Sunday Grace No.1

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1. Getting my favorite seats all week at the various coffee shops and library areas I go to write.

2. Four days of alone time with Elise while my parents take a mini-vacation.

3. Not actually leaving the house for most of that time.

4. Finishing another one month challenge on 750words.com after signing up again - I'm on a 42 day writing streak now!

5. Feeling again whatever it was that I lost for a year that made me stop taking pictures. I have to keep reminding myself that there are beautiful things in the world, and this is one of the ways I am trying. 

No News is Good News

When I woke up this morning I did the thing that I have normally been doing for the last year or so. I get up, take my pills, make my first cup of coffee, and then go sit down in front of the TV and turn on the news. 

It isn't actually the news I'm watching, it's MSNBC political commentary. I go from Morning Joe to Stephanie Ruhle, to Hallie Jackson, to Velshi and Ruhle... sometimes I spend hours in front of the TV watching them talk about the same things over and over again.

Last week, there was coverage of the camps for kids nonstop. Children being separated from their parents at the border, children being traumatized, children being lost in the system, their parents deported back to the country they fled from while they languished either in a child prison or an unfamiliar foster home thousands of miles away.

It's all just too much.

This morning all the news was about the shooting at The Capital newspaper office in Annapolis, Maryland. 

I caught the end of Morning Joe just as they were listing off the five people who died and talking a bit about each of their lives, and I found myself suddenly crying. 

Not weeping, like I tend to do a lot, but full out crying over this news in a way that I never have before.

I don't recall crying over a school shooting since Sandy Hook. I don't cry over the refugees, I don't cry over the Palestinians, I don't cry over the starving masses in Africa, but something about this got me.

Maybe it was because it was early in the morning and I haven't had my coffee yet, but probably not.

There's something about a newsroom being shot up that makes me feel more afraid of the world today than the average mass shooting does.

The truth is more brutal today: that we are not safe, anywhere we go, and no matter what we do to protect ourselves.

I know now, with a deep certainty, that at any moment a person could come walking into the coffee shop where I sit writing and start shooting up the place.

I know that when I go to a movie theatre, or the library, or even into a school, I could be shot to death at any time. It's not something that seems even the slightest bit unlikely anymore, and that's the thing that scares me the most about it - how normal it is now, that this happens so frequently.

Meanwhile, Trump is tweeting that the mainstream media (anything other than Fox News) is "fake news" and ruining our country. 

It's almost as if he's totally okay with what happened at The Capital yesterday because it wasn't a paper or organization that supported his agenda of lies and manipulation. He offers no thoughts and prayers to these people as if thoughts and prayers are something that make a difference, ever.

I don't want to watch this news anymore, but what is the alternative?

Putting my head down in the sand, staying tight inside my oblivious bubble, and trying to forget that the world isn't going to shit?

There has to be some sort of balance between staying informed and staying sane, staying safe in my own mental space. 

It does me no good to wake up in the morning only to cry at the terrible news in the world, but it does me no good to ignore it, either. 

If I ignore it, aren't I also becoming part of the problem in this world?

Tomorrow I will try something new. 

I'll get up, take my pills, make my coffee, and not turn on the news. 

I'll come to my laptop and start writing, and not let anything make me cry before breakfast. 

I'll try to remember that there are things in the world that are good, that are beautiful, that just get skipped over the morning news shows, because there is no shock and awe over beautiful things anymore unless I write them for myself. 

"Perfectly Human" by Miles Walser

So you were born backwards.
Your heart covers 80% of your skin.
It is huge—and it is fragile.
You don’t know how to chain-link fence your feelings.
You will find your trust abandoned and bruised on the side of the road—
Do not leave it there—
Dust it off and put it right back under your shirt.

If you don’t learn to stop apologizing for yourself,
you will mirage out of existence.
See, someday, that 80% is gonna get you hurt.
You will tell a woman over and over that you love her,
and she will say nothing.
You will sob in public,
and people will just stare.

They will want to carve their names into you
and watch as the pieces fall off—
let them try.
Your heart is a geyser and for that you will always feel strange.
Most people shut down when they get over saturated with feeling;
most people harden into hate
–into indifference–
because the biggest risk we ever take is to love without fear.

You are not afraid.
You are a cathedral waiting to be filled with hymns;
you are an infinite playground;
you are sky-bound and sprinting,
so cover your heart in goose-bump armor.
It will only beat stronger,
beat louder.

Keep hoping.
Stand up on subways and shout compliments to strangers,
dance, poorly, in public if it makes you feel better.
Love until it hurts.
Then love more—you know how.

There will be days when you’ll wish you were numb;
when you’ll want to rip your heart off your body
and find something easier to take its place.
Collect those days like bricks
and marvel at the buildings you will make.
Stand on top, chest open, head up—
Nobody will ever see the world like you do.

Never try to be better than the best version of you.
You are not perfect.
You are perfectly human.

- Miles Walser