Complexity & Nuance
Updated: Jan 17
Flecti Non Frangi: To be bent, but unbroken.
This idea is the heart of our work at Lodestar -- how do we realize and acknowledge the harm, and be deliberative and aspirational as we move through it. How do we emerge not only unbroken, but having experienced intratraumatic healing and growth?
Lately I’ve been wondering about this more collectively. Will we emerge from this time of unrelenting toxic stress bent but stronger? Kinder? Wiser? More patient? More understanding? More willing to create and maintain space for each other? Will we have absorbed lessons that shape us in powerful, and empowering, ways?
I think it depends on how we choose to move through this unending “middle” part.
Complexity and Nuance are my love languages. Unfortunately, as I found myself writing in a different forum just this morning, social media is where complexity and nuance go to die a bloody death.
Somehow, we are going to have to lean into the reality that truth is rarely (never, in my experience, no matter how hard I’ve tried to make it so) found in the binary. Humans are wonderfully, brilliantly complex creatures who come at us with a fullness of experience we cannot begin to imagine unless we choose to openly embrace complexity.
This is known as The Great Yes/And.
(yes. I totally made that up. And. I bet you’ll remember it)
Yes, I am open to the truth of your lived experience and appreciating how you make sense of your life. AND, here is mine – it is different! Both truths can exist simultaneously. In fact, when we allow both to exist, we move into a growth trajectory that opens up all kinds of possibility.
I will freely admit to cry-scrolling last night. I was soaking up photos of teachers in my community getting their first vaccine, and for whatever reason this hit me even harder than did the photos of my vaccinated physician colleagues. Maybe it is because I’ve watched as educators – casualties of this pandemic, too – worked themselves to exhaustion caring for children who are not theirs in ways they never trained for or dreamed they’d be required.
That they are being vaccinated provides me a profound sense of relief. On the balance, a significant portion of America’s teachers, staff and administrators fall into a “high or high-er” risk category. And while my district has done fairly well with a hybrid schedule and strict mitigation, that we are now moving into a time of real protection was an enormous exhale for me.
AND (you knew that was coming, right?) we should have a serious, serious talk about managing expectations.
Yes, we are starting the process of vaccinating. AND we don’t yet have enough doses or a national strategy for distribution. Two doses, 4 weeks apart plus 2-weeks AFTER the second dose before an individual reaches full immunity. That means that anyone who is vaccinated today and receives their second exactly on-schedule still won’t be considered immune until March 7th.
We have a long road yet, friends. 70(ish) percent of us need to be vaccinated for herd immunity to become our shared reality.
There is a light. And we have a pretty long road yet ahead.
The good news is the road ahead isn’t nearly – not NEARLY – as long as the road we’ve travelled thus far. We are all tired, and we all need to dig deep for a little more stamina. Production and distribution will improve, and additional vaccines are in the pipeline.
We’re approaching the end of the middle part, and it’s still hard.
Multiple times every day I find myself asking, “who do I want to be in this situation?”
What does it look like when the best version of me shows up? And how do I get from where I am right now to the space that person occupies?
For me, it requires tending to the basics (hydrating! Chocolating!), taking care of others, embracing the nuanced complexity of it all, and reframing the whispers of my lesser angels.
I think they're worthy questions for each of us: Who do I want to be in this situation? What do I need to do to get there?
Keep being brave, generous and kind. Keep reaching for joy and laughter. Connect with someone today – they need you as much as you need them.