Well. This has been one of those weeks where I had a blog mostly queued up and then turned around and wrote another in less than my usual draft-edit-draft-edit-draft-edit-post time. So, apologies for any misspellings, grammatical issues and, oh, the lack of humor. Two weeks in a row without a joke – uncool…
Trigger alert. I’m going to talk about the most prevalent news this week. I’m going to include thoughts from my perspective – which may not be the same as yours. Or maybe it is and I’m just the idiot that’s going to put it to public paper. Having a different perspective does not mean I’m an ‘ist’ of any sort – it means I have a different perspective. It doesn’t mean I like one person or another any less – it means I have a different perspective. It means I understand that you might have a different perspective and I probably already know that and yet I would still come to your rescue immediately if needed and that I won’t run around name calling or force feeding non-factual information to you. Heck, I won’t even gently feed actual facts to you – because you have a different perspective, and that’s okay.
At least I think all of the above is all accurate. I don’t actually really know anymore. I just know that I want to be open and thoughtful and careful with my words. That’s was a big ramp up. Exit now if you wish. I’m about to do some keyboard therapy.
My brain is like a dang roller coaster right now. I have just banned myself from the news (fluff stories only, please) – as I do think a lot of the roller coaster is media overload. Keep me posted on the murder hornets, if you don’t mind. I’m at a loss as to what to tell my children anymore. I’m at a loss as to what to tell myself. I suspect the affects of nearly three months of essential isolation is not helping. I suspect that if true for everyone, everywhere. In this house we have a stronger tendency to go from a Level 1 to a Level 10 than ever before. In this house, where life is admittedly very easy. I can only imagine how that jump is going in more difficult circumstances.
I started the week appalled by what happened to George Floyd. As we all were, I hope. Appalled at the officer, appalled at the three officers that were likely too intimidated by the first officer to say ‘enough.’ Appalled that the crowd felt filming the incident was their only option – unable to move in and physically remove the officer from his kneel. I wonder what would have happened if someone had felt able to step in. Would they have saved this man’s life? Would they have given their own? I really wonder what I would have done. Not really, I’m not a crisis queen – I likely would have just walked away feeling fearful of the crowd and fear for both the officers and George Floyd.
I’m finishing the week appalled that there are (thankfully) volunteers in cities across America sweeping up broken glass and scrubbing off graffiti while business owners tally up their loss during an economic situation that was already at crisis level. How do I reconcile this? How do I explain to my kids that what happened in Minneapolis was beyond unacceptable while also imploring to them that defiling businesses in Richmond is also unacceptable. I do feel both. Does that make me an -ist? This is where I panic. This is why I am sitting here terrified to share my perspective. I’m behind protests of any kind. I’m not behind destruction of someone else’s unrelated livelihood.
I’ve been watching my Facebook community come after one another – all folks that, theoretically, should like each other because they are all friends that I’ve chosen and enjoy keeping up and sharing with. For many, the only thing they have in common is, well, me – a person who identifies as very nice, empathetic, giving, stupidly organized, compassionate, silly, a huge fan of puns, a bit snarky and sometimes driven to input via frustration that I later regret…so, basically, an actual human. I don’t want to open my feed (and won’t for some time) because I feel a rush to protect one person and then a rush to protect another person – the same rush on both sides of the spinning perspective coin. I’ve likely felt a rush to protect you. But after being blasted a few times for coming to someone’s defense, I’ve shut it down. I’ve flipped to hanging out on Instagram (where I mainly follow the entertainment world) and Twitter (where I mainly follow the gymnastics community). If you’re feeling overloaded with social media anxiety – I highly recommend divvying up your platforms so you always have an escape hatch.
I’ve learned that being acquaintances, friends or just knowing someone’s name doesn’t mean you will have the same perspectives. I actually learned that years and years and years ago. What I’ve learned in the past week is that that’s no longer acceptable to many. And I must have missed the memo on that. Right now, I guarantee one of you is leaping directly to ‘wait, did she just say she’s okay with white-cop-kills-black-man? Nope. Read it again. I’ve learned that being acquaintances, friends or just knowing someone’s name doesn’t mean you will have the same perspectives. I learned that years and years and years ago. What I’ve learned in the past week is that that’s no longer acceptable to many. I truly believe I could post ‘oh, nice weather today,’ and I’d be blasted for not recognizing global warming, siding with the liberals and worshiping Greta What’s-Her-Name (okay, well, the third piece of that is true).
I’ve read that if I’m not part of the solution, then I’m part of the problem. I’ve read that if I’m against the riots than I’m for racism. I’ve read that if I don’t know the exact facts of every single incident (how many bullets were used? how many seconds was he suffocating? what color was the guy in the truck following them?) that I’m not invested in fixing this country. I’ve read that if I’m tired of hearing about all of this then I’m supporting the people that it is happening to.
I am not of these things. No, that’s not true. I am tired. Just tired.
I sat at the table tonight speaking with our 17 year old – who sat next to me, yet so very far away. Her ideas and solutions all packed with facts and evidence and proof that they would work while Rich and I sat walking the tightrope of being encouraging but also keeping her in the reality that nothing changes overnight and that if a solution is thrown at you that seems just so damn simple, than it’s probably based more on a vote than on something that someone is actually going to pursue beyond an election. I could see her frustration and look of betrayal that our generation hadn’t resolved this already – how could you have tacked on another fifty years to this problem, all-knowing-parents??
How to tell her that we’ve tried? How to tell her that each time we think we made a difference the target moved and suddenly we were back to the drawing board because now that was incorrect or that was inappropriate or that was no longer okay. I’ve spent the last three months trying to make life in isolation normal and have barely squeaked that out – now I have to revisit civil rights? And, yes, I know which one is more important and it’s not that I don’t want to do, do, do…I just don’t have the mental energy at this very moment – the mental energy that my 17 year old seems positively bursting with. Maybe the solution really is within her or her generation. Maybe hers is the perspective that will right the ship.
I feel like this whole post is one big apology for my thoughts, yet I don’t even know what I’m apologizing for. That is our climate. One of the many Us v Them battles is between those who will say whatever comes to mind, regardless of how it sounds, and those who are too afraid to say anything at all for fear of how it sounds. I’m very likely to turn the comments off on this post altogether. There is no place to just process.
I sit somewhere in here:
But the Me is floating around – bouncing off the various circular walls like a pinball with each new breaking new report. I don’t understand. You’re right. How could I? I could no more understand than I could expect my husband to understand what it feels like for his uterus to exit his body on a regular cadence. All I can do is listen. But here is so much to listen to. All I can do is collect information. But there is so much to collect. I can stop making assumptions about people. I can accept. I can love.
I can give you my perspective.
And you can give me yours. And I will treat it delicately, as you should mine.