The Capacity of My Heart

Sometimes I’m a wizard. I can care about and talk about more than one current event. What’s fascinating is my talking about one event doesn’t diminish my heartache, upset, interest, or desire and determination to help, somehow, those affected by another event.

You don’t get to choose where I put my attention, to say whether I post a cat video too soon after terrorists kill innocent people. You aren’t in control of my grieving process after a catastrophe that affects me, more than you know or want to admit.

What happened in Paris is devastating. Telling me I can only focus on Paris is not only offensive to my capabilities and sensibilities, it’s short-sighted.

When I talk about the evil of Boko Haram, it is not to diminish the events in Paris. It is not to forget that in Texas “between 100,000 and 240,000 women aged 18 to 49 in Texas have tried to self-induce abortion since the law went into effect, using such methods as herbs, teas and medications obtained in Mexico without prescription” There’s a war on women’s health and our reproductive rights.

There’s a war on religion that makes people fight about who is right, who is to believed, what words mean. (Has this war ever stopped?)

There’s a necessary war on guns and the havoc they help create. There is an absolute requirement for mental health reform. There is a need to erase stigma attached to seeking help.

There is rampant homelessness.

Women are to be subservient to men, yet they are what ISIS needs to continue its terror. Women are needed. We are less suspicious.

Education used to be a way of freeing oneself from small mindedness. Now it’s shrouded in who deserves what, who deserves to be where, who is right, who must be punished for being wrong. The wrong skin color, the wrong religion, the wrong sex, not acknowleding a sex. Students feel unsafe at universities that are being paid to enlighten, to motivate, to teach. Students feel unsafe at universities because of unstable students with access to guns, unstable students who never received acknowledgement of their mental incapacities, let alone treatment. Students feel unsafe because some of the teachings are not geared toward uplifting and supporting minorities.

Students feel unsafe.

The KKK continues to exist.

Twenty-one people were killed in Mali today.

Some state politicans and citizens don’t want refugees. Some politicians want Muslims to register upon entering the United States.

We’ve seen this play out. History repeats itself and we do what? Sit by while it happens, too afraid to risk our own lives? Rail against it and die in the process?

I am afraid. I am afraid for myriad reasons. I am afraid of being in the nation’s capital. I won’t leave, ever. I’m afraid for my children, on the subway, at school (my daughter’s school requested increased polic presence because of its proximity to a college that received threats last week).

I’m afraid for all of us. When I say all of us, I am not parsing race, religion, or ethnicity.

I mean all of us. We all have something to lose if we stay this course.

Progress is impossible without change, and those who cannot change their minds cannot change anything. — George Bernard Shaw

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I’ve been having panic attacks. I’m finding it increasingly difficult to not dwell on the sadness of the world, the devastation, murder, destruction, idiocy. Why do you have to be right? Why can’t we both be right? Believe what you like and know that there is no superiority to your belief just because you hold it. Your God tells you one thing while mine says another. But you know what? I’m certain that neither is saying get rid of that person because there must be only one belief.

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I am here, grieving for places I’ve never been, people I’ve never met. I am here, trying to stay safe, afraid that nothing I do will guarantee my safety. I am here to fight alongside you, for our beliefs may be different, but we are not.

We are the same.

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