I have been having all the feelings lately. All the feelings, all the time.
Terrorism works on me. Let's start there. My eyes get wide and well up with tears shortly before I start rocking and attempting to soothe myself every time CNN anchors fill up that screen and let me know that in the latest "breaking news," some number of innocent people died.
Forty-nine people in Orlando.
Forty-five in Istanbul.
One unarmed black man.
Another nonthreatening black man.
Five armed police officers.
Seventy-four unsuspecting adults and ten too-young-to-die children in Nice.
Two hundred and sixty-five people in Turkey.
Three more police officers.
The news is relentless.
(And that's just what they take the time to report on national news, waking up and listening to local news in Chicago quickly reminds you of that.)
The terror I feel, is relentless.
(Not entirely unlike CNN's "breaking news" text graphic on the screen that NEVER goes away, no matter if we are three minutes or three weeks into a news story...)
Several weeks ago, a day before the wifey and I were supposed to take the little bambinas on a plane, the Istanbul airport was bombed. I stood in the kitchen and cried. How can we take our children to an airport? On a plane? What are we doing?
The wifey asked me if I was willing to live my life in fear. She asked, what was I going to do, just stay home the rest of my life? Keep the girls contained to our .16 acre square lot?
I answered yes. Obviously that was EXACTLY what I intended to do.
(She had to have seen that answer coming, yes?)
We went. While we were there, two black men unjustly died at the hands of police. I cried some more. I sat in the pain that is cause by the systemic and structural racism in our country. I questioned my fear of foreign terrorism when I was reminded of the fact that my friends, colleagues, students, and neighbors of color don't have to go to the airport or be in large crowds to have to feel unsafe and vulnerable. American citizens are killing each other because we have been raised to be fearful. To hate.
We went. We came home. We are safe.
But I'm scared. I have been privileged to live 30 years of my life without a general sense of fear. Yes, I've had night terrors since I was four, but that somehow now pales in comparison to these fears. At seventeen I took my first plane ride less than one month after 9/11, and even then I was not scared. It all felt so far away. It doesn't anymore.
I worry for my daughters, I worry for my wife, my family, my friends, my neighbors, and myself. I worry for everyone. I worry for the little babies waking up on the other side of the world whose mom fears for their life every second, even when they are in her own home. I worry about the little babies here, in America. I worry about adult men and women, here, in America.
It feels silly to say, to admit it.
The worst part? This is the fear little ol' insignificant and privileged me feels. My heart breaks. My head hurts. It's painful to think what that means for others. But I have to. It is truly and literally the very least I can do. The absolute, bottom of the barrel, very least I can do. Hear it, try understand it, try know it, and sit in it.
This all connects to why at 12:24pm yesterday, with two babies excessively hungry, overdue for lunch, and about to lose their shit in a furniture store, I had a happy, full-of-love (but ridiculously insignificant) moment that gave me back a little bit of faith in the world, but it's for another day, I'm realizing as I write this. Sign me up for a part two.