At first, it just felt like a crazy new year. It took me awhile to realize it is something else, too.
Demi pointe: supporting your body on the balls of your feet with your heels raised. I’ve had to do a lot of them lately, not to improve my relev , but to relieve the cramps in my calves that come on when too much tension builds. On Jan. 20, after 20 of them, this came to me: I need to work harder at embracing the personal as well as the political differences of others.
The same thought came flooding in again not at our local Women’s March but after, at the Women’s Spa. “We deserve it!” my friend cried. I didn’t feel it was my place to object.
As warm buckets of water are thrown on a myriad of female shapes, sizes and colors, I think how different we are but, really, much more alike. I still think that’s how a good democracy adds up. And this vision, so comforting, is what I relied on to guide me through my 2017 mental list of relationships-I-need-to-accept-as-they-are and not where-I-think-they-should-be:
I accept my friend’s decision to take Prozac instead of leaving the job she hates. Am I insensitive? No. I’ve been bolstering my old college roommate’s confidence since we were 18.
I accept that my friend, rather than leave her husband who has cheated, oh, I’ve lost count how many times, has joined his fundamentalist church. Last time I made us dinner, she scooped up a plate of food “in service” before we sat to eat. That’s really what she said. Let me make this clear: the food was for her husband who wasn’t present. When she asked me to attend her baptism, I said, “No, thank you, but next time he cheats, I’ll be here for you.”
When a friend says she thinks Trump is a good man who’s been given a bad rap, I avoid the conversation-that-could-end-our-friendship. It may be just the sort of conversation our country needs more of but, frankly, I’ve lost my stomach for it.
I said nothing to my neighbor who won’t recycle because, he said, “it doesn’t help anything.” It sounded like he said it as though he liked saying it but might not really believe it, but, still, zip.
I can’t say that I’ll always remain silent when an opposing viewpoint feels like a slap across the face, but I plan on getting better at it.
And maybe it’s time to work harder at spending more time with people who make me laugh, too. Because I love feeling … not happy, but better than happy: involved with positive people while doing the work I love. When a friend, hesitant to invite me to her wedding, prefaced by saying “I know you are insanely busy,” I responded, “No, I’m sanely busy. I do what I love.”
Fortunately, I’ve always had a fierce work ethic; this little voice inside that won’t give up.
And so, I’ve decided that 2017 is going to be a huge lesson in embracing diversity after all.
Mary Lou Sanelli is a regular contributor. Visit marylousanelli.com.
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