Equal to the love you make

[FB post from yesterday, 8/27]

This morning at 5:04 AM I got an email via my yelp account from a recently-homeless woman who wanted to get a quote on how much it would be for me to board her two “beautiful” adult cats in my home.

It was already a weird morning because my friend Graham sent me a link to my old Garfield house which is now for sale again and seeing the interior sterility and the back yard–which the summer after James moved in 2007 was the site of a “healing through manual labor and sunburn”–with its huge tree gone and most everything I planted looking dead really put the punctuation on the end of that chapter in my life. It was the punctuation you typically see after “you stupid fucking idiots; what the actual fuck.” 

And so it was that I started my day. Sunday. An easy work day before the madness starts up tomorrow and moves well past Labor Day; my life not yet recovered from the July 24th madness, and my sick dog, and bug treatment, last foster kitten/group, etc., to where all the madness has started melding while laundry mounds to dangerous proportions, and every text is an agony over whether I should accept or decline more work or accept or decline the next group of foster kittens, etc. when I’m sleeping on the couch in my clothes because it’s easier to rouse myself to another workday when I don’t let myself get too comfortable.  

And as I drive in the darkness towards Capitol Hill–the ever-so-slight tension in my body already existing as I imagine Stella’s upcoming glucose test, and what if I don’t get a prick of blood the first time, and what if her values are really low or really high, and what if she doesn’t eat, and what if something happened to her in the night, etc–I’m thinking about this email. 

Because yes I struggle; yes I’m overworked and exhausted. But she’s living in her two-door car with her two kitties and it’s gotten “extremely difficult and she’s worried.” And while one part of me still holds the visceral memory of getting to the tipping point upon which I had to either start caring for myself properly or die, another part of me doesn’t know where that point is anymore. For as you live and grow, you get stronger, and as I’ve cared for myself over these last few years, I’ve become more capable, and while I know it’s not my responsibility to superhero all of life’s shit away so that no one else has to feel pain, at what point does non-action in the face of suffering actually become cruelty? At what point does saying no become me living a life of fearful, self-indulgent, privileged hoarding? There’s no glucose strip for this; there’s no manual.  

As the thoughts paraded, I drove west on 13th south and when I neared the freeway, something dashed across the street in front of my car. There was really no one else on the road so for a second I thought it might’ve been a wild animal but it wasn’t. It was a lost dog, a pitbull who looked scared. So I pulled my car to the side of the road and rolled down my window to talk to it, wrestling with myself. Because the desire to lure it into the safety of my car conflicted with the knowledge that Stella had to have her test and shot spaced almost exactly 8 hours apart, which was just a few minutes away, and as the dog slunk away–pausing and glancing over at me, unsure of itself–my heart broke in grief just a very little bit before falling into acceptance.  

For as the damned thing looked back at me with eyes like it would’ve gotten in my car, I thought of how in just the eight months of 2017 I’ve earned as much as for all of 2016–making a one year pay increase of $21,000–and how I was going to make another catio for my cats anyways, and dictated into my phone a response telling her that I don’t board animals but have a catio in the back of my house she can put her kitties in during the day. knowing she might abandon them, knowing she might be addicted to drugs or otherwise unstable. Knowing that this improbable situation may work out to be a total Garfield House.  

Because I get something from a world in which someone like me would still be willing to offer what they could to help someone like this lady. I get something. WE get something. And sometimes I forget that. Sometimes I make things all about the other person or all about compassion or all about an animal when really it’s about all of us. For I get something from this. 

And even in the darkness at the end of the night, I didn’t get to see that scared dog move into the safety of my car but I did get to see it look back at me, and even in its fear, curiously wonder about the love and concern for it held within a human heart.

And I guess that’s enough.

Staying 

On my way to sit a few days ago, I was on the stretch of 700 East where it curves around and intersects with 900 East.

It’s a wide road there–like 8 lanes I think–with a lot going on, stoplights, and turn lanes, cars barreling and others merging, and another stoplight up ahead synced up with the 9th East one, so that if the first light’s green, you don’t even have to think about stopping. You can just sit your ass in your lane and just “f*ck it” on through.

And it was late evening, but even through my speed and the curves, I could see something up ahead moving across the road from right to left, and it took me only just a sec to realize it wasn’t just one something: it was three “somethings”, a mama duck and her two babies, crossing this road, with cars easily going 55 to 60, mama in front and babies in back, in the hot dusk and barely visible, moving across the road at a pace suggesting they were well aware of the danger.

And relatively fresh in my mind was another sit I’d done at a complex with lots of ponds, when I’d seen this mama duck and her six or seven ducklings toddling around, and as I surveyed the scene of so many ducklings in my car, I had pulled up slowly and maybe because I’m a weirdo, rolled down my window to offer her my respect as one parent to another (’cause this shit’s hard, yo) and window rolled down, as her babies scurried close by, I was telling her what a good mom she was and enjoying the moment, before looking down and noticing that nearly right under my window was the completely flattened remains of a baby duck that’d been crushed by a car.   The guts were relatively fresh, and it was literally so flat that while carefully driving up–with the remains smack in the middle of the road–I hadn’t even seen it.

So of course on that dusk-night, my mind went to “oh my god; they’re going to die,” because flattened ducks happen and sometimes happy endings appear so unlikely that it seems best not to hope.

I looked to my left at the big black SUV next to me–preparing to quickly look away from the carnage lest the driver not see the mama–but he saw them and slowed, and between the two of us, the little family got to the middle of the road where they then rushed into the lanes of the oncoming traffic and out of my view but, as I turned south onto 9th East, I just happened to look in my drivers side mirror at exactly the right time and saw that somehow the little duck family had also managed to safely cross the 4 lanes going the other direction and were now together and moving towards the brown grass of the far side of the road.  Out of immediate and imminent danger, hearts certainly racing, and marching forward, blessedly having edged out death so as to be graced with another day to live.

And, naturally, I was so relieved.

About a mile down the road as I relived the scene with a calmer mind, a powerful thought came through, so powerful I had to write it down and share it with my girls later.

Because on that road–in a duck scene I’ve seen maybe dozens of times before–mama duck and her babies crossing in extreme danger, the road roaring with cars, feet propelling them desperately forward through what seemed like certain death, I couldn’t get over something that I’d always before taken for granted.

For locked in my limited box of “human”, where I’m sealed into an experience and magnetically tied upon the earth, I’d never before acknowledged what an improbable act of self-sacrifice it is that, in the midst of extreme danger and peril, the mother duck doesn’t just save herself and fly away.

And in opening my eyes wider, I let in an entire world.  For, in a life of psychological minefields, holding to hope seems foolish until you finally see the ever-present happy endings that you never even noticed.

And Life’s not just about flattened baby ducks.

Life’s also about mama ducks who don’t fly away.

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Another “happy ending”, built in the front yard of a home in Salt Lake City, Utah, U.S. Our own actions is what creates the world, and “staying” also means embodying a caring for the world, even when the recipient will forever remain anonymous.

The Yin and Yang of Del Taco

And sometimes it’s true that the things you believe you need in order to be joyous aren’t the right things at all, and so it is that I’m standing in Einstein bagels this morning getting breakfast for my kids experiencing an epiphanic moment.

Because in my former life, I was a married, stay-at-home mom—whose hobby basically amounted to filling up her spare time with activities–and I can remember standing in line at Einstein bagels during that life with a “gettin’ ‘er done” attitude, as if getting my kids bagels was just the prep for the bigger parenting moments yet to come; as if standing in line, waiting for my nova lox on plain, crossing “nutritious breakfast” off my to-do list, was devoid of meaning unless accompanied by the million things I was reciting in my head that I’d obviously still need to do in order to be a good parent.

But ten years out, I’m now experiencing a life in which my parenting is done via text and in moments of stealth, or at the end of my workday (and they’re ALL work days), when my eyes are hazy from exhaustion and I will myself to stay awake and present long enough to hear their voice bare the heart and soul of themselves.  I’m experiencing a life in which my million things to do are actual things I really need to fucking do and not some mental exercise in overparenting. And so at Einstein this morning, facing a day of relative ease (work-wise), I’m grabbing bagels to take home, and have an intense experience of knowing that this moment is of special treasure. Because when you normally don’t have time to do even the basic stuff, it becomes the most delicious act of nurturance just to stand in line and buy your kids a bagel.

And maybe there’s like this yin/yang of experience where it’s a Truth that we can’t ever truly know anything–like “joy”– in its fullest and most proper form until we’ve embodied a “lack” of similar equivalency.

Which makes sense. The last time I experienced this same feeling was at the eating counter at the Dancing Cranes over my leafy green salad; the sun was streaming in, and while I sipped an espresso, I was overcome with emotion at remembering how I was once unable to afford the food I was now-putting into my mouth and how even just that very day–only just 200 minutes before–I’d had too much work to do to be able to afford a moment to sit down and nourish my body. And so there I was, living realizations and juxtapositions, and joyously embodying a moment of complete abundance, as if the lack from my past had cleared out a reservoir of privilege and reset my baseline to ‘absolute simplicity.’ The yin being the only thing making the yang possible, this dark energy existing in my life to enrich my experience not with a negativity but rather with the contrast needed to fully embody the sensation of joy.

And of course, I really don’t know. For I also remember having this feeling of joy after finding an open fast food restaurant at the end of my 18 hour Thanksgiving 2015 shift, and there’s a certain amount of justifiable haziness to a spiritual experience in which you find yourself exhausted and hunched over a taco salad in your car, thanking God for Del Taco.

But in the dissection of the past and blending in of the present, I sense the truth of yin/yang, and try not to be too hard on that “she” steeped in the privilege of time who gracelessly moves within “getting’ ‘er done,” because I could never be the person of joy today without the beautiful soul that I was, standing in line, worrying about a million little things, and there is much growth in just acknowledging that my current moment of “now” will one day be my future self looking back at me.

And of course, in the yin and yang of all experience, wisdom comes in fits and starts, meshed together in time, and stalwartly avid in unclarity, but even in the solitude of a solitary moment, there is comfort in knowing that every experience of lack–every time-barren moment and every flawed “you”–is really just a temporary stop in the longer journey towards making us whole.

A Gift of Dark Days

I’ve never cried so hard as that day in 2007 when James drove his moving truck down the street.

He was moving from Salt Lake to live with his office assistant/girlfriend and her son 2000 miles away, just weeks after we told the girls we were divorcing, a divorce which blindsided me, James and Sarah probably beginning their relationship that summer we dug out our basement, when I unknowingly insisted James stay with Sarah and her husband Ryan near the Virginia Vitech office rather than come home to the stress and unpleasantness the girls and I were living with.

“James, no: really. It’s horrible here; just stay with Sarah and Ryan and I’ll take care of stuff here.”

Naturally, he didn’t tell me Ryan had moved out.

But on that epic day, Livy had lost her first tooth (in a bowl of popcorn!) and when he drove off in his UHaul, both girls chased the truck down the street, and he noticed, stopping at the end of Garfield Avenue–next to the orange house he’d eventually move into after the break up with Sarah—getting out of the drivers side to swing around to where Julia and Livy waited on the sidewalk. And there was this moment in my mind—this lovely flash of hope–that he would hug his daughters so tightly, he’d never want to stop, and would recover who he was and become the dad they needed.

But he didn’t. And that night I cried with the force of eternal heartbreak, as if something in my body was already living the future–the sense of rejection my girls would feel, the way they’d blame themselves as faulty, believing if they’d only been different, he wouldn’t have left–instinctually knowing this archetypal loss and what it meant to us all, rolling myself into the fetal position on my bed in the darkness of earths night, convulsing from grief, and the unrecoverable knowledge that the hill was far off and way too high, and that my daughters–my most beloved ethereal connection to both this earth and my own soul–might never be whole again. And that neither would I.

But I was wrong.

I have said goodbye to many things in my lifetime—so many versions of myself and what I thought I needed to be happy— and while it is true that the girls and I were never the same again, the events from that time changed us, scarring us with an experience that gave us no choice but to reach out to one another and (eventually) to go more deeply within. For I never wanted that day to happen–and even now, don’t want the memory of it–and begged God so many times to make the pain go away.

But the Universe in her wisdom did not listen, knowing that one day there would be a stronger, calmer me for the trial, knowing that the evolution of a more sacred human requires unwanted experiences so as to better understand and connect in compassion and grace with our world and our fellow beings. Knowing that it is often our own tears which baptize us into better versions of ourselves.

And absent the human-centric aspect of Time, it becomes possible to witness even the most-emotionally cold day of your life as something you wanted.

Because I’ve been struck with reverberations of that day each moment of the ten years since, and it is within the now that I can see–just adjacent to the sometimes still-intense feeling of loss–that there is a “me” that is actually bigger than such times. For the momentary relief of pain that I desired cannot compare to the joy of knowing I’m now better for it, and you do not even know how beautiful you are until you have had to fight for yourself.

And when you can take something shitty and use it to make something beautiful, there is no fear or need or want anymore: there’s just one opportunity then the next to embrace yourself as a sacred space and learn how to power your way into a more redemptive world.  

And dark days then become sources of strength, powering us all to a better version of ourselves.

An afternoon in which I live out our precarious balance

8/31/2016: Jesus. At the Smiths [grocery store] at 9th and 9th, a homeless mom pushing a shopping cart filled with their stuff and her dazed-looking teen son with auburn hair and freckles following her riding his bike, bags hanging from the handlebars and backpack on his back that had a fucking poster sticking out the top of it.

Oh dear god. I had to sit down on a bench because I was shocked to tears.  Our homeless shelters are currently full so there is nowhere for them to go.

Come fucking on.

How much trauma are we all supposed to bear witness to and still keep ourselves emotionally afloat? Just because we are not walking the streets with our homeless teenagers doesn’t mean we aren’t gutted when we see it happening to someone else.

And I was going to go on an epic rant and go off Facebook again because: its me! I know that I’m part of the problem; of course I am; I have to be. Because we are ALL the problem and the solution; that’s just the way the balance of the universe works.

But rants and self-flagellation are indulgences when someone else is hungry and a teen boy has to walk the streets with a lifetime of prized possessions sticking out the top of a backpack. So I went to Liberty Park and tried to see if they were there. I had $30, and a kind word. But they weren’t there.

Our government SHOULD be our village. But it’s not. We are the village. We are the boots on the ground; we are the ones witnessing and experiencing this trauma together. We are the solution.

And if we can’t shelter our village in our own home then at least we can shelter them in our own hearts with a kind word, a smile, money, a bag of food, a bottled water, or even a simple blessing said quietly to ourselves that their hard times are bringing to them a future of more infinite joy.

May we all listen to our hearts and heed what it says. Our village needs us.

And to the dear Mother of the red-haired boy: next time I see you, I’ll be ready.

 

Post Script 9/1/2016:  I spent about an hour at Liberty Park yesterday, looking for these people, sitting and reflecting.

I don’t believe in accidents; I’ve accepted that Life will include pain and suffering, including my own; I believe that sometimes to get to self-love (which naturally includes love of others too) you have to take a path through dark people and scary times and traumatic events; I know that the journey is fraught because our supposed allies—like religions–tell us foolish things we believe are true, like how inherently selfish it is to put ourselves first (as if being an advocate for ourselves is somehow shameful), which prevents us from adequately using our energy and thoughts so as to become our best selves.

So I knew this experience had occurred to do something for me–to change my thinking, to change who I am.  I knew all that.

I just didn’t care.

Because I didn’t want some big bullshit mental pep talk about how wonderful the Universe is and how connected we all are and how pain is such a great teacher.

I didn’t want to get all dreamy and passive and accepting and Love Love Love.

I wanted peace.  I wanted the pain to stop.  I wanted “basic human nature 101”:  release me from this shit right now.

But the experience wasn’t over, for as I sat on a bench at the park, I opened my email and up popped one from a writer friend in Oregon, telling me that he’d had me in mind when he was stopped by a panhandling couple outside a restaurant, engaged them in conversation, listened to their story, checked for track marks, and handed them money to cover a hostel for a night.  He said he’d never usually do that but he felt like reaching out and listening to them was the right thing to do, and the rest just bubbled from there.  He also said some other things, and together, it barreled me down until as I got into my car, I was crying with joy.

For his email message received at just that time—when I was low and tenderized, and having just finished writing this emotional Instagram post beseeching us all to see the village that needs us, and to shelter one another with compassion and kindness–was like the universe telling me how much it cared about me, and how much it cares about us all.  How—even in the midst of Human Nature 101—the imperceptible connections between us exist, and that Truth is fortunately bigger than me, and doesn’t listen to my discomfort knowing—as it does—the extreme gratitude that is experienced in making the leap from despair to joy.

 

Spots of Light

[Revised and updated, 8/25/2016]

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Me in 1988, during the trip to Yosemite with my mom and Mary

 

My mom was the impetus behind A.v.A.—my weed-smoking boyfriend–coming to live with us.  The year was 1987—I was eighteen–and A.v.A. was an injured bird—motherless, practically fatherless, and a senior in high school—so, when his dad finally went MIA, my mom dove into action so as to prevent him from having the life of a high school drop out.

My mom’s best friend—Mary—donated her damaged yellow Toyota Celica to him (aptly dubbed the “Deerslayer” after an unfortunate incident the year before on a winding, forest road) so that he could drive from our house in the Santa Cruz (CA) Mountains to his job as a busboy in Soquel, and logistics managed, mom opened with some obvious rules:  no canoodling, no breaking curfew, no doing anything that might cause my nosy little sister to tattle and, above all:  No spending money on weed.  He could smoke it (like if friends offered) but spending his money on it wasn’t allowed.

For some, it might take a monumental, Herculean shift in cultural awareness to understand why that last rule was not, in fact, the epitome of “lax,” for in standard American culture in 1987 explaining the subtleties of conscientious weed-smoking to a 17 year old kid wasn’t a thing yet but, in Santa Cruz in 1987–where even the cops smoked weed (they’d take your stash and smoke it themselves)–the resignation of the futility of fighting it had already occurred, and boundaries had to be moved accordingly.  Like out. Way way out.  Like to where a parent might find themselves not wondering very long about where their bong and rolling papers went, at which point they chuckle softly and go back to watching Cheers.  Way. TheHell. Out.

The first time I smelled pot smoke coming from the downstairs bathroom, I knew he’d bought some (because it doesn’t matter how awesome your friends are, they’re not going to be sending you home with a goody bag filled with their weed) and I lectured him on disrespect, and lack of gratitude, lack of consideration, the importance of following my parents’ rules and how it seemed he was flouting the opportunity that my mom was giving him.  What was wrong with him, I wondered, that he didn’t obey the rules; what was wrong with him that he wasn’t afraid of disappointing her?  He didn’t get it at all, what she was trying to do, and why she was trying to help, and I was confounded by his shitheadedness.

Months later after I got back from a family trip to Cancun in 1988, I found out that he and my brother had snuck onto a neighbors’s property, stolen some of their mature pot plants, and hid them in the gully that ran along Hazel Dell Road to dry, at which point I knew that the writing was on the wall.   He’d have to move out.

But it was sad.  And it hurt.

For I had been rooting for him, hoping the experience with an intact family might spur something; and there was intelligence and kindness and humor and potential inside him, and I knew that, and could feel the truth in how it’s often the wounded birds among us who tend to come off as jerks simply because their whole life has been one long self-fulfilling prophecy of uncaring, the end result of which is that they actually have no idea how NOT to self-destruct.

But I knew I couldn’t save him, and when he moved out, it was into a leap too big for both him and us, and I broke up with him soon after.

Two months after breaking up–late summer of ’88–my mom, her Celica-donating best friend—Mary—and I set out on a girls’ trip to Yosemite.  We had rented a cabin, and planned on going hiking, and doing some bonding right before I left home to attend the University of California, Davis.

In a deserted cliff-walled section of Tioga Road, our Jeep Wagoneer broke down and—over the course of 3 minutes–we had exhausted our entire automobile troubleshooting repertoire save for sex appeal, at which point–after another 15—we found ourselves giggling silently when a guy with even less auto-knowledge stopped his studmuffin sports car to offer roadside assistance to us three stranded dames.

The nearest house he dropped us at ended up being a refuge.  The family that lived there—dad, mom, older teen son—were familiar with cars, and the father and son went to retrieve the car part we needed from the nearest town.  The car place was closed for the night but—with beer and KFC purchased by my mom and Mary–we passed the evening with this little family, chatting with one another as if catching up after a long absence.

It was surreal.  To be helped out of a jam by good-hearted, gentle people who we just happened to come upon.

We spent the night in a small, enclosed wooden shelter (no electricity, no plumbing) on their property, and the next morning—new part in place–said our very grateful goodbyes.

Continuing on to Yosemite, Mary relayed a weird thing that had happened to her in our shelter that night.

She said that during the night she saw three spots of light, darting about the darkened room.  She said at first they seemed white but, as she watched them, they changed color.  Light colors, green, purple, then back to white.   She watched them as they flitted, knowing they weren’t normal, but was completely unafraid.

She said she thought that one of those lights might be her mother—who had recently passed—letting her know that she was okay.

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Alphons–A.v.A. in the above–found my (first incarnation of this) blog about two years ago, made a nice comment on my site–in  which he agreed with my reference to him as “wounded bird”)–and since then, we periodically email and text.  I asked him if my blog was true to what happened all those years ago and, in an act of blatant and gorgeous honesty, he said yes.  His life didn’t get that much easier after we broke up; his much-younger sister–who he’d been in foster care with when they were little–ended up being killed when his dad made the decision that it was okay to send her to live in Baton Rouge with their mentally-ill mom; she died as a result of being the passenger in the car of a drunk driver.  She was 16.

Last year, on July 28, 2015, Alphons texted me because he’d been following the disappearance of 8 year old Maddy Middleton–hoping initially that her disappearance was due to a nasty parental custody issue–and had just found out that she’d actually been killed by a teen in her housing complex.  He was very emotional, saying that there was something about the fact that Maddy had been out that day riding her new scooter that was really wrecking him and that the minute he heard the news that she’d been killed, he couldn’t stop crying.

His compassion was so strong and his feelings so deep, it was easy to picture it had been triggered by his time in foster care, when–out of love and loyalty–he took on the task of protecting and caring for the younger sister whose life would one day be forfeit by the uncaring act of his father.

I urged him to go to Maddy’s vigil that night, for I thought he should be around others also grieving, and he did, reporting the next day that he lit one up and passed it around, as the news vans congregated in Westcliff to record people’s grief.

My wounded bird still blazing (pun intended) his own trail in whatever way he can through his very difficult life.

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There is so much goodness in this world.  And my fellow human beings are my heroes, wounded birds–at times—and overpowered by battles with demons both real and imagined but, they inspire me–as I move through life–with feats of generosity and love, both small and large.

Because, in this existence full of pain and hardship where walls are readily built to fortress our natural vulnerability, we allegorically lie in the unfamiliarity of a darkened shelter, and–in so doing–exist perhaps beyond all measure and reason for one another like beacons of hope in a world of shadows; like little spots of flitting light, pushing forth together as we carry on towards a life of unity bound by shared truth and collective wisdom.

And there is beauty and comfort in being willing to traverse a rough road together.  So be at peace, fellow travelers, that there exist the wounded birds of this world to reveal our soul’s softness and reflect back to us how beautiful we are when we stop the world and take time to light the shadows for one another.

America, I’m yours

I’ve been listening to this song all day and thinking about America.

I remember sitting in a car with my mother circa 1993, and being called on to defend my ex-husbands adopted Korean sisters because to mom all Asians were forever tainted by Pearl Harbor, an action of the Japanese government (rather than an entire citizenry/race) which was more than atoned for by dropping nuclear bombs onto innocent people but it didn’t matter. She just couldn’t let it go.

How did we get here? How did it happen? How are there people in this country who can believe a liar who spews hate is a “straight shooter,” accept as speaker at their political party’s convention a filthy troll-wannabe who tweets to the world the word “c*nt” to describe our female candidate, and accepts the platform of a party who wants to register and ban all members of a certain religious faith?

How did this happen?

I agree that we are not where we want to be. My (old) political party is itself a disgusting shitshow of entitlement and buyouts, and that the admission of failure rests on the backs of the now-disappeared middle class who have found themselves now on the corners holding cardboard signs asking for “any amount,” but we won’t ever get to where we want to be through irrational fear, including of fellow human beings who just happen to be different than us, because we’ve already done this–hated indiscriminately–and it still resolved into peaceful coexistence, and will again because hate is unsustainable (google it) and we can’t keep repeating the same behaviors and pretending it’s not insanity. Because it is. It’s insanity. And those who want to preserve an entitlement, income-inequality, non-Muslim America aren’t even preserving “America”.

Because America is better than this. America is better than our individual grudges, better than looking past homeless people, the addicts, the mentally ill; it’s better than knee-jerking into non-compromise about gun control, better than bombing the shit out of the world and allowing ourselves to look away from feeling some measure of responsibility for sheltering some of the refugees that we helped to create.

So let’s just all have a good cry in the corner, arms hugging our knees, rocking back and forth, until the anxiety and disappointment subside, and we finally remember what love and acceptance feels like.

Because even as the curtain has been pulled back to reveal both puppetmaster and bogeyman, I know that I can’t give up on this.

I will stand by the values that were injected into me as part of this beautiful social experiment–constantly trying and failing then trying again–because I know even as I watch this video and see the American in admiration for a Korean, and the Korean audience singing along with the American’s song, I know that America is bigger than me, bigger than my own desires and my own individual catastrophe. Bigger than them, singers, audience, nationalities. She belongs to the whole world.

And with my heart and soul–and with the hearts and souls of so many before me–she is an entity worth fighting for.

So, America, I’m yours.

❤ you..