My mind is still churning from last night’s scout meeting where we discussed bullying and personal protection. My scouts are all sixth graders. It’s hard to wrap my brain around how complex these kids’ lives are compared to my sixth grade experience. Cyber bullying wasn’t even possible. Active shooter drills unfathomable.
I left them with one simple entreaty.
“It’s really easy as a human being to let yourself be unkind. It comes naturally to us for some reason … but so does kindness. Choose kindness.”
Pop. Pop. Pop. Pop. Pop. Pop. Pop. Interspersed with the sounds of panic.
The sounds from inside Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School on Valentine’s Day.
The sounds so common that we instantly know what they are.
The sounds of an assault rifle shredding lives in another mass shooting in our country.
As the father of a high school student, each pop cuts through my soul, knowing that there’s nothing to prevent the same thing in our community.
Continue reading Facing the monster we created
This is a print I bought from Alexandra Miller, a young artist I met in 2015. I remember her being almost painfully introverted as we completed the transaction, perhaps surprised that I’d taken such an interest in this print. It’s a piece that I imagine most find heavy, almost grotesque.
The second I saw it, I told others that I saw hope.
Continue reading Becoming untethered
The pain was excruciating.
It felt like someone was grabbing a muscle in the middle of my back.
Then squeezing it.
Then twisting it.
Then stabbing it.
Over and over again.
Continue reading Too young to feel old
Those of you who’ve followed along here know that I’ve been open with my life, with the joys and struggles that make up my authentic story. Early last year, my world, the life I imagined, came crashing down and I raised my armor in defense. I shut down. I swore that I was done living my life as an open book, done with vulnerability, done with deep relationships.
Then I met K.
She didn’t try to fix or rescue me.
She didn’t ask me to be anything but the broken mess I was.
She gave me space and time to figure my own shit out.
She was patient and understanding so I could work to rebuild myself.
She chose what was healthy for her, and never once asked that I do anything but what was healthy for me.
Continue reading Breathing in the joy
The holidays can be a rough time, can’t they? Especially if your memories of the season are difficult to process. I’d planned to take the 2017 holidays off, but that would just be hiding from all the negative emotion instead of letting it pass through and make way for new traditions. So I’m opening my heart to a new season of life and will see where it may lead.
This is one of the most salient pieces of art I’ve ever seen — and I have my kid to thank for it. He’s heard me talk about these issues at length, and I’m proud that he sees the importance of us engaging with them and each other’s stories.
One request. If you start it, please watch until the end. Warning, this is difficult to watch. The language is intense and NSFW.