People keep getting killed. And sometimes I can brush off the scary-as-fuck idea that I could get shot walking in the Quarter or shopping on 16th street with flippant, naive, and dismissive comments.
“People in Africa get shot like this daily, and we never hear about that.” Because, you know, other murder makes this murder ok.
“My therapist has advised me against watching the news.” I’m a weak child masquerading as a grown woman, and I can’t deal with a reality beyond household chores. But thanks.
I read the posts online. I reblog and retweet and promise not to forget. I donate my money or blood or time in whatever small way I can. I want to aid those who are suffering.
So many are suffering.
And I do forget. I don’t remember now if that big tsunami was in Haiti, or if Haiti had an earthquake. I know that Orlando now has the record-we have a record, like an achievement-for the biggest shooting in America. I can’t remember which towns in California have had shootings or which ones have just had bomb threats. We can grade the level of violence our children face daily in a first world country with the words “just”, “shooting”, and “bomb” in the same sentence.
I can’t do enough to make a difference. I feel uneducated in every election because the candidates are so steeped in lies and propaganda that I have no idea who is really what. And then there’s the whole debate about my vote even counting, with caucuses and super delegates and all that bullshit I can’t fully understand.
I am beyond fortunate. I am blessed with water, food, shelter, clean clothing, and innumerable luxuries. I am living in a socio-economic level that allows me to gripe about my shower head and how the grocery never has ripe mangos. I have things that some people can’t even dream up to dream of.
In this place of wealth and privilege, we have people being gunned down in the streets.
“It only makes the news because it’s a rare occurrence.” I wonder how many support groups for parents of murdered school children exist on meetup.
People are being slaughtered for being different. I have honest concerns about my black friends walking to their car outside of Jared’s house. We live in a time and the south is a place where I’m no longer surprised to hear someone got shot for having eumelanin. A female professor that I consider to be among the strongest people I’ve ever known would be rational to be afraid of her male students, if statistics are accurate. Why do we have sports cars that can drive themselves and dozens of iphone choices, but no way to prevent mental crisis from turning into mass murder?
Recently, I took a class in Mental Health First Aid. So many of us are dealing with invisible illnesses, with disability, with gender confusion or with being a sexual deviant. I know I struggle with being accepted by my self, let alone by other people. At least I know I’ll see things from my point of view, and even then sometimes I think I’m full of shit.
When we are stifled, denied, abused, neglected, and drugged instead of spoken to, we breed violence and hatred. We fuel misunderstanding, and we silence voices of change. We raise boys to not cry, not to feel anything but approved masculine things, and then we’re shocked when they resent women, who have a full emotional range. We tell people of color they are equal, and then we dig our heels into the past and use slurs in place of language when referring to human beings. We do things I can’t even comprehend, because I’m a white, bisexual, able-bodied woman. That excludes me from tons of experiences that I can’t even wrap my head around. People have no right to be killing others for fighting their own battles as best they can.
If someone wants to be gay, who are you to tell them they can’t? How does it affect you, anyway? If someone has parents from another country, where do we have a right to criticize their culture or customs? Other countries with our wealth and ability don’t have people getting killed like we do in America. We might want to start asking for advice from some other countries.
I wonder if an American was asked to list all the shootings they remember hearing about within a year, how many they could name. I know I wouldn’t get more than a handful named. I wonder how many I’d have missed.
I straddle the line between feeling guilty, responsible, and generally sickened by what we are doing to each other; to ourselves. Then I flare into rage, following rapidly by impotence. I don’t know how to fix this. I don’t know if it can be fixed.
Nobody exists on purpose.
Nobody belongs anywhere.
Being positive is good for a person. It’s good for me, personally. Tonight it’s not easy. I don’t feel positive. I feel sad. I feel heavy and helpless.
In my head, I know I’m not useless. I know that tomorrow will bring with it a glimmer of hope. My head tells me that as long as I can find small happiness, as long as I have love and friendship and myself, I can stay afloat. My head is logical. My heart doesn’t reason, but it hurts. My heart hurts for people I’ll never meet, who lost their lives in Orlando. I hurt for the people in countries across the globe, who are struggling for water and food. I hurt for the survivors, trapped in their trauma and living under the freeway off Carondelet.
My pain helps no one. I’ll sit with it tonight. Maybe tomorrow, too. But then I have to move away, and try to feel like the world is not what it is. I’ll pretend that life won’t end for someone out dancing with their friends. I’ll say that I don’t need to fear a hypothetical gunman every time I attend a movie in theaters. I’ll cloak myself in socially acceptable denial, and pretend that it’s all ok. Because what else can I do? What the fuck else do we do?