Wednesday, September 25, 2013


“Once social change begins, it cannot be

reversed. You cannot un-educate the 

person who has 

learned to read. You cannot humiliate

the person who feels pride. You cannot 

oppress the people

who are not afraid anymore.” -

Cesar Chavez

Streetlights and perspective.

Some decisions come to me like someone sneaking up behind you. You can hear the nylon of their jacket rubbing together, getting closer and closer to you until you turn around. There is no violence. Just that moment where you are staring at each other, too close for comfort. And you let go.

And in that way, I am letting go on my 4 month project. It was full of love and passion when it was just me and Tiff. When it was exactly what every TEDx project should be: a learning experience, interesting new conversations and hope. The relationship lost that beautiful, promising glow when it was bogged down in partnerships, stalled relationships and too much time taken for things other than working with our speakers.

As I find peace in letting go of this project, just when it was clearly not where I am supposed to be right now, I reread and remember:

"If you look straight ahead at nighttime, the brightest things you see are the streetlight, or the porch light, or the car light. Because of the curious urban phenomenon of light pollution, these appear to be the only lights around. But step outside the city and then look up—and you see the fires that have forever made mankind dream. Stars.

In the dim haze of city lights, we can lose sight of the things above us. As a result, it’s easy to settle for the things directly in front of us. It’s easy to settle for the streetlight or the porch light or the car light; that is, it’s easy to settle for the things practically being handed to us after graduating from this place: creature comfort, a good reputation, a cozy paycheck. I don’t mean to say these things are bad—streetlights are good, especially in New Haven—but the difficulty always lies not so much in separating the bad from the good, but the good from the best. The dim haze of the merely good can crowd out the truly high, bright, and beautiful. And we guard against this—because a streetlight, as it were, can’t hold a candle to stars.

So you and I—let’s continue to look up. Let’s seek out the things bright enough to live for: a world of wonder, the world through which the life found looking in will walk alongside the lives found looking out. "

--- all credit to:
Yena Lee
Yale 2012
Princeton Ph.D Candidate