Accepting that police reform can only be done at the level of the police is an idea created to maintain distance from America’s core beliefs. Addressing only police reform is an underestimation of the problem. It allows the public to put distance between the police and their own attitudes surrounding what is means to be a “True American.” By singling out the police it allows the public to feel exonerated by their troubling beliefs. It is a country problem that exceeds the police.
To some, challenging the police is a challenge to their own will. To open their eyes to the truth that police are a direct expression of their beliefs.
The problematic ideology was designed and disseminated to the public. It allowed Americans to believe in the concept of “The American Dream.” Americans hold onto the dream because they believe themselves worthy. Americans are taught that are limited “Dream” seats. And other people may take your seat but if you keep working hard you’ll make it. And if someone fails to achieve the dream it is blamed on the person they perceive who took “their” seat.
In doing so they create a scapegoat so they don’t have to acknowledge how their beliefs and behaviors caused them to fail. It is not their fault for not exceeding at their Dream but others. So America create groups and we define others to feel better about our own limitations.
And with that thought, those who consider themselves Americans run from lies and leave a trail of hate behind.
Much like a country that runs from its truth and leaves a trail of blood and tears behind.
Keep our names out your mouth. Don’t try to play savior here.
When the #metoo movement happened we were blamed for ruining people’s future, even after they ruined ours. When we asked police to pull up with their sirens off to collect the ex with the gun, who police refused to give us a restraining order for, police came blaring. Always trying to play savior. When police failed to pick up the ex and I couldn’t leave my house for days because the ex was watching my house, still with a gun.
When I called police because someone broke into my apartment. They asked if I typically have people over and they “forget” to lock the door, but the doorknob was hanging by its last screw.
When I called again because someone broke into my house when the lights and music were on after I drove down to the gas station. My phone was untouched and the gold ring that was stolen the first time made its way back. Police said it was unconnected and they couldn’t do anything. I stopped calling police for domestic violence issues.
Now imagine if I called and a social worker came to my apartment. The social worker helped me make a plan to leave the area and be safe. Imagine me finding a safe apartment and meeting others in a supportive group for domestic violence survivors. Imagine my apartment not getting broke into.
Imagine people believing assault survivors.
Imagine knowing all this and still believing there is not a better way than what is happening now.
The first day I really met you was when you knocked on my door. When I opened you had a confused face, a notebook, and your planner. You didn’t wait until I said hello. Instead you ducked under my arm and sat down on my floor. “Help me plan my life. Also pick 5 clubs to go to with me.”
At this point I had met you briefly downstairs in the laundry room and ran into you once in the common area.
But I did as you said. We spent 3 hours sorting through papers and coming up with your life plan. You wrote sticky notes of times I should meet you for clubs and lunch. At one point you cried about the pressures of college. I just told you it would be okay and held your hand.
Life is weird like that.
Fast forward 2 years. You have your own apartment and I come over to study. The two weeks finals hit we were inseparable. We studied together, made gigantic plates of nachos, and slept together. In between sleepless nights we danced to our favorite songs and made art projects.
One night we were so sleep deprived you knelt next to my chair and refused to stop staring at me until I walked you to bed. You fell asleep in my arms that night and every night after during those finals.
Fast forward another 2 years and we are in grad school. We got apartments close to each other. We spent what time we could with each other. You left college for a job and forgot to leave your new number.
Life is funny like that.
The weirdest part of growing up that no one ever talks about is this constant pressure to be happy.
This constant threat that if you are not completely put together in your later 20s that you are a failure.
The thought that your mental health should be perfect. You should have a perfect diet. With a perfect exercise routine. A perfect job. Traveling schedule. Perfect conscious.
Its exhausting always trying to be perfect. To be sane. To be this image.
I don’t know a single person that has it figured out.
We are all spinning around on this planet wondering what we are doing wrong. Exhausted.
The weirdest thing is not being allowed to say “there are times I am not OK.”
We just don’t have to be.
For the longest time I thought I needed something, someone, anything.
I keep searching for something, anything, to make me feel at peace.
Like this life means something.
And sometimes it does. Sometimes it doesn’t. Sometimes life is just pain and thats okay.
I will continue searching for myself and my own peace in this world.
I didn’t have that growing up and I clung to whatever gave me peace.
Without realizing I don’t have to explain myself to anyone. I don’t have to downplay the pain I feel. The love I didn’t receive. And maybe that’s why I love myself so much.
I have myself always. I always held myself in the absence of others. And I will continue to do so.
This body is so strong. These eyes have seen so much. This blood has carried me further than anyone ever could.
I am my own best friend, my own referee, my own cheerleader. And I’ll never stop believing in myself.
I am enough. No matter how many times I have to remind myself.
I am always enough.
I started writing love poems this month to myself. They are the best poems I could imagine.
Full of love. Full of live.
It’s probably because I finally fully love the person I am writing about.
The pain in my chest. The pain in my heart. I love you. Every ounce of you.
You are everything you need to be.
I was breed in chaos. But I will not let it take me.
I have a lot of anxiety about life. It’s not the anxiety surrounding money, jobs, career path, house, etc.
It’s small things. Like floor boards creaking at night. The sound of someone clearing their throat. Someone quietly eating dinner without looking up. The sound of yelling. The dark.
It’s a shock to my system. A shiver down my spine.
It’s the language of chaos. The language of the unheard.
Abused children speak a langauge you can never learn. It stays with them years after the trauma has been ripped away.
If you want to heal your children, don’t put them in chaos to begin with.
I know I could never hold your little heart the way you hold mine so delicately in your hands. The worn spots were it had fallen before. You just dust it off like it was the last jewel known to man and you just want to kiss it, to see it reflect in the sun. I know I may fail you but you just pick me back up, dust me off, and shine with me.
You’re my little man.
And I know that you get embarrassed when I pick you up from school and scream, “Baby Jacob!” You tell your friends, “don’t worry, she’s a little crazy.” Crazy? No baby, I am in love – with your little smile, tiny teeth, and all too short arms. The “oh brother’” look and “we need to talk.” And I know sometimes I cannot always keep up with you – with Veronica, Stacey, Becca? Who? But you humble me. No matter what I do and who I become you always hug me the same and smile the same goofy grin when I walk through the door. You never think I am more beautiful with makeup or less beautiful after I leave my shower. You say my hair looks good crazy, reminds you of the villain on your favorite TV show. If I am leaving I better be giving you a hug or you’ll run out to my car like I forgot something. That “are you serious” look gets me every time.
Loud. You are loud. Wonderful, aggressive, proud.
I wonder where you got that from. I love you little man. My bleeding heart beats for you. I once read that a human heart can fill a sea in a lifetime. I don’t know too much about that, but I do know I would spill out my sea if only you would swim with me forever. I want to see you grow up, fulfill all your craziest dreams, and watch you experience life. From the first crazy party you tell me about to the wonderful girl you bring to wife. I know you think you will be young forever but I want you to cherish it. Just remember your niece only lived for four months. I want you to live like you would if she was still watching, needing her older nephew to show her the way. I know you are so young now but soon you will be 18 and packing up to leave. I cannot bear not having you with me but remember in all times of doubt to be strong. I am never far away.
I love you beating heart.
To the boy always pushing girls off the swings for me in head start,
“You know I’ll always be that person”
“I said I’ll always be that person to you. Even now, you know.”
Cody, you were an amazing present I never said thank you for.
I keep wanting to show pictures of my trips to you. I know we planned to go on many trips. We decided this summer we would go on surprise trips all the Fridays we could. We would go camping. I planned all the hikes, and all you were thinking about were the s’mores. Our priorities were never in order, but we still got there.
And now, sometimes, I don’t feel close to you when I’m just standing here. So I start writing, and suddenly you are here. So I’ve been writing more. And I’ve been thinking more.
I know you always believed in heaven. And I don’t think that concept sounds that bad. I mean everyone partying and seeing loved ones again. I’d like to think that’s where you are. And eventually I hope I get there to you. And I’ll show up begging to ride all the amusement park rides. And you’ll say, “That girl wasn’t on a swing, but I pushed her out of the way for you. Ride with me.”
And maybe that’s what heaven is like. Some alternate universe where you can have all the people you ever lost doing exactly what they are supposed to be doing to you.
Sometimes I just want you to know we all still love you. We all still will.
“I love your feet only because they walked upon the earth and upon the wind and upon the waters, until they found me.” – Pablo Neruda
The way you twist and turn in the dressing room, trying to make sure the dress fits you just right. Your tiny little ankles pivot this way and that way as you decide this dress is not for you. The next dress is just the right length. I can tell by the way you raise up on your calves. It is perfect. You pivot around once more before you twirl to your side. This is the dress you want. I have already fallen in love with you ten times before you leave the room.
I know all this because I was waiting on you outside of the room. I could see those tiny little feet move around like artwork. I could almost hear the little pitter patter of your feet as you swiveled around. And now out you come wearing that little smile.
In this messy world this is love. I know it. It may not be perfect, but the way my heart falls in step with your feet I am content to live out this life.