Unpacking. That’s the best way to describe the relatively methodical gait of my thinking over the last few days. Generally speaking, my mind whirrs more at the pace of a Hummingbird — a thrumming buzz, pausing occasionally to regroup. In the last months I’ve been working to slow my roll, pausing more and collecting thoughts or at least parsing them a bit. With the events of the last week I’m finding my mind slipping quickly back to its Mach-speed zone; but it precisely in times like these that more considered thought should arise. Therein lies the rub. It is when passion ignites that it is best to galvanize and take action … but it is equally important that those actions be considered. Right? We need to pause. Take a moment. Then take action. Right?
Yesterday I questioned why this particular school shooting has effected me the way it has. It’s not like it’s the first one. Sandy Hook — the images of small children’s bodies, the knowledge that these were tiny tiny humans…you’d think that would have leveled me. It did, but not in the way that Parkland has. Is my tolerance for this madness lower? Is my skin somehow thinned by the steady rat-a-tat of death caused by automatic weapons?
It’s because this time as I, along with so many others, froze in our sadness the survivors of this attack launched into action. They did not pause to mourn their friends. They attended funerals, buried their peers, and immediately raised their voices in full throttle fury. They are not waiting to process their feelings. They are not waiting to let pain subside. They are using that grief and that pain as fuel, powering them forward. These voices, the leaders of tomorrow, stridently calling out the political lap dogs for the NRA who’ve continually admonished that the time of a shooting is not the time to discuss gun control, as if doing so politicizes the deaths.
Several weeks ago I had the opportunity to hear Marianne Williamson speak. One of the points she nailed is resonating with me this week. She spoke of the protestors marching across the bridge in Selma, AL. She spoke of the women being force fed while on hunger strike in jail fighting for women’s suffrage. Her point: Don’t you think they were scared? Don’t you think they might have “needed a moment”? Guess what? Critical times are filled with pain and we must soldier forth and take action in spite of it. “We don’t have time for you to finish processing your (personal) trauma work before you show up,” she said.
She is right.
This time, the children are leading us to the correct path … a path of action, a path where we collect our tears and turn them into a flood. As someone else said today — when the children are acting like leaders and the leaders are acting like children, it means a revolution is about to begin.
This is a lesson that should not surprise me. It was a lesson that hit me in 2008. I’d been sitting happily in my privilege — a white, educated, middle class woman whose identity as a lesbian was something I had the luxury of keeping to myself and a close circle of friends. With that 2008 election in California and the passage of Proposition 8, I was shoved into second class citizenship in my own country
For the record, I loathe politics. For the majority of my adult life I avoided anything even slightly smacking of political. I was politically informed and educated — read my voter pamphlet, researched issues and candidates and never missed an election, local or otherwise. But in terms of activism, speaking out, canvassing and the like — just wasn’t my thing. I wanted to stay out of politics.
When my life and that of many around me became a political issue I had to make a choice — I could stay in my white privilege and say nothing … keep my gayness under the radar and off the public discourse and live in the shadows. Or I could open my mouth, stand up for myself and my brothers and sisters in the LGBTQ community.
I chose the latter.
Now it appears that all too many issues that should NOT be political have become so — the environment, healthcare, equality (whether LGBTQ, women, people of color), and now the simple fact of whether our CHILDREN are safe when they go to school?
Yeah, I could stay out of it. I could keep my mouth shut, wring my hands and complain.
Or I can do something. I can speak, I can take action, and I can demand that those put into jobs by the people (aka politicians) be forced to do their jobs or lose them.
Where will you stand?
What will you stand for?
Want to know who we will be following? Look no further than Emma Gonzalez, whose speech just days after the shooting at her high school serves as a clarion call to all of us.
In tomorrow’s commentary I’ll begin to unravel my perspective on why this may be happening. As I’ve learned in my work with dogs, in order to change behavior, first it’s important to identify root cause. It is only in doing so that we can begin to foster change…
The Floral Family’s numbers decrease. Cousin Pink is almost gone and one of the Twins isn’t too far behind. The others are hanging on, a bit.
And today’s Gracious Gratitude. Today I am grateful for:
- Being able to be present for a friend
- Seeing an idea start to take shape
- Stepping out of my comfort zone and going to a party instead of just going home after work
- That special soreness from a workout that settles in about two days after
- The memory of dreams from last night that were entirely amusing
- Enjoying one of my favorite chocolate bars that a friend brought me from Paris
- Winter not quite being over