More signs

Dear President Trump,

Recently a favorite restaurant of ours closed its doors. It was one of a small handful of “special night out” spots we liked to go to when we felt like venturing away from our part of town and spending a little more money than usual. We could count on there being a couple of nice vegetarian (and for me, gluten free – sigh) options available and the food was really, really good. We weren’t regulars or anything, but we nearly always got seated in the same booth right in the middle of the space. I always sat with my back to the door (being a good, empathetic PTSD therapist, I’m hyper-aware of entrances/exits in public spaces) facing the back wall where there was a white wooden board with black letters spelling out “You Matter.” The sign was propped up on a part of the ventilation system over the door to the kitchen.

I loved that sign almost as much as I loved the food. Well, really, more than I loved the food. I personally appreciated the message to be sure, but mostly I just loved that someone thought to make the sign and set it up there in an understated “lift the people up” gesture. And yes, I’m aware that the sign resided in a semi-fancy restaurant in a wealthier part of town mostly frequented by people who get hundreds of subliminal (and more overt) positive messages regarding their worth all the time and who thus, aren’t really the ones who need to be exposed to it. Still, though, I loved that sign.

That now-closed restaurant has a sister establishment and we decided to give it a try last weekend. Nothing about it wowed us and there was nary an uplifting sign in sight so it won’t replace the lost restaurant in the rotation. But, on the way home we were winding down the back road from Queen Ann Hill and up above us in front of a house there were three big white signs with black lettering that said:

You Are Enough                    You Matter                 Do Not Give Up

I think we now know where the restaurant owner lives. J And, what a balm those signs are. I hope this is one of those instances where people believe what they read and don’t get all skeptical or overly analytical about it. I also hope that each of us who read the signs can take the little tiny leap from believing that we, ourselves are enough and matter, to reach the understanding that if this is true for us, it’s true for everyone. It’s not as though the signs have a bunch of qualifying fine print down at the bottom that excludes anyone (as in ANYONE – do you hear me, Donald?) from these messages. There’s no arbiter on high saying “well, let me see, you do/don’t look like me and you do/don’t worship like me and you do/don’t vote like me…” who gets to send people off the island.

Really, these signs are lovely anti-Trump, anti-authoritarian messages. They aren’t sullied by calling you out by name (unlike my effort to bring attention to them, but oh well) and they aren’t colored in a way that invokes any politics at all. They are just affirming, lifting-up messages freely offered to folks passing by.

I’m not ready to let go of the new “IMPEACH” sign we made the other day – I like looking up at our house and seeing it there in the window, especially after the botched (or whatever it was) House vote to impeach you yesterday. However, I’m seriously thinking that pretty soon here we should change it out for one or more of the lift-people-up signs noted above. It would be awesome if these signs sprang up all over town, maybe as the second chapter in the “In this house we believe….” sign movement; we need as many antidotes to the toxic DT miasma as we can possibly muster.

May we safeguard everyone’s sense of worth.
May we be willing to let people around us know they matter.
May we stay healthy and strong and refuse to give up on ourselves and one another.
May we have the courage to be peace and kindness.

Tracy Simpson

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