The other day J and I watched The Constant Gardener. I ended up in tears, crying for I’m not sure what---for being so far removed from world events, that we were curled up on his couch, safe, for not having done the Peace Corps, for not sticking it out in the Bronx, for not feeling like anything was enough, for feeling and not doing---He said he wouldn’t have been able to do something like that, and I don’t think honestly I would be either. I couldn’t pinpoint my tears or know exactly what it was that was so upsetting.
This morning we watched Olympic Hockey and we’ll go to the mall later---back to our overt American culture. How good we all have it. When I was a teenager, I used to have that how can we sit here and eat in fancy restaurants when people are starving angst. While that youthful idealism hasn’t vanished, I often wonder if anything we do is enough? J always tells me a lowball what I do, that I don’t focus on all the good that I do enough, but rather I focus on what I don’t do or can’t do. Maybe that’s only child syndrome, never feeling like there is enough you can have/do etc. I still haven’t given up my notion that I am really a superhero and that I will single-handedly change the world---albeit one poem or one cocktail at a time. I guess the one thing we can learn is that we should constantly be concerned with the struggle (any struggle) and constantly try to do more good than evil and to constantly try to celebrate those small dents we make, that we really are tipping the scales towards something higher, something more beautiful, a world that is good and pure.
And yes, I will purchase undergarments using my birthday Victoria’s Secret gift card probably made by cheap foreign labor that has probably exploited someone or something, but I will wear them and think of the thoughtfulness of someone who wanted to get something nice for me, someone who wanted me to feel beautiful no matter what. And like I teach my students, there is always a contrast/conflict in anything---beauty, love, truth and good writing lets us see something for all that it is. And it is by opening our eyes to that, that we become more enlightened and aware of the world, as it is, and as we want it to be.