1) She was beautiful, not that it should matter.
3) Why was there (or was there?) a trash bag in a jail cell? I've been in jail cells. There are no trash cans in jail cells in my experience, much less trash bags. Who has a chance to make trash while in jail?
4) Why am I afraid when I get pulled over by a cop? And I always am. Afraid. They can be so violent without any reason. Also, memories of the Democratic National Convention in Chicago, 1968 and AIDS Activism in the 1990s. But it's only gotten worse. Much worse.
5) We probably don't know the half of it. The US government doesn't collect statistics on police shootings of civilians. However, according to Alternet.org 1148 people were killed by cops in 2014 and according to the Washington Post 27 cops were killed in the line of duty in 2014.
6) There is a civilian data base of people who have been killed by cops going back to 2013 at http://killedbypolice.net/. It has entries through today 7/26/15.
7) I'm making a BLACK LIVES MATTER sign to put in my front yard. Because, black lives matter.
When I notice that someone is showing signs of being depressed, I always ask about thoughts of suicide. It's inevitable that at some point during a depressive episode such thoughts will surface, often intrusively. Asking if thoughts about self-harm or suicide are present can be very helpful; for one thing it is important to normalize suicidal thoughts as a symptom of depression. Such thoughts are no more likely to cause death in a person with depression than a fever will cause death in a person with pneumonia. Of course it is also not less likely to, if the disease (pneumonia, depression) is not managed effectively. People may act on suicidal thoughts if they feel no one would care; if they don't talk about their feelings with anyone; if they have the means to do it; and if depressive episodes recur and persist for a long time without relief. Sharing the thought with someone who doesn't freak out, who is nonjudgmental and kind, who knows better than to make suggestions or offer platitudes, can be so very helpful. So that's what I have learned to do when I am in the presence of someone who is depressed. I listen, willing to hear, but not expecting I can be more than an ear or a container for sadness and despair.
I was thinking about suicide because, well, I was thinking about it. I was surprised by the thought, all was well in my life, although I had to admit the thought was there. I was sunk in one of those depressive moods that came on seemingly for no reason, although if I give it enough thought, I can usually identify a trigger. In my case it's usually some sort of failure coupled with a sense of meaninglessness. Why bother? I've worked through this many times; I don't think I'm at any risk, I simply wouldn't put my son through that for one thing; I have deep inner resources to draw on; but it always surprises me. While it was present, I felt strongly that I should tell someone, just share the thought so I wouldn't be so alone with it and yet I couldn't think of anyone I wanted to tell. So I lived with it for a few days, a week or more, and then, as is usually the case, it disappeared. Gone.
It's not good that I don't talk to anyone about my feelings. Duh, huh? But I've gotten so good at being alone, so intolerant of sharing my emotions with others, that I really couldn't think of anyone I could easily share this with. Someone who could listen without judging, without wanting to fix or make better, without suggestions, without offering anything other than an ear. A container for despair. What I know how to do. What I do all the time for others.
Here is a poem that Tim Green did not choose for Rattle's Poet's Respond feature for today. I like the poem he did select though.
We've had almost two weeks of smoky haze on the Olymptic Peninsula blown south from forest fires in British Columbia. This is a picture from the beach at Port Townsend about 6 days ago. There is finally some blue sky today. But the fires rage on.
Photo: Jason Tomlinson
4th of July
There is haze made of smoke covering the dome
of our small plot of home. Fires cover hectares
of land in British Columbia and farmers have lost sheep,
humans are sent to hotels to fret about crop and barn
and dwellings. We hope the pets are safe.
We say, stoically, things can be replaced.
There are fires across the border in Washington too,
proving how borders lie. It’s been too hot, too dry
and we are told these are natural events, although a youth
here and there helps lightning along with gasoline, cigarettes,
or fireworks on the US side of things. No one speaks
of it. We go on as if. Some are glad of respite from the heat,
while casualties visit walk-in clinics with sore throats
and bits of charred evidence in their lungs.
The sun, high in the sky, looks like the moon.
No one has any blessings for us, we are doomed
and we know it and don’t seem to care.
I stare directly into her face, she does not speak.
Can anyone anywhere convince me to go on?
The day you first flew in an airplane
and discovered that cumulus clouds
are not cotton puffs.
How, when the waitress doesn’t bring bread
to the table, you believe she must be thinking
you shouldn’t be eating bread anyway.
When your baby is a small bird
perched on your outstretched hand
and it reminds you of a single pearl
rolling off a snapped silver chain.
That time you felt that finally
the two of you were making headway together,
but then an argument prevailed and settled in the air.
The way that, after you end therapy you begin to realize
you aren’t so intensely interesting after all.
The perpetual act of getting stuck in conversations
about topics you have absolutely no interest in,
but about which you have to conjure up
something to say.
Noticing how people always seem to be saying
nasty things about other people who aren’t there
to defend themselves.
Knowing that, despite how little power
we actually have, we continue to try to keep planes
in the air by worrying about them.
How, just yesterday, you were a swift doe
crossing a busy highway and now your life depends
on thinking you are important enough to cherish.
Looking in the mirror at the hump beneath your neck
where 1.5 of your inches have disappeared into.
When you've begin to understand that the maxim to eat
three meals a day is just a life-long dress rehearsal for fat.
Having to refrain from saying: Why not just listen
to the music instead of booming on about
how much you love the music.
How my heroes are all dead. And how
we don't all have the same needs, Maslow.
The moment I recognize love after it has ended.
And how I spend all night gathering it in, holding it,
inspecting it, and then, rejecting it.