Thursday, April 18, 2013

It matters

I don't like to talk about national tragedies.

This is not to minimize the significance of these events, nor is it to criticize those who do want to talk about them.  While it isn't for me, I can see how the analyzing and praying and talking can fill a need, can help some people to process, and I bear those people no ill will.

And to be honest, while I choose not to look at graphic images or videos, I don't find most of your words especially triggering.  It's sad, and I feel grief for those affected, but it doesn't make me despair for human kind.

So, your tweets and updates about the tragedies aren't why I turn off social media on those days.  It's because you don't talk about anything else.

I remember after 9/11 hearing that there was a list of songs that radio stations were told not to play in light of the events, and one of them was Louis Armstrong's "What a Wonderful World."

I lived 45 minutes outside NYC.  The girl next to me at the campus bus stop had watched the skyline fall out the side of her car window.  My roommate's mother had escaped from Tower 1 that morning.  Several of my students when I student taught had parents who hadn't.  So, trust me I got it.

I gave money to the Red Cross.  I gave jackets and food.  I tried to give blood.  I went to a tribute ceremony.

And I went home to my campus apartment, downloaded What a Wonderful World, and played it on repeat.

Because, damn it, it is.

I go on twitter, and I hear people complaining about auto-tweets.  I see people apologize for talking as normal, for being insensitive, explaining that they were only talking freely because they didn't know.


Let me tell you this:  even when something horrible has happened, your small struggles and challenges, your vulnerability?

It matters.

Your kind words to each other, and the daily love and hugs I see you all using social media to dispense?

It matters.

Your tiny moments of joy with your loved ones and children?

They matter.

In fact, I can't think of any time when they matter more.


  1. While I think it is important for people to pay attention (big businesses, most especially) to their auto-tweets, I do agree. Life is life. It happens.

    Yes, I am one who talks about it. More because I think the shock has to go somewhere. And for me, this outlet? That's where it goes.

    But I'm all about walking away from it, too. For sure. And I'm glad that you take the time to do what you need to for you. (hugs)

  2. Very wonderfully said. Thank you!

  3. That was pumped through our Canadian TV stations and radios all day long.
    It's not that I don't care, I do. I just don't care that the wind blew in the north east direction while a police officer at a sprinkled donut.
    People are ridiculous.
    I think that the media should have reported the facts when they came out instead of running to make specials and so on. People tweeting only increased paranoia and I'm certain that gun sales probably went up over there.
    So sad.

  4. You know I agree with you. And I'm proud of you for putting this out there even though you were nervous about how it would be received. I think it's important to remember that we all deal with tragedy and news differently and that it's alright to feel whatever you're feeling. If you need to talk about it, great. If not, that's okay too. And if you have to step away because no one can talk about anything else, you gotta do what's best for you.

    Anyway. I love you. Bravo.

  5. I loved the message I heard in this, which was: Fine, talk about it. But don't pretend like we're not allowed to have all the mundane, silly, and small things, good and bad, that never go away just because a tragedy happens.

    Amen to that. Children waking up in the night still wears you out, and hugs are still awesome. That's "What a Wonderful World" talks about, anyway, isn't it? Those basics that are always there.

    This is wonderful. :)