I’m not one to get depressed on a frequent basis – at least not anymore. My job is good, my home life is fine, and some of the typical stresses are just humming at the average level. There was even that usual jarring – back to reality – feeling that came when I returned from BlogHer, where suddenly the blue skies and perfect weather of San Jose faded and it was back to traffic and day care pickups and meetings upon meetings.
The last few weeks haven’t been perfect, but I have to find a way to climb out of this emotional rut. Vibrating not-so-silently in the background, there’s the stress of the health issues of a family member and watching them self-destruct at a faster pace than in prior decades. I walk marathons not just because I want to raise money for Dana-Farber Cancer Institute but also because I have some things to prove to myself: namely, that I can control my own body and what happens to it. This past weekend I hit a personal record for the 9mi distance, sub-16-minute miles. In any given distance, a sub-16 is decent for walking, but when you’re going 9 miles, that’s pretty damn fantastic. I can never run thanks to my busted knees, but I never want to stop walking. I don’t want to self-destruct.
Then there’s everything unfolding in Ferguson, which is like watching a slow-speed crash of a tractor trailer and an LNG tanker. You know things are going to go horribly wrong, but it’s hard to say when it will hit some magical tipping point where there is no return. There are people protesting to have their voices heard, to question that justice is being served by drips and drops of information, to challenge the idea that ~whatever happened~ is okay. There are police (of varying denominations) fighting to keep the peace and establish order in a town that can’t seem to settle down and where they know they’re operating in an atmosphere of minimal trust.
Bad actors exist on both sides: cops who persist in calling protestors “monkeys” and “animals” and hooligans who are using the protests as cover to loot and destroy (read Bill Buford’s “Among the Thugs” to learn about the psyche of hooligans – it’s an excellent read). There are good actors on both sides, too – like the head of the state police who started first with handshakes before escalating to tougher tactics and like the protestors who are organizing food drives to feed the children shut out of lunches by the postponement of the school year. This is by no means a cut-and-dry case, but it’s giving everyone an excuse to vent their bile at their target of choice – and there’s too much friendly-fire going on in the process. We need to not self-destruct.
I’m going to find a way to post other things on the blog over the next couple of weeks, seemingly incongruous posts that are, in fact, a return to the type of material I’ve posted before, because I’m trying to find a way out of the funk that’s gripping me. Anyone who wants to be positive is welcome to come along. It’s time to put down the sticks, short or otherwise.
We need to not self-destruct.