Memorial Day is not ‘happy’

This isn’t the first time I’ve written about Memorial Day and it’s meaning. I wrote this eight years ago. And I posted the screenshot below on Facebook six years ago.

But I keep seeing people post “HAPPY MEMORIAL DAY!” and talk about big parties and Memorial Day celebrations. And, like…just no. No. NO!

There isn’t anything happy about this holiday. We’ve really lost the meaning of what this day is honoring. It’s called Memorial Day because the people we are “celebrating” aren’t alive anymore. This is a day that is painful for a great many people. Families and individuals alike.

For many people your bbq is a reminder that if they held one, a loved one would be missing. A mother, a father, a brother, a sister, aunt, uncle, cousin, husband, wife, friend, battle buddy, neighbor. It’s a day we should take to reflect on exactly what these people gave their lives for. Are we honoring their memories and sacrifice? Are we becoming better as a nation? As a society? As a person?

The families of these people have made a hard sacrifice. Being part of a military family is hard. The worry and stress are always there. And I’m just a #MilSis. I can’t imagine being a mil spouse to someone who is deployed. The worry must be agonizing. And Memorial Day must be an excruciating reminder to the family left behind.

So, let’s do better. Let’s honor the ultimate sacrifice they’ve made, and their families live with every day, and strive to be better; to focus less on what divides us and more on what we have in common. It’s okay to disagree on how to fix things, but let’s at least agree on what’s broken. And then find common ground on workable solutions. And advance those solutions so we can heal what’s fractured. Let’s take a page from the Aaron Burr book of advice and “talk less.” But, perhaps let’s ignore the advice of settling things with a duel?

The best thing we can do to honor their memory and sacrifice is to be willing to listen to uncomfortable information just because it doesn’t match our own experience. We are hurting as a nation, but we can heal. We just have to be willing to give as much of ourselves as the people we are honoring did.

This is just my face

It never ceases to amaze me how people feel compelled, obligated and entitled to say things to you. And often times, the more rude or unnecessary the comment, the more compelled the person is to tell you.

I am especially baffled with this as it relates to how someone looks. 

I have a new baby; he’s amazing. But, he’s a baby. So he’s a lot of work. And I’m not complaining. I (mostly) knew what I was getting into when I became a mom; sleepless nights. Long days filled with unpleasant moments that turn into even longer nights. And repeat for infinity. But that’s alright; he is totally worth it. 

But, can we please stop telling parents “you look tired.”? 

This happened last week at the grocery store. My husband and I were picking up stuff for a party we were hosting at our home. It was cool and rainy, so I decided to wear the baby into the store. Keep him safe and dry. We finished our shopping and while we were cashing out the clerk looks at me and baby, then turns to my husband and says “she looks tired.” 

What?! 

My husband responded with “I’m sorry?” And the clerk repeats herself, “I said ‘she looks tired.'” 😡😡😡😡

Excuse me? SHE is standing right here. You can address her directly. 

Why do we think it’s okay to comment on someone’s appearance? Why? Because here’s the thing: I didn’t actually feel tired. I felt good. I got a decent amount of sleep the night before, the baby slept well, and I was actually feeling pretty good about myself. For the first time in months. 

That comment? Immediate gut punch and ego-blow. Because now I’m only thinking about what an ogre I must actually be and how on earth could I have thought I looked alright? 

What actually upsets me more is that the comment, while about me specifically, wasn’t even directed to me. Even though I was standing right there. Instead, it was said to my husband. Twice. 

“She looks tired.” 

Well, sister, I AM tired.

• I’m tired of people thinking they are entitled to comment on my appearance.

• I’m tired of people thinking they need to comment on my appearance.

• And I’m tired of people not seeing anything wrong with doing so. 

It’s so incredibly rude. And inconsiderate. And unnecessary. And unwanted. 

Because, no. I’m NOT tired. This is just my face. 

This is just my natural resting face. #SorryNotSorry #RBF


#ProofingMatters, No.007

In addition to hate reading the Kansas City Star on a daily basis, I occasionally watch KSHB Action 41 news, the NBC affiliate in the Kansas City market.

When I was in college, one of my media teachers would use real life examples of fantastic journalism in order to help explain the concepts he was trying to teach us. He is a wonderful teacher and I still ask him questions today. He also used real life examples of what terrible journalism looks like and, more times than not, those examples came from KSHB.

I’m glad to see, all these years later, they are still providing him with plenty of material to use, as presented by today’s #ProofingMatters image.

img_3183

 

Hey, Action 41 News…you’re doing it wrong. The name you are looking for is Jeremy Maclin. I realize he’s new and all (sarcasm: he isn’t), but at least get his name right.

How did this even happen?! R and C aren’t even on the same row of the keyboard!!!

How can you be this inept and still be a station?

#ProofingMatters, Friends. Stay vigilant.

And if you see any #ProofingMatters miscues out in the wild, feel free to send them my way, along with your name and where the offense occurred and I’ll include it in a new post!

Je suis … fatigué

Police-involved killings of black civilians (more to come on that in a later post), an ambush on police officers and now the attack in Nice, France.

This about sums up my feelings on all the hatred and violence going on in the world. #JeSuisSickOfThisShit

#BlackLivesMatter

This morning I woke up to a happy, healthy son. Well, maybe not so happy. He needed a diaper change and little man does NOT like being wet. But, overall, I have a happy, healthy son. Something I am thankful for every single day. 

I worried every day of my pregnancy that he might not be healthy. Not because I was a high risk pregnancy, or because disease runs in our families, but because there is so much that can go astray. So I worried. And now that he is here and healthy, I am grateful. 

The news over the last two days however has me thankful for something else, though. 

I’m thankful that my happy, healthy son is white*.

I’m thankful for that because it means that I don’t have to worry that he will be walking down the street and end up killed because of his skin color.

And as thankful as I am for that, I am angry.

I’m angry that my black friends and their kids don’t have the luxury of white skin. That they must be fearful everyday that they will be killed because their skin is brown or black. 

I’m angry that this is still happening. Again and again and again and again. That in 2016 this has happened 533** times. And it’s only July. 

I’m angry that white people don’t believe that white privelege exists (newsflash: it totally does). I’m angry that white people try to squash an issue they don’t understand by saying #AllLivesMatter. 

No fucking shit.

But trying to silence #BlackLivesMatter makes you part of the problem. Yes. All lives matter. But right now, at this time in our society, #BlackLivesMatter needs to be heard and spread. 

Because it’s black lives that are being taken at the hands of (predominately) white police officers. 

And over the next several weeks we will hear all about Alton Sterling’s past. His criminal record. We’ll hear about Philando Castile. About any poor choices he ever made in his life. 

The media will dig into every nook and cranny of their lives trying to paint whatever narrative they have already decided on. This is why I didn’t pursue journalism as a career. It’s disheartening. I know the extent of information left out of stories because I’ve done it. I’ve chosen which angle to take. And I don’t like it. 

Because the part of the story we won’t hear about is the officers who killed these men. We are unlikely to hear about their past. Probably won’t hear much about their job performance. Have they been investigated by internal affairs? Had complaints filed against them? We probably won’t know. 

And that makes me angry. And sad. 

I shouldn’t have to be scared for my black friends. Their kids. Their families. I shouldn’t have to worry about if they are going to make it home safely tonight. But I do. 

So, white friends, please, please, please stop with #AllLivesMatter because right now, #BlackLivesMatter is so very important.

#BLM

image gathered by Google search; found on storify.com


*My family is Native American, but our skin color is pretty light. We get the benefit of passing for white.

** In many of these instances the individual killed is white and/or the use of deadly force could be considered warranted as the person killed was armed and/or shot at the officer(s). The number used includes all officer involved shooting deaths as reported and collected by the Washington Post.