Choose C

This essay originally appeared in Issue 078 of the UX Writing Events newsletter on February 28, 2022.

I hope that you are safe, and that you feel safe, and if not, that you will again very soon. If there is anything I can personally do to help you, please let me know in reply to this email.

I’m privileged in this moment to merely feel like a dark night has gotten darker; that there are fewer stars out now than there were even a few weeks back. For many people here on Spaceship Earth — be they the people of Ukraine, trans people and those who love them in Texas, the immunocompromised, Asian people living in the U.S., and many more groups experiencing new and renewed violence both literal and political — it’s not just a feeling.

If you, like me, are lucky enough to not be a member of a group facing new, immediate, existential threats, the options seem the same as ever: A) Despair, B) Detach, or C) Do Something, However Small. It’s not always easy to choose C, especially when the night feels dark in your own life for your own reasons, but having it be a choice at all does shine a light on one’s privilege, and the necessity of making that choice, or at least trying to. I am trying to.

One can feel a pressure — exacerbated or perhaps even created, I think, by social media — to take what seems like another option (call it D), along the lines of: Aggressively Perform Large Symbolic Actions and Shame People Whom You’ve Decided Aren’t Doing Enough. I understand the impulse, I really do, but I think that’s still just A) Despair. As someone with deep experience in the art of despair, I can tell you that just about the only good thing to do about it is create space and opportunities for hope, its opposite, to flourish.

I can’t tell if I’ve said anything of import so far in this letter, but I have found that writing what I’m feeling and sharing it sometimes makes other people feel less alone. I guess I didn’t want to let this moment pass without saying, as always, that there are more important matters in the world than apps and websites and career journeys and portfolios, and that it’s quite alright if you deleted this newsletter without even reading it. I hope you are safe, and that you feel safe, and those that you love are safe and feel safe, too.

A few links of interest this week:

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