Essays

Lately.

The tragedies of this summer have left me sad and listless. While none of them have been personal, they all sure hit home. For starters, there was the largest mass shooting in modern American history in Orlando. Then, there were the multiple police-involved deaths from Baton Rouge to Minnesota to Dallas and then most recently Baltimore. Fire coming from all sides and different directions; continual violence when many of us are asking for the violence to stop, no matter who started it. It seems like every time I log onto Facebook or Instagram, another one has occurred (and it happened to me again as I wrote this).  It’s great that these events are being covered by the media, even though, of course, it would be preferable if senseless tragedies never happened.

Yet, with every article or social media post detailing a tragic event comes a treacherous comment section, exposing many folks’ true beliefs and intentions. Every time I scroll to the comments, I’m reminded why I shouldn’t. People questioning the humanity of others and never getting what’s so dangerous about their statements (“They are all a bunch of thugs and this one was no angel, hello did you see that shoplifting charge on his record??”). Others are bold in their bigotry (@ people who change #BlackLivesMatter to #AllLivesMatter, simultaneously posting #BlueLivesMatter). How hard is it to see that some punishments don’t fit the crime and that trying to justify excessive force is just plain wrong? How hard is it to understand that #BlackLivesMatter really means Black lives matter too? How fair is it for people to believe that their opinion is enough to justify seeing some people as less than human? How dare people say that others are just too sensitive or offend easily when they don’t live this reality? These are the questions going through my head constantly and I’m not sure there are any answers. Some people are just more content with sticking to what ‘they believe in’ instead of educating themselves or attempting to step into the shoes of others.

It all just feels so heavy that even if I tried to lift the weight, it would just redistribute elsewhere. In addition, I haven’t been motivated. This is partially due to all of the feels I’ve felt and also from being on vacation. While the summer is a good time to wallow in laziness, it hasn’t been a particularly good kind of lazy…I keep questioning whether or not I accomplished anything. Now, with the school year approaching, is the time to re-shift my focus and maybe lift some of the weight for good. It’s going to take time and part of it begins with remembering that I can’t change the landscape of the whole world. I just have to start internally and work from there.

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