coming to America
Yesterday, like many people, I read the news that ebola had finally landed in America. Facebook was the messenger, as it so often is. I responded by posting: ebola 😦
Throughout the day, I got emails and some texts–all reassuring me that ebola was a non-issue here in the US. That because of its incubation period, we were safe from epidemic. That because of our amazing health care system, our citizens won’t suffer.
I also saw a lot of posts saying as much on FB and many more making fun of it. Because that’s what people do.
To distract, comfort, and reassure.
I mostly ignored them because I wasn’t feeling like engaging any of those things.
But then I wondered why so many people, in particular, felt like they needed to say something to me about it. I have a degree in biology, took immunology courses, am best friends with a cancer researcher, and know far more about hospitals than I’d care to own.
I know. I know about incubation. I know about disease. I know about death.
Far too damn much. And I hate all of it.
I didn’t comment on ebola because I was worried. That 😦 meant what it normally does. I was frowning because I was sad. I was sad to hear that another person had it. Sad to hear it had come to another country. Sad to hear that people were afraid and suffering. Because one person is too many. One family is too many.
Sad because 1/2 of Liberia’s population will likely die due to this disease or its aftershocks. Because before people die they are ostracized and cast out. And that the person who made it to our country was lucky because we supposedly don’t do such things, and we have modern everything. Except we sometimes do. Except it often fails.
So, there’s that.
And then I got really angry.
I’ve been feeling that way a lot lately. Been having dreams of beating people up. Violent dreams of annihilation and rage. Because I’ve been doing inner child work, and I gave myself permission to feel. Finally. Only, for all this anger, I’m not much more than sad.
I’m allowed to be angry and sad about things that suck. I am allowed to be angry and sad just because I am.
And I’m so sorry if this is rude, but please don’t try to comfort me or distract me or numb me to the reality you see. I want to feel all of it. Mostly because I felt nothing for far too long, or I apologized for being a highly intuitive, sensitive soul for–well–all of my time here.
You can numb out and logic out and pretend all you want. But I won’t. Because seeing people suffer and die and endure hurts me. Because I saw it happen too often, too early, and I won’t pretend it’s okay.
No–I’m not worried about getting some disease. Though don’t be so comfortable.
Safety is an illusion. You are never ever safe. You live on borrowed time, and the thing that kills you will win one day.
The how is just a detail.
But pay attention to that impulse. Is that the legacy you want to leave? That you laughed at someone’s suffering? That you diminished pain because it wasn’t in your home? That you stopped paying attention because it didn’t matter because it wasn’t yours today?
We oscillate between callousness and hysterics–all the while ignoring the places where our own humanity is most needed. We worry about who’s getting married in what million dollar dress and how many calories are in our $5 latte while people drink muddy water and die because we stopped looking.
I am so grateful I still have eyes and a heart that remembers it’s broken.