

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