There are weeks when it’s easy to find a common thread in the pieces we publish here. And then there are weeks like this one, where each piece stands out for what it says but it seems quite separate from the other pieces we’ve shared. Each piece this week shines a light on something important. It draws us deeper into the emotional lives of each author. Each piece radiates love in a unique way. Obviously with the events of this week, it seems like recognizing the value of different kinds of love might just be what we all need. If there is a common thread this week, perhaps it’s self-knowledge. And with that self-knowledge, self-acceptance.
Monday: Self-Knowledge in the Face of Homophobia
“You can’t listen to those inner voices when you have a vested interest in hearing them say one thing in preference to another. But you can’t train those voices to say what you want. You can choose not to listen to them, which will make you miserable. Or you can choose to listen to them, which might make that parent or religious leader angry with you. These are the choices we have to make.”
Self-knowledge is hardest when the people around you are telling you that your true self is wrong. You then have every reason to tell yourself you aren’t what you are.
Our Pride Month stories continued this week when Erika talked about coming out. She takes us through her process of self-discovery, and eventually being able to share that part of herself with others. She also invites us to learn about one question that she hates being asked. Coming out is a process that challenged Erika to learn to love herself and to grapple with the possibility of being true to herself damaging relationships and disappointing people she loved. In the end, coming out might just be the beginning of learning about the entire scope of what “love is love” means.
Tuesday: Writing and Self-Knowledge
“It’s difficult and frustrating to rip apart an essay and put it back together. But there’s a certain satisfaction to doing it. And getting to the end? Feeling the thrill of the finished piece? Yeah. I like that, too.“
Self knowledge and self-acceptance are the keys to writing. And sometimes writing is the key to self-knowledge and self-acceptance.
Writing is hard work. It’s also joyful work. And it requires patience. Patience with yourself, patience with your work, and patience with the process. On Tuesday Adam provided us with a lesson about the importance of patience for writers, but perhaps the bigger lesson there is what he has learned about how becoming more patient has helped him grow as an artist and as a person. The love Adam has for teaching and for writing radiates from this piece right along side the love Adam has for his writing colleagues and friends.
Wednesday: Enough Violence in our Schools
“After shootings, disingenuous people talk about arming teachers to protect their students, without thinking through what that means. And I haven’t read a lot of opinions from teachers themselves. But here’s mine: please don’t ask me to die for your child. Nor to kill for your child.”
We take one last trip to Ms. Lacrete’s classroom before summer vacation begins. What should be a day of celebrating the achievements of the children and their growth this year is disrupted by one of the most frightening things that can happen at school. Read what Josi has to tell us from inside the classroom about the dangers of mixing the role of “teacher” and “law enforcement” or of putting a weapon into a classroom. And take note of the deep love Josi has for teaching and for her students.
Friday: Acceptance Does not Need to be Meek
“We will continue to speak out where we see injustice and to provide a platform for those who find solace in creating.”
Acceptance of a situation means looking at the situation as it is and not as you wish it were. It means drawing your observations and conclusions from reality. It does not mean accepting that a situation is what it is and cannot be changed.
On Friday, like so many other people, we were dealing with the news that came from the US Supreme Court. The news, while unexpected, still hit us hard. We are not a political website, but we also know that art itself is often political. Through our writing and our art we know we have a powerful platform to take a stand for what we believe in. And it is our passion for that platform, for ensuring that there is a place for voices to be raised to speak out the love for justice and equality that led us to release a statement on Friday after the news regarding the Roe v Wade decision. You can watch the reel or follow the link to read the full statement.
Saturday: Self-Knowledge, Self Acceptance, and Creativity against Fascism
“But a real work of art can be a conduit from your own genuine emotions to the genuine emotions of the audience. And that is a necessary part of any way forward for us as individuals or as a country.”
We did share an episode of Big Cat, Little Cat this week, although it wasn’t quite what we planned. This week, the cats really have a more advisory role for all of us. This week the conversation turns into the ways that emotion can inspire art. How can we channel our feelings about what’s going on into creative endeavors? What are the messages our art sends? How are we lifting voices to make those feelings known? Visit our Big Cat, Little Cat post this week and share your thoughts about the process there.
We don’t consider this a political site first and foremost. But art is inherently political. And it’s not lost on us that when reprehensible people come to power, one of the first items on their to-do list is to imprison and murder the artists. That means they fear us. And that means, properly channeled, that we can hurt them.
The list of artists who have been imprisoned for what they wrote is longer and sadder than these four names. But we can follow their example.
We’ll be wrapping up our Pride Month coverage this week and heading into July. And of course we’ll keep providing a space for people to share their work in response to the recent US Supreme Court news, too. If creating something brings you comfort, if it helps you to express your rage, please create. And please remember that we’re here to help you share. We’re a community above all, and that community means we make space for you, our readers and writers to share thoughts, feelings and creations.
We’re going to close out this week with the words of Fred Small.
You can be anybody you want to be,“Everything Possible” by Fred Small
You can love whomever you will
You can travel any country where your heart leads
And know I will love you still
You can live by yourself, you can gather friends around,
You can choose one special one
And the only measure of your words and your deeds
Will be the love you leave behind when you’re done.
Leave a few breadcrumbs of love this week please? We can all use it.
Make sure you‘re all caught up with your favorite 2 Rules writers and features by checking out all of our Sunday Summary posts.