stuck.

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I have been stuck on this awful and violent week.

I feel as though I owe some sort of apology to my co-workers, who over the past couple of days have had to walk on egg shells around my fragile and angry state. I am not even close to the ones who were affected even more personally by the things that have happened.

It is still something I, and many of you, have felt tremendously this week. I am an overly-sensitive dude and have always been.

Unfortunately, I cannot hide behind the legs of my mother anymore. Instead we are pushed into little rooms full of videos of men being killed and we are supposed to handle it like adults.

I was stuck on the video of the son pulling his shirt over his face to wipe his tears and prayers to God, denying her partner getting shot. Those moans are so haunting that I wonder if it’s even possible to get them out of my head anymore.

Really, all I’ve wanted to do since Tuesday is bury my head in the cool sand, like we used to do with watermelons when we were kids at the creek. Quiet. Mumbled. Cold and tranquil. We aren’t ever promised that space to heal ourselves, though.

Sometimes we have to work through it all. Sometimes that’s having to move through anger non-violently, and non aggressively with a super person’s amount of compassion and grace.

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With so much violence and grief, the smallest amount of love and goodness feels like cold water after recess.

That small relief fills your belly with some peace.

This world and its growing pains. We are all here for it, right now. It is the most messy and heartbreaking thing we will see in our lives, but in all of these things we learn and our hearts grow and mend.

My eyes have been watery on and off the past week. Yours too, probably. Hopefully.

Hopefully we have all felt broken, and put back together with a few pieces missing. Pieces of us that were hanging on to hate and injustice and complacency. And gaining something new, maybe.

Maybe our love is stronger now.
Maybe we our stronger now.

Regardless, we are stuck with carrying each other’s pain, now.

So let’s do that. And let’s be wounded healers and cook food together,
or mow someone’s grass, or just have a little grace on someone who’s having a hard day.

We need you here with us, okay?

Okay.

being angry.

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I suppose there are stages to grief.

At least that’s what everyone tells me.

You’re sad and don’t understand, then you’re angry, then you forgive, then you move on.

There is some truth in that, no doubt. I guess mine are less stages, than a ‘day in, day out’ account of what I choose to live in. I’d like to say I am a peaceful sea, with the occasional storm. But right now, I have these churning waters deep down in my belly. I’m angry for the choices that were taken away from me.

I realize my privilege in all of this. It could be a lot worse. But when I think about those people, I feel bad too. It’s safe to say that I carry a lot. For myself, and for others. My own grief is this new thing I’ve had to deal with. Generally, I am a peaceful dude who wants to give so much to others.

I remember writing a while back, that I felt strong. And I suppose I still do, but it looks different today. I think anger is important. If it wasn’t for anger, nothing would change. People used to get angry that they were cold all the time, so they figured out how to make fire.

I think there’s a lot in that.

I’m angry that I have to voice my opinion on matters I never wanted to — that people will eat me up whenever they want, because that’s what people do. Prey on the weak. Fire off wild assumptions based on an observation.

I’m angry that I have to have something to say. Being quiet was, and still is my weapon of choice.

I make loud people uncomfortable by being quiet, and vice versa.

But that will shift, as it all will.

What I always try to believe, is that feeling what you’re feeling is important. So, whatever, I just need to be angry sometimes. My ‘fixer’ personality will fail every time if I try to work against my anger by saying it’s not real. That I just need to cheer up.

Sometimes, words can fix it, other days, it’s a random interaction.

gas-pump

I went to get gas last night, because for one, I needed some fresh air. And also, my gas light was on, as it is most days. (Kidding, sort of.)

In Oregon, you aren’t allowed to pump your own gas. I don’t know why. Maybe jobs? Sure, let’s say jobs.

Anyways, it’s kind of nice. Though it makes me feel so lazy.
There is an older man who pumps my gas from time to time. As I rolled down my window, I passed him my card and we went along as we usually do. Then, he paces a few times and says, “Well, you’re not gonna see me for the next five days!” I respond, “Oh yeah? Why’s that?”

“Goin’ on vacation. That’s right. Been two years. Me and my girl are headin’ up to Spokane to visit some friends, then we’re gonna go down to Astoria and stay with another friend. Yeah, it’s been a while, I’m real excited..”

And I loved this interaction. Because normally we don’t talk, and I just know he wanted me to share in his excitement, even if I didn’t directly benefit from it. He is what I call “salt of the earth” — a refreshing dose of reality in the midst of my roommates getting angry because I said something bad about Pabst Blue Ribbon.

I was so genuinely happy for him. I can imagine saving up for two years, this will be a much needed vacation for him. It was like seeing a kid get excited about Christmas.

I suppose I hold fast to those experiences, when the world slows down and I am allowed an honest to goodness conversation where I am able to look someone in the eye and listen. Usually, I’m on defense because it’s what I have to do sometimes.

But the best times, when I feel most comfortable, are when I have to say nothing at all and the other person is okay with me. I realize that’s a lot to ask these days, but I crave it. I crave to be known again with the people I live my life with. Some have faded and abandoned, and other things take its place. I am angry at that sometimes, but I move with it, because like everything else, I have to.

Being angry is about reason and circumstance. Its main purpose is for you to react, like some chemical. But how you react is important. A lot of bad stuff happens, but also, a lot of important stuff happens.

I suppose I’m somewhere in between. Feeling it out. Wondering where it will all end up.

As for now, I will take a walk and stretch my legs.

I will think about the gas station man, and his trip to Spokane with his girl,

I will notice myself as I breathe and move.

because deep down I know,

something bigger is on its way.