“We’re all in the same boat”, has the very best of intentions, but it couldn’t be further from the truth. Trying to bring everyone together, suggesting our struggle is the same actually misses the boat all together. While we may be floating down the same river or riding the same waves, our boats are built completely different.
I may be in a pontoon that doesn’t go very fasts but has a canopy to protect me from the sun. You may have a speed boat that slices through the giant waves to keep you moving with life preservers as a backup plan. We may both float by a canoe without a paddle only left to ride out the storm and land wherever the water takes it. Same body of water during the same storm, but very different boats with very different experiences.
Can we stop suggesting we are all in the same boat? Our resources and our choices are not the same. How you manage in your speed boat with your life preservers looks really different than what I need to do in my pontoon to find calm water. And that is okay – it should look different! I can’t be judged for finding a place to hold up while I ride out the storm as you keep going through the crashing waves because we are in fact in two different boats with different circumstances.
Same storm. Different choices.
And let’s not forget the canoe. If you have an extra life preserver and I have some extra space, shouldn’t we help the canoe if we can? Why? Because I’ve been in the canoe – I’ve struggled through the waves. I’ve watched others float on by without an issue. I’ve had to rely on someone else’s kindness to toss me a life jacket and share their space. And that is okay too!
That doesn’t make me weak. That doesn’t make less than. It makes me human and vulnerable and worthy of kindness.
My struggles aren’t worse-than or better-than yours. My struggles are simply different from yours. There is no need to compare. It’s not a competition to see who has toughest path. We are all struggling in uncharted waters these days-all of us in the same crazy storm holding on until we find a safe place to land.
However, our boats make our battles feel different.
Remember that fact.
We are not in the same boat.