This essay was originally published on January 21, 2017 in Angels Flight Literary West. We have been granted generous permission to reprint it here.
On the heels of the powerful Women’s March, when love trumped hate en masse, a message from the heart of Los Angeles: Invest in love.
Being good costs you.
People don’t say that enough. Morality glistens as an abstract, an image, an accessory. As brands and followers and hits and hashtags and outreach. As fatigues repurposed into Sunday’s Finest. In the face of adversity, we “Hope,” we “Change,” we “Just Do It.” Hearing and Listening. Looking and Seeing. Alive or Awake. “Yes We Can!”
The true fiber of morality. The disclaimer. The dotted line too absent in ink.
That goodness takes courage. It takes time, it takes money, it takes effort, it takes patience, it takes self-control, it takes learning, it takes judgment. It means revising what you know about people, the world, the way things should be. Intuiting when to empower, when to condemn, when to sit up, when to back down, when to let go, when to move forward.
When to tap out.
It means coming to terms with your limitations. How much fight you have in you. How much fight you have left. It means getting stiffed on your investment. It means playing a game of chicken with the universe, braced dauntlessly towards the stampede.
Praying you don’t have to stand alone.
Hate costs nothing. It requires no entry fee. No grace. No posture. No credentials. It’s a fancy ribbon on an empty box. Promising Unity Identity, a Purpose, JUSTICE. The pipe hit, the sensory shock, the unforgiving wear and tear. Why don’t they see me, why don’t they hear me, why don’t they like me, when will it be enough, when will it stop, when will I get what I was promised?
When a silver soul requires a heavy tax, what price makes it worth selling your own?
Be brave, be a gambler, be a long-distance runner, be a prize fighter who knows how to take one on the jaw.
Invest in love.
Daniel A. Barron founded the online arts & culture magazine Yay! LA on a love of writing, passion for creativity and a firm belief that people really like talking about themselves. He contributed to a number of publications, including LA Music Blog and the The Site Unscene, before deciding to cover what he loved the way he wanted to read it. Daniel has been a featured reader in the quarterly Dirty Laundry Lit series, and his contributions can currently be found in Art and Cake and Beautiful.Bizarre. He works in Los Angeles as a freelance writer and PR consultant. You can follow him on Twitter/Instagram: @YayDanielBarron.
Photo of Daniel A. Barron by Amanda Gavlick