When I was a little girl, there were nights I couldn't sleep for all the worries in my head.
I worried about the cigarette I stole from my mum's pack of menthols and smoked in the back paddock. I worried about the tiny plastic Barbie tape deck I pocketed at a the house of a family friend and never gave back. I worried about friendships, the boy I liked, whether I would ever get boobs, and landfill. Seriously. I read something about how we were running out of room for all the rubbish we produce and it kept me up at night. It worried me a lot. It still does. Landfill is a problem for me.
As an adult, I have a lot more to worry about. So many things fall into the category of "my responsibility" but I have learned to manage the worries. And not a moment too soon because I fear I would never sleep again.
Some days though, my finely honed worry management skills are laid to waste. Some things have edges so sharp as to render my carefully constructed armour useless.
Yesterday there was ugliness. And ugliness, as we all eventually learn, is everywhere. If we are lucky, we can construct a world around us that limits the ugliness we are forced to deal with. For this reason, I do not watch the news or read the papers. But some things penetrate anyway. As some things must.
I watched a video that bothered me so, so much. And the ugliness I saw disturbed me all the more because it was perpetrated by parents in front of their children.
This behaviour is not a good representation of the average Australian but neither is it an isolated incident. And my heart is sick.
I shared the video on Facebook because that was the intent of the film maker – to expose ugliness and shame those who would perpetrate it. I hated sharing it because I knew how awful watching it made me feel and why would I want to inflict that feeling on others? But some messages are too important to shield ourselves from.
I read recently that the pursuit of personal happiness is almost impossible for anyone with a social conscience. Absolutely, we should be grateful for all we have and enjoy it but the argument is that happiness should not be based solely on our own personal experience. For example, I have a great and privileged life but while ever I know there are children living in poverty, that people are hungry/abused/frightened/alone/suffering, how can I be truly happy?
The answer for me is that I can't be. Those things make me indescribably sad.
But sadness in and of itself is useless. We should use our sadness to propel us into action. My Giving Week was borne of this. I want to do something. I am a drop in the most enormous ocean but a drop no less. You and I collectively? Could be torrential rain.
I want to make a difference while I am on this earth. I want to let go of bullshit and be an instrument for positive change. No matter how small.