I live in a city and state with a high infection rate of the Covid virus; on the west coast of “The United States of Covid”. As the entire world now labels us. I don’t take offense at this; I get it: no one should be allowing us inside their borders right now. We’re not ready. We got close, but then things fell apart. I believe that most of us here in the U.S. have been following The Rules. Or, recognizing what simple common sense dictates and doing that. Masks. Social-distancing. But just today, in my own neighborhood, I was invited: “We’re having a big party tonight! Leave your mask at home!” An attitude seems to be growing about the global pandemic : “To hell with all this!” But experience teaches that it’s not always wise to resist the obvious.
Since I myself have a habit of pushing-back when I think I need to, I do understand the emotion. Considering our limited options for getting past Covid, I was reminded of another time when resistance was counterintuitive. During travel, and, in Life in general: it’s smart to acknowledge when someone, or something else has ‘the upper hand’, and it’s time to accept the fact.
Just eight months ago I was headed back to The States from Casablanca, Morocco. It was a 6 a.m. boarding, so my wake-up was 3:00 in the morning. I was feeling blurry (no coffee), bumping along in the shuttle for the thirty-minutes it took to get to the airport on the edge of the city. When I got to the airport and through security (men with semi-automatic rifles monitoring our progress) I headed to my gate to grab some sleep; in the midst of glaring lights, constant noise, and crowded seating in the waiting area. But the gate agents had other ideas.
From roughly 4:30 a.m. until just before 6, the agents loud-speakered us to line up; then told us to sit down. Three times. Maybe twenty-minute intervals in between. The departure gate was then changed. Twice. Even though I speak French, and most Moroccans do also, looking at the agents’ faces told me it was unwise to ask what was going on. The palpable vibe: “You are not in control. If you want to get on this plane, compliance is not an option.” I kept my mouth shut, refrained from my usual direct eye-contact, and adhered to their process.
It wasn’t a tough call at all, in the Casablanca airport. But sometimes my need to question, challenge and push-back really does feel appropriate and timely. To my wellbeing. Still, at the precise moment that I know I need to say something, it’s often hard for me to advocate for myself. Especially when my own needs are in contrast to another’s. But it’s an urge that’s rooted in my heart; so the stakes, relative to taking-action, versus keeping silent, feel high.
Resistance to a person, an idea, or edict that’s harmful, or could potentially be, has become a major survival instinct of mine. The keyword here is Survival. Not only as in, ‘living beyond another day’, but the survival of my sense of self-worth; my personal integrity; and the solid grasp of my own unique purpose here on Planet Earth. Finding balance — between resistance ( to whatever, whoever), and knowing when push-back’s not needed or a wise thing to do — takes conscious thought. And, it requires stepping away from my Ego for a minute. Just a small moment, in a lifetime- commitment to living bravely.