I slept long. And now that I am awake, my limbs still feel heavy with it. Sleep. With exhaustion. Expectation. With want.

But every morning I wake up and think: write. That is what I must do. And so it is.

And I can already hear the cardinals.

Yesterday was a fine enough day. I felt strong and fast and notably rested on my run. Except it was uncomfortable to shout at that man, asking him to stop staring at me. I shouldn't have to do that.

I was also able to get quite a bit of work done, but I was distracted by the news. A man killed 59 people in Las Vegas on Sunday and wounded nearly 400 more.

They released a photo of him, the killer, and of course his name. He was a white man in his 60's, and his name was Stephen Paddock. The photo they released was taken at either a bar or a gathering of some kind. His eyes are closed and he is holding a drink. The faces in the background are blurred out. 

But looking at the photo --all I see is my father. And then my thoughts drift to the fact that my father didn't pull the trigger that night. On the edge he walked, he didn't cross.

And then I think of the few times I've been in situations with men who threatened to hurt me. Like that man in Paris, the street artist, who wanted my money because I was American. And as his hands were on me, about to shake me against a wall, the look in his eyes changed and he told me to run. And even that night that Danny pushed me through the wall. The moment his vulnerability was mirrored in the imprint of my figure in the sheet-rock, the look in his eyes changed too. And I do believe this. That at the most times, it is possible that the inherent good can surface. That people don't want to be in pain or express that pain in terms of violence. What they want, what any of us want, is love and connection. We don't ask for much else at birth.

I don't have the answers of why mass shootings occur. We can all point fingers at policy makers and gun laws and the failure to take mental health seriously -- and yes, all of these things matter. Of course they do. But before this, what I really think could solve things happening up-stream is a shift down-stream in how we look at ourselves. I know we think the current only runs one way, but that isn’t true. We are mirror images of each other, And we are active participants of our larger ecosystem The larger system that we inclusively yet causally refer to as life. Our participation each day, each moment, with each person, adds up. If we can heal our own wounds, we can heal the wounds of others. And maybe then we can find Eden.



 I am a freelance writer who wants to talk about the hard stuff. But I'd like to do so in a meaningful and accessible way. I am not afraid to ask questions, because I think complacency roots our disorders. We must at all times ask -- who are we afraid of? 




Jocelyn UlevicusComment