Ears to Listen and a Heart that Wants Change

Sometimes I just can’t deal with how much privilege I have.

Oh, hey guys, I should probably give more of an intro than that. It has been several months since my last post. I’ve finished my first semester of college and wondering where the time went and where it will go. I’ve learned a lot, about myself, about others, and about normal things like chemistry and such. And as usual, I’m blogging to procrastinate working on an application. But hey, it’s actually due in January, so I’ve got plenty of time to procrastinate.

One thing I wasn’t expecting about college, other than how quickly it all fell into routine, was how discouraged I would feel. No, nothing huge and terrible happened. There were just days when I felt like I couldn’t handle school or studying science, not many days, but it did happen. I cried for people I didn’t know and for people I did know. I read so many articles that broke my heart and not just the viral ones. I had to question how it could be possible that people could do such terrible things to each other. I’ve wondered where the goodness in the world was and if it could be truly good.

And I did find goodness. In cute animals and dancing and kind strangers and the understanding testimonies of people who have felt burdened for the world in the same way I have (seriously though, cute animal videos are the best). So I’m okay. I’m excellent, actually. The funny thing about me is that I haven’t really suffered at all myself. I just suffer for other people, and that can be surprisingly painful. But yeah, I’m good. Because I have hope, and I see goodness, and I have an idea of what I want to do with my life (crazy, right?). I have emerged triumphant from my short spell of melancholy.

And I come back to my opening sentence. Because even though I am okay, there are so many people who aren’t. And I feel like I don’t really have the right or the experience to write this post, but I’m going to anyways. Because I want to speak out. I don’t want to be someone who just sits on the sidelines hoping for things to get better but not doing anything about it. I have so much privilege, and sometimes I just can’t deal with it. Because even though I’m an empathetic person, I will never actually experience certain types of discrimination, such as racism.1507593_1013346725359142_141624265100650192_n

Sure, my life won’t be completely rosy. I will probably experience gender discrimination, and money has always been a bit of an issue. Not that it’s a big deal. There are many people who have it much worse than I do. And I feel like it’s helped me to be less attached to material things. But anyways, that’s not the point.

The point is that I am a straight, white Christian (see my post about religious privilege here). I’ve never been super burdened about racial issues, and you can see that in the fact that the post I wrote about privilege was about religion, not race. I don’t really have any gruesome anecdotes, harsh realities, or even inspiring stories about racial issues. All I know is that people are hurting and even dying, and that’s a problem.

As I’ve said, I really don’t have anything to bring to the table except ears to listen and a heart that wants change. And hopefully, when the time comes, hands and feet that are willing to act. As with religion, I think it’s important to articulate where I am privileged and do what I can to help those who don’t have that privilege. And I guess that’s where I am right now. And I hope that’s okay.

Brianna Kathryn Meeks

I’m signing with my real name because I don’t want to pretend to hide behind a fake name (most of you know my real name anyway).

Some Words About Words

Actually, this is more than about just a few words, I want to talk about a book today. This particular book is called The Things They Carried by Tim O’Brien. It’s about the Vietnam War, but it’s surprisingly good. Actually, it’s not just good, it’s amazing. One of the best pieces of fiction I’ve come across in a while, which is weird ‘cause I’ve been reading a lot of good fiction recently. Maybe the fact that I thought I wouldn’t like it is the reason that I love it so much. Now, you’re probably thinking I’m crazy. If you know me, you know I’m crazy already, but that’s not really the point. The point is that it’s weird for me, probably the most anti-conflict person you’ll ever meet, to not only like, but love, a book about war. But this book really is very good.

The Things They Carried is comprised of many short stories, all relating to the author’s experiences in the Vietnam War. If after reading this you feel like reading it, but can’t get all of it, at least read the parts “The Things They Carried” (yes, it shares a name with the novel itself) or “How to Tell a True War Story”. Those two fill you with this deep, profound pain. Literally, after reading them, my heart is searing with that pain, but it’s so real. They break my heart, but there’s a certain beauty about them that convinces my heart that it likes being broken. I have some friends who want to join the military, and maybe it’s that fact that makes O’Brien’s stories so real for me. It really is so real, and you can feel the realness of the story just emanating from the words, touching your heart, and making you feel like those things happened to you.

There are some books that, after reading them, all you can do is sit and say, “Wow. That was so good.”  They’re so good that you don’t have the words to explain how good they are. Fellow book lovers will understand me, and I hope that the rest of you have experiences like this that convert you into being book lovers. But for me, I have had so few of those experiences recently. Those experiences are more grounded in my childhood with the books, Little Women, The Tale of Despereaux, and Madeleine L’Engle’s A Ring of Endless Light. But recently, I haven’t had those experiences. Until The Things They Carried. Like with all superb books, I can’t explain how good it is. There are some books that talk to your  head, but there are others that talk to your heart and make your heart feel. I know that sounds super cheesy, but that’s the best way I can describe it. I feel the emotions, and it’s just so beautiful, and unfortunately, I can’t explain that to you. I would recommend this book to anyone willing to glimpse the horrors of war. Every writer ascribes to get to that point where it’s not the writer speaking, but the words themselves that speak. Tim O’Brien has achieved that, and I love it. Thank you, Mr. O’Brien.

Epylle Spydre

p.s. sorry that I couldn’t be eloquent and figure out how to explain this well. I used to have good words for what I’m trying to convey, but every time I remembered one, I would forget it right after.

p.p.s. sorry for not posting yesterday, I was just very busy and didn’t have time to write.