Experiencing real life

I did it. Last night I got sucked into the ugliness going on in our country. I had told myself—and others—that I wasn’t going to be emotionally drained by the rants, arguments, and conflict on social media, but a specific compilation caught my eye. It was a compilation of pictures. These pictures showed the horror fellow human beings across the country are experiencing. Slowly, the darkness from these pictures started leaking into my heart. I told myself to stop scrolling before I had so much disgust in my heart that I couldn’t sleep, but I just kept going. I kept reading the racial slurs and discriminatory exclamations graffitied on church doors, university walls, and other “safe spaces”. After reaching the end of the compilation, I tossed my phone to the side. I felt paranoid, unsafe, and fearful.

As much fear as the compilation provoked me, it also helped me realize that I’m, in a way, living in rose-colored glasses. I am grateful to live in a melting pot city that’s a part of a blue state. I wrongfully thought tolerance naturally happened in a place like the one I live in. I haven’t experienced discrimination to the point of being scarred by it. I somehow forgot that no one is immune to hate. I somehow forgot that evil works like roaches, it uninvitingly creeps into the most sacred spaces and is hard to kill off. Reflecting on this as I write makes me grateful for having seen the pictures. I am now more conscious of my surroundings.

After tossing my phone to the side, I sat on our couch with an awakened mind and a fear-ridden heart, stress emerging. I had to find a way to overcome the doubt in myself as soon as possible. I had promised to take Little Nugget on a bus ride to get donuts the next morning. I needed to vanquish the fear in order to feel confident enough to fulfill my promise, confident enough to expose my Nuggets to the world the next morning. I retreated to our room to work on staying in the light. I did some praying, deep breathing, stretching, and some more praying to find the peace I needed to sleep. Not only did I find peace, but I was also illuminated that it is important to lean into the fear and allow my love for life to lead the way.

The next morning, I got my Nuggets and I ready and headed out for the bus stop. As scary as it was to travel outside of my comfort zone after seeing the compilation of pictures, I realized that exposing them to real life is another vital piece of my Nuggets’ life. I cannot keep them in a bubble. I can make them confident, conscious, and humble individuals by allowing them to experience real life with me as their example of how to navigate it.

– Big Nugget

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