Anger, fear, hope…and meat allergy ticks

Hoo boy, this week. (If I’m being honest- this year.)

I’m having an increasingly hard time living in the reality of the Actual World and its increasingly terrible headlines.

The Philando Castile verdict. (But nope, not about race.)  The 17 year-old Muslim girl killed in Virginia. (But nope, not a hate crime.) And God, even when I try to take a breather and keep it “lighter?” There’s the Larsen C crack in Antarctica (hope you like your sea levels a good 10 feet higher, coastline!) and a mother-effing tick that causes mother-effing MEAT ALLERGIES.

(So now I’m afraid for everyone and everything and even if I stay home I might get bitten by something that will cause me to get sick from one of the only remaining things I can still eat. Also, not gonna lie, the coastal thing isn’t as immediate of a threat because I live in Chicago- but once we become waterfront? Serious infrastructure concerns. This is not glib. This is a legit 2am anxiety conversation-with-self.)

My kids are finally- finally- on summer break. I’m looking forward to shutting out the world for a little bit and pretending the world’s as big as a blanket tent and mainly not having to drive people places.

This is not what I wanted to write about today.

But writing about what I wanted to write about seems a little too…something. Wrong? Pollyanna-ish? Privileged? (Not that blogging about hate crimes diminishes even one iota of the privilege from which I’m swinging across like vines.)

I hate how much hate there is. I throw up a little bit inside my mouth when the Buffoon-in-Chief opens his mouth. (“Evil losers?” Solar panels? “Pretty good imagination, right? Good? My idea.”) I’ve never been quite this embarrassed before by someone whose diaper situation I’m not cleaning from a couch.

But then, on the last day of school, my daughter’s first grade teacher handed her a book of poetry that she had intended to study with the class. They never got around to that particular volume and, as she told Nora, she had had Nora in mind when she chose it, so she hoped she’d read it, enjoy it, and treasure it over the summer. (Attention Governor Rauner: CPS isn’t failing. It is alive and well and thriving with exceptional teachers and downright wonderful human beings.)

It made my heart feel like a heart should feel.

Nora first grade teacher

And I know. That’s a tiny moment of connection in a big, bad, grosser-than-gross world. Akin to bringing a squirt gun to a knife fight. But this Pablo Neruda quote’s in my brain right now: “You can cut all the flowers but you cannot stop Spring from coming.”

I don’t even know if that’s applicable to anything other than my psyche looking really, really hard for hopeful-esque things. Attempting to acknowledge and celebrate those moments of connection.

And as much as I want my summertime “must do” list to begin and end with items like rosé all day, it’s being amended on the daily to include stuff like “show up,” and “sometimes shut up once there.” (Because bearing witness and allying yourself with causes you believe in is vastly different than inserting your own narrative at all costs.)

Other big ones: Find that thing you care deeply about and do something- donate, tweet, march, email, work- and do it a lot. Seek out goodness. Share that goodness. And, in the absence of pinpointing enough goodness to spread? Create your own g-d goodness and plant that junk like dandelions.

That’s really, really all I’ve got today.

List amendment: Be kind to yourself.

Especially when what you’ve got is really, really all you’ve got for that day.



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