|Posted on January 15, 2018 at 2:10 PM|
It does not matter to me if you succeed.
It matters to me that you try.
I don’t care if you are bound to fail.
Try anyway. Effort matters.
I am tired of hearing my mother tongue mangled in the mouths of my students because the people publishing their textbooks cannot be bothered to put tone marks on the words. I am infuriated by the interns who write themselves off within the first few attempts, not just for pronunciation of a language that in no way resembles their own, but also in other respects, like fiddly needle insertion techniques. “I’ll never get it right” is not an excuse to give up before you’ve even begun.
I wonder how long I will continue feeling infuriated by the people in positions of power over me who get it wrong, and ashamed of my fury and my impotence. I wonder how long I can keep trying to change an entire industry that does not see its choices as cultural appropriation, skimming off only the parts that are comprehensible and codifying an incomplete as if it were a thing entire, like the priests who couldn’t understand meridians who took some tuīná moves back to Europe and applied them to anatomy and ‘invented’ oil massage, which we call Swedish and deep tissue today.
I wonder how the hegemony got to me too, that I catch myself making excuses for my silence. If I speak up, I am being rude and disruptive, and exhausting myself to the edge of hysteria; if I stay silent, even strategically, my silence condones a complacency that I do not agree with and cracks my sense of integrity. It is shame both ways. No good choices.
How can I live with myself when the chances I so ardently wish for are offered to me upon the disempowerment of individuals I respect? Why am I not replacing instead the cisgendered middle-aged men in the field who continue to be lauded for their mediocrity?
In a journal entry dated January 25, 2014, 11:09am, I wrote to myself:
“Is there ever an excuse not to try? Even when you know they are not listening, when you know your best effort will be disregarded, message and intention not received, it will still be wrong not to say ‘I’ve changed my mind. This is why.’ And then if the message is rejected or not received, it is no longer your responsibility.”
Maybe this is why I woke up this morning with a poem in my head about putting in effort regardless. Maybe the secret to trying is not to be attached to a positive outcome (and, gods and goddesses above, do I ever have a hard time with that one!) like the very first conversation between Krishna and Arjuna in the Bhagavad Gita.
Right then. Carry on trying your best, no matter what. We can do that.