Something terrible happened three years ago. I heard about it on the news then, and it’s haunted me ever since. It came up in the news again last week, because they’re moving along with the legal proceedings, but I don’t know what kind of justice will be had there. I don’t think there is justice enough in this world for that case.
My teacher brought it up in class three years back, and I couldn’t talk about it. I can’t quite remembered how I reacted, but it was strongly. You’ll have to talk about things like this when you’re at university, you know, my teacher said. Three years later, last week, we did discuss it at university, and the same numbing horror shot through me, shoots through me every time I think about this.
My teacher meant what she said kindly; she was trying to prepare me, as good teachers do, for a world of horrors, where terrible things happen and we just have to learn to cope. Some people think that there’s a kind of virtue, or nobility, or politeness, or decency in not feeling strongly, or not expressing outright horror, at any rate. That’s the way the world is, and you can, perhaps, do a bit to change it. But in order to survive, you have to wall the worst of the world out. Right?
There are coping mechanisms, and there’s what’s practical, and what’s sustainable: I understand that; I know what it’s like to burn out. This is something else. I can’t live with the bad things in the world shut out. I can’t ignore injustice when I know it’s there.
I believe in screaming at oppression and injustice and wrongness until it shatters. I can’t afford to be complacent, because I’m at risk from marginalisation. But, more than that, I can’t afford to risk my soul and my integrity by not working and dreaming and planning for a better world.
I believe in having zero at the bone. It is vital to who I am to be aware of terrible things and not stand for it. I don’t want to duck my head down and build a closeted falsity of all being right; I want the light of goodness to be everywhere. I believe in being loving, and facing the truth. I know that I turn my head away sometimes, and I believe in doing my best to turn it right back.
I haven’t learned to cope better because I’m already coping in the best way I can, by filling my life with changing the world for the better. I react strongly, and deeply, and baldly, because sometimes my whole heart calls out. My whole body and being reverberates with a ‘NO,’ because this will not stand. There is no shame in that, nothing to be changed in me. There is no honesty in denying that kind of feeling. The most healing thing to be done is to acknowledge that pain, that pain in myself and us all that might never be fixed, and do the very best I can with it.
There are some kinds of justice that will never be had, but I’m going to spend my life trying my best to leave this world a more just place.