I’ve been thinking a lot what it means to stand up. As an adjective it can have various definitions. The act of standing up is viewed as a courageous and loyal act, but sometimes simply standing takes courage too.
Sunday we joined a group of friends at a local gem that locals and tourists alike should become familiar with. Surf and Adventure company was taking our group of slightly competitive and overly comical friends on a stand up paddleboard trip.
As we lined up to enter the water, I felt a rush of unexpected nerves. Maybe it was because everyone in front of me effortlessly stood on their boards. Maybe it was because I was one of the last ones to enter the water leaving me feeling a need to catch up. Maybe it was because in a group of incredibly talented runners, I felt like I belonged in the back of the pack. Maybe it was left over emotion from the week of standing up for myself in a really big way.
I tried to be kind to myself. Progress is a process. It’s not perfection.
My nerves, the need to catch up, and an all to familiar internal script that I’m just not quite good enough took over. I couldn’t stand up.
I’ll stand up when I catch up.
I’ll stand up when we turn the corner.
I’ll stand up when my legs stop shaking.
Three and half windy miles later we reached our destination, and I was still sitting. I never found my legs.
My heart is having a hard time processing it all. My head is looking for a solution.
A mother who lost her son said anger is easy. I can feel the anger. It’s the sadness that is hard. I can’t stop thinking about this statement. We are all quick to blame, define, and label, but are we allowing ourselves to feel. Are we standing with our sadness?
What does it look like to stand up for those that lost their lives? What does it look like to stand up and say no more?
Right now I feel like I’m still sitting on my board. I feel like I’m waiting to catch up, for our country to turn a corner, and for the hatred to stop.
When I reached our destination on Sunday afternoon, I wished I had tried. I wished I would have gave myself chance to stand. Even if I fell into the water or behind my friends, I wish I would have found my footing.
I don’t want another mass shooting to happen in this country while I wish I had done something to make our country better. I don’t want to forget about this next week. I don’t to have this news story replaced by another injustice when we live in a land of freedom. Last week we stood up for a girl who was raped. This week we are standing up for people who were murdered.
We may not all agree on what needs to come next, but I think we can all agree that this is not okay. Something has to change. We need to stop sitting. We need to stand up. We need to listen. We need to recognize that this country is a blend of beautiful people and best intentions.
Today I showed up to vote in Virginia’s republican House of Representatives primary. As of 9pm, only 40,000 people showed up to vote. There are approximately 650,000 people who live in the second district.
I may have sat on my board on Sunday, but I stood up last week. I stood up at my race on Saturday. I showed up to vote today.
Progress is process. It’s not perfection.
Our country will never see change if we don’t take part in the process. It will never be perfect, but we need to progress.
We need to stand up. What we are doing today is failing us all. It failed a young woman who was raped. It failed hundreds immediately impacted in Orlando. We are failing each other.
We need to stand up for everyone who has been hurt by our countries inability to stand together. While there are many different opinions on what needs to happen next, I think we can all agree we are tired of sitting down.
I’m still not sure how I’ll find my footing, but I will not show up at our next destination wishing I had tried to stand up.