The title of this post is actually a quote from my new friend and auther, Tom McCaffrey on his website The Wise Novelist. Tom wrote The Claire Trilogy and I cannot recommend it enough. The problem I have with this philosophy, which is great, is that I hate going to the gym. Also be prepared for this post to get dark.
I just learned that my LOA doesn't end next week, I have a few more weeks to get my shit together, which is not long enough because I never get my shit together. My to do list (I don't make lists) is more like a word map of anxieties than a manageable list of tasks that should be easy to accomplish. I slept until after noon today with only brief moments of consciousness in order to provide basic needs to my dog Boo. And I took my morning meds.
Now for what is paralyzing me for real today:
As I mentioned previously, I have great difficulty compartmentalizing but this most recent school shooting in Texas has me horrified. As I live in Florida, the response of our senators is disgusting. From the live updates on CNN:
In separate interviews with CNN, Florida GOP Sens. Marco Rubio and Rick Scott defended the need for AR-15s and semi-automatic weapons, dismissing calls for expanded background checks. Rubio instead said he would try to force a vote today on a measure to bolster school safety in other ways.
In a back-and-forth with CNN, Rubio contended that expanded background checks would not solve the problem and said even if Washington banned AR-15s, a killer would find a different weapon.
“Listen, at the end of day, you're arguing about what they're using to commit this, and the truth of matter is these people are going to commit these horrifying crimes whether they have to use another weapon to do it; they're going to figure out a way to do it,” Rubio said.
What the fuck else would I expect from the "government representatives" of this fucking state? Then on top of that, I get this from my daughter's school superintendent.
Back in the day I was trained in elementary school for attacks from above (hide under your desk when the air siren screams) and fire drills. In high school we had bomb threat training. Now, our children are trained how to barricade themselves from a shooter and teachers in many districts are encouraged to carry guns. How is this progress? With over 200 mass shootings in 2022 as of today, and school shootings on the rise dramatically since Columbine, what the fuck are we doing to protect our CHILDREN from this? The GOP response: More guns because only "crazy maniacs" will use those guns for harm, and if they can't get the big guns, they'll get little ones and it will happen anyway. "Thoughts and prayers" help as much as snake oil does for cancer. In other words, not at all.
Where is the compassion for human life and the drive to protect it? Why is everything reactive instead of proactive? What are we doing about the toxic masculinity that teaches gun violence is a cathartic answer to the stress of living in this country? How the fuck do I protect my children from this culture?
I'm counting the minutes until V is released from school today knowing she will go to my parents and be embraced with love by my moms. And I do not know what to do. Last night V and I were frustrated with each other, today I just want to wrap my arms around her and keep her there. Forever.
There is a very strong "Us vs. Them" attitude here in Florida. When I first moved down here, my father encouraged me to date. I had broken up with someone I truly loved before the move, and was significantly depressed. So I set up a POF account (don't do that, just don't) and was very honest in my profile about who I am and what matters to me. Including that I'm a progressive liberal and conservation/animal rights/human rights advocate. I wish I had kept the screenshot of one of my first responses... I was told, in a three paragraph screed how I had moved to the wrong state and should be in California with all the other "fruits and nuts" and wait for the state to fall off the continent with the next big earthquake because if I didn't like guns and trucks and confederate pride I didn't belong here.
On local Facebook pages I see posts aplenty about how "Northerners" moving here for less taxes and better weather (I'd argue the weather is not a draw for me) are "ruining" the state. And to be truthful, I do believe the great influx of people moving here IS ruining the state, but for ecological, infrastructure, and educational reasons. Development here doesn't seem to be controlled AT ALL, and the only reason my development is building a new school is because a mother who moved here on the initial promise of plenty of schools drug up the initial building contract promising a school in our midst. That's it! They got called out on their own legal contract and acquiesced to local pressure.
Not to mention that "Florida Wo/Man" is a REAL THING. The people here are damn good at making bad decisions. Attempting to rob a fast food joint with an ALLIGATOR is a thing that happened here! Even in my "good development" in the "best county" in Florida, there's a rash of bicycle thefts that result in the bikes being thrown into retention ponds. And someone was shooting people with a bb gun out of a car. They shot an elder lady walking a dog.
I live between Jacksonville and St. Augustine (I believe both were locations of crimes in Criminal Minds). My father is a retired police Sargent from a large city near NYC in NJ. He has stated more than once that the murder close rate in Jacksonville is abhorrently low. He has mused that retired law enforcement officers should set up an independent task force to actually solve those cold cases. I wish he would set that up, he would find equally amazing retirees and definitely make a difference. My father also believes in on the street patrol (hoof it, don't drive it) with officers recruited from the neighborhoods, to increase the trust between civilians and LEOs. When my father was a patrolman in the 70's in a very diverse city, he had friends EVERYWHERE. As a "punishment" one time he was sent to sit in a vehicle near a potential "hot spot" all shift, every shift. It was near where we lived. Every shift he received free full meals from the people he knew there. When asked how it was going, he replied "great!" And his commanding officer realized my father could make the best of any situation.
I don't know how to make the best out of the current social climate. I'm not interested in hearing that there are good parts on both sides of the gun control debate. There aren't. Like most parents, I want my children to grow up and have the lives they want. That used to be a relatively easy dream. Of course there has always been violence and accidents happen, but this... This is chaos.
This fear washes over me and I cannot shake it. I'll try to read. I'll play with Boo, I'll hold V until she tells me "Mama, let go!" and my dreams will be filled with screams and blood and helplessness.
And tomorrow I'll tell V how much I love her as she goes off to school and hope that today is not the day someone enters her school with a high powered gun, and hope if it happens, she's smart and quick enough to survive. Parenthood in 2022 should not be like this!
Change does come from within, and the individuals and families that have had enough of this will eventually prevail (Hope springs eternal...) but will it be soon enough? I do not know.
It's been a while since I posted, but today is the Ides of March, and yesterday was the Walk Out protest, and I have a lot on my mind while my Wildflower Child is in school...
You ever have a moment when a random (yet very important) memory flashes and you have an epiphany that is so profound you actually don't possess the language to express it?
I am having that moment and I am going to my very best to explain...
I was "that kid." I was that kid in kindergarten when the only kids who spoke to me were a girl that only spoke Spanish (and I didn't) and a boy who ate paste, with pride. I was also hearing impaired at the time, so it was very hard to connect in general.
I was "that kid" in elementary school. My social anxiety was blooming in full force, I had migraine, and early enough I had a truly shit home life that spilled over into every other facet of my being.
I was "that kid" in junior high. The girl with the hand-me-down clothing and self done haircuts and color and obsessive interest in books and entertainment that no one else gave a shit about.
I was "that kid" in high school who read Henry Rollins with the punks during lunch, out loud, and wore whatever the fuck I wanted and got straight A's and took two languages and all the arts I could and made REALLY BAD hairstyle choices. Though I did end up having a handful of close friends at both my high schools, it was hard work.
I was quiet, nerdy, unfashionable, book smart, anxious, depressed, self-harming, damaged. I also took care of my two younger siblings FROM THE BEGINNING (elementary school), had jobs when I could, took part in some very specific after school activities, and desperately did everything I could "right."
I'm not even going to get into college because that's an essay all it's own.
The point is, I was THAT KID. Now here comes the revelation...
In 8th? grade (possibly 7th, a lot of my memory is no longer linear due to trauma), my math teacher, MATH teacher, noticed I was doing fine academically, but physically and emotionally I was withering. I weighed 92lbs at the time. I was my full height. I was not anorexic, I was dying of stress.
He gave me a book.
The book was "Ender's Game" by Orson Scott Card. Now Card has turned out to be a huge piece of shit as a person, but that book became incredibly important to me and if you don't know the story here's an example of how this book, given out of concern to a troubled kid, could have resulted in something VERY DIFFERENT than me feeling like I had an ally who actually cared if I continued to breathe.
Ender is six-years-old in the beginning of the book, (this is very much a sci-fi book, and way better than the movie). He's being bullied at school because he's a third child (population control) and he's constantly monitored by the government because all children are, humans are at war and the government is recruiting at a young age. Anyway, ENDER KILLS HIS BULLY IN THE BEGINNING OF THE BOOK! He hits him in the face and drives his nose into his skull. Ender never learns the boy actually died, but he killed him, at six. First grade.
I was being bullied. I was being abused. I was isolated. I was weird. I was scared all the time. I was given this book by a concerned teacher who knew I loved science fiction. Ender commits genocide in the climax of the novel. He is a murderer. A mass murderer.
Now, going with the victim blaming bullshit I've previously mentioned, it would be incredibly easy to assume I would have gone on a shooting spree (granted I'm female, so statistically less likely, but still). ALL THE FACTORS that people are blaming this type of mass violence on, were there. I had everything except, I'm not a sociopath. I'm not a murderer. Nothing any of those people hurting me, or that book that actually made murder a viable option, convinced me to commit violence against my peers.
So... Can we agree the reverse is true as well? If someone is a sociopath, a person amenable to the idea of killing, is a hand out or an invitation to lunch going to stop them? Is being nice going to stop the person who doesn't see you as a person from hurting you? And if the damn adults don't respond when kids say they're worried, then absolutely NOTHING will work.
I'm Kirsten. Some things you could label me with; tattooed, geek, mama, animal lover, weirdo, nerd, writer, movie and TV addict, lazy, ambitious, insomniac, feminist, LGBTQ+.