Anyone who has moved knows how exhausting it can be. This week when I found myself more emotional than normal, my first thought was that everything from the last few months was simply catching up and coming to the surface. To say it has been a wild ride would be an understatement – our family of 4 living out of 8 suitcases for 8 weeks, unpacking our belongings when they arrived nearly 2 months after we did, only to pack them back up 4 weeks later to move into our new home. I can safely say, it is likely I developed a mental allergy to cardboard and the word, “moving.” While we can see the light at the end of the tunnel, the last few months have taken a toll.
It wasn’t until I was crying myself to sleep that I realized it might be something more.
I had to force myself to take a step back and look at what had changed this week, what might be the underlying reason for being so emotional.
Months ago, we made the decision to move our family to Australia and did so on the backdrop of American politics. It was our way of demonstrating to our children that we do not support bigotry and racism. A bold move. We felt an enormous responsibility as parents to make a statement that would hopefully one day provide a guiding moral compass for our children, allowing them the capacity to know right from wrong.
Shortly after I announced my resignation, I wrote the below words in a piece for Time magazine.
“As we all sat anxiously anticipating the proverbial crashing of the glass ceiling, the narrative quickly changed and the reality that sexism, racism, and xenophobia still exist prevailed. It was a moment in time we would have to sit with our children and explain the following day, while fighting back our own tears. As a woman who was raised to be strong and who is raising a daughter to be the same, trying to make sense of it for her and our son was agonizing. We asked ourselves, how do we want to raise our children, what values do we want to instill in them, how can we teach them to be better than this? We have asked ourselves these questions every day since the election.
We realized the answer was less about us and more about doing the right thing.”
The decision was never about party lines. It was simply about right and wrong. I knew there would be those who agreed with us and others who didn’t. But the words I wrote ignited a fire storm of hate directed at me. Name calling. Judgements on who I am as a person and parent. Threats on my life and the lives of my children. All because I was standing up for what I believed was the right thing to do for my family.
As news stories from Charlottesville were reported and videos of those marching began to surface, it stopped me dead in my tracks.
I sat and watched a video one of my friends had sent and was dumbfounded. I wept. It hurt to the very core of who I am as a person to see what is happening in the backyards of people we love, in a country my grandfather’s fought to defend, where lives were lost in wars fought to stop the very groups of people marching today, in 2017. A country, which ingrained in its very fiber, holds the truth that every person has a right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. Every person. Period. Regardless of race, religion, gender, economic status, or sexual orientation.
My heart broke. The collective hearts of everyone around the world fighting for justice and equality, broke.
But this goes far beyond politics. This isn’t about being right. This is about doing the right thing. This is about the simple difference between right and wrong.
Years from now, our children’s children will be reading about this moment. Which side of history do you want to be on? We can all agree that at some point or another in our lives, we have had to reconcile within ourselves certain decisions we have made, that in the moment, felt like the right thing to do. As humans, we make those decisions hoping for the best outcome.
At the heart of division are the choices we have made and the convictions we each hold. But, in the same space where convictions are held, is strength and a deep understanding of right from wrong – a basic principle that removes the deficit of politics and reminds us that at the core of who we all are is the simplicity of being human. A place to find common ground. A place where we can all agree to fight against hate.
We were all created equal. And if you believe that to be true, you have a responsibility to say so, regardless of your vote.
Let’s all challenge ourselves to take a deep breath this week and stand up for something we believe in. If we can all agree to lean into the best versions of ourselves, perhaps we will find that place where doing the right thing becomes more important than being right. We can look to others who may disagree with us and unite against something we can all agree on together – the difference between right and wrong.
Cheers to a new week.