Last night, I think I said goodbye to my childhood best friend for good.
I also saw an excellent documentary called Favela Rising, about a musical group that emerged after a grisly tragedy in one of Brazil’s infamous favelas. AfroReggae was formed after police massacred 21 innocent favela residents in 1993. Since then, violence has subsided significantly in the Vigario Geral neighborhood, as music has become a viable alternative in the community. “God writes wise words in crude penmanship,” one group member said, about how the determined group has been able to mobilize for peace and change against corrupt police forces and tyrannical drug armies. The power of the arts to influence public discourse and social change is real, and no one can take that away.
Perspective can be so tricky at times. Happiness has always been a transient concept. Friendships, lovers, jobs, all come and go. Sometimes it is near impossible to find centeredness and peace.
But I’m so very thankful, that living amidst violence is not my piercing reality, that I am independent and I have a sound mind, that my family and I are all in moderately good health. My editor friend Deb says, “Aren’t we blessed, that we don’t make a living off of our bodies?” Yes we are. After a hellish year, I’m still here. And I can honestly say that’s enough.
Violeta Parra - Gracias A La Vida
This is one of my favorite songs of all time. Violeta Parra was a Chilean political activist and singer songwriter who spoke out about the U.S. backed-coup against Salvador Allende in the early 1970’s (sorry, I was a history major.) You can read the lyrics, and more about her amazing story here.