This is not what I wanted to write today. I wanted to write about spooky podcasts or muse on the October fervor that I feel every year.
But instead, I feel like I have to write about tragedy and how tired I am.
I wondered how long it would have taken for me to learn about the Las Vegas shooting if I wasn’t on social media? What I would have written if it wasn’t my routine to check Facebook and Twitter before getting out of bed?
Does any of this make any difference? Does my crying in bed at 8am do anyone any good?
Then there is the pressure to respond. The pressure to be outraged, to grieve publicly and loudly. To call for justice, to count the flaws and wrinkles in our systems. To point fingers.
My heart is in Texas, my heart is in Mexico, my heart is in Puerto Rico, my heart is in Barbuda and in Florida. It is also abroad, it is in the Middle East and in Myanmar. This list is not long enough. I can’t even keep track anymore.
My heart is everywhere, but my body is here. In the woods in Tallahassee, at my desk.
We all know that hope and prayers will not fix any of this. Those are our own comforts. Private luxuries.
I will call my representatives. I will donate money. I will donate blood. I will donate clothes and whatever else I can give away.
But as our own narratives swing back around on us, from calls to be outraged and to resist to instead survive and persist, how do we keep going?
How do we account for our own personal tragedies, our own upheavals and trials, along with those of the world?
I’ve seen death up close this year, I’ve grieved. I’ve celebrated in equal parts to grieving and it’s all life, it’s how things go. Sure, fine.
I am not made to endure all of this. Neither are any of us.
I wake up wanting leadership and action. I don’t want to have to push every single day towards what should be the norm.
We should all be safe, cared for, protected.
I am not an elected official. I am a private citizen, with my own struggles. I want to keep showing up every day. I want to do my part.
But is my part to have to be broken apart every single fucking week by a new tragedy? How does anyone look at anyone else and have time to judge or point blame to a private citizen for how they are reacting–or not reacting–on social media?
I want to build a community. I want to intentionally love harder on the people around me and I want to devote myself to trying to preserve the smaller, below-the-fold lives we lead.
I want to keep us safe, in that way. I want to leave something for my daughter’s daughters to look back on and see that it wasn’t all just terror and violence and rage. That there was love and the seasons changed and we kept going. That we asked questions and tried our hardest.
I’m tired of acting like I’m strong and woke all the time to every single injustice and tragedy. It’s too much. I’m admitting that here, I don’t really care what the outcome of that is.
Here’s what I know I can do:
- Call my representatives. Vote according to plans for action.
- Donate. Money, blood, time, possessions. Whatever.
- Amplify correct information and valuable insights. (But it is not my job to be a news aggregate. There is a reason I’m not a full time journalist.)
- Keep showing up to my work and my life.
The reality–and this is something I personally realized years ago but forget often–is that we do nobody any good by playing armchair quarterback in a crisis situation.
It is not our responsibility to cure the world with our righteous anger and well-worded social media posts. It just isn’t. We have government and law enforcement that are supposed to protect and serve us. It shouldn’t be up to us. I’m mad as hell that so many of us feel that it is up to us to post our way into progress.
I am mad as hell.
Calling for our elected leaders to actually lead us to peaceful days and guide us through a tragedy is not being political. If everyone was doing their jobs, we wouldn’t have as many tragedies and catastrophes to get political about. It’s truly that simple.
I know I’m going to post and share this. I wonder if I’m already a hypocrite by writing anything at all. But I told myself to write every day this month, so this is what I have this morning.
Anger. Exhaustion. Desperation. Confusion.
Nothing that is going to be cured by a hot take or a think piece. But if you don’t feel up to writing or creating today, maybe this helped you. Maybe you need to be reminded that it’s okay to not be up to the task of saving the world every week.
It’s not your job to save the world. How you decide to cope is ultimately up to you, but if something like writing or art helps you make sense of your own place in this fucked up world, go ahead and do that.
Do what you can. Make some calls, donate, amplify. Take care of yourself.
I love you, I’m sorry we are all in this place together again. Hoping, as always, that it’s the last time I write something like this.