Sit back and breathe.
Let the moment overtake you. Let the thoughts fall from your mind, like plump teardrops from sad, oval-shaped eyes.
I don’t ask for all of your time. Just some of it. Just enough so that you might hear the tale that I carry inside of me. The tale that sits thick in my heart and throat and veins. The tale that, at times, nearly suffocates me.
It’s a tale that you might know very well. A tale that has been told countless times yet bears repeating.
It all begins with people. The kind of people who yearn. Who long for independence. The kind who would claw, scratch, and bite their way to sovereignty, as if their lives depended on it.
These are people with pride and stature and the most ambitious of ideals. They stand tall with loaded guns, with the strong burning inside their souls that says that History will favor them. They listen to this burning because they are foolish. And also: Right.
And so they fight. And die. And continue fighting. And die some more. Until they succeed.
And when they do, they raise their guns — the symbols of their strength — proudly up toward the sky.
A new era breaks wide open.
The plan, now: Expansion.
With every drop of blood that spills, even more land now. With every cry that pierces the sky, even more power, even more solidarity, even more purpose.
All in the name of Equality.
All in the name of Freedom.
And years later, we continue to worship at the altar of shiny objects that kill.
Deafening shots daily rip souls off this plane.
With every second, another deep etching on the scroll of a violent culture.
A culture that, today, looks as if it might break in two at any moment.
When we think of Sandy Hook Elementary, of the lives that were lost — 20 children and 6 women — the cruelty and insanity of the present time shrieks straight at us.
Demands that we wake up. That we open our eyes. That we feel. That we act.
We can have conversations about Gun Control, about Mental Illness, about Violence in the Media. But we must also delve deeper than those things.
Because we’re supposed to be the ones who usher our children through the darkness.
But how can we do that in a culture that favors guns over our innocent children? That uses weapons to make up for the sting of weakness and the bite of disempowerment that twists our insides?
We are a nation addicted to hyper masculinity. Intoxicated by aggression, greed, and violence — the ugly outgrowth of our need to walk our macho walk across this now-toxic land.
We destroy where we should be creating. We tear things down, we tear people down, where we should be building them up.
We think that power can be achieved by the clenching of a gun or the enslavement of people we deem weaker than us.
But power is in the unclenching. Power is in the nurturing, in the peace-building. It’s in the listening — not the half-nodding-simply-waiting-for-your-turn-to-speak.
It is not something to be found in the embrace of brutality.
It lies in the softening. In the sacredness that exists within all of us.
And with that power comes permission.
Permission for our men to finally let go. To emote and express. To cry, to share, to speak. To not reach for weapons as a way of defining their strength. To not lean on violence, just because the ego says so.
And there’s permission for our women too. Permission to radiate with their own femininity, to tap into the wisdom of their bodies and hearts. No more narrow beauty standards to live up to. No more being told where the limits are. Just women owning their strength. Just women having the space to love, to nurture, to restore the peace that has been lost.
Let us finally give ourselves permission to love ourselves and others fully, without that tiny voice inside that worries we might look weak. We don’t need violence to express force. There is force in love. There is transformation in it. If we want to co-create a world in which our children needn’t fear for their lives while simply learning in a classroom — a world in which they can dream with their whole hearts and live in such a way that is congruent with the beauty and wonder that they carry in their souls — then we must move boldly and fiercely, emanating from a place of deep love, compassion, and service.
We’re supposed to be the ones. So let’s get it right, once and for all.