“We gotta make a change
It’s time for us as a people to start makin’ some changes.
Let’s change the way we eat, let’s change the way we live
And let’s change the way we treat each other.
You see the old way wasn’t working so it’s on us to do
What we gotta do, to survive.”
Tupac, wise as ever, knew the importance of calling on each other to change the way we eat, live and treat each other. I heard his still relevant, still powerful song Changes yesterday on the radio, and it seemed to carry on my sentiments from the weekend.
On the one hand (gratitude is always key) I slept in a beautiful home with a roof over my head, spent lots of fun and sweet time with family, and celebrated a milestone 90th birthday for my Papa. On the other end of the age spectrum, my youngest cousin displayed incredible poise and contentment when she led a few of us through a truly inspiring meditation full of peace, positivity, and empowerment. Go little B! Oh – and Charlie-pup got to come stay with us, which was our first puppy-cation as a little family! That made it even more fun and Charlie slept like a log when we got home 🙂
But there was also some negativity and gossip. I have a big family, and it’s definitely full of love; but it’s also full of people – and people make mistakes. We can be mean, petty, selfish, snobby, snide, and hurtful.
I think at some point we’ve all been there, on both sides of the negativity, but this time it hit me deeply in light of the awful, seemingly nonstop violence and hurt of the prior week’s mass shooting in Orlando, the toddler snatched by an alligator at Disney, and a local tragedy in Maine when our friend’s 19 month old nephew was killed in an accident in his backyard.
Saturday June 11th, the day before it all started, was the Boston Pride Parade – the first one I participated in – and I smiled so hard my cheeks hurt while we marched for a few hours, passing out branded fans and rainbow flags, cheering on love and inclusion. I am still so proud of the outpouring of joy and support from our city and my company, and so much love surrounding all of us that day.
So proud to celebrate Pride with @lovehasno_ and @bankofamerica. What an outpouring of love!! #imanally #samelove #lovehasnolabels #pride #loveislove #???❤️? #bts #prideboston #prideparade #lgbt #ally #boston ? *any opinions expressed are mine, not Bank of America’s. I just work there and am proud to do so, especially given the company’s commitment to diversify and inclusion (as employees, we have access to 4 month parental leave and support for transgender transitions, and much more through our benefits) and the environment.
A photo posted by Eliza – A Happy Wife (@happywifecreativelife) on
That’s how every day would be in my ideal world. Maybe not a giant parade – I was pooped afterwards! – but the LOVE we all felt should carry through every day. I felt beautiful and full of joy, and it radiated through me outward, and from those around me back to me. Love and happiness and smiles are contagious – I’ve said it before, and I mean it – it all starts within but man it’s great to be around, too.
We attended a beautiful post-parade roof deck BBQ hosted by friends in the city, and then my best friend J came back to our home where we enjoyed wine and yummy food and caught up about life. And then we woke up in the morning and it all started to change.
Reading the news is a casual, routine activity for many of us, so digesting a mass murder like the unthinkable violence in Orlando on the 12th takes a moment. Or a week. Or maybe we never fully accept it. Everyone deals with it so differently, and each tragedy is unique. J was at our house, my husband Matt made pancakes because that’s our Sunday tradition, and then we went paddling and did yoga in the backyard. And all throughout the day, the news unfolded, sharing higher numbers of people who had lost their lives, details of the boy who texted his mother from his final hiding place in the restroom before he was found and killed. We were putting the paddle board back into Matt’s truck at the state park when we read that the final count was 49 murdered and 53 injured. Our hearts were heavy, but what could we do?
When the Boston Marathon bombing and subsequent chase happened in 2013, we were glued to the tv. Matt was working in the city, and hadn’t come home yet, so I was heartsick and terrified before the bomber was finally found and captured. I remember being frustrated that the news would play the same damn videos over and over, and the reporters seemed to be saying the same thing for hours.
And what else are they supposed to do? Even our president – who I voted for and will miss dearly when he exits the Oval Office – is probably banging his wonderful head against the wall, trying to figure out what he can possibly say next. Back in 2014, after the horrible shooting in Newtown, CT, President Obama said “as a country, we have been through this too many times.” The Gun Violence Archive has gathered information on 145 mass shootings in 2016 alone. 145! I can’t help but wonder whether these shooters are just huge bullies who have purchased weapons and had a bad day – or needed help and never got it.
Maybe we can’t do anything to prevent such violence. But maybe we can. And this was all running through my head this past weekend when I heard about some comparatively minor negativity in my family, but it struck a chord and I rejected the thought of it. I love my family, and have been grateful to have a big, loud, crazy family (on both sides – my Mom and Dad are each one of five, and my family has grown with my stepmom and in-laws and their big families!) for as long as I can remember. And what I had no tolerance for was negativity and pettiness, especially in light of the recent violence in the world. So I gathered my courage, because apparently standing up to my family is a scary thing, and stood up for what’s right. It wasn’t a big thing that I did – just a very small conversation with one person – but that small action made me feel like a weight was lifted off my shoulders. Afterwards, when I looked in the mirror, I felt more beautiful (doesn’t make sense but I’ll take it) and so powerful.
— Eliza S (@happycreativeHC) June 22, 2016
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So whether it’s our family, our friends, someone at school or work, a partner or spouse, or ourselves in a bad mood or needing help, let’s pick up the baton from Tupac – who rapped about changing the world and was killed by gang violence – stand up for ourselves and stand up for each other. Whether you’re in school, work, at home, with friends or family or amongst total strangers, standing up for someone is usually harder then turning away and pretending everything is ok. If this resonates with you, please let me know in the comments below. And if you’re feeling brave and want to share a story about a time you stood up for what’s right, I’d love to hear it. So let’s keep the love flowing, the power of doing what’s right (sit-ins on the House floor, anybody?!) and make some changes. “We gotta change the way we eat, change the way we live, and change the way we treat each other.” For ourselves and to change the world. Because love is love is love and we need a lot more of it.
Sending you love, peace, and a hug,
A Happy Wife