Don’t Forget

By Penny Robo

Penny RoboStay optimistic. I know that’s one of the hardest things to do for anyone that makes it their business to be informed about the state of the world but to not do so is to lose sight of the very reason they’re doing this all for.

We’ve got our own light, not needing to be gifted by or validated by anyone but ourselves. The insights granted by our minds, the most complex calculator known in nature, lets us see patterns and recognize cause and effect like no other creature we’ve ever encountered, and we can use that to make this world a better place.

The universe doesn’t see good or bad, those are human concepts, human constructs, and that origin means that there can be no absolute definition. But we can agree on much. There’s too much unity in many of the basics of our definitions, across cultures separated by thousands of years, split before writing was even invented, to believe that the wiring of the human brain isn’t predisposed toward largely unanimous beliefs in what constitutes generosity or cruelty… that we generally shared those concepts before encountering one another gives credence to that.

The devil is in the details, of course. When does one’s actions become the business of another? When does group responsibility trump individual freedoms? How far can we go to remedy what we’ve decided is an injustice? The idea of a universal constant of right and wrong has led us toward awful, despicable acts, and is something we can’t lean on if we wish to make this world better.

How do we make this world better?

Those who try the hardest often find themselves constantly confronting themselves with the worst of this world, a non-stop reminder of what could happen should they let up. But that can’t be all you do. For all your sacrifices to stop harm, you can’t forget the goodness you’re also protecting. The silly joy of watching a movie character save the day, the second-hand pride you feel the first time your child succeeds in what they’ve been trying so hard to learn, the connection to a song that effortlessly explains a feeling you’ve never been able to articulate, the quiet astonishment that flows over you when you realize the serendipity that led you to be the one to place that smile on your wife’s face.

Don’t forget that you’re fighting for far more than you’re fighting against. Human nature isn’t very good at letting us do this, I admit. But human nature also gave us an incessant and often intolerable drive to change this world to better suit us. We’re fast but not the fastest, strong but not the strongest… we’re not the best climbers or swimmers or can survive the most extreme environments. Hell, we’re omnivores, we’re as general as can be in the animal kingdom. Our specialty is our ability to manufacture specialties. That’s a grand ability, one that has brought us more knowledge of the universe and its workings than any other beings in the universe.

As far as we know, anyway.

I cannot believe that humanity is incapable of turning that ability inward and bettering ourselves. I don’t think that anyone who has ever woken up next to someone they love, saw a piece of moving art that touched their heart, held their newborn child and felt privilege at the thought of raising this little human being, that’s ever come out of the darkest of circumstances and made the choice to have their pain make them better instead of bitter, can look out at this messy, confusing, difficult world and thought it beyond repair.

You’re fighting for more than you’re fighting against. Don’t forget.

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About Zinnia Jones

My work focuses on insights to be found across transgender healthcare, public health, psychiatry, and history of medicine, integrating these many perspectives and guided by the lived experiences of trans people. I live in Orlando with my family, and work mainly in technical writing.
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One Response to Don’t Forget

  1. Lona Gynt says:

    I needed to read this today. Thank you

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