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Friday, June 17, 2016

I Will Not Let You Recite My Pain

Last night, as helicopters circled over head and I found myself worrying that violence, in whatever capacity, had found its way into my neighborhood, I began to reflect on the terrible things we have been hearing about as of late.

The local shootings, the mass shootings, the bombings, the hate. So much hate. And the fear. And as a writer I find that often, I feel this intense need to write about these things as a way to sort through them. I also, however, keep finding myself at a crossroads.

I am a straight, white, woman who grew up in a middle class, Catholic, suburban home, who does not know and cannot pretend to know what people who are different from me feel regarding these situations.

It is infuriating to me when people try to comment on the situations without having been a part of it or the community it effects. Perhaps this is just social media and the media in general exposing me and my fellow Americans to a platform where everyone feels they should have some long, often political, reaction to the news headlines.

I am not saying that we cannot all mourn the loss of life or have an opinion. Lord knows I have seen the comments about how everything offends people nowadays. As I said before, I know that often we just don't know how to sort through these situations without saying something. I know that as human beings we all have a reaction.

I am saying that there are some situations that call for us to sit back and listen to the victims, the witnesses, their families, their communities. I am saying maybe we need to let them tell their stories. I am saying we don't all need to share our feelings about things because so often we worry so much about what to say that we miss the chance to learn about each other and grow as a nation, as human beings.

I came across a poem (shared below) today that I had written for the 30 Poems in 30 Days challenge in April this year. This was before the horrific Orlando shooting. It was not even in response to any sort of similar situation, but as I reread it, I feel that it is so relative

-      -     -

My Pain

I will not let you recite my pain
for it is mine to share or hide.
I have the privilege of choice, so
I will recite my own pain, thanks.

For it is mine to share or hide,
this image of the hardest in my life.
I will recite my own pain, thanks.
Maybe another day you will share yours.

This image of the hardest in my life,
it means nothing coming from you.
Maybe another day you can share yours,
so we will all understand each other better.

It means nothing coming from you.
I have the privilege of choice so,
So we will all understand each other better.
I will not let you recite my pain.

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