Covered in Shit & Earth


*WARNING: I can’t guarantee that this will make sense or be a solid piece of writing. They are just thoughts, tumbling out one right after the other.*

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Tears envelop my eyes and distort my vision as I sit here trying to type this.

I don’t want to engage in a wrestling match between words & my emotions, trying to bring the two together like matching puzzle pieces, giving them life & voice so you can understand my current state of mind.

I’m tired of thinking, of trying to process all that I’ve read, heard, and seen online and in conversations with people. I’m overwhelmed with trying to grasp and retain it all.

When I was 13, we lived in a 2 acre plot of land in a small town 45 minutes outside of San Antonio. Our neighbors on the left, the Clarks, housed chickens on the back end of their property. Our neighbor on the right, Mr. Lopez, housed goats, chickens, and a calf named Bandit. We had three Rottweilers ourselves, and I spent several occasions hopping over the fence into Bandit’s pen, trying to get them back into our own property.

It was exhausting. The pen was full of mud & cow manure, both mixing together into one slippery surface. Chasing after my dogs and trying to grab ahold of them was next to impossible…and messy. Running, jumping, and wrestling them to the fence meant being on my hands and knees, reaching through the mud & manure to grasp their slick legs and midsections. I’d often give up and just sit in the middle of the pen, silently hoping they’d tire themselves out soon & make my task easier to accomplish.

I’d just sit there and watch them run in circles around the pen, terrorizing Bandit & the rest of the animals and feel helpless & frustrated at my inability to make them stop. I’d sit there, covered in shit and earth from head to toe, feeling defeated.

That’s how I feel this morning. Like I’m back out in that pen, covered from head to toe in shit & earth, tired from wrestling & wrangling, wanting nothing more than to close my eyes and pretend I’m in another place, and not spitting cow shit out of my mouth.

Only today, it’s not cow shit & I’m not on a 2 acre plot of land in Texas with 3 rowdy dogs and barn animals. I’m in my apartment trying to play with my two boys while blinking back tears & quieting a mind reeling from news headlines.

The Wisconsin Sikh shooting yesterday….The shooting spree in Colorado just a couple of weeks ago….gun control, the Second Amendment, the NRA…mental health…hate crimes…violence…

Chic Fil A, marriage equality, gay rights, freedom of speech, Christianity, Homosexuality, religious freedom, dogma, intolerance…boycotts, kiss-ins, appreciation days…

Trayvon Martin, racism, race, “looking suspicious”, injustice, politics….

HATE. From acts of violence to comments on media sites & Facebook all I see is hate.

And ignorance. So much ignorance.

And a faith being misrepresented by those who have forgotten what Jesus would’ve actually done. So called “Christians” who care more about being “right” than people.

Intolerance and polarization. Everywhere I look, I see lines in the sand and giant gaps in the middle where only a minority dare to reside.

My mind has spun tirelessly in an effort to take it all in, process it, draw conclusions, and give a voice to how it all makes me feel. I’ve spent the summer wrestling & wrangling in the shit & earth that these issues present, trying grasp ahold of my own thoughts on each and find my footing on a shifting worldview, slipping, sliding, and losing a grip that was once firm & sure of what it was holding on to & why.

My mind is back in that pen, and I find myself sitting there covered from head to toe in the messiness & ugliness of humanity, wanting nothing more than to close my eyes, and pretend I don’t see it, and that my heart is not breaking within me from the pain of it.

During a session called “Blogging the Fine Line Between Your Identity & the Issues,” at BlogHer this weekend, I felt challenged by the panelists to not look away from the ugliness. To find a way to speak to it and give it a voice.

In the past I’ve been hesitant to talk about things like race, religion & politics here on the blog. I’ve wanted to share my thoughts, questions, and perspective on various cultural issues that are difficult to talk about but wasn’t sure how or if I should. I’ve been comfortable with being transparent about my struggles but not with my thoughts & feelings on issues I feel strongly or have questions about. But then I attended this session. Heard Kelly Wickham (@mochamomma) say to “work past your own tension & discomfort,” when wanting to write about “the issues.” When I asked her “how?” she simply extended her foot on the ground and said, “like this-just step out & step up to it, a little at a time if you have to but just get out there. Don’t be afraid to take that step.”

So…this is me. Taking that step and refusing to just navel gaze and vowing to be more open with you about how I’m feeling & what I’m questioning in regards to “the issues.”

This is me saying that I’m going to let you watch me wrestle and wrangle my way through them….and ask you to wrestle & wrangle with me, share your insights & questions so we can be challenged to learn & grow together.

And? This is me, covered in the shit of all the hate, violence, and ignorance of the past weeks & saying it has left my soul weary and my heart broken. It has left me scrambling to find a way to raise my boys in a still racially divided society & infuriated with the Christian Church here in America. I’ve found myself in the middle of so many opposing sides wanting my cries for compassion to override the hate and ignorance being screamed back & forth, and just being overwhelmed by it all….

How have you been dealing with all of this? Do you feel defeated & overwhelmed too? Are you wrestling with anything as a result of all that’s been happening lately?

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25 thoughts on “Covered in Shit & Earth

  1. You know I have been right where you are lately – I completely identify with the frustration and disappointment. I can’t wait to wrestle and wrangle with you so we can learn and grow together.

    I too shy away from writing about politics or religion on the blog, but I found such reward the other day when I did. It is hard to step out and up, but it is very gratifying too. 🙂

    Hugs,
    Tiffany

    • It’s comforting to know I’m not the only one who’s shied away from talking about things like this. The Internet is full of trolls, so that makes it hard to put yourself out there, you know?

      But I’m glad you have, and I feel relieved now that I’ve started to as well. Wrestling through some things together should be rewarding for the both of us 🙂 thank you for staying in the wrestling ring with me 🙂

  2. Thank you for sticking your foot out there. I did too. I do not want to pretend like this hate and ignorance doesn’t happen. I am done with pretending it doesn’t affect me deeply because it does. I feel defeated, and I worry about what I can possibly do. So I wrote about it, and I am going to read Nurture Shock to figure out how to discuss race with my girls.

    • Hi Tranquilamama! I love the fact that you want to and recognize the importance of discussing race with your girls. I’ll also have to read that book. Talking about race with children is a very important issue to me. I look forward to reading your insights about that undertaking. Please share your experiences discussing race with children along the way. With me, you have at least one person who’s extremely interested.

      Best,

      Sarah

    • I really enjoyed your post about it, and struggle as well with wondering what I can possibly do to help. Events line this make you feel like there isn’t much you can do, right? That’s what keeps me silent sometimes.

      But I’m learning & trying to at least just say something. At the very least, I’d like to engage in a healthy dialogue with others, even if they disagree with me. So hopefully this is a step toward that. I’m glad you’re doing the same-and committing to talk about it with your girls. I need to start doing the same with my boys. I’m definitely going to get that book-we should read it together!

      • I started reading that book, Addye. It’s so eye opening. I realized that I am guilty of not telling the girls why President Obama’s election was so momentous. So I talked about it with her the other night.

  3. I feel this way at times too. There’s so much going on and it seems as if it’s getting worse. It is sickening. I try not to dibble and dabble in hot button topics but every once in a while, I have to say something.

    • It is sickening. It’s hard not to just turn away from it and pretend its not there. Hot button issues are hard for me to talk about with others, so I totally get your hesitation to dabble. But you’re right, sometimes, you’ve just gotta say something.

  4. Hello! This is a great first step! Congrats.

    I know from experience that it’s difficult to put our feelings about the issues into words.

    It’s also scary to think of the reactions we’re going to get from people who disagree with out views. For me that was biggest issue.

    I think the world needs more compassionate and thoughtful insight from people like who who aren’t merely ranting and raving about these issues but are genuinely seeking to understand, heal, and find hope.

    Can’t wait to share in the wrangling.

    Best,

    Sarah

    • Ahhh yes. The ranting & raving. I think that’s one of the reasons why I stayed away from “the issues”-I don’t want to let my anger & snark take over, you know? That doesn’t invite constructive conversations and definitely doesn’t lead to understanding-and that’s what I want-exactly what you said-understanding, peace, & growth.

      Thank you for joining in the conversation and wanting to wrestle with me! I look forward to it 🙂

  5. I know exactly how you feel. I understand how mad you are with the American Body of Christ. I have found a peace in Christ that keeps me calm knowing of God’s supreme will, but I also have to admit that I too am guilty of sitting back and keeping that peace to myself while the rest of my brothers make things worse. We must do better, but know that unbreakable peace is there to help you through the pain.

  6. This is what I needed this morning. I’ve been struggling all summer, actually all year with this. I see it in my blog when world issues bother and weigh me down I don’t participate because my soul feels so lost and angry I fear I will say too much or that in all the craziness that my voice means nothing. I want to write about all this stuff but I’m also afraid to. I’m trying desperate to keep my own soul intact. Trying hard not to let my heart turn cold or vengeful. So I ignore it to an extent. Sure I talk about it but if I sat to write about what would I expose? My fear. My sadness and depression. My absolute anger. I’m a happy person who is not happy anymore.
    Reading this I know I have to write. I wish I’d gone to blog her. I would have loved to meet you. Chicago, maybe? 🙂

    • (((HUGS))) I’ve been feeling the same way and afraid of the same things you are-especially of my heart turning cold and my voice & thoughts getting lost & not mattering. One thing I took away from that panel and from Kelly’s wisdom is that it’s okay to be afraid, but don’t let it keep you from stepping out there & doing it anyway. Silence helps no one, and that panel really helped me understand that.

      While I learned last weekend that BlogHer isn’t my cup of tea, I REALLY enjoyed meeting my blogging buddies & friends, and would have LOVED hugging & chatting with you 🙂 not sure if I’ll go next year, but if you’re thinking about going, I say do it-I think it’s worth going to at least once

  7. A’Driane, you took the words out my mouth…I have been grieving lately. Grieving for the murdered but also for people’s lost sense of compassion and humanity. I have been shocked to look at fb and see heartless responses to some current events or in the case of the most recent shooting in Wisconsin, almost no responses at all. Silence. Its scary. Keep pouring your heart out. If you can reach or comfort even one person, it makes it all so worth it. Thank you for your boldness.

    • Thank you Melissa for letting me know I’m not by myself in this, or in grieving the loss of lives & compassion. It IS scary, and leaves me feeling kind of hopeless.

  8. You know when a towel gets wet and it takes so much energy to release the water, then it just lies there all limp and annoying? That’s how I feel. Guns Guns Guns. WTF? Stricter laws would nip this up a bit making it so that any crime which takes place utilizing GUNS would automatically be against the law. Therefore, punishable. Maybe it’s just me. I work with ignorant, racist people who are PRO-GUN all the way. I’m not one to just sit there and listen, I speak my mind and in the end I’m more wrung out than ever. I’m burned out on life as a whole, girl. xo

    • No it’s not just you. I have similar thoughts, trust me. I just don’t understand the obsession & paranoia gun owners have, I really don’t. It’s scary. Anytime someone can just own 25-30 rifles (assault rifles the military uses nonetheless) and then use some of them to go on a rampage…I just…I don’t know what to think about that without being alarmed you know? And having questions. And wanting some kind of change.

      (sigh) I totally get the towel analogy. That’s a good way of describing it.

  9. Yes, I absolutely often feel defeated and overwhelmed by it all, too. I also went to that really amazing session at BlogHer, and left feeling like I need to start standing up more publicly and speaking out against all the hate. Sure, I speak out with like-minded friends and family, but I haven’t tackled any serious issues on my own blog in a long time. Too long. Hopefully I will get back there. Meanwhile, I applaud your own first steps.

    • Thank you-it’s not easy but I’m hoping to learn a lot through the process.

      Wasn’t that session incredible?!!! Like you I walked away feeling challenged & inspired. So glad I went…and that you stopped by to read & comment here 🙂

      I will definitely visit your space & hear your thoughts on “the issues”. Here’s to first steps & the rest of the journey 🙂

  10. I am very fortunate to have Mochamomma as a personal friend. I love her dearly and respect the hell out of her. Her words and insights are thought-provoking, inspiring, and often bring me to tears. It seems she has rubbed off on you. Great post.

    • First let me say that I am incredibly jealous that you get to soak up all of her awesomeness & wisdom on a regular basis 🙂 Second, yes, she has rubbed off on me, and I’m already a much better thinker & writer for it.

      Thank you for reading (and subscribing!)

  11. Such vivid imagery but you are not alone with the feelings revolving the news as of late. I’ve been tuning in to catch the traffic reports and unfortunately I’ve had to tune into the rest. I do not watch the news. I hate the news. 93% of what is on is about someone being shot to death, in the middle of the night, in the middle of the afternoon…its a child, its a baby, its an older man….chaos seems to be taking over my town, and as much as I’d like to defend my town, i myself feel defeated. You are not alone.

    • So SO glad I’m not alone in this…or in my distaste for the news. The news wasn’t always like this was it? Do they report on the good anymore?

      I think there should be a new station dedicated to reporting nothing but positive, thoughtful, uplifting stories. Or am I just being an idealist? Lol.

  12. Pingback: •ρ• F.A.B.S! « Reflections on Reality

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