The phrase goes: Be the change you want to see in the world. But no one ever really explains how, or what to do if your answer is really vague. No one jumps up on their horses, or automobiles or rooftops and says “here’s how you do the things!” Because it’s likely that no one told them either. So how? How do you do the things, be the change? I have an idea. You don’t do it with a bang, but a whimper. (I know that’s how the world ends-that’s my point.)
For the longest time, my answer to the question: How should the world change to be? Would have been something like “I don’t know, better.” I had no idea what “better” looked like, what it tasted and smelled like, I just knew it could be. The grass could grow in a different hue, the sky could be more blue, and there would be a little more kindness, maybe. But I had no specifics. Were there even specifics to be had? Because the way I think the world could improve might not be the same that the other people living in it would say.
I started out this blog as a way to remind myself that there were good days, just as there were bad ones. That sometimes the darkness crowds out the light and sometimes the light keeps your own fire burning much hotter than is safe. I roared to life with my causes and my hopes, each one requiring me to remind myself that I am just one person.
I told everyone that I wanted to be the starfish girl. If you don’t know the story, I’ll paraphrase it. There is a little girl who walks along the beach, throwing the starfish that have washed ashore back into the ocean. She did this every day. One day a huge storm passed through and hundreds of starfish were struggling to live. She began her duty as she did everyday. A passerby stopped her and said “Little girl, you are wasting your time. You can’t possibly make a difference to all these starfish. There are just too many.” And the little girl picked up one more starfish and threw it back in the ocean before she replied,
“I made a difference to that one.”
I’ve always dreamt of myself as that kind of person. The one that would keep fighting when everyone else said no. I just had never found my starfish, so that I could be the girl. And then I did. It started out as an assignment for a class. One that I thought would be like any other assignment-able to be finished with some research and some fast typing. And then all of a sudden it consumed me and I found my place in the world. A whimper, not a bang.
Just think about it. How many times has your life been changed irrevocably by an angry voice shouting at you that you are wrong, that you are the villain of your story? I’d wager not too many. You might be sad a little, or startled, but probably unchanged for the most part. Now think about the things that HAVE changed you. The quote that made you feel alive, feel something. The song that brings tears to your eyes to hear each time. The one memory that you have. Chances are, you’ll find that the times you felt something so strongly that you found your humanity were the moments that whispered themselves in your ear. The stars aligned just so slightly, the universe gave you a gentle nudge. And you heard it.
We get screamed at by the social media sites, the news companies, advertisements, other people each and every day. It has become the volume with which we interact with our surroundings. But if you stop for just a brief moment and recall what it is that whispering sounds like, then that is how we change the world. One small voice at a time.