Staring Right Back


So many of us would like to pretend that we are different, that we wouldn’t stand by the same thing happening in “our” country, in “our” time, in “our” space.

Of course, it depends on what you mean by “our” which in my experience doesn’t include me, members of my family, or a number of individuals/groups that I call friends/mentors/guides/loves. 

Evil doesn’t look like a caricature. It looks like you, it looks like me, it looks like apathy. It appears in the form of compliance to those who utilize hate-mongering for political ends. It shows itself through the fact it limits boundaries and borders but doesn’t extend protection to vulnerable populations. It refuses to acknowledge the trauma and hurt that it perpetuates. It doesn’t take responsibility for damages or how many lives are lost to accomplish an end.

No one is above this.

Start looking at others as your equal, as your reincarnated self. For a moment, remind yourself that you’re not “better” than anyone. You are just as guilty, like the rest of us. Imagine what you would want done to you. To your heart, to your family, to your arms and legs. Lay prone on the floor of your home and allow yourself the great suffering that has occupied our hearts and minds for so very long. 

Then you’ll start to realize that everything that happens, isn’t about fault. It’s about responsibility. Sometimes, I wish that we could begin to internalize the experiences of the other as directly akin to ourselves. The hurt of a body, anybody, is a wound I’ve sustained.

Pain is information. 

It tells us to change, to move, to grow and adapt.

Our country has been in pain for a significant time. All of us are feeling the impact, it manifests every day and within limitless form. Read between the lines of the opioid crisis, the rise in teenage suicide, the increase in mental health issues, fibromyalgia and other psychologically rooted symptoms. 

We need to hold up a mirror and begin to direct our attention to those within our community who bruise the easiest. They are the canaries in the coal mine who tell us there isn’t enough air to breath. 

I cannot show you this through logic. I cannot prove this to you through fact. I cannot bend your ear to me because you do not want to acknowledge that it exists. That I am a creation of this time, this place, this culture. 

Oppressed or oppressor, we are all chained to this cycle of never-ending violence. The strongest want to protect themselves at the cost of the weak. They will sacrifice anyone to ensure they remain afloat at the top of the castle.

Come down from your ledge. Come down and meet me here, meet us here, see who we are. Come out from your safety, from your constantly chasing comfort. See the conflict for what it is. 

It’s an opportunity. To start over. To begin again and create new lessons, new culture, new ways of being.

Empathy can only be gained through experience. Not just television. Not just some flat panel screen that renders our existence a prison of two dimension.

Look in the mirror of another person’s eyes. Tell me you don’t see a whole universe staring right back.

Fabrice Lubin