No matter where you go, there you are.


I have something big and exciting and scary and exciting and thrilling and exciting and a little bit unbelievable and exciting going on right now. And I am trying not to get TOO excited. One of my innate defense mechanisms when things really seem to be going my way is to make sure I temper my excitement with a little bit of…distance, I guess. So that if things don’t work out in the way they seem they are going to, I have put a little bit of space between the expectation of having everything work out and myself. That way, if everything does not work out, I maybe don’t have as far to fall.

So that being said, I am in the midst of purchasing a house! And I have found a house I love in a neighborhood I love, and I have spent time in this house and can feel that it (she) is waiting for me. The house has a long history in one family, and they find that their time there has passed, and now it is someone else’s turn to take her and love her and make her into a home.

Earlier this year, my mom told me that her childhood home was listed for sale on Zillow, and I took some time check it out. My mom grew up in a Cape Cod-style house on Long Island, and I spent plenty of time there when I was a child. I have great memories of that house. Well, in the years since my grandfather passed away (I was in eighth grade at the time) and now, the house has been completely redone. It’s beautiful. They had some good work done on it. But when I saw it, I felt like, for me, the house had been ruined. I could no longer picture my Aunt Sophie sitting in her chair or my grandfather eating breakfast at his kitchen table. Instead, it was a strange house that had been passed along to strangers. And it made me very sad.

So I have found for myself a Cape Cod-style house in one of the many boroughs that are around here, and it has not been completely redone. It has been well-cared for, and it has been updated (the important stuff…roof, electric, etc.), but it many ways, it feels the way my grandfather’s house did to me. It feels like a house that has known some good years and has been a home. And if all goes according to plan, some time in December,it will be my home.

I have written before about how I like to hold my career up as the main measure of who I am. Tell me about yourself. I’m a nurse. What do you do? I’m a nurse. What do you enjoy? I’m a nurse. I have been other things in the past, certainly. I have been a daughter, a granddaughter, a sister, a cousin. I have been a friend and a classmate and a coworker and a girlfriend. I have been a wife and a stepmother. I have been a part of my own smaller family and part of my ex-husband’s larger family. I have been a teacher and a program director and a professional Girl Scout. I have been a student.

I am listening to Glennon Melton Doyle’s first memoir because I last read it several years ago and wanted to go through it again. I love a lot of what Glennon writes because I find her easy to relate to, even though I am not a mom and she is kind of a mommy blogger. She is open and honest, and she is someone who seems to be unapologetically herself. I appreciate that because it is a goal I have for myself…unapologetically me. Work in progress.

Anyway, listening to some of what she wrote before her marriage took a turn down the road that eventually led her to separation (and a planned divorce), I am surprised at the difficulty I have with it. Whenever she writes something about how amazing her husband is, I find myself getting almost rage-y because I know what she has shared since then. I know that, as there was in my marriage, there was infidelity in her marriage, and I know that, just as I did not, she did not ever expect it, and I feel like it is bringing up “stuff” for me. Mostly, it feels like excruciating compassion and also “all the feels.” And I don’t have a great track record with all the feels.

So between the “normal” stuff (work, school, general function in the world) and the house stuff (which some studies have shown to be among the most stressful life events there is, right up there with divorce and bereavement), I have this “stuff” stuff. And apparently, if you go back far enough in my blog, you can have the opportunity to feel similarly about my former life as I do about Glennon’s. It’s there in the archives for anyone to see.

So I was a wife for about six years, and I spent an additional six years before that in a relationship that included some stepparent-ish stuff. All the fun and not much of the responsibility, actually…but baseball seasons and basketball seasons and football seasons and volleyball seasons. Christmas trees and Easter baskets. Family weddings. Births and deaths. First Communions and Confirmations and graduations. A college search. A lot of love, even if I didn’t always know how to show it. And I have not been any of these things for almost five years now, which is when I was served an eviction notice from life as I knew it (this is a Glennon-ism) and found myself starting over with very little of my pride intact but with my career, at least, to hang my hat on.

The years since then have both dragged and flown by. My former stepsons, whom I am not in touch with, are adults. My ex-husband’s family, whom I am not in touch with, beyond the occasional Facebook interactions, are strangers. I still have a career that makes me proud, and I have a lot of good stuff coming up in the future. But I think that buying a house for myself, to live in and create a home from and to shape my life in, is a harder transition than I expected it to be.

I am IN LOVE with this house, but I am also scared of it. My spending habits have gotten me in some trouble before, and I am presenting to myself this blank canvas, and I “need” to fill it. But is there anything I actually need? Am I wanting for anything? I am fed and clothed. I have plenty of shoes. I have electricity and heat and running water, excellent healthcare, a kick-ass therapist (XO), a caring family, friends who show me time and again that they care for me, an awesome dog and a mediocre (awesome if not for the vindictive peeing thing) cat, and exciting plans for the future. But when I feel overwhelmed by life, I often go in one of two directions (or sometimes both directions at the same time, which is easier than it sounds)…I either shop, or I eat. And man, could you ask for a better reason to shop? It feels like I am taking care of myself, planning to fill my home with new treasures.

But I don’t want just to fill my home. I want to be deliberate about it. I don’t want to go to a big furniture store and buy a living room set. I want to buy things as I come upon them and really love them instead. I don’t want to mindlessly fill my spaces with things that don’t make me feel like my home is my haven. I want to add little touches and make improvement as time goes by, something here and something there, always a work in progress. I don’t want to use my house to numb my feelings and check out of my body and hold people at arm’s length. But that is kind of what I am doing (okay, that is mostly what I am doing) now.

So who am I? Well, I work as a nurse. I am a sister and sister-in-law, a daughter and a granddaughter, a niece and a cousin. I am an ex-wife and former stepmother. I once worked as a teacher, but I don’t any longer. I am still a Girl Scout. I am someone who roots for the underdog, can be overly analytical, does not take compliments well, and sometimes finds direct eye contact to feel like too much. I am a reader and a writer. I am a dog and cat mama. I am a student, both in my post-Masters program and in life. I am a vault with secrets and full of compassion and someone friends can rely on. I sometimes overstep, but it is because of how much I care. I want to save the world, but first I have to worry about myself.

I am a work in progress, and it’s not so important to see the whole path in front of me. I guess, instead, I can live on a little bit of faith for a while as I figure things out.

An Evening with Glennon Doyle Melton


Several (to many) months ago, I was perusing the dates on Glennon Doyle Melton’s book tour schedule and saw that she was coming to speak in a town less than an hour from where I live as part of her tour for her new book Love Warrior. I was first introduced to Glennon and her Momastery world when I followed a link for her TEDx talk, entitled “Lessons from the Mental Hospital.” If you want to grab someone who is working on her own mental health with a title, that is the way to do it. I followed my first viewing of that talk with a major sitdown in front of my computer to read through her blog, and although she was a little…ummm…open (Glennon is a truth teller, and she has made peace with the part of her that used to worry about showing up and being seen.), she had so much wisdom in her posts, and although a lot of her followers are moms (hence the name), there were plenty of nuggets in there for someone like me.

Anyway, her talk last night was part of a fundraising event for a community-based behavioral health agency in an adjoining county, so I traveled solo down to the high school (the ENORMOUS high school, BTW) where it was being held, and I settled in for some lessons. Like any good iPhone owner, I took some notes on my phone, and like any good person who is Working On Herself, I sent those notes to my therapist because I see her today, and maybe we will need something to talk about.

But let me backtrack a minute. So I have disclosed that I have an eating disorder. I usually just call it binge eating disorder because I am overweight, so when I mention having binge eating disorder, it’s not a stretch for people to believe me. After all, there is some physical evidence right in front of them. But like many eating disorders, mine does not fall neatly into a box. I have done a variety of different things that all fall under the umbrella of my eating disorder (who I call ED). I have found myself exercising for hours and eating almost nothing in order to try to lose weight. I have found myself not giving a flying fuck and eating whatever looks good whenever it looks good. I have found myself sitting at my desk and sneaking bits of raw cookie dough or Oreo cookies or M&Ms out of a drawer when no one was looking, sometimes for hours at a time. I have eaten everything, and I have eaten almost nothing. ED wears many disguises.

When I first started therapy, I was solidly shut down emotionally. I had developed a reputation as a non-hugger. I was not someone who you would expect to see cry. I didn’t share a lot about my feelings. I loved listening to other people talk about their feelings, and I felt like I was receiving a beautiful gift anytime someone felt comfortable enough to cry in front of me. But I did not do that stuff. I was not one of those touchy-feely people.

And then my divorce happened.

One thing Glennon said last night that rang so true for me is that she grew up in the Disney generation (she is just over a month older than I am). Marriage was the FINISH LINE (this was an important thing for me to hear). And I think about how I spent my early adulthood looking for “The One.” I definitely understand that concept. I was looking for the person I was going to marry. I was not necessarily looking past the wedding. My long-time on/off boyfriend, during one of our many off times, proposed, and I made it into a cute story, “thereby effectively cancelling our break-up.” And I don’t want to go too far into that story because it is a story that is mine and that is his, and I don’t want to trot his stuff out for everyone to see, but suffice to say that neither of us had any idea what marriage was going to (or was “supposed to”) look like.

We used to get razzed because we very rarely went somewhere together. He would arrive in his car, and I would arrive in my car. We could each leave when we wanted to. We kept our finances totally separate, and we had separate interests. For our entire marriage, I either worked night shift or worked every weekend. He worked a “normal” schedule, often from home. The foundation of our marriage was not as strong as it could have been. Now, the final catalyst that brought about its end is not something I am willing to take the blame for, but I can own up to the fact that there were cracks in our marriage that I helped put there. And because I was absolutely seeing marriage as a finish line and not the first chapter of a new book, I was ill-prepared for the whole experience.

Anyway, things happened, the marriage ended, I started therapy, I moved out, the divorce happened, several soul-searching years went by (I am an excellent soul-searcher…I just have not found all the answers yet), and here I was, last night, in an auditorium with many other people who had come to see Glennon. There were so many great points in her talk, but my goal here is not to write a 2000-word essay and not even break it up with any pictures. But we will see how it goes…here are a few of the thoughts I made note of:

  • Do the next right thing. So here’s the thing about an eating disorder, at least for me. It’s VERY all-or-nothing. I might wake up in the morning with a plan to eat a certain number of calories. And then my first meal of the day might be something that is not going to fit into that plan. Whoops. Well, fuck it. I already screwed today up. Might as well have McDonald’s for lunch and ice cream for dinner. I can’t change today. But is the next right thing belittling myself and making a date with Ben and Jerry? Or is the next right thing saying, “Okay. That happened, but it is over. The next moment is the only one that counts.” I do a LOT of the former. I do not excel at the latter.
  • Hot loneliness. Glennon describes her addictions as things she could hide beneath. In a world that just felt like WAY TOO MUCH, she felt this hot loneliness, and addiction gave her easy buttons that she could use to escape from that awful feeling. And that is what addiction is for many, many people. When the world gets to be too much (I used to think I just didn’t have feelings, but it seems like maybe I had too many feelings and didn’t know what to do with them, so I used easy buttons to stuff them away and out of sight…it was not that I was not sensitive; it was that I was TOO sensitive.), people who cannot handle it hide in alcohol and food and drugs and shopping and exercising and sex and work and any other activity that can give them a little (temporary) boost or smooth the rough edges or give them a place to hide. I know exactly what that feels like. I feel that way sometimes when I am eating a bag of chips or shopping online or playing my fifth online game or scrolling through three days of my Twitter feed. It’s hot loneliness. And instead of feeling it, we want to do anything but.
  • Run toward what causes you pain, and you will find your tribe. So vulnerability is a hot topic right now. And Glennon talked about how your pain is your story, and if you run from that pain and instead present to the world the shiny side of your life coin, you might find yourself being greatly admired. However, that is not the path to love. Sometimes, an eviction notice from your life (a divorce, a loss, a job change, a move) can also be an invitation to a truer life. These changes may make the difference between being the object of your life and the subject of your life.
  • What makes us sick is what makes us magic. Along with her addiction, Glennon is very open about her struggles with mental illnesses, specifically depression and anxiety. She thinks that mental health exists on a continuum. All of us have challenges, although not all of us are diagnosable. And she talked about how mental illness is an illness where people sometimes don’t want to get better. After all, sometimes symptoms can be harnessed into something that feels amazing and makes us feel like ourselves. And medication can take away those symptoms and take away that magic. Often, eating disorders, especially in younger people, are seen by those suffering from them as the thing that makes them “special.” They may feel like just another face in the crowd, but their relationship with ED, who they insist cares about them, is a special little world into which they can retreat when the real world gets to be too much. But she also advocates taking your meds. Because no matter how it might feel, your illness is not really “on your side.”
  • If you put your identity in a role, what happens when that role is taken from you? I would like to follow this up with an AMEN, an AMEN, and an extra-large dose of AMEN. Oh, this one. Man, I love being a nurse. I LOVE being a NICU nurse. And I love, love, LOVE telling people that I am a NICU nurse. Because I am sure you can imagine the kind of reaction that gets….”oh, the babies!!! Oh, I could never do that. Isn’t that sad? Isn’t that hard? Wow, that must be an awesome job.” Yes, the babies. And I could never do med-surg, so we’re even. And it can be sad, but it can also be joyful. And it can be hard, but it is always worth it. And yes, it’s an awesome job. Yes. On any given day, I might be the first person to bathe a new baby who is only hours old, the first person to hand a baby to a mom who has waited days to hold her little one, the person who holds someone’s hand as she cries tears of loss and sorrow, the person in the middle of the night, who sits with a new mom as she shares all her fears with me. I might send a three-month-old home with her parents, and I might have a two-year-old miracle come to visit me and my coworkers to thank us for saving her life. It is an AWESOME gift to be there for these moments. And it is sometimes very hard. And so, when someone asks me to share something about myself, I usually say this: “Hi. I’m Mary. I’m a NICU nurse.” As if that is all there is to know about me. But that is dangerous. If we identify ourselves as wives, mothers, career roles, or any other thing that is external, we don’t give voice to the internal. So that was a reminder that it’s more like this: “Hi. I’m Mary. I am (many different things, depending on what day it is). I work as a NICU nurse.” It’s still important. But it’s not the only thing that is important.

So much for not throwing 2000 words at you today…oops! But the major thing I want to leave here is this: I have been using my easy buttons a lot lately. I have not been connecting deeply or meaningfully with people. I have spent the years since I started therapy learning to identify and feel my feelings, working on feeling safe in letting myself be seen, and for the past several weeks, I have been hiding beneath, and although it feels great not to have to deal with emotions, it does not feel great to know that I am keeping people at arm’s length and not allowing myself to reap the benefits of their caring.

But let’s remember what Glennon tells us:

“Love wins.”

“We can do hard things.”

“We belong to each other.”

I will keep showing up. I will keep fighting to be seen.



What do you think of when you think of trauma? I work in a hospital, so I often think of things like massive car accidents or industrial accidents…things that bring people into a trauma center. Because of my interest in behavioral health, I also think of things that cause PTSD, which we most often thought of as being experienced by veterans of combat or survivors of extreme violence.

Trauma affects all of us, however. An example that my therapist used just last night was this one: Try to remember what you ate for breakfast on Friday. Anything? Any ideas? I don’t mean those of you who eat the same meal every day…I have a coworker who eats Cheerios and a banana everyday, so this would not be the right question for her. But there are other questions that work the same way. What shoes were you wearing last Tuesday? Did it rain three weeks ago on Thursday? The point is that it is hard to remember these things. They don’t tend to stick with you. Now, try to remember where you were when you found out JFK had been shot, or that the Challenger had exploded upon takeoff, or that America was under attack on 9/11. Or when you found out your beloved grandfather had died. Or that your spouse had an affair. Or that a parent had cancer. Or that your friend had died in a fire. Those memories are indelible. They will remain with you because they were processed through the emotional center of your brain and will continue to be retrievable throughout the rest of your life.

So it turns out trauma is more than what you find in patients in the emergency department. Seemingly small things can affect people in different ways. For some people, their lives are affected by one massive trauma, like surviving a plane crash or being in an abusive relationship. But some people have a series of smaller, more subtle, less obvious experiences that add up to a similar reaction.

When I first learned about this, I was deep in the shame that comes from eating too much and shopping too much and assuming that I did these things because I was lacking in willpower. And when this whole trauma thing was related to me (I don’t have a “big event” that ever made me consider the role of trauma in my life, although many of those examples I used above are my own), it was hard to swallow because those of us who do these things to excess have learned to blame ourselves for being weak. I eat too much because I can’t control myself. I shop too much because I am a shopaholic. It’s because of something I am doing wrong, so don’t try to be kind to me and help explain it away for me. That might not let me blame myself anymore. What would that be like?

If you have ever dieted and then “fallen off the wagon” or set a budget and then been unable to stick to it, you might have an inkling of what I am talking about. It feels like failure, and it is accompanied by plenty of negative self-talk and self-blame. But consider, for a moment, that it is not your “fault.” What would that look like? Would it be harder or easier to bear? How would things change?

What would it feel like if things were to REALLY change?

I have followed the plight of Syrian refugees because their story has captured me. I can’t imagine being in a position where the thought of placing my entire family, including small children, into a raft or makeshift boat and setting off across the Mediterranean with no real guarantee we will make it to the other side, seemed like a better choice than staying in my homeland. What could I be fleeing that would be so unbearable that it would make that seem like my only option? The image of Aylan Kurdi, the three-year-old Syrian boy who washed up on the shore in Turkey when his family was trying to find their way to safety in Greece is burned into my memory. He is just one of the children that have become victims of the current refugee crisis…one of the millions of displaced people. And we have a presidential candidate who has compared these people to poisoned Skittles, suggesting that we should help none of them because there might be a couple of bad ones in the bunch. The trauma that these people are enduring will follow them for the rest of their lives. They will feel these effects forever. What small things can we do to offer help?


Remember how this country was made great. Don’t let hate inform your actions. Don’t let fear overrule basic humanity. Maya Angelou said:

“I did then what I knew how to do. Now that I know better, I do better.”

Now that we know better, it is time to do better.

In the blink of an eye…15 years – Remembering Dennis O’Berg


Below is my introduction from five years ago to my first post, in 2006, remembering and honoring fallen FDNY hero Dennis O’Berg on the fifth anniversary of his ultimate sacrifice at Ground Zero on 9/11. It is now 2016, 15 years after that awful day, and I am honored again to share my tribute with you

In 2006, I heard of Dennis O’Berg for the first time when his name was given to me as part of a 9/11 memorial project called Project 2996. Project 2996 aimed to insure that every innocent person lost in the September 11th attacks had a tribute to them written up on a blog and put out on the internet. I have continued to post my original tribute every year since then, and every year, I think of Dennis’s parents and wife, who lost such an important and beloved individual at the hands of these terrorists. If I could say anything to them, I would want them to know that I think of their son often and I am proud to honor him through this tribute. He gave the ultimate sacrifice, and he will never be forgotten. Below is my original post.

At 494 Dean Street in the Prospect Heights section of Brooklyn stands the building housing Engine Company 219 and Ladder Company 105. The two companies have shared that building since 1977. Prior to 1977, they were located in separate houses, about ½ mile away from each other. Ladder 105 has its roots in a volunteer company, Ladder 5, from the Greenport section of Brooklyn that was organized in the latter half of the 19th century. After spending time as Ladder 5 of the Brooklyn Fire Department, Ladder 5 of the Fire Department of New York (FDNY), and Ladder 55 of the FDNY, Ladder 105 was organized on January 1, 1913, as a part of the FDNY.

One member of Ladder 105 who was lost on September 11th after responding to the rescue efforts at the World Trade Center site was Dennis O’Berg. Dennis was 28 years old at the time of his death. He was a resident of Babylon, on Long Island, where he lived with his wife of less than one year, Christine. Their first wedding anniversary would have been September 28, 2001.

Dennis didn’t always plan to be a firefighter. He graduated from the State University of New York at Geneseo with a degree in accounting and worked for the Big 4 accountancy firm Ernst & Young after graduation. However, he followed his father’s footsteps as a firefighter, entering the academy because he felt shackled to his accountant position. He graduated from the academy not long before the September 11th attacks and was assigned to Ladder 105. Being a firefighter changed him into a happy and smiling and easygoing person. On September 11th, he had been a firefighter for only seven and a half months.

Dennis’s remains were not found in the wreckage at Ground Zero, and his family held out hope that something would be found so that they could plan his funeral. After only his helmet, his jacket, and one of his boots was found, Dennis’s family held a memorial service for him on June 28, 2002, burying an empty casket. Dennis’s father, Lt. Dennis O’Berg, retired from the FDNY on September 11th to dedicate himself to finding his son. However, when all the wreckage had been cleared, it was not to be so.

Family and friends remember Dennis as someone who was young at heart. He was a fan of Harry Potter, Norman Rockwell, Star Wars, and the New York Rangers. He collected baseball cards and enjoyed all kinds of music. He was a romantic and often gave his wife roses for no particular reason, took her on long drives and picnics on the North Shore, and left her notes telling her that he loved her. She found one of those notes in her bed the evening before September 11th as she was preparing to retire for the night. His dream was to be there as a husband and father for his wife and kids and to raise a family on Long Island. He never got to fulfill that dream. Instead, his life was cut short by the terrorists who attacked America on September 11th.

Dennis P. O’Berg. Forever in the thoughts of his friends and family. And now, forever in my thoughts as well.

To learn more and pay tribute to other heroes lost to us on September 11, 2001, please visit Project 2996.

How do you decide what to fight for?


By now, it has become pretty apparent that there are some hot button issues that have me feeling a whole lot of feelings and coming here to my blog to discharge them. And I have been thinking, in these last few weeks, about the diversity of issues out there, and I have been wondering how it is that people choose those for which they are willing to fight. After all, there is no way you can fight for them all, is there?


So issues of equality are pretty big for me. I believe 100% that what we do with our lives is much more important that what we look like, the color of our skin, our sexual orientation, whether we have tattoos or piercings, whether our hair is brown or black or blonde or magenta. If I meet someone who is so different from me that we seem to have nothing in common and learn that person has a passion similar to one of mine? That’s a person who I want to get to know. If I happen to meet my doppelgänger someday and find that she tortures small animals and has the Confederate flag hanging in her yard? I would probably be momentarily stunned by the fact that we looked so much alike, but then I would be gone. That is not someone with whom I would seek a relationship.

But there is SO MUCH going on in the world right now. How do you choose what to fight for? We have environmental issues, animal rights issues, foreign aid issues, health issues, equality issues. Local charities, national charities, international charities. There is the Girl Scout troop at the church down the street selling their cookies in front of the grocery store, and then there is the American Red Cross, seeking donations via text message for disaster relief. On TV, you hear Sarah McLachlan singing in the background while she tells you about the plight of the dogs, shown in heartbreaking conditions, being helped by your donations to the ASPCA. There are Wounded Warrior Project commercials and Save the Elephant commercials, also with accompanying photos that can’t help but make you stop and think. Need is everywhere.

But here’s where I have had to take a moment and really thing. I do care about all of these things. Some of them I care about very deeply. But I can’t fight for all of them. I am one person, and the money and time I have to donate can only go so far. So I have been asking myself what it is I really want to fight for. And these are some of the organizations which I have chosen to support:

There are other groups that come and go from my list. But right now, this is who I am supporting, either through donations or through fundraising or through giving some time. They all represent causes about which I am passionate. And they are all doing some amazing work on behalf of people who need them.

How about you? What causes do you support? What’s important to you?

Some thoughts. I have them.


Beyond the occasional misogynist, I have not had to deal with a whole lot of judgment because of who I am. Well, I guess I have perhaps been judged because of body size or my propensity toward wearing out in public a sweatshirt that I purchased in 1994, but I have never felt that there is something about me that might mean I should fear for my life. I never thought of it as white privilege exactly (I just took it for granted, I think.), but I guess that is what it is.

So last week, on Tuesday, Alton Sterling was selling CDs and DVDs outside of a convenience store in Baton Rouge, and following a confrontation with two police officers, he was shot and killed by the officers. The next day, on Wednesday, Philando Castile was shot in his car by a police officer in suburban Minnesota. And Facebook became filled with people on both sides of the issue of the Black Lives Matter movement.

I have to admit that my first post about these events did not reference BLM. While I did decry the violence against black men by police officers throughout this nation, I chose some different wording and pointed out that ALL lives matter. But in reference to the BLM movement, saying that all lives matter is like saying to someone raising money for breast cancer that they should not differentiate but should be raising money for every other disease as well. All diseases are certainly in need of fundraising efforts, but that specific fundraiser is for breast cancer. Don’t make it about all the other diseases out there. And then Thursday night, during a peaceful protest in Dallas, a sniper who was not part of the protest opened fire and killed five police officers who were there to help keep the peace and intervene if needed. It is certainly a tragedy that these police officers died.

And then the narrative on Facebook changed a little bit. There were the BLM folks. There the ALM folks. And then there were the new Blue Lives Matter folks. And apparently, you had to choose a side.

So yes, all lives matter. And yes, the lives of those police officers matter. But black lives definitely also matter. You don’t have to hate police officers to believe that black lives matter. You can believe in the worth of both. If you support the police, you don’t have to assume that all black people are bad. Caring about black lives and caring about police officers are not mutually exclusive. But this started out as a story about black men being killed by police officers in this country. Unfortunately, it did not stay that way for long.

I have a friend whose comments were so true and meaningful, and I want to paraphrase them here. When a white woman is pulled over by a police officer in a traffic stop, her first thought is probably, “Crap. How much is this going to cost?” or, “Great. Points on my license. Again.” Her internal dialogue will NOT be, “I hope this police officer doesn’t shoot me.” She does not fear for her life.

However, we are reaching a point in time where a black man in the same situation might feel that his life’s in danger. I have friends who have to tell their children that they might someday be in a situation where their actions in such a traffic stop might lead to a police officer shooting first and asking questions later.

Last month, the tragic massacre in Orlando at Pulse of members of the LGBTQIA+ community in one of their “safe” places had people who I care an awful lot about feeling that they may have to fear for their lives because they are not cisgendered heterosexuals. And now I have friends who I care an awful lot about feeling that they may have to fear for their lives and the lives of their family members because they are not white. And that is NOT okay!

There is so much hate in this world, and we LOVE to grab on to a cause and get all offended on social media and take a side and argue our side passionately. And then something else happens, and we are on to the next issue, and these hot button issues fade into the background.

But black lives matter. The same can be said about many other groups, but this week is about black lives. And they matter.

As we head into this year’s Presidential election, we can choose to propagate hate against those who are different than we are. There is a candidate who would certainly be willing to help us out with that. But this country is better than that. And next week, when that candidate has made another asinine comment about another group of people, it might seem like last week’s incidents happened a long time ago.

Please don’t forget. We are more alike than we are different. And it’s time that we start demanding that hate not be allowed to be our story.