Sometimes I feel like I have to create to survive, or maybe just to briefly release my mind from the terror of recent national events.
It’s taken a while for me to even feel something, anything about the mass shootings, but now that it’s sunken in, it’s here in full force. For a while, I distracted myself with the emotional outbursts on Facebook –the “meme level” of comprehending this tragic bloodshed– and allowed myself to focus on the gun control/mental health debate instead of the real issues. As much as I think additional regulation for firearms as well as investments for mental health care are important, sometimes this seems like a pseudo-debate designed relegate these murderers to the category as “other” and “apart” to trick us into feeling safe, instead of wondering why white men think “man card” is synonymous with murdering children. After 9/11 the country relegated all those with brown skin, hijabs, turbans and head scarves into the category of enemy. When the danger is white men, the demographic most likely to be responsible for “killing sprees, leading dangerous cults, or plotting acts of violent treason“, the same profiling doesn’t occur… instead the blame is shifted to the mentally ill, a statistically non-violent segment.
I haven’t been sleeping well lately, because of all of this mulling around in my brain. The realization we all want to avoid: that violence exists all around us and every day people are hurting each other, bombing children and other innocents and abusing the people they say they love. That all we can do is show some kindness, practice our “there’s a shooter in the building” scenario and take the time to find the sweetness that does exist in the world. I’m going to try to keep this in mind as i put the finishing touches on my knitted gifts, and hope that those more directly affected by the shootings can find peace as well.
I still feel like my blog has yet to take form, perhaps because I don’t do enough interesting things, and mostly lay around knitting and watching Mad Men (or at least I have been the last week and a half of illness). Seriously, a few days ago I put on a pair of pants and a bra and Brad asked, “What are you getting all dolled up for?” He wasn’t being facetious… so that’s a pretty good indicator of the level of inactivity that has been happening lately.
Or maybe it’s that even the interesting activities I do (e.g. riding my bike around in Portland with a cold and nearly suffocating on my own mucous) seem difficult to focus on with the angle of living presently, enjoying the wondrous glow blossom of life, etc. The truth is, I’m not the most positive person. Writing a blog about epiphanies I’m having about life feels like grating my face on a mandoline. Maybe I should refocus the blog? Jetless Jetsetter: Why move when you can marinate in your own squalor? Jetless Jetsetter: Sometimes I wear pants. Jetless Jetsetter: 1000 excuses to not write a blog. Jetless Jetsetter: Knitting Projects and Thoughts on Mad Men reruns on Netflix. Catchy.
We humans have a lot in common with bees, really. Bees are neato. Bees work hard, real hard, for several months of the year. They’re building up a sweet pile of honey money and storing it for later (we try our best, right?). They get sick (I have 100 bug bites right now, no joke). They get annoyed and lazy when it rains (what gym?). They kick out the man drones when winter comes so those worthless, non-pollen gathering punks don’t eat up their reserves (I have seen so many piles of man possessions on sidewalks in Portland. Moving sale left overs? Nope. Drone expulsion!). When they smell smoke, they gobble down some honey quickly so that they will have the energy stores to last them until they find a new home (in an unexplained disaster response phenomenon, humans almost always waste time evacuating an emergency scene to grab a possession e.g. burning plane- grabbing their carry-on).
I’m trying my best to stop being a bee. Like bees, I spend too much time preoccupied with the future: the person I should be, the job and dollars I should have. Life is short though… I took these pictures in April when I helped my friend Jim introduce some new bees to some hives that didn’t survive last winter. The dead bees were huddled into the middle of the hive for warmth, deep into the cells, lapping up the last bits of honey. Above them, there was still plenty of food, but the bees didn’t venture away from their warm cluster to find it.
The new bees we introduced to the hive swept the dead bees away and got to work on gathering sweetness.
Instead of being the busy bee, instead of waiting for the next wind gust of opportunity to take me on the next adventure, I want to rest the wings for a while and focus on finding gratitude in the present and being the person I should be right now. This is my first post in a series that will be focused on finding gratitude and a sense of awe in the opportunities available in my own backyard and living life to the fullest in the right here, right now.