me too*

this is not a happy, strong, uplifting post.

okay, deep breath.

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on tragedy and worldwide friendships.

I’ve been thinking about tragedy and how horrible things in the world impact us in very different ways. Some people tweet well-wishes, or rant about how our politicians have failed us, or retreat in the arms of the ones nearest to them. Or maybe all three.
Maybe there is no right way to grieve.
 
But, the reactions I tend to have are overwhelming. Sometime it’s so much that I feel absolutely nothing for a week or two. It’s defense. Biological, maybe.

I’ll be the first to admit that I’ve always been anxious. As a child, watching exorbitant amounts of Law and Order probably did not help. I’d worry about burglars and break-in’s, and kidnappings. I’d plan out ways to protect myself and my family if something were to happen–cut open my window screen with my pair of child-safe scissors, run to the neighbor’s house, and call 911 from there.
I had pretty solid escape plans.

But those plans would only work if things in the world were actually understandable, and if the world was the size of a nutshell. Often times, though, tragedy doesn’t make sense.  And you need bigger weapons than child-safe scissors to face a world the size of the actual world.

I used to think of tragedy in isolation.  What would the immediate impacts be on me and those closest to me? My world was four bedrooms and four bathrooms. And it soon expanded to a schoolyard, my grandparents’ homes, and the lives & realities of those I called family & friends.

Over time, my world kept expanding. And it made it increasingly harder to create escape plans to get us all out of emergency situations in tact.

Look, I consider myself extremely lucky to know the people I do and care so deeply about them.  To have friends in nearly every corner of the globe is a truly wonderful thing–a gift that keeps giving.

But, that gift of knowing and loving people in places I can’t control, in places I cannot be to provide a shoulder or a helping hand, has been something that’s given me a considerable amount of anxiety.
 
Because when a tragedy occurs, natural or otherwise, in the UK, in Palestine, in Cuba, in Afghanistan, in Southeast Asia, in other parts of the US, in literally every country & disputed territory across this unforgiving world, faces flash in my mind and the atheist in me is quieted. I whisper something like prayer and hope that there is safety for the people I’ve met and the ones that they love.

I don’t know what the answer is, or if there is even a question to answer in the first place.

But I know that this anxiety and overwhelming worry I have for the well-being of my friends across the world is only getting louder. And even though it would be nice in some moments to shut it off, to turn away, to stop caring and let friendships fade, it wouldn’t make life any easier.

As anxiety-inducing as it is to love people in a world and political system that tells us to think of ourselves only, I would not trade in a heart that has felt a full range of human emotions or a mind that remembers far too many stories of loss & pain, and even more of laughter & triumph in the face of loss.

I don’t know what good these words will do. And maybe they serve only to quell my fears. But, maybe that’s all they need to do.

Maybe I just need a reminder that friendships with people different from you, living in different realities, and dreaming different things, are more valuable than the worries that threaten their existence.

Happy TunesDay: Collection 62

Ya girl’s back.

For real.  At least for another week.

It’s been a legitimate mess trying to get my life organized again, but I finally had a bit of time to whip out a new TunesDay mix.

I have to say, this heat wave in the ‘burgh is making me miss California. At least it’s not humid there. I will be sitting and sweating alone in my room this whole week with only this cool playlist to keep my body temperature regulated.

xoxo.

living.

i am
alive
as
I will let
myself
feel.

i will not
let you
breathe your
way
into my lungs,

nor sweet nothing
your way
through my ears.

these hands
have held
more than
your fingers.

they’ve held together friendships
and families
and pieces of
ikea furniture
i was forced to
build
myself.

i will remember
these days
that blurred
into
dark.

won’t let myself
forget
that being alone
is not
the same
as feeling
alone.

will remember
that having life
is not the same
as living.

i hope that
you will
remember this
too.

ix reasons why.

to the survivors-
i see you,
i love you,
i am you.

 

i.
because walking home,
I grip my keys
as if
they were
extensions of my hands—

as if they could
protect me
like the law
can’t.

ii.
because it doesn’t matter
what you
wear,
or what you
said,
or how you said
it.

iii.
because one in four
is too
damn
many.

iv.
because
our options
should not be
dignity or
despair.

v.
because the burden
of truth
is always
ours to
carry;
especially if
we have no
proof.

vi.
because how do
you explain
good
men
rape
too.

vii.
because even
those with
the sharpest
tongues
need protection.

viii.
because those who want
“clear and convincing”
evidence
have clearly
never been
assaulted.

ix.
because
it is already
so
hard
to say
“yes,
this is my reality.
please,
help.”

x.
because apparently
we need
more reasons
for why
we are
worth
a shot at
justice.

grandmother.

for my yin yin whom I miss dearly and have so many questions for.

i did not know you,
not in typical terms.

you were gone before
i even knew
what to
ask,

before I knew
mortality.

but i know you
in other ways.

in the ways your blood pumps
through my veins,
under skin

in the ways my feet
and hands
are always
cold

in the ways my father
remembers your cooking—
mixing what you knew with what you
hoped for

in the ways you’d watch us splash in the pool from the kitchen window,
live fish awaiting it’s fate in the sink,
wok heated almost as hot as the summer sun

in the ways i remember
your imperfect laughter,
squeezed together so tightly
into an armchair,
broken record player to our left,
dreams of seeing me grow up to your right.

how does a poem make up for
the years
I let myself
forget?

I don’t know if I
believe in
afterlife,
but if it means
the possibility of
knowing you
fully,
then I will believe
anything.