Guns

Ummmmm. So…… This is the entire reason I am writing my blog I think. I knew this needed to be said, I knew this was coming, but I thought it would all be sometime later.

There isn’t really time to wait for the right time is there? There isn’t really time to wait until I’m cool.

There isn’t time. We’ve got to extinguish our fears and fake divisions immediately. Can’t find an ashtray? How about right here in this bowl of mixed nuts everyone is eating out of?

“Me? What do I care? I was only eating almonds anyway. Brazil nuts are for people who don’t have food allergies!”

“Me? I was only eating the almonds anyway! Cashews are for fatties!”

See? We are all ready for this. We are all ready to get to the root of the problem.

If you or your children just had your school shot down, or threats are flying, you go rage balls if you need to, I am not talking to you. You are really feeling it. Anger may signal clarity and clarity may prompt action. That isn’t always a tragedy or a “bad thing.” Speak your mind, show up at your capital. Why wouldn’t you? We can listen. I know those cocky faces aren’t listening, those mocking faces. But we are listening.

Like Harvey Weinstein, I was forced into an inpatient treatment center in the middle of the desert in Arizona even though I was fine. I barely spoke for days and at night I sobbed and sobbed and when I talked to my mother on the phone I vacillated between telling her how amazing things were going to be if we could just pull me out of here and how much of a monster she was. How I needed my dog at this important time. I was going to leave soon, I knew that in the first couple of weeks but I ended up staying for the maximum amount of time and then was sent to their “step down” program for another 60 days. By that time I had warmed up to “Rich Girl Prison” and I was a little nervous about going home and reintegrating. “Life” as they called the step-down program, was a cul-de-sac of model homes behind a mall in an Arizona suburb with a giant high school.  A bunch of teenage girls living in a gated neighborhood with a bunch of mental health professionals.

They made us attend this giant high school with elevators and I still to this day have those anxiety nightmares where I need to find my locker even though I never had one there. Isn’t that strange? A high school so large that a classroom of girls cycle through at all times only attending for two months max and hardly anyone notices? I don’t remember making or attempting to make any outside friends but we only stayed for two periods and I had a friend or two from Life in both classes.

The program was designed to get us reintegrated, give us a little more freedom for us to practice what we had learned. We took shopping trips, went to church, got to exercise and went on “snack challenges” because while they affirmed that my eating disorder was a symptom of my major depression, this was primarily an institution for girls with eating disorders.

Shame.

Gnarly stuff. I don’t tell many people I have recovered from an eating disorder. Or that I tried to kill myself. But when I do talk to people, I tell them I was diagnosed with eating disorder not otherwise specified or EDNOS even though its more complicated to say.  I was something as complicated as EDNOS and it is so much nicer than saying I was bulimic, even though I did a lot of bulimic things. Even in the realm of eating disorders, something usually maintained by high doses of shame and hopelessness, there’s a hierarchy.

I can admit I had an eating disorder and that I wanted to just die because even though it makes some people uncomfortable, even though it makes ignorant people believe I am broken beyond repair, it is still a lot prettier than saying I want a bunch of other people to die.

Shame.

Guilt is that important signal, I am doing something bad, I have done something bad.

Shame is much scarier. Shame says I am bad. Broken. Daddy issues. Not meant for this world, not cut out for it, don’t have what it takes. Don’t have what it takes. Yesterday, my friend told me about a little girl she babysits and how she overheard her mom saying that on the phone about her little sister. Going into preschool. So she told her, of course. “We aren’t sure you have what it takes to survive something as pivotal as preschool. We are scared for you.”

Adolescence is a strong time for shame, it’s that way for everyone. It’s a time of forming identity and shame directs us to make better choices, social choices. We can privately live with our guilt, but shame can build in to something sinister if it’s not jostled around a little and brought  to light and shared, communed.

“Yeah, a girl lost interest in me cuz I farted once! lol So what? lol”
Some kids can’t do that. They don’t know how. Their parents don’t know how and so compulsory education can feel a lot like prison.

Some people do need to sit with shame, for a sec. Right? Some rich world leaders need to learn to sit with shame, duh! But our children and our teenagers? They haven’t had enough time to settle in to the practice of being a “bad person.” They are shitty one day, popped with guilt, nice the next.

They need to know that.

They need to know that whatever happens they belong here, they have a place even if its not in high school.

How do we do that? Easily and for free! I am not even kidding.

Bear with me, I know I am libtarded.

At Life we volunteered once a week. I do not remember any of the programs other than the one that revolutionized my thinking. St. Mary’s was a very small children’s hospital in a one story brick building. Did not know those things existed. We went in and there were a row of babies in bouncy chairs on the ground. One had a giant tumor covering most of the left side of his face and the other one…. have you ever had those nightmares where you feel like you are stuck in mud though you need to run and you are pretty sure you can’t possibly be paralyzed? Or where you need to scream bloody murder and nothing is coming out? Little Baby Edwin was sitting there red and purple and tan faced and hardly a whisper was coming out.

Excuse me?

Little Baby Edwin! Hello! And when I picked him up he stopped instantly. That’s all his nightmare needed.  “How old is he?! What is his last name?! Where are his parents?! Does he even have any parents?!” Crazy needs more information!!! They couldn’t give me any more information. Laws and stuff. I did go see some of the other children but I could not stop going back to Edwin and his friend. This baby too was so moving. I held him too and he never took his eyes off me even as I tended to Edwin. He never cried but he never took his eyes away. Wow. I remember that.

Oh shit, someone needs me.

This is the root of it. Do we need to just let go of our arguing and let that be the final solution? No! You know I am far more holistic in my thinking.

Why isn’t community outreach compulsory for our adolescents? They need to be a part of something bigger. They are a part of something bigger. We need to let them get involved. Get them out of this prison! If math is compulsory, even though stress makes it almost impossible to be attentive to details enough to be good at, why can’t connecting with our community be compulsory?! How can we expect them to grow in to good people if we don’t give them a reason why?

OUR FOUNDING FATHERS COULD NOT HAVE IMAGINED THIS.

They did not know that one day our children would be robbed of purpose.

“What?! There are Injuns out there effing with our way of life! There is still so much to explore! We need our young men and women, ALWAYS! Hello!”

Trump doesn’t really strike me as someone who would really get behind this solution. He doesn’t really seem like the type. Neither would have Hillary. I mean, she would smile and say through teeth that are a part but just barely, “Oh this is a great solution to a huge problem that won’t cost or make anybody any money. Oh, yes, a feminine solution. I’m so in to this. People organizing and stuff.”

You see, my blog is not a Real Simple blog. Duh! It has no business going viral. But this is a Real Simple message.

I need this message to reach the right people in order for it to be implemented.

This has to happen.

Community outreach needs to be compulsory. Our adolescents need to be out working for free, for credit. Every year, middle school through high school. We need them.

Truth

Dear children, let us not love with words or speech but with actions and in truth.
-1 John 3:1

Truth, purity, sweet thoughts and one-pointed attention are all qualities that make one suitable to see the true Self.”
-The Yoga Sutras

“Authenticity is a collection of choices that we have to make every day. It’s about the choice to show up and be real. The choice to be honest. The choice to let our true selves be seen.”
-Brene Brown

“Only the truth of who you are, if realized, will set you free. ”
-Eckhart Tolle

“What draws people to be friends is that they see the same truth. They share it.”
-C.S. Lewis

Truth, like love and sleep, resents approaches that are too intense.”
-Wyston Hugh Auden

Without going to a dictionary, my definition of truth is the reality of that which actually is. Going to a dictionary, I found it uses the word itself in the first definition which I thought was something dictionaries were not suppose to do. Well, it says “true.”

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The facts, the science, the math. I have long been absorbed and agitated and motivated by the idea of truth. They call people like me “seekers.” That was my goal from age 11-29. What’s the truth?

“All of this is just a game!” I told my dad when I was 17.
“We are all just so full of shit, I can’t do this, this game is so stupid!”

“Play the game, Abby! You’re perfect for it!” He told me, “at least go to church, people will respect you more. Just go to church.”

At 12 I went to church camp and came back certain that Jesus was the truth, and infected by our counselors fears, I was terrified of any of my peers being sent to eternal damnation. “I know he huffs paint and listens to Nirvana but he is a genius and a sweetheart and his childhood was not at all easy, how could Jesus, embodiment of love and compassion, possibly send him to hell if I wouldn’t even send him to hell?” Questions like that gave me reasonable, innocent and heartfelt doubt to the narrative I was being served. I read and read and read when I should have been socializing and absorbed in school drama. I flipped courses and found the kind of logical dogma of the likes of Niles Eldridge and Richard Dawkins and was convinced that that was the path to understanding truth. I did not at all make a good atheist. The outside world seemed so empty and my insides felt ill equipped to deal. I went to kill myself when I was 16, with resignation that on the other side, maybe I would finally see the truth… the reality of that which actually is. Instead, I tripped balls, embarrassed myself to the maximum degree and was thrust right back in to the world I was trying to escape. When we say God is Truth, those of faith are saying God is Reality. It just is. God is the facts, the data, the science, the whole thing that not one single person can ever fully get a grasp on, especially because biologically we are designed to push it away, for our own individual protection.

A W E AND R E V E R E N C E

That’s the only individual truth I can hope for, the only fun I can cling to. My faith is so strong now. I don’t need to defend it in the same way I don’t need to run around the streets of Kailua at night insisting and checking that everyone recognize the sun is going to rise tomorrow. My faith is strong and we still need each other to understand truth. I need to check with my humanist atheist friends and my Christian friends and my gun enthusiasts and my social justice warriors and my rape-apologist adrenaline junkies and my Grandma and most importantly, your kids.

la illah ila Allah

There is no god, but God is one of my favorite declarations of faith.