It’s been a hell of a couple weeks. My heart is heavy with grieving on so many levels and my body is tired and heavy. There are all the events outside my little bubble bringing me sadness—the conflict in Gaza, the shooting in Ferguson, Robin Williams’s suicide— that I have been trying to process, while living in our own little bubble of frustration as our baby goes through another developmental leap (super sensitive, refuses to be set down or left alone for a moment, not getting enough sleep or eating much, many tears all around) and our daughter starts to (finally??) act out her own frustrations of not getting enough focused attention from her parents.
This morning I sat in tears on the floor, holding my crying son, begging him to let me set him down so I could eat “breakfast” at 11am. My frustration with not feeling able to participate in the many discussions about depression and white privilege because even if I could form a coherent thought, my hands are literally filled with children almost every moment of the day. Feeling frustrated that after promising myself I would #writeeverydamnday it hasn’t happened—the moment I wake to get out of the bed to write the baby wakes and by the time he is down for the night I am too exhausted to do much more than stare at a screen.
This too, shall pass, I know, all too quickly. There may come a time when I look back longingly on this time of their desperate need for me. Right now however, I’m in the thick of it, in the trenches, and at moments I feel myself drowning.
This drowning feeling isn’t helped by the events and chaos of the outside world. As innocent children are murdered, both here in the United States and across the world; as brilliant spirits decide to end their own lives instead of going forward one more day, my own pain and frustration seems trivial. Both of my children are healthy and safe, it is unlikely either of them will ever be the brunt of violence as seen in Gaza or Ferguson. And while they may have a predisposition for depression and anxiety, they will grow up receiving far more support than I did, which hopefully will help keep some of the worst demons at bay.
But we never know do we? We never know what paths our children will walk down or what dangers lie in wait for them. I know I feel safer in my community than others do, I know I feel safer in my part of the world than others do. I know I don’t need to live in the darkness of certain fears. It is my luck, it is part of my white privilege and as such it is part of my responsibility to take these moments to write these words.
I don’t know what I can do to end all pain, all suffering. I don’t know what I can do create a world where all others feel safe. I know I can act in my little bubble though. I can do my best to raise my children to be compassionate, empathic, aware. I can offer smiles and hellos and kindness to the people I meet out in the world, at the grocery, the library, the park. I can write here that while I don’t understand what it means to be African American or an immigrant in this country, I am fully aware that I don’t understand. I can state that I too have suffered from depression and anxiety and while I haven’t completed suicide I don’t fault those who do and have deepest empathy for their survivors.
My words here in the blogosphere and my actions in my little bubble are all I have to try and bring some peace and justice to the world. My work in guiding women and working with families, I hope, also brings about more peace as the ripple effects of each action spread out across the universe.
No, I can’t change the facts of injustice in our world. I can’t waive a magic wand and make all mental illness disappear. But I can do my best in my little bubble, I can keep myself aware, and I can write, and write, and write.