I haven’t turned on the television since yesterday morning.
I know that may seem cowardly, but I can’t watch one more minute of newsmen and women dissecting every detail and playing the same footage over and over. And the reason I can’t watch anymore is not so much because I don’t want to see it and learn more about what happened. It’s that the more they play horrific footage and have witnesses come in or call in and explain every moment in detail, I am afraid that my mind will become even more desensitized than it already is.
The more I hear, the more it all sounds the same. It’s excruciating horror. Yet, it’s not an unexpected or surprising horror.
That is not cold or callous or unfeeling: that is a fact.
This is our new norm. Except that it’s not really new, is it? The number is new. The number of people dead is new. Is that what we’re going for now? Broken records?
I don’t want to talk about gun control. (Not here, anyway.) I don’t want to talk about the politics of gun control. I don’t want to hear about evil people doing evil things. And, frankly, as lovely a sentiment as “thoughts and prayers” is, it may as well be an auto:reply on your out of office email at this point. It’s become a blanket statement that we readily have available in pre-created memes.
Because this is our new norm.
We live in the land of instant gratification and instant access. Even our condolences are fucking pre-fabricated and lazy.
I’ve been sitting here the last 24-hours trying to focus on the good, the helpers. I’ve sat here and thought hard about what action I can take – about what I can do from home, within my own family. I can’t control the world. I can control the dynamic our family is built on and help our kids learn the strength, kindness and bravery they will need to maneuver through this new world.
I can also feel anger and loathing toward the man who did this – while not allowing it to change me or how I feel about people, in general. Because, I am learning, that is a choice that I need to make in every aspect of my life: not to let the hardness of others bruise the soft spots of my own skin.
Just a week ago, after experiencing anger at the actions of others – and anger at my lack of response to their actions, I reminded myself who I am: I am not that person. I will not let the terrible actions of others change the softness or sensitivity of my being. I tell our daughters on a nearly weekly basis: be better, not bitter. And, this last week in particular, I had to tell it to myself over and over.
So, it is our intent to be soft and kind and good, while being smart and strong and brave. We will not view sensitivity as a weakness, just as we won’t view hatred as incurable. Terrible things will happen because of terrible people. I will not allow that poison to spread like a disease in my own home and not only affect how my children see the world, but also affect how inclined they are to change it for the better.
You can sit and discuss how the world is going haywire and our country is in shambles. But you can also figure out ways to fix it while you’re here – even if it’s by taking small steps in your own home.
Because though “thoughts and prayers” are a lovely sentiment, I’m pretty sure whomever we are praying to would like to see a little more action on our end as well.