Let’s Not Continue As We Began

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My weapon of choice
My weapon of choice
There’s a cheery post about resolutions sitting in the draft file at this point. It was supposed to go up a couple of days before New Year’s — but work got a little insane and I put in more overtime than planned. Then I got sick on New Year’s Eve, complete with fever and body aches, had to work New Year’s Day and Friday (new system coming online with the corporate job), and ended up sleeping most of that weekend just to recover, so I could hit the desk on Monday. Then some family things happened which culminated with my father-in-law moving in with us, so the husband, cats and I now have a roommate.

Then, of course, the horrible events in Paris on Tuesday with Charlie Hebdo and the two standoffs on Friday related to that.

Suddenly, a cheery post about how I’m going to try to stick to my resolutions this year to lose weight and be more organized doesn’t seem particularly appropriate.

That’s not to say I shouldn’t make goals or be cheerful — one of the best reactions we as individuals can have to these acts of terrorism is to continue to laugh and love and strive and — above all else — live. “Life is what happens when you’re busy making other plans,” John Lennon sang in a song on his last album and it’s a truth. If we stop laughing or living, if we let our world be darkened and overpowered by fear, that’s when we let the bastards win. We acknowledge our fears, are changed and touched by them, but we continue.

This isn’t a political blog. It’s my place to spout piffle about my life and knitting, things that I enjoy and promote my writing at such point when I finally release it to the wild. But the events of this week can’t help striking close to home in emotional ways. The folks in those offices were killed because of words and thoughts, because they mocked — often cruelly — those they felt were ripe targets. It’s not my type of humor and some of the works I’ve seen from their issues offend me. But it did not justify the actions of those gunmen. Nothing can justify that. Nor does it justify the death of a policewoman on Thursday or the hostages in the market on Friday.

I am a woman and a writer. More than once, I’ve found my voice stilled for one reason or another. While I now live in La-La Land aka Los Angeles, I grew up in a more conservative environment where I felt compelled to measure what I said or put on paper. It never as bad as what so many have to face and my parents were certainly supportive of me reaching outside the “safe” zone, but I’ve known the chill.

The cry of “Je suis Charlie” has gone out across the world, paying tribute to the cartoonists and staff of the newspaper. The call also goes out of “Je suis Ahmed,” honoring Ahmed Merabet, one of the two officers killed Tuesday. He was a Muslim, who died trying to stop those who killed others because they didn’t like what they said.

So, my major goals for this year are simple: to write and laugh and live, not give into the fear. To actually get my words out there this year. They will not shake the world, but they are my words and I should not let them linger in darkness. To try to stand up as others have stood and acknowledge that all persons have a right to a voice — even if we might find their words personally offensive. “I disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it,” Evelyn Beatrice Hall wrote in her biography of Voltaire. May it never come to that, but if it does, may I find that courage.

May we all find that courage; the world would be better for it.