Another Day Behind the Keyboard
It’s press day, and I’m sitting in my office staring out the window while the ball of fire in the sky battles its way through the clouds as though it knows I need to see it. I turn my face, eyes closed—and then my entire desk—toward the window and the blinding reflection. “The door is open,” I think, mildly concerned that a coworker may pass by and witness my feline moment in the sun. Especially after the morning I’ve had which was on display for the entire team to see. A passive aggressive punch by “leadership” had thrust me off the side of the boat, and as I reached for the safety net of my best friend’s guidance I wondered if I wanted to be saved at all. Let me drown, I thought. Let it all sink to the bottom of the deepest sectors of this godforsaken sea as I know it. But here I am, needing to conquer a blank page, again. I’ve pushed through before, I always push through … regardless of illness or divorce, death or dysfunction. Once again, there will be no sacred space for the tender lining of my creative mind to reign.
“I need to take this brain and body home,” I say to my art director as I leave for the night. “I’m going to stop by the grocery store so I can grab something to feed my family, and hope for some editor letter inspiration there … because we both know I can find it anywhere.”
The elevator starts descending to the main floor as I scramble to catch up on neglected texts from friends and kids. As soon as the doors begin to open, I take a step forward to exit. Two men in serious—although a bit peculiar—police uniforms step in, and we nearly collide. I had only traveled down one story, to floor 5. “Hello … officers?” I say. “Oh, no, this is cosplay,” one says as they both laugh. “That makes sense,” I say. “Although it’s a convincing getup—nice work. But the gun makes me nervous.” They break into laughter as the elevator stops on floor 4 and they both step off. “We are the building security,” the cosplay commenter says over his shoulder as the doors close between us. I’m left to wonder if the gun is real.
I keep my phone in my bag as I walk into the store so I can keep my chin up and spirit open for human connection. Whose paths will cross with mine tonight? I wonder. Whose story needs to be shared? The tall man in front of me lets out a big belch, and in case I might doubt what I just heard, he does it again. He turns his head toward me as he reaches for his cart. Based on the size of his eyes, and the quick adjustment to his waistband, he didn’t know I was behind him. He smiles and continues on into the store. I’m not amused, with this goon or anyone else at this point. And the heavy sadness I’ve felt for two days pokes its head back in. Not strictly for the stunning loss of families in the Kobe Bryant helicopter crash, but for the vitriol I’ve seen and read from Facebook connections criticizing those who are sad about it, and from other connections who were in the ready to remind the world of Bryant’s transgressions—proclaiming to “know” the story and using their own victimhood as condemnation. It has left me with three thoughts I would otherwise keep to myself, but here I am in the wake of some man’s burp at the grocery store and grace be gone.
Of course their lives mattered just as much. Stop fighting each other over ridiculous notions meant only to discredit one another’s pain, experiences, grief. Just as “black lives matter” in no way—so help me—means other people’s lives do not matter; mourning, even wailing on social media, the loss of one person in no way—so help me—means the loss of others counts for less. I can share my undying love, adoration and appreciation for my son, and in no way does that diminish my love, adoration and appreciation for my daughters. Love 101 states: it’s endless and boundless, within you, and within those around you, too. Pain is no different. When their pain is raw and reeling, let them hurt—for one person, for nine people, for 1,000 people. Let them hurt for their pets, their family, their friends, for sports icons, for movie stars, for starving children 6,000 miles away. Stop trying to be in charge of—or in control of—other people’s pain—even if you don’t understand, accept or approve of it.
The pain of your past should not be used as weaponry … or righteousness. Having been a victim in no way grants you permission to use that experience to discredit others, to override the thoughts of others, nor does it offer you the mic on behalf of anyone else who has suffered in similar fashion without their permission. Your pain is your pain; it is not the pain of the masses—or other victims. I know you already know how having your pain doubted or questioned often feels more brutal than the initial assault—and yet you still question others and their pain with righteous abandon. You can hold space for other people’s pain without making your own pain superior, or without feeling yours diminished. Keep your eyes wide open for triggers, and realize a trigger is your own inner mechanism, not the work of the world against you.
If you need the reminder: yes, this all ends … for each—and all—of us. It doesn’t matter your age, the size of your house, the length of your vacations, the brand of your purse, the amount of filler in your face. We are, for the most part, stretched so dangerously thin, it takes a whopping tragedy heard around the world to be reminded of our mortality … and we should honor the reminder, we should let it sink in. If you aren’t thanking God, or the universe, or your parents, friends and family for sharing in life daily, I challenge you to do so.
We are Spokane Coeur d’Alene Living, and we are Spokane and Coeur d’Alene. Please find me on Facebook and Instagram—and hop over to “like” the Spokane Coeur d’Alene Living page—to stay connected between press dates, and share your thoughts, stories, and life in real time.
Don’t forget to love one another,
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