I sit like a zombie in front of the tv. Once in position, I cannot move. Like I’m crazy glued to the couch. It’s sunny outside and I have things to do, but I can’t seem to get myself to leave my post. I am incessantly toggling channels. I want to know more. I want to understand. I keep waiting for someone to explain how something like this happens. As if there could be any reasonable explanation. Like Wolf Blitzer is going to give me the 411.
I watch Obama speak and I can see the pain behind his eyes. He is kind and just and I know if he could he would like to go house by house to rid this country of assault weapons. He says, “To actively do nothing, is a decision as well.” Yes, it is. We are all guilty.
I cannot move. But then I do. I make some dinner and try to watch the Tony Awards, but after James Corden’s smashing performance, when I actually smile, I can’t watch anymore because I have to see if there is any more news, any more clues, or if maybe this was a crazy hoax, and there really was no mass shooting at a gay nightclub in Orlando, Florida, where 50 people were killed. People like you and me. People out on a Saturday night. People with moms and dads and friends and careers and hope and hobbies and a whole life waiting for them. I vow to read about them, to honor who they were. Who they were.
I can’t pull myself away, but there is nothing new. Just a sobbing mom who can’t find her son, a friend who lost his friend, people standing in line to give blood, politicians discussing the implications on the election. Oh, and Donald Trump embarrassing himself. Again.
I lay in bed and watch, and scan the computer for some bit of information that will help me understand what is not understandable.
There are so many shoes in the hallway right now, you’d literally think there were six kids that lived in this house, or like two shoe-wearing octopuses (and yes, I thought the plural was octopi, but turns out it’s not–learn something new everyday).
I am tired. Like that deep, internal, supersonic kind of exhaustion that will take some time to dissipate. It’s both physical and emotional. Prom, graduation, having my college son home doing an internship, wondering what it will be like to have an emptied out nest. It’s all fodder for fatigue. Not to mention a trip to Africa one month from tomorrow, with its 20 hour flight that is freaking me out just a little (note to spine: BEHAVE).
These are all good things, things I am grateful for. But I am tired. I need to sleep. And sleep. And sleep. And then, pick up the shoes.
I do not love Hillary (and I know there are loads of people who hate her). I don’t feel passion for her like I feel for Bernie, or like I felt for Obama, but I do like her. And I know she has the goods. I know she is really smart, and really competent. The woman was secretary of state AND first lady. She knows the deal (in a way that her unintelligible, unqualified and all together disgusting racist pig opponent does not and will never know).
And while she doesn’t make my heart beat faster, I am really excited that we’re finally at a place where a woman is the nominee for president of the United States. This is history, people. I mean, it’s amazing. Truly remarkable. There is a chick who is going to be in the Oval Office (or anyway, we better fucking hope she is). It’s really Goddamn unbelievable.
For every little boy that’s told he can grow up and be president, there is now a little girl who can get the same message, and not in some hypothetical way. And THAT, I do love.
Brock Turner was part of the tiny 4% of accepted students that Stanford boasts, as well as an Olympic hopeful. One of those kids with a boatload going for him. But he is also something else. Brock Turner is a rapist. Plain and simple. In fact, he’s not just a rapist, but a robber, who stole a part of his victim’s life that she will never be able to regain (read her statement here).
Six months of jail time is what Brock Turner will serve, probably just three months with good behavior. His daddy wrote a letter telling the judge how shattered Brock is, how all of his hard work should not be judged by “20 minutes of action.” That 20 minutes of action (read about the account from the witnesses here) has indelibly scarred a girl’s life, changed its course, left her with a hole in the center of her heart, but poor Brock.
There are two things that are terrifying about this story. One is that it is obvious that white and privileged Brock Turner has clearly been treated differently than a black or latino boy in the same situation would be treated. The second is that drinking on campus has become totally and completely OUT OF CONTROL.
I wonder, if the drinking age is 18, how exactly do colleges get aways with allowing students to chug-a-lug on campus? Shouldn’t they be held accountable for upholding the law? How is it that campuses have become some hallowed ground where the administration looks the other way when it comes to kegs and shots? (And why am I paying $65,000 a year to an institution who doesn’t follow the law?)
It’s never ok to take something from someone else. And it’s never ok to drink so much that you think it is.
Graduation parties everywhere–five this week. So many celebrations of the big day. But not going to lie, I’M EXHAUSTED!
It takes a lot of not only physical, but psychic energy to process this stuff. One day you have a tiny and totally reliant baby, and the next you have a full grown woman ready to walk out the door. It’s enough to make your head spin like Linda Blair in The Exorcist.
On the one hand, it’s logical. On the other hand it’s completely incomprehensible. Part of me understands the literal situation that my daughter is going to college, but the other part of me feels like I’m in math class, where after seventh grade, you might as well have been speaking to me in Chinese.
I am grateful. For all of it. For every second and every complicated and exhausting emotion. This is life.
Intermittent drizzle didn’t dampen the day, it was pretty spectacular. The graduation speaker was Dr. Christopher Vick, the head of the African American Scholars Program at BHS, and as far as I’m concerned, he should be the headmaster of BHS, or the president of the United States. This guy had it going on. Charisma and charm for days. I think he might have been the best graduation speaker I’ve ever seen live. His basic message, delivered with a punch and a smile was to go deep, to really commit. Oh yeah, and to put down your phone, and get off Instagram. He talked about this book Deep Work, which I’m Kindling up as I write.
It’s funny how the classic rituals, like graduation sound and seem cliche, but they’re really an important celebration of everything that has gone wrong and right on the way to getting to cross that stage.
Get a dog. Because when life feels like a tsunami is all up in your face, and the chickens get out of the coop, and you’re having a perpetual bad hair day, and not one thing is going right, that dog will still love you. And that love will sustain you to get back up and out and on with being amazing.
Love. Not money, or a $100,000 car, or a logo on your bag, or a house on the beach, well maybe a house on the beach, is the thing to strive for. Not just the love of a lover, but the love of friends, of community. Choose a career you have passion for, and make enough money to pay your bills, and be able to travel as much as you can, but more importantly, make relationships. All sorts of them. Because this is the money shot. Swear to god. This is everything.
Equal to love is resilience. Failure is not only inevitable, it’s the best professor you will ever have, better than your favorite elementary school teacher. It’s not how you trip, how you fall on your face and break your nose, how you stumble and get hit by a drone, it’s how you get back on your feet, how you stand again, the grace with which you straighten up and fly right. It’s in that space that growth occurs. It’s in that kind of misery that we truly morph into people who can stick our middle fingers up at anything that comes, and not only make it, but soar.
That’s it, class of 2016. Love and resilience. Now go. And fucking be amazing.
Isn’t it funny how when you know something hard is coming, you think “I know, I’ll prepare myself.”
Truth is, you can’t. Most of the time you just can’t prepare yourself for the tough stuff–the losses, the mammoth changes that rock the stability of your little world.
I really did think I was going all Boy Scout’s motto in regard to my last child’s graduation this Sunday. I have thought about what this day means for a lot of years. It means the chicks have flown the coop, or anyway, soon will, and that your life before kids, is well, before you.
I really thought I’d done this homework. I honestly thought I’d emotionally prepared. There’s that word again.
But it’s so clear to me, from my crankiness, to my troubled sleep and feelings of total vulnerability, that I have not. In the least little bit. AT ALL.
I go back to the well. Be in the moment. Stay present. Be grateful.