What’s real and needs attention

Dear President Trump,

I’m well past the years when hormones regularly amped up my emotional tenderness. And before pressing on, no, such cycling is not a sign of female weakness or irrationality. Rather, it’s a built-in course-corrector or truth serum that puts us back in touch with what’s real and needs attention. I would go so far as to venture that it serves a survival function for both individual female-persons and the entire species. Ok, so as I was (basically) saying, it’s been a long time since I had a period, but I still seem to cycle in and out of greater/lesser emotionality. Maybe there’s still some trace hormone doing its thing. I don’t know. Or maybe by this age of mine (56), I’ve finally learned to allow myself to be more emotionally available to whatever needs to tug at me. Whatever it is, in the last 12 hours I’ve teared up three times.

The first was last night when I was telling Laura about graduating senior, Gina Warren’s way of honoring all the students who’ve been killed in high school shootings since Columbine in 1999 (the list would have been much longer had it not been limited to high schools). She set up a website with a link to a QR-code, which she copied and affixed to the top of her mortar cap. The website is simple. It has a black background and white lettering that says she graduated from high school and the students referenced below couldn’t. She didn’t say it because she didn’t have to, but they couldn’t graduate because they were dead because they’d been shot. With guns.

The second set of tears was also last night and also prompted by gun violence slamming into children. It was the combination of having just read WP Op-Ed contributor, Theresa Vargas’ essay about her young son and her Mother’s Day wishes that he not have to experience unnecessary loss or ever feel the need to be a hero juxtaposed with reading an article about how schools in the Denver area have started running twice weekly active duty drills. Twice weekly. Active shooter drills. Twice weekly. Active shooter drills. What the f*ck is wrong with us?

The third tear appearance was just a few minutes ago when Laura read me a Tweet a mom posted yesterday to let the world know that ahead of a big grade level nature field trip, her son’s teachers got up at 3am to fix breakfast for the 10 Muslim children in that grade. I’m tearing up again as I type this. The thoughtfulness is so touching and it’s absolutely what started the tears in the first place. However, what kept them going (and restarted them) is that it’s infuriating that this information is so touching. What I mean is that my choked up “gosh, that’s sweet (kind, moving, wonderful)” appraisal of such situations is paired with a sense of outrage because our normal (as in typical) ways of being with one another are so whacked.

May we all be safe inside and outside our communities.
May we be willing to make kindness the norm.
May we understand that all children need to feel safe and loved to thrive.
May we know we are closer to peace when we acknowledge what’s real and needs attention.

Tracy Simpson

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