Today was really the icing on the cake (and the day is still not over). The last few days have been a whirlwind of emotions ignited by a number of events. It turns out being gay and Armenian and a Diasporan living in Armenia and working in local news media is not so easy after all (in case you were wondering…).
It has been challenging, to say the least. I have been challenged by individuals and situations that I probably would not have come across or had to have dealt with had I still been living in Canada. I have attempted to be a bridge, connecting people, with little success. And I have come to realize that yes, though it is important for one to recognize their own privilege, it’s also important to know the right time and place to invoke that privilege, and other times, to just shut up.
It’s important to know that you do not get to coordinate and control and organize everything in your life. Perhaps this is nothing new to most people, but being in control is the way I’ve been wired (otherwise, known as a khasiat in that other language that I speak though I’m pretty sure the word itself is not Armenian). Over the years I have come face to face with this issue and it’s been difficult each time. But I have been lucky to have met such wonderful people throughout my life who have been patient with me as I’ve come to terms with the term ‘letting go.’
Of course, each time I begin again (always with good intentions of course… but you know what they say: “the road to hell is paved with good intentions”) and each time I am reminded that being in control is not always a good thing. That being said, most of the time (and for most of my life), it’s worked out fine, even to my advantage. But I have to learn to recognize when to invoke it and when to just ‘let it go.’
And as a good friend of mine reminded me not long ago, (a) be thankful and (b) don't be so analytical (otherwise known as ‘think with your heart’). I would also add that it’s important to be honest, first with yourself, then with others. And I find that it is when I am speaking with my heart that I am honest. But so many other things get in the way, in this world, in this life, that makes it difficult to just say what you mean.
And speaking about saying what you mean and being honest, at work today, the icing on the cake: what I feel to be violations in freedom of the press in Armenia. When you are told to continue working the way you do, but every once in a while, we’ll have to slip in a story or a piece to satisfy some oligarch or hotshot with power in the country, just so we can keep working, would you not call that a violation of freedom of the press? When just about every other news source in the country is bought out, purchased, owned or run by an oligarch, a man with money and power, who gets to dictate what gets published, would you not call that a violation of freedom of the press? Well, today, I saw that in action, up close and personal.
It is difficult being here, I have to admit. Though I would love some peace and quiet for a change, I can’t imagine being anywhere else right now. Maybe down the road, sure, and there are things I want to do that will take me beyond the borders of this tiny country, but for now I’m here. And that means coming face to face with my (and the country’s) challenges.
And again, as that same good friend of mine, wrote to me, “Never underestimate the wisdom of life. What you are offered is not really currency.” But it’s more valuable. And right now, I’m cherishing every minute of this life, with my blood, sweat and tears…