Over the weekend I bought a black T-shirt that says I Am Powerful in pink letters and wore it for three days straight. This is both true and not true. In fact my powerlessness has never been highlighted in greater relief. I am powerless over my own husband‘s collection of MG motors and boat engines and corpses of cars who have long since given up the ghost in our own backyard. I am powerless over the insane violence in our world, my stepmother‘s cancer, my dad‘s dementia, alcoholism and mental illness in my family, Halloween Reese’s pumpkins, racist homophobic, antisemitic bigots in the world my son is entering with his big tender heart. I am powerless over the heartbreak I feel that I can’t take of, save or rescue everyone I know. I do, however, have the power to go to therapy, to show up to class, to get dressed, to write a letter, to donate to a fund, to try to do the right thing even when I feel the wrong way or don’t feel anything at all.
For I have confounded myself this week with my inability to cry over the shooting of the Jews, and in fact to feel anything at all over the shooting of the Jews. My brain recognizes the horror. My heart, as if wrapped in bubble wrap, does not. My son is Jewish. A light haired, blue-eyed, big-hearted Jew. Maybe you’re over-medicated suggested my friend Sarah who started a Go Fund Me campaign for the Orthodox synagogue in her neighborhood the day after the shooting. Or maybe it’s because you are Jewish, she said. You have cried for the gays and the trans and the blacks and the Muslims. Maybe right now you just can’t cry for yourself.
Maybe. I do know for a fact that it is possible for me to cry as I proved to myself during the tragic death of Daenerys’ dragon son Viserion in episode six of the seventh season of Game of Thrones which Stan and I re-watched on Halloween night. I felt the wrongful tragedy of his death, his mother’s grief, what his loss meant to the world, the beauty in his big horrible scales, the tenderness within his tremendous brute strength, the way he was loved and mourned when he fell. I can still cry, I told Sarah last night. Just not yet, not yet for this.