Tragedy and Choosing to Remember

This week I will turn 49 on the 10th anniversary of the Sandy Hook school shooting, a grim milestone to which I’ve been mentally counting down since December 15 of last year. I do not aspire for it to be a “happy birthday,” and I am rather ambivalent about even acknowledging the personal milestone in public, lest I subject myself to wishes to that effect or, worse, shift attention to me beyond the minimum extent necessary to share these thoughts and experiences that might have some relevance to others. I choose to remember this tragedy, on this and all other days, and below I’ll reflect a bit on what that looks like in practice.

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EDS Awareness 2022: Patch Kit and the Solidarity of Suffering

I had a different piece of writing planned for Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome Awareness Month this year, but reeling from a mass shooting (and the gut-wrenching awareness that anyone reading this will have to wonder even which one I’m referring to) has turned my head around and made me reflect on the nature of suffering as a societal phenomenon. A physical disability like EDS is so often a source of isolation (among its many challenges) and yet as I watch so many people trying to reconcile their grieving, I think about the capacity we have to connect in the face of suffering.

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Leave No Griever Behind

It’s no secret that American society does a lousy job of allowing grief its proper place in everyday discourse. Or maybe it is a secret in the sense that with so few people talking about it, it’s not even sufficiently part of most folks’ consciousness to even form an opinion about it. And yet humankind is nothing if not a potpourri of grievers. There are folks in states of intense grief, folks for whom the sting of grief has abated over time or for whom the grief was more distant in the first place, and folks in the “not-yet-griever” category who are going about their lives without thought to or preparation for the inevitability of grief brought about by the inconvenient fact of human mortality. Literally everyone who has another human in their life is impacted, and yet so few are inclined to talk about it. It doesn’t have to be that way and there are things we can do as individuals and as a society to open our eyes and thereby share the load more equitably.

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Which Side Are You On? The myth of neutrality in racial justice

“The time is always right to do what is right.”

“The arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends towards justice.”

“Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere”

These quotes from the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King have two things in common. One, they are inspiring examples of his important work and his skills as an orator. Two, they are so universal that they have been used by right-wing politicians to bolster actions and philosophies completely antithetical to Dr. King’s beliefs and work.

Before this important holiday gets washed away in the attempted gaslighting of portraying Dr. King as somehow the vanilla yogurt of the civil rights movement, let’s stop for a moment to consider reality.

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Stop the Bleeding: What Disability Has Taught Me About Treating the Symptom (Societally, Physically, or Otherwise)

Right now a lot of people I know are navigating the cognitive dissonance of joy and trepidation. They are elated by the outcome of the election, as many millions are (and as, turning the tables from 2016, many millions aren’t). At the same time it’s harshing their mellow to realize that there will be backlash and that core issues that divide us will remain as roadblocks for at least the foreseeable future, regardless of whether a single polarizing human is amplifying them. Here’s what life with EDS has taught me about how to view this.

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