Because I can change the world.

Wednesday, December 16th, 2009

We are, I think, as a people, a community of head shakers.

We like to stand around and shake our heads and cluck our tongues and admonish the world around us.

We are aghast at how bad the world is these days.  We are shocked by cruelty and deception and what we perceive to be evil.  We are quick to judge and slow to understand things like stupidity and selfishness and foolishness.

We stand outside society and ask “how can people do that?”

“The world is a crazy place,” we say, as if the world exists an arm’s length away.

And we never seem to notice that we are the people we talk about.  We are “the world these days”.  We are, each one of us, more than outside observers of what human nature has become.

We have, each one of us, the exact same potential for impact.

The world is not some massive thing that spins just beyond our reach, but a collaboration of millions and millions of tiny people who are leaving their own mark.  And those tiny marks, like pricks from a ballpoint pen, make up the great collage that is the world these days.

We are so desperate to change the picture, so eager to critique its dark and light spots, all the while forgetting that we hold the artist’s pen in our own two hands.

We are the world.

Every time we open our mouths, we put something – for better or worse – onto the canvas.  Every time we get online and share “what’s on our mind” on Facebook or “what’s happening” on Twitter, we contribute to today’s definition of society – not because of our witty observations on life, but because we are the subject of those observations.

Whether we like it or not, we – each and every one of us – bear the responsibility of people these days.

We, both you and I, are the world.  We are leaving our mark with our words, our silence, our actions and our interactions.

I have to remember this when I see cruelty and pain and suffering.  I have to remember that I am neither an observer nor a product nor a victim of this world.  I am a contributor.  And my contributions carry the exact same weight and credibility as those of every other contributor on this monster project.

I have to remember that I, too, hold a pen.

And with that pen comes amazing power to help shape the overall picture.  I can draw light spots or dark spots.  I can add love or the lack of love.  I can be cruel or I can be kind, but the impact is mine to make.  The picture is mine as much as it is those people’s.

And the picture is yours, too.

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  1. the power of the pen is mighty indeed!

  2. Finn says:

    “You must be the change you want to see in the world.” –Gandhi

    This is something I’m striving for.

  3. Avitable says:

    That is a very good point – it’s easy to forget that the people outside of our small circle of friends and family can be just as affected by our actions and words.

    I don’t want to hold a pen, though. I want the eraser!

  4. muskrat says:

    That’s why I like to draw mustaches in inappropriate public places.

  5. Bre says:

    “We have, each one of us, the exact same potential for impact.”
    I think everyone *should* have the same potential and same credibility but the sad truth is that some people choose to waste their energies not by contributing but by tearing down what is fashioned in progress.
    Addicts, murderers, deadbeat parents. They don’t exude as much effort and therefore shouldn’t hold the same credibility as, oh say, someone who makes conscious efforts to be a good person.
    I guess what I’m saying is if you’re truly concerned about the human experience, I’m probably going to value your opinion far more than someone who isn’t.
    It sounds contrite but I don’t want to credit people with validity they didn’t earn. Or even care to earn.
    On the flip, I’m totally a person who will open the door for somebody, compliment a stranger, etc. Of course, I’m human with bitchy periods, too.
    Love this post!

  6. bo says:

    ‘The function of the artist is to call attention to what life does not.’ – Tom Robbins.

    The choice is yours as to what you’ll call attention to. Make it wisely.

  7. As I was reading your first few lines, I thought to myself… yah, we judge ourselves, we are the who makes up the world. And then… you said that.

    I agree, often times our American society is quick to judge and slow to act. Changing yourself is the only thing that an individual can themselves, right now, to make change.

    Great post. :)

    • Miss Britt says:

      @Betsy @JavaCupcake, I don’t know if that’s just human nature or what, to want to look outside ourselves first. It’s funny because while it SEEMS easier to look at what others can do, it’s actually much, much easier to just be the damn change ourselves.

  8. Nanna says:

    Ah, my airy fairy has rubbed off on you!

    No. Really. Great reminder.

  9. Nice. I totally cop to judging people especially when they f#$&ing cut me off ont he freeway or swerve while on the phone. Yet, I am sure I have done my share of cutting off and “quick” phone calls. I am infuriated when I see thousands of plastic bottles in landfills and at the schools…as I drive my SUV around town. Sigh. I guess in the end we are all hypocrites, but one step toward fixing that is recognize one’s own failings. Great post, Britt!

    • Miss Britt says:

      @Scout’s Honor, yep, we all are. Me included.

      When I sat down to write this post is was to say “JEEZ people, quit being so mean! Let’s all just be NICE!” – and it probably would have been waaaayyyyy more judgmental.

      I needed the reminder, too.

  10. I try to be very, very careful about how I use my voice. It’s hard, because we all have these impulses to speak! up! and social media provides an instant megaphone. It’s so hard. All we can do is try because, like you said, it all matters. Every word matters.

    • Miss Britt says:

      @maggie, dammit, “It’s hard, because we all have these impulses to speak! up! and social media provides an instant megaphone. It’s so hard.”

      Exactly. Oh man, exactly. I struggle with this so much because my brain and my mouth work much more quickly than my good sense.

  11. Maybe it’s a part of going up, but I’m trying very hard to be more positive, less judgmental and more tolerant. It’s fucking hard. Cuz some days I want to punch someone in the face and be done with it. I still make lots of mistakes, but we all do.
    Great post, sugar.

    • Miss Britt says:

      @Karen Sugarpants, side note – something about you calling me sugar really made me giggle.

      Ahem. ANYway.

      Yep, it is hard. Really, really fucking hard. And then sometimes I think we’re afraid to do better, because we don’t want to look like hypocrites or something.

      Or maybe that’s just me. LOL

  12. Hockeymandad says:

    The pen is mightier than the sword, but only because the pen makes little holes as compared to a sword. You bleed less, but it hurts more and takes much more effort. Wait, what? That came off a little crazy didn’t it?

    You are so correct, we all can make individual differences in others lives. Sometimes withholding judgement is more powerful than expressing it. Too often though, especially with the Internet, it’s easy to hide the shit we step in with our words. Often times, it’s at the expense of others without a willingness to look at one’s self with the same critical eye.

    I’m glad you hold a real pen, you use it well. I’ll be in the corner observing with my crayon and magic eraser.

  13. Nanna says:

    I had to come back and read this. You are going to hate this, but this is one of the coolest things you have ever written. (((hugs)))

  14. pocket_queen says:

    i agree with your mom. one of the best posts i’ve read from you :)

    • Miss Britt says:

      @pocket_queen, I could tell you the crazy things my brain comes up with in response to comments like this – but, well, emphasis on the word CRAZY.

      So – I’ll just stick with “thank you”. :-)

  15. Faiqa says:

    Yes, yes definitely. I think people don’t realize how much power writing a feeling down gives that something, whether that be something negative or positive. The letters and the words make the intangible become tangible. They are, truly, magic. We should be careful what we choose to make real.

    Oh, and if words are magic… you’re like David Copperfield. No, no, wait. Criss Angel. Yeah, you’re like Criss Angel. Umm, except just FYI I don’t have inappropriate fantasies about you like I do about him. At least, none that I’m willing to admit to.

  16. Mocha says:

    It’s important to be responsible with your voice. Don’t we teach this to our children? I’d like to remind those ‘adults’ who use their voice for bullshittery of that basic rule of humanity.

    Sorry. I used my voice and said “bullshittery” but it really does fit.

  17. A lot of us never stop to think about this — myself included. Britt, this was an eye opener of a post, and beautifully written. There are some days when I think to myself, “What can I really DO with Letters of Love? Maybe I’m not DOING enough!” But I realize now that I’ve already done something. And that feels so GOOD.

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