Colors and Stripes

Something a little different today. I’ve always espoused the idea that we, as people, but also specifically as stenographers, should work together to make a difference. I believe we should all be the change we want to be. But I am constantly reminded that the world doesn’t operate on ideals, it operates primarily on emotions. Even the law, something that theoretically should have some magic formula, relies on emotion. The facts are what the jury feels the facts are. The law is the judge’s best judgment with whatever the judge knows and is made aware of.

Why does all that matter? Because it very much defines the world we live in and the unspoken rules we have to operate by. In my fantasies, we all work together to common goals of attracting people to the wonderful world of stenography, the courts are filled up with stenos, everybody does their job, and everyone’s happy. Of course, realistically, everyone has a clique. Everyone has needs and wants. Everyone’s needs and wants conflict with somebody. Realistically, I would say a good percentage of people want to do a job and go home, and let the whole “promoting stenography thing” work itself out. I don’t blame them. I’m jealous of them. They’re arguably better than me in a lot of ways. But they’re not what this is about.

Recently I am reminded of colors and stripes. In life, most people have a “side” and a “rank.” A “color” and a “stripe.” These sides and ranks all interact with how we view each other, how we treat each other, and ultimately, what reality is. We are all, hopefully, the protagonists in our own minds, but how that translates to the world can be very tricky. Suppose, for example, that there are four people, A, B, C, D. Imagine that you are person B. A is doing something that is upsetting D. It is B and C’s job to speak to A when A is upsetting D. C doesn’t seem interested in speaking to A, so B speaks to A, and A gets upset because B has the nerve to speak to A. C tells B that B shouldn’t have upset A because it will hurt B’s ability to help D in the future. D is grateful that B spoke to A. What’re you gonna do, B’? Did you do the right thing? And will C now try to replace B because B did something C didn’t like?

But seriously, if all of you search your hearts you will probably find that you’ve been in situations forty times more complicated than such an imaginary scenario. You’ve done things and made decisions that were not easy to make. You’ve made a judgment call that somebody disagreed with. You’ve watched people you believed to be on your side change their colors to earn their stripes. So what’s the message? Give up? Don’t try to change the world? Don’t do what your heart tells you to do? No. It’s actually much simpler than that. Do what you know is right. Do what needs to be done. But make damn sure that you go into every situation with an open mind and both eyes open. Understand that along the way some people will let you down. Some people will betray you. Be willing to let them go. Be willing to work with them for as long as they’re useful to the end goal and discard them. Be willing to identify long-term allies and get behind them even when it seems certain they will lose.

For every single person that’s ever experienced a setback, and for every person that ever will, I say do your best not to let apathy and the path of least resistance remove your passion. People with extreme anxiety disorders have conquered high-stress jobs. People who can’t use their legs very well have stood up and defied disability. People who have been marginalized have taken a stand and fought for equal treatment in what seemed to be an insurmountable situation. In this country and world, people have faced the problems we face. People have faced greater problems. People have faced lesser problems. The world is filled with problems. And if your passion can solve one, single problem, don’t give it up because of colors and stripes, because colors can change in a day. An unfulfilled passion, you will live with for the rest of your life.

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