Over the past few months I have been in situations where I had to interact with someone, weekly, with whom I don't get along. Generally speaking, I leave the interactions feeling stupid and guilty. But in processing end up realizing that, while I may be slower to process and imperfect, I am not responsible for someone else's lack of grace.
And so I persist. I don't remember where I first saw that word being used this week. My best guess is over on Eryn Eddy Erickson's Instagram. Simply put persistence means the continued or prolonged existence of something. In environmental circles persistence has a generally negative connotation. If an organic compound resists environmental degradation through any of the normal processes it either travels long distances and disrupts the ecosystem and/or it bioaccumulates. Which is a fancy way of saying it ever increasingly concentrates in animal and human bodies to a toxic level.
The image that I usually get when I think of persistence, which culturally elicits feelings of disgust, is that of a cockroach. I've heard it said that a cockroach can survive anything. Nuclear bombs, bug spray, hurricanes, screaming children; you name it. It seems disgusting to us because in part it seems unnatural. It is not normal for something living to go on living despite the world. In a weird way this inspires me.
It could be easy for me to peace out of interactions with the graceless. It could be natural to give up on striving for healing and live a daily life. But I persist. I choose to make it hard for the bitter by being kind. I choose to get up every day and breathe and smile and laugh even after the phone call bearing bad news, even after the anxiety, even after the financial struggle. I choose not to go in sick to work even if everyone else views it as lazy. I will make it uncomfortable for you to go with the flow and unquestion everything. I will stammer through speeches though men try to out-talk me. I choose connection when it seems that all my efforts are unreturned. When it seems like my phone calls and my gazes are not getting through. I will continue to exist. I will resist degradation. I will travel far and wide. I will not let any roadblocks get in my path. I will disrupt the kingdom of not good enough, the ecosystem of selfishness, the wild places called isolation. I will concentrate and be toxic to all that is toxic by loving and living tenderly. Nevertheless I persist. And so could you.