What a Cab Driver Taught Me About Love
This was a Facebook status I posted today on my personal page and, well, it basically turned into a blog post. So I put it in blog post form. Enjoy.
A couple nights ago, I was in a cab on my way home from an exhausting stretch of travel for work. I was so tired, y’all.
I didn’t feel like talking. I was overwhelmed with the amount of travel that I had experienced within the month, the shooting at my home airport the night before, the current climate of America, missing my family like crazy and the dread of the huge pile of OMG HOW AM I GOING TO TACKLE THAT work waiting for me at home. I just wanted to stare out the window and say nothing to no one.
But my cabbie wouldn’t stop initiating conversation with me.
“How was your flight?” “Where were you flying from?” “Did you hear about the shooting last night?”
My answers were short and cold. Barely beyond one-word answers. I was hoping that he’d get the hint and let me off the hook. I didn’t want to think or talk about anything.
But he kept on going.
“Do you travel often?”
*sigh* “Yes.” <— one-word answer
“What takes you there?” “Where have you been?” “What has been your favorite place you’ve visited?”
My-worst-nightmare questions were being asked of me. They wouldn’t be on a normal day, of course, but I just wanted to say nothing. JUST LET ME FEEL SORRY FOR MYSELF AND POUT AND STARE OUT THE WINDOW BECAUSE MY LIFE IS SO HARD.
But I gave up. Because there was no use. We still had 30 more minutes together in the same vehicle and I had no energy left to fight him off.
So I start talking.
I explained to him that my job as a media person/blogger/writer/photographer/whatever takes me to amazing places, connects me with beautiful people from all over the world and has opened my heart in more ways than I could count.
I got real deep, real quick. Did I mention that I was REALLY tired and vulnerable at this point?
Naturally (because I’m getting to know this guy’s personality) he perked up even more. He then shared with me his love and curiosity of all cultures, religions, foods and more. He showed me the current book he was reading on mythology and another about the reasons that certain countries eat certain foods and practice certain religions, etc.
The conversation was getting interesting, though I still didn’t want to have it.
But we keep chatting.
We talked about where we had been, where we wanted to go and the foods of his home country of Lebanon (and how the closest I had been was Armenia).
We chatted some more.
Then he said something about how amazing it was that I had a voice to spread good on a global scale.
And I immediately put on the brakes, which we more like emotional brakes because were were in a cab and it wouldn’t have been safe to jump into the driver’s seat and slam on the brakes. But I wanted to.
“Yes..I do have a voice. Though, sometimes I feel like I’m not using it wisely.”
He asks me what I mean, of course.
“For example, I just interviewed celebrities for an upcoming movie and before that I was learning about video games. All of this while it feels as if America is slowly disintegrating before my very eyes. Should I even be talking about these experiences right now? It is all just fluff that doesn’t matter? Am I using my voice responsibly? How am I creating change?”
And do you know what he says back to me? DO YOU KNOW WHAT HE SAYS?
“No, no, no. People NEED fluff. They need an escape from the news. They need fun in their lives. They need that voice of inclusion. Everyone loves video games and movies because they are not divisive things. They can actually bring people together.”
And then I lose it. I cry. I don’t let him know it, but I cry. I want to full-on sob, but I’m too proud to and I’m still in shock that this conversation is actually happening in a CAB.
He also reminds me of the multiple social good experiences that I’ve been a part of, because I shared that earlier in our conversation, too, but whatever. I was done. He was right in so many ways, and while I know my own heart, I sure did need a stranger to set me straight. A stranger who wasn’t born here to set me straight. A stranger that grew up in much harsher means that I could ever relate to. HE was telling me that my voice was important. What?
And just like that I was grateful for everything my life encompassed, including the ugly parts. I was grateful for the opportunity to spread love in any form that I could. That I had the chance to raise two men of the next generation that will (hopefully) learn from my generation’s mistakes.
That I didn’t need to prove my love, inclusion or open mind in statues on social platforms to earn some form of credit. That if I am really being my truest self, my work, relationships and heart will relay that. I don’t need to scream it from the rooftops, though sometimes I do because I am flawed. Very flawed. I am almost positive that there are multiple typos in this post that prove that.
If I want to participate in change, I can’t do it by dividing myself from others. This doesn’t mean that I need to participate in toxic relationships, either, because I will cut that out real quick-like. I will not, however, divide myself simply because someone isn’t doing what I’d like them to do on my own timeline exactly the way I’d do it. Shaming my way into submission doesn’t really work, either, though I have tried it. Because, again, I am flawed.
So how do I believe I *can* create change?
By raising children who are love-based human beings that do not discriminate, judge or mock other human beings based on their color, background, mental illness, religion, political view, or anything else that makes them different than them.
By sharing the stories I experience here in the US, state by state, and beyond our country’s borders through a job that allows me to. From female empowerment in India to new video games being created in Seattle, each has it’s own purpose and opportunity to learn from.
By sharing love to all.
By only pushing those away who are a threat to my family, mental health and safety. Everyone else gets my love. You can unfriend me on a social platform and my love for you will not be altered. In the grand scheme of this amazing world that I’m lucky enough to travel around, this action is such a tiny bit of shade that will not change my heart a bit. You’ll receive my love and care in the ways I can offer you either way.
Though I have many mantras in my life, this one from Mumford & Sons’ “Sigh No More” lyrics are one of my favorites because they are gut-punchingly true. So, I will close with that.
L O V E
it will not betray you,
dismay or enslave you,
it will set you free
xoxoxo + peace,