Wednesday, July 28, 2010

The Train is Coming

Sometimes I read my little boys the story of the "Little Engine that Could."

The book was one of my favorites as a child, and I enjoy passing it along to them. I try to impress on them the importance of "I think I can, I think I can" as we read about the little engine doing its job.

But, there is another aspect of the book that I'm thinking about today. Before the positive thinking engine saves the day, there are several other engines who refuse to the do the job of carrying the dolls, toys and food across the mountain to the waiting boys and girls. Two, of those engines decline out of self-importance. But, the other declines simply because he's tired.

"I'm so tired. I'm so tired. I need to rest my weary wheels, exclaims the old ragged engine before he puffs off exclaiming I can not. I can not.

Now, this engine is held up as the antithesis of the little blue engine. His negative attitude is supposed to be his biggest problem, while the little blue engine succeeds because he's positive. It's easy to see the message being promoted by the book's author.

Only, it's not that simple to me. Right now, I feel like that old, ragged engine. As I gaze at the swirling issues of race that are dominating our news cycle despite the best efforts of the country's first black president to downplay them, I just feel tired. Lies, misdirections and vitriol are everywhere, and while I understand it in no way compares to what my ancestors once faced in this country, I still feel tired. I'm tired of listening, I'm tired of discussing, I'm tired of being bothered.

I can not.

This has been building for a while. It's why I've posted somewhat less frequently, why I completely avoid most television news, and why I generally do not feel like talking to people about what's going on in the world. My focus is turning inward. I'm looking at my life, my behavior and my actions and thinking about what I can do to correct them. It's not that I've given up on people changing, it's just that I've decided they first have to show some desire and commitment to change before I get emotionally involved.

I'm not convinced that the majority of people this country, or in this world are truly interested in equality or justice, or challenging themselves to, honestly, be better human beings. Hell, often I'm not interested in those things. Like most people, I'm interested in being comfortable, in having enough, in not doing too much and in being "happy." Like most folks, I see happiness as an emotion dependent on my external circumstances, instead of a state of being dependent on my internal fortitude. I want the world to make me happy, when only I have that power.

So, like that old train, I've decided that right now is not the best time for me to be climbing certain mountains, even if it means some jobs won't get done. I haven't quit, I haven't lost hope, I've just lost a little vigor. I'm trying determine a new path that allows me to reduce frustration and stress, while at the same time feeling like I'm still getting things done. I still want to confront and discuss issues involving race, but I'm trying to discover a way to approach these issues that's satisfying instead of frustrating. The blog will continue, I'm just trying to figure what to say that I haven't said already, and how to present the same topics in real life.

In the mean time, all the Little Engines that can will have to do the heavy lifting.



LisaMJ said...

I feel ya Big Man, sometimes you need to rest. This stuff can make you nuts. I mostly get my news via NPR, Al Jazera English which I just discoverd on my cable dial, BBC and the blogs I visit (and I don't care if people say they are slanted, you couldn't pay me to watch Fox News- I almost had a heart attack when I accidently turned to the channel while punching in the number for Al Jazera). Anyway, even with those sources, this stuff drives me batty and I get sick of hearing about it. I skipped the Daily Show and Stephen Colbert for a month b/c I was getting sick of seeing the clips from Fox. I keep saying I'm taking a long break from this stuff. Get your rest, re-group, do you and get back to us on these topics with your insightful commentary when you are ready. Peace my brother!

Big Man said...

I'm not going anywhere, I'll probably post something new on Friday.

I just like reading my news. It's easier to disengage. I don't like NPR that much either. Sometimes they are cool, but other times they are stupid too.

I'm not going anywhere, I just was feeling tired today of all these people. I'm still writing.

Imhotep said...

Big Man, If you say you're getting tired, I got to believe. For sure all the race stuff can get you down, but bro you're only 30 +/- you ain't got no business getting tired at this stage of the game.

That race stuff ain't going anywhere, any time soon, and you have miles to go before you sleep. Miles to go.....

jtnot said...

Keeping planting seeds Big Man. You're like a farmer. Some of those seeds will hit fertile ground, bear fruit and make a difference. Release the self-imposed pressure to change the world. Do what you do cause you do it really well, and we all can feel the passion. Your voice is both needed and appreciated.

Big Man said...

Thanks Jt.


I know I shouldn't be complaining, but dude, these folks are wearing on me. Seriously, it's just too tedious. Wth do we have to say to make it click? What do we have to do?

Imhotep said...

Bro, Come to the realization that it's not going to click and they coming to certain understanding and realizations are not going to happen.

I'm sure you have done your part, probably like most of us have gone beyond the call of duty to make it work. They are not interested!

We do like those that came before us did, maintain our dignity while facing the inhumane, control the quality of life for our self and our family, still dream and ignore the bitches!

Raving Black Lunatic