I scroll through You Tube, and see videos I haven't seen in forever, and some, I've never seen until now.
Some of the videos I see, are ones that made huge impressions on me.
I've always been a very emotional, deeply feeling person. I see others pain, and have immense empathy for them and want to make things right. Injustice infuriates me. Intentional and unintentional pain inflicted on others, brings me to tears.
Growing up Mormon, I lived a rather dichotomous life. I was sheltered from the greater atrocities in the world, and many of the issues that affected the rest of the population, all while living in a very violent, abusive household, where certain members of my family were "privately prejudiced."
So, to see very real, very serious and painful issues blared across a television screen, while being set to music was very impressionable on me. The first video that affected me, and made me set my future plans right then and there was Michael Jackson's "Man in the Mirror" video. I was all of 13 when I saw it, but I made a vow to myself that I was going to Ethiopia to help solve or end world hunger. This was only enforced when I saw Band Aid's video "Feed the World" for the End World Hunger campaign. Watching it again, it reminds me of how I felt then. I felt (then) that everyone who was on that video was so compassionate and caring to come together to make a video for this cause.. it must have meant so much to them in order to make a video for it. (I was a take- it- as- I- saw -it kind of girl.) Seeing it now; I think we would be hard pressed to find that many people banning together so innocently and openly these days. (Sadly, cynicism has replaced some of my young girl naiveté.)
People may laugh when they read this, but I was serious about my goals and my life choices then. I was going to join the Peace Corps, or do whatever I had to do in order to go to Ethiopia and try to make people's lives better. In fact, I even wrote a "book" about it when I was in 7th grade that ended up winning a contest… unfortunately, the follow up book, failed miserably. Now, almost 23 years later, I see my life path didn't take me to where I originally planned. But a lot of things are similar. I'm still the same intensely feeling, empathetic, sensitive person I was then. Powerful videos still move me to tears (and action). If anyone wanted me to do something, all they'd have to do is make their plea on a music video, and I'd be there.
Perhaps that is part of what got me to become a writer, seeing how much power one voice can be, if it is placed correctly. There were other contributing factors to my becoming a writer, I just wonder if that was one of them.
I know that as a writer, I hold a lot of power, but with it, a lot of responsibility. I take that very seriously, and often use my ability to make a point, or bring attention to something. I've also been VERY honored and blessed to be asked to contribute to important, life affecting pieces. (Thank you to those involved, and there are quite a few of you.) So, even though, 23 years later, I am NOT in the peace corps,( I have however written about them here.) I do what I can in the "universe" that is my heritage. I am passionate about the issues that we as an Indigenous nation, (namely Sicangu Lakota) face; especially those faced by Women and children. When I go to graduate school for my psych degree, I will have even more tools at my aid to continue that journey.
If I look at the world as a whole, heck, even at the issues on the rez, it can quickly feel very overwhelming. But then if I do as Mihigna says and "eat it like an elephant"; then it feels less big and more doable. And at the end of the day, all I can do is tend to my little part of the world and know that somewhere, somehow, it will make a difference.