On Ferguson and speaking up

I have waited to post about what is going on in Ferguson, Missouri. If you’ve been living under a rock or blissfully unaware of this whole situation, a good place to start is here

I thought adding my voice to the noise could distract from those who are saying valuable things, those who are on the ground there, those who have facts about what is going on there. My thinking now is that approach is wrong. To be silent in the face of injustice and pain is not a good thing, and there is plenty of both in Ferguson. I speak from a place of ridiculous privilege. Though I am a woman, I am what I think most would consider middle class and white. I do not know this parent’s worry. I have been pulled over once by a police officer in my city, and, though I was obviously nervous and erratic, he did not ever question whether I was a threat; he wrote me a deserved speeding ticket and let me continue home. Home to my family, home to my friends, home to live my life. These experiences are luxuries many do not enjoy, and that is not okay with me. 

Before I go any further, something needs to be said. I am very thankful for the existence of police. I have personally called the local police here once in my life, and that experience was very positive. I know several police officers, and all are very upstanding, lovely men of integrity and character. The problem here is not “the police” at large, I do not think. (Though, in this case, the Ferguson police department and their attitude and over-militarification have made this situation so much worse.)

The issue is so much bigger and more complex, and yet I think it boils down to something very simple: the belief that some people are worth more than others, that there is a hierarchy of those “better” than or “less important” than, that we fall on a spectrum. We cannot perpetuate this lie. Everyone deserves to have a chance to live. That sounds trite and useless but it is true. In our nation recently, many (so many) black men have had that chance taken away. That includes Mike Brown. The police department has tried to smear his name, using dog whistles. I do believe that they want the spotlight off them, and that we as a society and nation cannot let that happen. I think his family, friends, and neighbors have the right to know how and why he was taken from them. The way the police force in Ferguson has treated their residents, the ones they are sworn to protect, is despicable and downright scary: rubber bullets, tear gas, unlawful arrests, tanks, snipers, and more. This is especially true when you consider what they were PEACEFULLY protesting-the killing of a teenager, in the middle of a neighborhood street, by an officer of the law, and the subsequent handling of the case and the young man’s body, lying in the open for hours for all to see. The people of Ferguson are right to protest.
But they should not be the only ones. Here are a few groups people I am surprised not to hear more from:

All that to say, this is absolutely not okay. None of it is okay. I do not condone this. I am one voice, what does it matter? It matters because when we combine our individual voices, we become loud. You cannot ignore that.

stories.

I spent the last hour writing a blog post about Robin Williams’ suicide, complete with numbers on mental illness prevalence and an attempt at representing many viewpoints and voices. But that post is gone. In its place, here are some posts that I have read today and appreciated, for their honesty and truth. Before you go any further though, there are some things I want you to know. 

-It is okay to not be okay.
-There is no shame in asking for help, and it is okay to not know what that looks like.
-Those who care about you would much rather sit with you and listen and love you the way you are now (and maybe sacrifice time or plans in the moment by doing so), than to live without you.
-There is no magic fix; wellness is a process, but it is one worth fighting through, and there are many options available for that.

If you need help, please talk to someone you trust. If you need someone else, please please consider these resources.

National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 1-800-273-8255

Online Crisis Chat: http://www.crisischat.org/

Crisis Text Line: http://www.crisistextline.org/textline/

The following posts could be triggering to you. Please please please do not read them if you are not in a safe place. Navigate away from here, get off the Internet, tell someone how you feel.
Jamie Tworkowski-“There is still some time”
Nish Weiseth-“Thoughts on depression, suicide, and being a Christian”
Megan Tietz-“The dark night is no measure of your soul”

I plan to live out the rest of my life standing in the light of vulnerability and authenticity—-and I will embrace anyone who courageously meets me there.

Rachel Macy Stafford (via allegorys)

(via soulolution)

I love tattooed women, maybe because they are uncontrollable, they are themselves to the point of drawing symbols of their power on their skin. Talk about owning your own body, being in your body, claiming yourself. I love it. When the world is in an uproar over whether women should have a choice or not when it comes to their own bodies, being tattooed is one of the most visible choices of all.

Margaret Cho (via onehundreddollars)

love and take a lot of pride in my tattoo. This is a good articulation of one reason why.

(via kirstenmakestattoos)

Five families in the Netherlands got together to buy this land and hired an architect to build them a shared community house. Read more about it.
If you had the chance to live with 4 other families/couples, who would you want?

Five families in the Netherlands got together to buy this land and hired an architect to build them a shared community house. Read more about it.

If you had the chance to live with 4 other families/couples, who would you want?

year 3

One of my most vivid memories of my dad is tied up with one of my most vivid emotions: fear. Thankfully, not in the way some experience fear with their fathers. No, this memory is different. When I was young, between 2 and 3, I had an issue with one of my kidneys, and there were lots of doctors’ appointments (and, eventually, surgery, on Fathers’ Day that year) to fix it. The memory goes something like this:

I am laying (lying? who knows?) face up on an exam table, in a darkened room, after what felt like a long appointment. Above me, coming from the ceiling, is this seemingly huge machine. The technician is trying to convince me to be still (no small feat for a child my age), and the machine begins to make noises as it lowers towards me on the table. Terror flashes in my little mind, and I begin to cry, worrying that it will crush me there, like a ladybug, I remember thinking. Suddenly, a hand is in mine; it is my daddy’s. I remember him sympathizing with my fear, not belittling it. He asked me if I trusted him. He said that he would never let anything happen to me, if he could help it, that the machine needed to take pictures of my insides (it was an xray machine, if you haven’t caught that yet) so they could know what was wrong and how to fix it. He stooped to my level, never letting go of my hand, and looked me in the eye. He reassured me, tears in his eyes, then promised me a trip to Baskin Robbins afterwards.

I forgot about that memory for a long time, tucked away in some corner of my brain, until my freshman year of college. It was hours before my dad’s birthday party, and I had gotten him the best gift I could think of. He was a member of a fraternity in one of the many colleges he attended, and was proud of that. I found a fraternity shirt online and bought it, planning to give it to him. Sitting in my dorm room, I realized that the gift should be accompanied by a card. On significant occasions/birthdays, my dad would take the time to write a heartfelt message to me in a card that went with the gift he was giving. I did not appreciate this as much at various points in my life as I should have. But this being my first gift to him since I had stopped living at home most of the time, I wanted to acknowledge that tradition. But what to write? I closed my eyes and let my mind wander. What was my favorite memory of him? Bits and pieces came to mind, nothing really gripping, then something about the aforementioned one. Baskin Robbins. As I thought more about it, the memory came flooding back to me, along with the emotions entangled with it. I wrote to my daddy about this memory in the card, and later, when I gave him the package, he teared up in the middle of the Texas Roadhouse. After his death, my mom mentioned it to me as something that really touched him. It feels like the one time I can remember getting it almost right, loving and accepting him for who he was and who he tried to be for us.

I wish I could say our relationship was forever changed, and we operated on a new level of consciousness of each other, but that’s not true. We were two broken people, trying to do life, and carried our own baggage. I let that get in the way more than I should have. But that memory lives on in me, the epitome of what my father tried to tell me, with his words and actions: that he really did love me, my sister, and my mom, and wanted only the best for us. I’d like to think he knew I knew that.

A few months later that year, in 1992, I did have surgery on my kidneys, and the pain medication they gave me made me incredibly mean and also incredibly awake; not the combination you want in a post-op toddler. My daddy crawled into my hospital bed with me at 3 in the morning and did the only thing that kept me semi-calm: we watched The Jungle Book together. The medicine finally wore off, my body healed, but to this day, I have a 3 inch scar running across the bottom of my belly from the incision. I used to think it made me ugly, that it was a mistake. Now, I kind of like the uniqueness. It reminds me of those two memories of my dad. So on this, my third fatherless Father’s Day (as a dear friend aptly called it), I will choose to remember him as he was: human, but always willing to reach out and love me.

Anne Lamott tells a story of going shopping with her best friend, Pammy, who was weak from chemo and a month from death. Anne tried on a tight lavender dress-she wanted to impress her boyfriend-and asked Pammy if she thought the dress made her hips look big. Gently, Pammy said, ‘Anne, you don’t have that kind of time.’ A dying person knows that there just isn’t time in life to spend not living, and obsessing about hips (or lips or tummies) isn’t really living. (‘Heaven,’ said Bette Midler, ‘would be a place where people would stop talking about their weight and what they look like..’) I don’t have time for chalky energy bars snarfed in solitude, or for wondering whether I ‘deserve’ to eat lunch. What we all have time for, what we all deserve, is a seat at the table, eating in the company of people who give us grace.

from Rachel Marie Stone’s Eat with Joy: Redeeming God’s Gift of Food (via sarazarr)

Important life lessons.

Hey look, now Dean matches even more!

Hey look, now Dean matches even more!

ilovecharts:

Have a dream? Then Defend It From Other People
This week, Jessica addresses Spring Cleaning.

The sidetext: “Don’t let these little jabs bleed you dry.”

ilovecharts:

Have a dream? Then Defend It From Other People

This week, Jessica addresses Spring Cleaning.

The sidetext: “Don’t let these little jabs bleed you dry.”

First comic book purchase!

First comic book purchase!

Otherwise

Sounds

  • Meet Me at the Edge of the World- Over the Rhine
  • I and Love and You- the Avett Brothers
  • Chasing Someday- Drew Holcomb and the Neighbors
  • Light for the Lost Boy-Andrew Peterson

Glimpses