The Truth Is Your Legacy
“To the living we owe respect, but to the dead we owe only the truth.” ~ Voltaire
Power is one of those things that shows you all you need to know about someone. What they do with the resources at their disposal. How they make decisions that affect the livelihood and well-being of others. With whom they choose to align themselves.
All of these things matter, because we are all a product of our choices, experiences and who we become is ultimately determined by the impact we have on others. We aren’t what we say we are, but how others perceive us to be in any given moment, or over the span of our entire lives, depending on who’s answering the questions.
So when we’re gone, how is our legacy defined? Do we only acknowledge the people and moments in our lives that paint an idyllic version of ourselves even if it’s an unrealistic picture of who and what we were?
That all depends on how you live your life and what you do with your Power.
Recently the world lost 3 historic figures.
Aretha Franklin. Kofi Annan. John McCain.
Death happens. To Everyone.
Now what are we supposed to say and how are we supposed to feel?
When someone passes, there is always an overwhelming sense of pain, even if you have no connection to the individual. Loss is something we can all understand and will feel at some point. We can express empathy for the family and friends, while we reconcile our own pain and sorrow. Our humanity allows us to express sympathy to the loved ones of the recently deceased, while simultaneously requesting our debts from the estate.
What we must acknowledge, as plainly as death itself, is that feelings are deeply personal just as much as experience and perspective. No one can tell anyone how they should feel about the life or death of anyone else.
Telling someone how they should feel is never a good idea. Period.
John McCain passed away and to some he was a hero, an advocate, an icon of integrity. To others, not so much.
How could one live their life and find themselves in such a polarizing position in death?
The truth is, as history is happening and power is being used lives are being affected. Some of us are using the power we have (and to be clear: WE ALL HAVE A POWER TO USE) to make peoples lives better, and some of us aren’t. Some of us are making decisions that will put more and more bodies in cages, and in the ground, instead of in the arms of loved ones.
When Aretha Franklin and Kofi Annan passed away, the whole world exhaled a deep sigh of grief. Celebrations are underway for the lives of these courageous figures and will likely pale in comparison to the actual impact these two made in the lives of Black people all over the world.
Those who use their power for unequivocal good, will find it easy to be eulogized in complete truth. Human beings are all flawed, no doubt about it, complicated, and nuanced. But we aren’t all complicit in encouraging mass poverty, in perpetuating systemic violence.
We aren’t all capable of affecting global change, which is why those of us who do wield that kind of power have an obligation to be good stewards. Our lives are far too short to cause pain and heartache.
If you’re reading this remember, live your life in a way that when you die, people will be lined up to eulogize you in truth. ~ BLAIRISMS