This morning is a nice one. I rested well, woke most pleasantly and just a bit ahead of the alarm. No nightmares. My just-waking-up headache quickly dissipated, leaving only my tinnitus behind, and it, too, doesn’t seem that bad, today. My coffee is hot, and tasty, and a bold reminder of drinking my coffee straight up, dark, and robust in other lives, on other mornings. I’m not shivering in the cold. I’m not sweltering in heat. I am comfortable and content.

For some moments this morning, I was troubled by a strange far off sounding jingling – a holiday jingling that was sort of cute and fun at first, and quickly started causing me some stress; I couldn’t place the source of the sound, and it seemed… everywhere. Thankfully, I realized – before that had gone on very long – I’d chosen it. Oh, not mindfully, nope; it’s very early in the morning and I’m not quite entirely awake. I put on colorful holiday earrings this morning…a cascade of tiny… wait for it… jingle bells. LOL Yep. I chased myself slowly through the house listening for the source of a noise that was immediately next to my ear, small, delicate, ceaseless. (I’ll resume wearing them when I get to the office. The background noise is sufficient that the earrings won’t seem so loud.)

Use your words.

Holiday cheer, and the power of words; speechless is not voiceless.

So far, this morning is as light and pleasant as yesterday’s was difficult. Yesterday ended well, and the day itself was productive and worthwhile – it’s certainly not one that I find myself moved to regret on any noteworthy level; it lingers in my memory in a largely pleasant way, after-the-fact. I enjoy the malleable qualities of the mind, having learned more about making them work for me.

It’s the small course corrections, over time, that have made the most difference for me. I’m saying that because some day I, myself, may need to read those words again… There is a lot of ugliness in the news, and it is so easy to drown in the despair that comes of trying to consume too much bad news too quickly. Those small course corrections happen every day, all around us, and even those entities of great evil that appall and terrify us aren’t static, and change is; it exists whether we embrace it or not. Change isn’t always easy to see, and those small course corrections, and small changes, are not always enough to ease our suffering in the moment – it’s ‘not enough’, somehow, to see some change in the face of great evil. Still, change is, and I had an odd moment yesterday that drove that message home for me.

The value of incremental positive changes over time is huge…but it is easy to lose sight of the improvements, because things can still seem so… status quo.  Two recent South Park episodes were illustrative for me: Season 18, episodes 9 #Rehash and 10 #HappyHolograms. I had never actually been exposed to the popular internet commentator, PewDiePie, or even the phenomenon he represents. I’m not his target audience, so I’m not super surprised. Why does it matter? Incremental changes over time do matter…he became relevant for me when I read this quote:

25 October 2012, Kjellberg posted a Tumblr message, stating “I just wanted to make clear that I’m no longer making rape jokes, as I mentioned before I’m not looking to hurt anyone and I apologize if it ever did.”

That’s actually a pretty big deal. The quote is linked and cited in the Wikipedia article, which tends to support its value as potentially true. A valuable, very real, relevant small course correction. Incremental change over time. It’s powerful – he has a voice, he uses it. Rape humor is controversial, and it’s dangerous territory to be casual and insensitive about; it’s very easy to hurt someone who has been traumatized by rape by carelessly joking about the topic. As a survivor, I still struggle to find the balance between handling the horror, and the healthy healing power of humor and laughter. Most of the comedy I favor doesn’t stray into rape humor territory – but some of it does. It matters how it is handled, and it was those clear simple words assembled by PewDiePie that pointed out what makes the difference [for me]: respect and consideration. When the humor targets the victims as yet another attack on their credibility, or their suffering, it isn’t funny, not at all, not even a little bit. When the humor points the laser beam of comedy at the heinousness of the crime, itself, at the perpetrators, at the culture that ‘doesn’t get it’ – that’s where the laughter is for me. South Park gets it right, seating Bill Cosby on a couch next to Taylor Swift, holiday music playing, a glass of wine the focus of the scene…but we can’t hear what is being said, the voice-over is deliberately louder, distracting…social commentary, comedy genius. Funny enough that it didn’t really warrant a trigger warning. Subtle enough to avoid liability, and unlikely to frighten children. I laughed and laughed. I watched it again. I laughed more. I watched it yet again, and began find the details and references I’d missed the first two times. I’d send Matt Stone and Trey Parker holiday cards and well wishes this year, if I knew them. I’ll probably watch it again, soon. 🙂

Change is. Small changes matter – over time they become larger. I see hints of change in our culture. I see more people finding their voice – and using it. I see more human beings reaching across the details that divide them to recognize we’re all in this together. This morning, I feel encouraged and alive…I’m not sure why. It’s a lovely feeling to start the day on.

Today is a good day to pause and appreciate the change that is.