Thursday, January 19, 2017

Keep Calm and Do Something

I have not fully processed what is about to take place in this country. Thoughts have swirled around in my head incoherently for two months. I am not certain what my voice is in this. I don't have voting rights, but I live and work here, pay taxes, am married to a native, and raising my child here. Not a citizen but a resident. Do I have a say? Am I allowed to have an opinion? But I have been feeling dread and fear. I stepped away from Facebook for awhile because all I was seeing was other people's fear and dread and anger and what you should and shouldn't do. Just shouting and not listening. I felt anxiety come on and I am not an anxious person. So I stepped away to quiet my brain.

After processing, I think what it boils down for me is this: when faced with crisis, you find out what you are made of. And this is a crisis. Coming from a country that has thousands of years of history full of ups and downs, I look at what is ahead for America as a rite of passage. When things break down so completely, and people are pushed to the edge, something monumental has to happen.

And I believe in hope.

I have spent the last 34 years in America. This is the country I chose to live in. This country changed my life and provided me with so many opportunities. I am the product of generosity, openness, and trust of people in this country. I have seen far more good than bad and it has helped me to find my authentic self.  I love that Americans are raised to stand up for what they believe in. I love that Americans speak loudly until they are heard. I love that Americans wear their hearts on their sleeves. I love that Americans come from all around the world with so many different beliefs, upbringings, and goals. And because of all that I have seen, I firmly believe that it will turn itself around.

I am not a refugee or an immigrant at risk. And I am not a citizen. But I do owe my life to this country. So I am going to do my part in supporting. I found four organizations that I can donate to every month (my husband also found four). I will continue to do my part as a theatre artist and educator to help raise the future generation of Americans to be empathetic and vocal. I will work on my interpreting and translation skills to help build the bridge between my two countries. And I will raise a daughter who is aware of the two cultures she carries in her blood, who will draw from the strength of the two places and contribute.

I was raised by two people who experienced their country losing everything and then building it back up. Just this last year, leaders of our countries visited Hiroshima and Pearl Harbor together. What great progress. What a hopeful message. There is every reason to believe great things can still happen.

Let's get to work.