There’s a photo that circles the web every few years. In the photo, I’m in a flight attendant uniform, couched by an airline jumpseat, hand over my mouth, laughing hysterically. Today, the photo exists beyond its original intent, but I still smile when I see the image. It was a hysterical moment at work, one that takes me back to my first years working as cabin crew. The image is harmless, but the fact that this moment is findable, shareable, searchable, existable proves the truth that what you say or do or document or share has impact and reach— maybe in ways that you didn’t first imagined. I’m gently reminded when I circle the web as a meme or an image for a travel article that what I put into the world won’t simply disappear the moment I forget about it.

I’ve learned through years of blogging and creating an online footprint, however small and insignificant it may be, that once published, spoken, or made public, what is said or done cannot be easily unsaid or undone. That an online presence will follow you— for better or worse. You may say something or do something, thinking that you can delete or erase your words and actions in the future. But the truth is that once you make a choice to be public about your work environment, personal life, or political opinions, that doesn’t just go away. In a year as monumental and unprecedented as 2020, it has never been more paramount that we think deeply about what we share, what we say, and what we do. We are in a pivotal point in history. Intentional, thoughtful, educated actions and words are essential to create positive change.

To be honest, I don’t have the words and wisdom to understand this year and what we have faced. I’ve vacillated between feelings of fear and failure; utter sadness and resigned distance. I haven’t known how to address the issues of systemic racism, inequality, and viral infection; and that is only some of what humanity faces. For me, during this time, it hasn’t felt right to talk about travel, a flight attendant career, or my personal life. There is just so much more going on that matters. That feels of deep and weighted importance and to respect that, I’ve gone silent. I’ve gone silent, not because I don’t care, but because I want to understand better. I’ve gone silent because I felt inadequate to speak into this moment. I’ve gone silent because I don’t want to be the noise that distracts you from what you really need to learn, from someone who can really teach you.

I’ve made a choice with silence over the past month because I hoped to use the space to listen. To listen to people who know more about the issues that we face. To hear the struggle of those who live different than me. To learn more about what I can do to help. From there— from that vantage point and foundation of listening— I then hope that I can have the courage to take action. To then speak or give others the space so that they can speak.

Over the past month, it didn’t feel right for me to endlessly share on social media, or this blog, any points of view that I felt so grossly undereducated about.  I am a flight attendant. I am not an infectious disease expert, a minority, or a political or economic leader. I didn’t want to only post something and not do something. I’ve debated in my head about what I can do and how I can contribute to a community that is kind, supportive, and inclusive. Because that is what I do believe in. I believe that hate has NO place here. That indifference has NO place here. That my ignorance NO longer has a place here. My heart breaks for flight attendants who have experienced the ugliness of racism, hate, or judgement. I’m so sorry.

I will not claim to know what it feels like to be you or experience the things that you have experienced. But, I hope to listen. You may feel that you’ve had no voice, but I hope we can change that. Together. I would love to listen. We would love to listen.

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So, tell me— “What does it feel like to be you?”

I invite you to join this conversation— one that I pray we can write together. One where you feel the freedom to openly share what it’s like to walk in your shoes; what it’s like to be you. Let’s together create a space that, regardless of our looks or the jobs we have or don’t, we can grow into understanding each other and supporting each other better. Awareness is a step toward change. We may not be able to travel in the way that we once could, but we can still expand and open our minds and hearts.


If you would like to participate in this community driven series, “What is it like to be you?” and contribute a blog, poem, words, video, or your heart, please email me at
Kara [at] flightattendantlife.com. We would be so honored and grateful to get to know you better and hear your story.

xoxo,

Kara

About the Author Kara

Curious. Bubbly. Creative. Curating a life I don't need an escape from and inspiring you to do the same.

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