Wednesday, September 23, 2015

A Quick One About How Grief Works and How It's So F*%ked Up

Five minutes ago I'm cleaning the bathroom counter, just minding my fucking business. And now I'm sobbing. Not crying, not all teary, I'm sobbing.

Because grief is just fucked up, my friends. I'm can't sugarcoat this for you. It's the truth, and if you've grieved some major people, you will get this.

It's a chain reaction for me today. I smell the antibacterial cleaner, I've used it many times before, and something about the smell today makes me think man, this smells like hospital. Like a clean yet unpleasant sort of smell. 

So like boom boom boom, the associations pummel me. Mom in the hospital in January of 2014,  knowing she was not going to live, not wanting to leave the hospital because she knew she was going home to die and that my brother and I would be the ones caring for her, maybe thinking the longer she stayed in the hospital might give her one more day with us, or just one more day that we weren't changing IV fluid bags or giving her blood thinner injections.

And I'm just flattened. Not only because she's gone and I can't even explain how much I miss her and how much I need her and how much I want to pick up the phone and talk to her like we did several times a day. I can tell you, I miss my mommy, but you can't get it, unless, unfortunately, you've been there, lost that. But my heart also breaks because I hate that she felt that. That she knew she would have to leave us and her granddaughters. I hate it, so much, more than I have ever hated anything. And today, smelling that fucking stupid antibacterial cleaner brings it all back and I'm crying more than I've cried in months.

This after having a pretty good productive morning, one of those when I felt so unproductive that my productivity was making me feel all proud and stuff. And then I had to go and clean the counter and use that stuff and not the lavender cleaner that wouldn't have me here, typing all of this and blowing my nose.

So it's fucked up. And a friend who is grieving recently posted something on Facebook about how it comes in waves and that on that day she was drowning. And some days you are doing that. Just drowning. So right now, in this moment, my head is under water.

And I'm not writing for sympathy, I'm writing because  I needed to write it down. Because you people are part of how I deal with this bullshit. I write it down and I post it because I like to create and I like to perform and I like to connect with people. Especially people who get it and they go oh fuck, that happened to me just last week. I'm not alone because Jen cleaned her stupid fucking sink and then missed her mom so badly that she felt like a broken mess. I'm not alone.

Now I've done this, I'm going to share it, I'm going to blow my nose and put on some makeup and go to lunch because I have lunch plans, and while I'm there I'm going to laugh and eat and have a good time, and then I'm going to pick up the kid and hug her about eight billion times. And I'll be smiling because I've already cried and I got this out and as I always say, if I spent the entire day crying Mom would be so pissed. Like, what the fuck are you doing? I get it, I was awesome, you miss me, but you're alive, live some life.

So I'll do that

Tuesday, September 8, 2015

Stop Yelling. Start Listening. Try Understanding.

I am this close to getting off of Facebook. Because it only mostly seems to amplify a huge problem we are having right now and it makes me sad and depressed and feel a little bit hopeless about the world and I hate feeling that way.

Some people in our country are arguing the way people do in bad relationships. It's all hurt and defensiveness but no one is LISTENING.

I don't have the right words to say about this, but I have to say something anyway.

We have to talk. We have to listen to each other. We have to try to see the reasons behind people saying BLACK lives matter and why saying ALL lives matter is not listening to the folks who are saying black lives matter, and to that end, go look at this piece that a friend posted from Fusion that is short and to the point regarding that and...

... I'm not a sociologist or a historian but I wish I played on one TV and could give you a crash course on race relations. On the history of black folks in America, on oppression, on the sociological ramifications generations later on a group of people descended from slaves. I can't educate you on that, and you can read about it and you can try to remember what you learned in school, but there are some things, that when it comes to these issues, you will NEVER get. You might say, but I'm not a racist and I don't see racism so... and I would say, you don't get it, and I'm not trying to be offensive but there are some things that can't be fully "got" but some people. And if that offends you, maybe you'll stop reading or maybe you'll read on for a second to see that I'm trying to help all of us, which feels like a tiny mouse trying to push a giant wheel of cheese entirely uphill in order to feed an entire country. I'm the mouse and this isn't even as big as a giant wheel of cheese but I'm still trying to get uphill in hopes that I say something that makes even just one person LISTEN more.

I'm in a position of being a black liberal person with law enforcement ties (and I won't say more than that because I like to have a certain amount of anonymity with this blog because who knows, one day people beyond my 4 Facebook friends who read this might see this stuff). So I feel like I have a perspective that many do, but obviously, many do NOT.

So have there been people killed in custody or while being taken into custody who should NOT have been killed? Yes. Have there been people killed while being taken into custody and it was completely justified, that their actions and the situation led to an officer having to use lethal force? Yes, absolutely.

Here's what it also means: Officers do NOT WANT TO USE LETHAL FORCE. EVER. There is no cop, unless he is a total psycho (and every occupation employs people who should not have that job), who wants to kill ANYONE.

And of late, have their been a disproportionate amount of young black men killed by police officers? I don't have that numbers on that or on anything else because I'm seriously just usually a frilly little blogger trying to entertain you people. I don't know how many white folks were killed by police officers and we haven't heard about it, but it would look like this is the case, and even if it IS the case, it STILL doesn't mean that police want to shoot people or that police want to shoot black people, it just does NOT mean this, at all.

What many people are not understanding, and I'm talking to you, my law enforcement friends, is THERE IS A REASON THAT A BUNCH OF PEOPLE ARE ANGRY. You have to understand, this is not coming out of nowhere. It is coming out of recent events and it is coming out of a history of oppression and a time when black people were undoubtedly targeted. Do I think cops target black people today? No. Do I think that SOME cops do? I'm sure there are those that do. Because cops are humans, there are still racists walking the earth, and some of them are cops. I also think there are some who target other races. I know it's not what is supposed to happen and I'm not trying to be inflammatory but I'm also saying, don't insult the intelligence of people and say that race is never a factor because it's simply not true. By and large, I don't feel this is what happens, and here is one of the things that sucks.

You take a teeny, tiny, minute percentage of what is happening in the world, and see it get conflated to: POLICE OFFICERS SHOOT BLACK PEOPLE.

So now I'm talking to my people who are not in law enforcement, no, not all cops are racists, not all cops racially profile, and most definitely, not all cops are looking to shoot black people.

People become cops for a variety of reasons. Frankly, for as many years as I have known cops and worked with them I have no idea why anyone would want that job. My joke is always this: If danger is over THIS WAY I'm going to run THAT WAY. Cops don't do that. They run TO IT. To protect YOU from it. They don't know you, they never met you, they don't care what race you are. When they go to a call and a life is in danger they are going to do everything in their power to keep YOU out of danger. That is their job. Yes, they give you tickets, and they arrest people, but if someone is breaking into your house in the middle of the night, you're not going to call your best friend, or your mom, or your cousin. You are going to call the police because these are people who are trained to try to protect you and your stuff. This is their JOB. And every single day they go to this job they don't know what will happen to them. I kiss my kid goodbye in the morning and have very little doubt I'll be back that night to see her again. Cops know that most of the time, they will, too. But they also know that it can all change in an instant for them. They know this and their families know this, and they live with it and on their days off they play with their kids and take care of their parents and all the same stuff that we do.

The people who have ASSASINATED cops these past couple of weeks, these are NOT the people who are saying Black Lives Matter. These are horrible fucking people who are trying to make a statement in a terrible, horrible, backwards way but are nothing but cowardly murderers. If you are a police officer who, with all sorts of things going on around you, having to make split second life or death decisions to protect you and your fellow officers and other people, if in that second you take the life of someone you are trying to apprehend, and there MAY have been another way to make that happened, that is NOT the same as walking up to police officer and unloading a gun into them. These are not commensurate situations. AT ALL.

Also, that cop who ran after the guy and shot him in the back while in pursuit? Like with anything else that has happened in the news, I have no details. Because I can't handle the news. At all, ever, for years I have been that way. But I cannot imagine the situation that would have you run after someone and shoot them in the back unless they were running with a gun into a crowd of people. But THAT horrible situation is the EXCEPTION.

Think of ALL the thousands of cops who go to work every day, who have been going to work for years, who rarely even have to DRAW their weapons let alone use them. These are the people who need support right now.

So in summary, cops, you need to get why people are upset. You need to understand some terrible stuff has happened and that some people feel scared and victimized and rightly so. You need to listen to what they are saying, and you need to respond with the fact that you understand where they are coming from, and assure them that you're their to protect them. They don't need to fear you. They do not need to think you're out to get them. I ALREADY KNOW THIS IS TRUE, YOU ALREADY KNOW THIS IS TRUE. But you need to show them and tell them, the people who don't get that it's true. And you are suffering, you are hurting, YOU are feeling targeted, but do not think the people who are trying to tell you that Black Lives Matter are hunting you down. Don't say to THEM All Lives Matter or Cop Lives Matter. We all know that all of these things are true. See again the part I posted about Black Lives Matter. LISTEN. And then make them understand WHO YOU REALLY ARE. Don't yell at them about who you are, don't be angry at them because they don't understand who you are, listen to why they think you're one way, and show them you're not.

People, know what I said about cops to be true. They are here to help. They are human beings. Like with any profession, amongst them you'll find jerks and racists and completely awful people and people who make bad decisions. DON'T SEE AN ENTIRE PROFESSION AS THIS. THEY ARE NOT THIS. Listen to them, see what they do, ask them what they do, don't yell at them about what you feel a small percentage of them to be doing WRONG.

Listen to each other. Don't yell at each other. Try to understand. We're ALL HURTING RIGHT NOW. I joked to a group of friends, I don't know what to do, I'd like to buy the world a Coke and teach them all to sing. That's what I fucking want to do and I don't know how to do that.

So this is the closest I can come to that. Here is your Coke, people. Drink it and let's all fucking sing together and not tear each other apart.