In yoga, my instructor often says “embrace the wobbles” when we are working on a challenging pose. In order to reach stability, you have to keep your muscles engaged and be patient with the process. To get comfortable, you first have to be uncomfortable.
I went to my first Juneteenth celebration last month in Appomattox, Virginia. This was also the town’s first celebration, significant given both the local population and historical significance of Appomattox. It was here in 1865 that General Robert E. Lee of the Confederate army surrendered to General Ulysses S. Grant of the Union army and the Civil War was ended. As part of the celebration, there were several speakers including a doctor whose name sadly now escapes me. But she was powerful and passionate and she also said that we are in an uncomfortable position and that’s where we grow. Embrace the wobbles.
In Harry Potter (because in my brain, all roads lead to Harry Potter), there is a conversation in Order of the Phoenix where Ginny tells Harry he should have confided in her about thinking he was being possessed by Lord Voldemort, that she too knows what it’s like to be under his control and confused, having been possessed by him in Chamber of Secrets. Harry’s response is “Oh, I’m sorry, I forgot [that happened to you]” to which Ginny says “Lucky you”.
So what does all of this have to do with anything?
We are stuck in a cycle. A cycle of a horrific event gains national (or international attention), there is outcry, there is maybe some small action (or none, let’s be real), and then we move on, whether something has changed or not. How lucky that we can forget. How lucky that we can move on from the fact that Black people in America are systematically oppressed. How lucky that we can move on and forget about Breonna Taylor. Lucky us.
And how do we forget something so upsetting, so disturbing, so wrong? Because it makes us uncomfortable to stay. We want to look away. We want to say “oh that’s so sad but Minneapolis has made change so we’re good now”. We want to go back to looking at puppies on Instagram. I am guilty of this. I catch myself seeing people’s posts about how we can’t let newsfeeds go back to normal, how another Black person has been murdered, how another double standard has been revealed between Blacks and Whites, I see posts about not letting up. And I think to myself “I’m so tired of this”. And there it is, the moment of complacency and privilege.
How lucky that I can be tired and move on. How lucky that I don’t want to see more murder and injustice so I just swipe it away. How lucky that I can escape it. How lucky that I have a choice.
I choose to embrace the societal wobbles we’re going through right now, to sit in this discomfort, to embrace the hard facts, to not move away from it. For that is where I grow. That is where I have to sit with my own feelings and the evidence and say “I am lucky but I am wrong”. And that’s where the change happens.
I’m not perfect, I start to look away still but I come back. My friends (both real and internet) bring me back. I don’t know what I’m growing to, what the solution is, where this ends. But at least by facing it down and embracing my wobbles, I hope it will make a difference.