Change is something that many of us are craving. When we move, we change. When we separate from our friends or our significant other others, we change. although change is ever present, it is something we crave continually. Truth is, you are the change. I am the change. We are change. What is the only thing all of the changes you’ve made have in common… You.
You are the change even when it’s a challenge to do so.
One day I was waiting for my good friend and fellow blogger Renee to meet up with me. Let me tell you that if you’ve never been to a Chicago Starbucks, it’s hell on earth trying to scoot your way to an outlet to charge you devices. I’d just came from my classes, I’d just gotten my coffee and my laptop was at 12%. After ten minutes or so, I nailed me one! A good seat too. A lady rose to leave and I made a break for it. As I proudly commandeered my seat, a man approached me with a downtrodden expression. “I was trying to get that seat but clearly you’re much faster than I am.” I politely pardoned him as I leaned over to plug my laptop in. “You’re just like George Zimmerman, you know that? You move too fast.” How dare he, an elderly black man compare me, a young black woman to a murderer. He proceeded back to his seat and grinned smugly. Now, be aware that in the city of Chicago, most of us don’t play. That response could’ve gotten him killed on the other side of 87th, but I merely let the thought turn over in my head. He wouldn’t insult me out of the seat I’d waited patiently for. So I stayed in my seat. Renee and I had our whole session there. I considered shooting him so many dirty looks or just yelling something extremely disrespectful, but I didn’t.
Later on, I saw the same man rummaging through my garbage in the alley outside my house. It surprised me a bit but I didn’t speak. He started taking bites of things like old stale casserole, a half of a grilled cheese I hadn’t finished a week before. Here I was eating a nice, warm bowl of spaghetti and although this man was rude, I rose to my feet and brought him the bowl. He squinted and I could tell that he recognized me. I slowly handed him the bowl and he munched down.
A week later, I was back in Starbucks and there he was again. He was even in the same seat. I rushed to get my danish but when I turned around, my seat was waiting for me. He quickly set his things down elsewhere, clapped my hand on my shoulder, and said, “My sister. You are not Zimmerman. You are change.” I didn’t respond. I didn’t thank him or anything. I just pardoned myself and walked past him. Yet, later… in the depths of my own mind, I realized.. he was right.
You are the change even when it’s not yours.
I know what you’re thinking. “Jasemine, WHY? He compared you being quick to take an open seat to killing a kid…” I know and I agree more than anyone that not only was it wrong, it was appalling. But, why not? I wasn’t starving and he was. I wanted to sow a seed of faith into him. We’re not all as monstrous as George Zimmerman just because we’re quick. My mother always told me to slow down. She even dedicated the India Arie song to me. The best thing I could’ve done was provide a change for myself and this man. I’d never stood my ground on a seat before but each time I go into Starbucks, I am patient. I wait to see if anyone else may need the seat more than me. To us, it’s just a city in shambles filled with the hustle and bustle of uncharged devices. To some, it’s more.
In reality, everything you do is change. When you are mean to someone, you change something for them. When someone is mean to you, they change something for you. When you dwell on that change, there is an even bigger change in you. Give change and be change for others and for yourself.
Look around you.
The world isn’t changing us. We’re changing the world. Your change could be the one that restores faith back to humanity. Remember that humanity is you. Humanity is me.
Be the change.
Lighten Up, and of course.