There’s just no way to be sure what it feels like. Other people, people in our lives or out of it, people who look like us or don’t. Your mileage will vary, your experience will be different. Some started with a huge head start, some with a disadvantage they couldn’t possibly deserve.
Of course, the “I” is really we. No matter who we are, we can’t truly know what it feels like for someone else.
It may be that we can’t imagine what it’s like to be the victim of systemic distrust and profiling. Or what it’s like to worry about putting food on this table for that family. Or what it’s like to be fighting a chronic illness or being unjustly accused of a crime.
We can try. We assume it’s just like what happened to us, but slightly different. We can realize that tragedy is unevenly distributed and in constant rotation, but it’s never going to be the same.
But just because we can’t imagine–it doesn’t mean we can’t care. We can refuse to magnify our differences and focus on maximizing possibility, justice and connection instead. To take action and to dig in.
The leverage we have to see, to speak up and to create long-term change is a difficult weight to carry. Because if we can do something to make things more just, that means that we must.
I wish I was better at it. I wish it were easier.
We’ll make things better by seeing, by speaking, by doing the work. Even if it’s uncomfortable, especially when it is.