“Everything is copy” – Nora Ephron
When you decide to be a better you, you go to the people who help make you better. Don’t choose what you want to hear. Choose to listen.
“Everything is copy” – Nora Ephron
When you decide to be a better you, you go to the people who help make you better. Don’t choose what you want to hear. Choose to listen.
Anyone with a heart is numb. Not again. Please Lord, not again.
The shooting yesterday in Uvalde, TX is horrific. We all agree.
As a mother, there are no words. I blend within the sadness of those who lost a friend, loved one, family member, or child. It is horrible and an overwhelming wave of grief that has swept over the nation for you. But we will not feel as deeply. Oh, how we want to but it will never happen.
In agreement as a country, we send you love, and hope, and stand in the deep hole you are feeling. We know we cannot fill your loss, but we love you, whom you lost, and hope our love will help little ways down the road when you can look up.
For those triggered by this tragedy, we mourn again with you and love you. Virtually wrap our arms around you. Every time a tragedy like this happens it opens a wound thought to have healed only to realize it isn’t. It rips the band-aid back open and the pain throbs. There are no words.
We send love to the teachers, students, families, and first responders. The list goes on.
For those of you reading apathetically STOP here.
Because shit is about to get real.
Those three words used to be agreeable, acceptable, standard, and thoughtful. That time has passed. And don’t you dare try to make it about you, claiming falsely ‘don’t tell me what to pray for. Acting offended in our rage. Don’t you DARE make it about you!
How can an 18-year-old buy a gun but not a cigarette lighter in some states?
How can some have to be 21 to buy cigarettes?
Why can an 18-year-old buy a gun but not buy a beer until age 21? And, die for their country?
How can we continue to pretend hypocrisy does not exist?
Our complicity in a passing-by commentary like a Hallmark card notation to a life tragedy is pathetic. I’m the first to say I suck at the right words to say at a death. My go-to is comedy, and most of what I say comes out incessantly insensitive. (i.e.: “She’s never looked so good.” While standing at a casket.)
My complicity stops.
Our most complicit citizens are the children.. They know an active shooter is a part of their existence. We are shocked and they look at us confused. And it happens again, again, and again.
No one has the answer. It is on the news. It changes to another topic.
The tears and the sadness I am feeling today as a mother, friend, daughter…I am ANGRY. Why? Because as much as I want these trajectories to change I feel helpless, hence those three words. It is a feeble attempt to show care. It has been twisted in apathetic rhetoric.
What to do then? Is this just a rant filtered along to go down the drain of the next disaster?
Perhaps, but I pray not.
How can I speak? How can you speak? How can we all agree to make the changes needed before another generation becomes numb to being carnival ducks in a twisted game for the rest of their life?
Use your voice where it matters: Vote.
Don’t roll your eyes. DO IT!
Vote those to office who will:
Vote for those who can no longer vote, because they died. They were killed. They have lost their voice, use yours for them. Speak out.
If you are saying you cannot make a difference, you can. Don’t lie to yourself in your despair.
Watch the change when we as Americans vote out those who do not do what we hired them to do. They work for us and not the other way around. 90% of Americans believe in control over gun sales. Are we holding accountable those to make the laws? That is on us.
Our complicity perpetuates the problem. Be mad and remember. Remember when you vote.
Start locally and take it nationally. Don’t forget, because those in Uvalde, Parkland, Columbine, and more will not forget. Our children deserve better. Show them they are worth it.
What is this visceral disdain? Is it the feeling of freedom?
I’ve had this feeling before. It took me awhile to process what it was. That is normal for me; a survivor who has learned to identify emotions.
The arena of the world currently is like a bad dream. I am stuck in a place I don’t want to be. Like a raccoon in a corner I yell, gnash my teeth, and threaten the person who is in my way to retreat back to safety. Seeing the news, the anger, the rage I am not alone.
Why? I am afraid.
I have no control. And in desperation I do everything to try to get it back. I’ll fight and I may look like the one out of control. In reality I am. People out of control are not always the aggressors. They are the victims of the abuse attempting to gain control of the uncontrollable similar to a drowning person who hits the one trying to save them.
It is the cycle of abuse. I want it to be over to get to the calm. But at times I must create the riot to get to it quicker. It is a sense of control over what cannot be controlled; my abuser.
I am afraid. I am an American and I am afraid.
Curbing histrionics I fear too many do not know the future. The rules seem to be broken.
I was taught you do something wrong you get punished. You break the law you are punished. You follow the rules. They are a guideline to normalcy, a barometer you can count on. A line to follow. Actions equal consequences. Fair is fair and justice wins.
As a survivor I already know this reality does not always exist. But it does not mean it should not be the end goal. The feeling of freedom is not a personal identity. It is the collective bargaining of accepting different beliefs, theories, and perspectives. Freedom is the ability to disagree.
And freedom is not free. Its truth has a cost.
Those who wait for justice for Trump’s wrongdoings are frustrated. Those who want to move on and continue to support him want to forget or be in denial of his actions. This is America currently and we are divided yet so desperately want to be united. Ukraine helped this. As tragic as an attack it was it has united our support for another country who wants to invade another.
Loss of life, injustice, and anarchy; we see it in the war on Ukraine.
We are apathetic to our own mirror of reality.
Let’s talk about it. I am open to opinion. I am not open to mean people.
Injustice: Was Trump trying to overturn a fair election?
The simple answer is yes. He lost. Not everyone gets a trophy and one candidate has to lose. It is the mainstay of our political system. Our voice is our vote and he was voted out. I can shout from the rooftop I won the lottery but if I didn’t win it is a lie. Trump lied. He was wrong. His own vice president said the same. Mike Pence did his duty, accepted the outcome, followed procedure, and finished well by going to the inauguration of Joseph Biden and exited his post escorted by the newly elected Kamala Harris. Our processes ignite our freedom and accepting loss is a part of the process.
Anarchy: Was the election stolen?
The simple answer is no. Trump lost. Never fun but as we all know in life it happens. If any of you have children you have seen a temper tantrum. Trump’s tantrum created an event which we are still traumatized from. No, there was no fraud. There were enough votes for Trump to lose. Empirical evidence has validated it. It is the same system electing republicans and democrats for decades. It works in our democratic system. To not accept it is to allow anarchy where the person who was not elected stays in power. He lost. He did not accept it. He wants to lie enough times to create truth from a lie. This lie ignites anarchy. You can wrap a turd with a pretty bow but it is still a turd. Our court system works to justify the statement. Trump lost the election and it was not stolen.
Loss of Life: Is our cognitive dissonance killing our country?
Yes. To date the United States has lost over one million of our citizens to COVID. Persons are entitled to have their opinions. But as a whole our personal rights are at times limited for the good of the whole. Are we so lost in personal narcissism to not follow simple guidelines we may not like to protect others who cannot be protected otherwise? I’d like to believe so. When a person in authority is narcissistic they cannot lead for the betterment of others. The person in authority will engage and ignite those who desire to not follow the rules.
Rules exist for a reason. To maintain order, to engage in the common good, to hold accountable those who don’t follow the rules.
Scenario: I drive 60 MPH in front of your child’s school. I didn’t hit anyone, what’s the problem? It’s my right to drive my car as fast as I want. I’m a good driver, in fact, I drive better than anyone has driven in the history of America, maybe the world. Don’t tell me what to do with my life or my car.
Do I need to break this ridiculous statement down?
Had the leadership in this country been giving, thoughtful, and encouraging to all would the one million lives lost be an existing number? As uncle Ben said to Peter Parker, with great power comes great responsibility. He was irresponsible to the whole, our country, our lives.
It is because I care about others. I do not see this in the actions of Mr. Trump. He is an actor, not a good one, and he does not care about the whole country. His ego feeds on the lies and actions of those who follow his discord. He is not a good businessman. He has lost more companies and not been ethical in his practices.
I have the privilege to live where I hear the waft of reverie every morning near our local Navy base. I am proud of my country. Collectively we are strong. Divided we fall. I wish to see a flag fly without a disdainful comment following it. I salute those who protect it and I spit on those trying to destroy it. I am a citizen and American with a voice. I encourage you to use yours. I am not a liberal. I am an American citizen and I’ve had enough of the abuse of Mr. Trump.
And respectfully, if you still do not agree with a single word I said, why? I will ask you, do you want to be right or do you want to have relationship? Don’t let the need to be right restrict you from the courage to admit you may have been wrong. We all make mistakes, you don’t always get a trophy, and mutual ground builds strength instead of fighting or name calling. I learned this in kindergarten, lets evolve to first grade.
Forty years, well, pretty close. As I drive to my bestie’s house to plan a high school reunion I ponder the number. Living on the Peninsula is quiet and slower than the faster paced Seattle skyline. And it is home. Growing up in Seattle was wild and crazy and as a proud OG PNW I enjoy going.
Alas it is not the same. After years in Los Angeles I enjoy the quiet. As I get off the ferry to downtown I have a bit of time so decided to cruise along the strip of my teenage years. Good old Lake City Way is an offshoot of I-5 going north just past the University of Washington district (U District for the locals). It’s been a hot minute since I’ve done it so wondered what had changed.
Let’s just say I now feel old.
Coming down the hill is a bit unfamiliar. I used to live over by Nathan Hale in my early 20’s yet I do not recognize where to turn. That’s ok as I’ve lived a lot of places and at times they blur.
What I do remember is being a kid and going to the butcher with mom to get our fresh carnivore style meats and stopping next store to Gilly’s to grab ginormous sub sandwiches to take home. They were to die for and I’m drooling a little just thinking about it. I look right and it is gone. It’s been gone awhile according to the Google (yes, I used ‘the’ on purpose) per a #tbt post from Vanishing Seattle. It’s been gone a long time. Sorry subway or Jimmy John’s, you are not the same. Gilly’s I mourn thee.
I look for the bomb Italian restaurant on the right as well. Nope, not there anymore and that is too bad as the aging wine bottles hanging in every nook and cranny of the place gave it flair.
Hmm, what about Royal Fork or the Putt Putt golf which proudly displayed my name for many birthday parties? No, I think they used to be there where that tall apartment complex is now. I’m hearing my grandfather’s voice of nostalgia and I am becoming him in the wash of memories.
The only good thing about this changing is my evil dentist office is no longer there. Karma does work.
As I drive further north the road flattens out for the rest of the journey and I think of the Lake City Way parades we used to partake in in scouts and marching band. I wonder if they still do them? Back to the Google. Why yes they do! Good for them as the Lake City parade will be a future memory to pay it forward.
Starbucks, of course there are Starbucks everywhere. And classic Dick’s Drive In remains. We spent many hours of lunch and evenings between cruising the strip hanging out there. It was just down the street from Shorecrest High School, our alma matter.
But across the street, gone, is the Nordstrom shoe store where my mom brought me every fall to get a new pair of shoes and a Nordy balloon. Back to the Google. It left a long time ago and the once humble shoe store is now an iconic symbol. But thanks for the memories John Nordstrom. As an adult your story inspires me.
Hitting 125th I look right and the theatre is gone, but to the left the dated shopping plaza remains. Different stores of course but it makes me feel better they held on. I wonder if, sure enough, it is still there. Deja Vu is still there. Is this a testament of depravity that society will always need strippers? Perhaps, but I’m on a nostalgia tour, not an empirical dissertation of sin. But a part of me could not help but applaud their fortitude.
If Deja Vu could make it then maybe the Elks club is still there where I learned to swim and had some wicked Easter egg hunts. Nope, it is now an apartment complex. Bummer! Where did the Elks go Google? Aha, it moved to Shoreline from the dilapidating building of my youth. That makes sense. I am forced to take care of my aging body but a building can be demoed. Happy to hear people are still enjoying the camaraderie.
One more check before I come down the hill to Lake Forest Park. Mr. Steak, are you still there? My high school job where I honed my customer service skills in high school. The building looks familiar but it is gone too. That one I expected. I still have dreams of being late for work because I had homework or play rehearsal. Should I even ask the Google about it? Why not? Interesting find to see I am not the only one. The blog of History’s dumpster explains their demise of the ground steak chain and replace is a Facebook group for those who had worked at Mr. Steak. How fun, I joined (pending approval) and look forward to reminiscing.
Sighing heavily I do not regret my recent cruise down Lake City Way, Seattle. Like George Lucas I could make a film about it and we could all reminisce together but for not we will leave it here. Childhood was not always stellar but Lake City Way was a good memory and I will hold onto it, cherish it, and respect it. Like myself it has changed, grown, and evolved. Embracing this in a mature way is beneficial.
Now I am heading towards Lake Forest Park. That is an entirely different story.
The Ones Who Shaped Me
Butterflies, ice cream, cards, fitted sheets and the smell of hand soap and clams. These are the instances of firsts when reflecting on the ones that brought character and pain into my life. The women who decided, or by some sort of divine intervention, they were going to tell me who I should be.
For the sweet birth of ice cream my mother. The one who loves me unconditionally and imperfectly. Her love of creamy sensations has led to many discussions of life. It has been hope as well as been a been a band-aid for pain. No life happenstance has ever not been solved without peanut butter chocolate or peppermint twist. As we ebbed and flowed in our development to my adulthood, she taught me work ethic. She typed out my first attempt at publishing at age 7 as I watched her correct the Sunday times with red ink. Her career came first by necessity. While others were baking bread, she was leading a board meeting. She taught me all things are possible with hard work and determination for any woman who is brave enough.
Ice cream means love and so does playing cards. Especially ones from casinos with the corners cut off. This is grandma Bill. Yes, Bill to her friends and Helen on her birth certificate. A woman of weak lungs not meant to last past 6 years old but gifted with incredible insight. She taught me how to think outside of the box while having a wicked shuffle. As her body was kept alive by oxygen, she invigorated me to pursue my dreams over solitaire at a modest kitchen table. Though only in my life for 16 years she bestowed enough wisdom to last a lifetime. She taught me strength is not in the physical but in attitude.
No one likes to fold a fitted sheet, and those that do are suspect. Like the one who taught me to hate, to doubt and to cry. The one who went from neighbor to stepmother. Who hid food when I came to visit and who brought tears to my eyes when she negatively screamed how much I looked like my mother? Her insecurities fostered mine and caused me to doubt. She did not disappoint when my father passed and made life a living hell. She taught me patience through grief and forgiveness. She taught me that not everyone is happy, but I can choose who is in my life and how to treat people better through her negative example.
Through the eclecticism of personalities was the love and direction of my grandma Peg. Strained relationships were her mantra, but with me it was teaching and caring. As a child I learned to wash my hands and organize anything. She was the poster child for OCD before it was defined. Throughout years we spent many hours combing the various beaches of the Pacific Northwest searching for clams in the early tides while looking for stones to paint faces on. Her fastidious nature taught me the finer things in life and self-control through creativity.
Blue butterflies equal Duchess. The name was an inside joke and as I remember I hear her unique infectious laugh. She chose to be my foster mother in a time of life at 16 when I was lost. She taught me to laugh, to see family as something else that had been modeled and what being a nurturing mother was. She built me back up and filled in the gaps the others somehow missed. She taught me that not all mothers in your life have the same blood flowing as you. That being a mom is about being present and being accepting. She taught me how to be a better mother to my children by accepting them for who they are, not molding them into what I want.
I could not and would not be who I am without these complicated women. The word appreciative was not always the descriptor. But seasons have defined it. The depression of what ifs have in the past overwhelmed me, but the energy is pointless. It is unimaginable to picture life without them. I think of them when I am at my best. And through my worst I gain strength, as they combined self-fortitude with humanism. I smile when I see a child giggle over ice cream and ponder the other side of an opinion when I hear the shuffling of cards. I’ve taught others to fold a fitted sheet and they are thankful, while remembering that no matter what you can learn something from every experience. While I am complimented for my organizational skills, the smell of hand soap lingers, and I hear distant waves crashing on the shore as seagulls squawk and feel a sense of peace. And when I see a blue butterfly, I hear an infectious laugh that lifts my spirits no matter what life has thrown in front of me. I am shaped by the women who came before me and their spirit lives on as I shape those who come after. In the twist of time I ponder the descriptors to be assigned to me and hope the lessons of imperfect love live on.
Did I mention WordPress is a love/hate relationship for me? This is a prime example.
I cannot access my old site. I tried to tell them this is my shoe…
I’d like to this I’m smart, but with these things not so much – at least through WordPress.
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