the streets of heaven are too crowded with angels tonight

September 29, 2010

the news today was full of stories about children bullying children. one couple opted to homeschool their teenaged daughter who was told repeatedly that she was a slut and a whore. but that didn't stop her peers from finding other avenues by which to deliver their abuse. they found her online. she'd block a user. they'd create another profile.

thirteen-year-old asher brown took his own life so that he wouldn't be bullied anymore.

and a rutgers university student set up a webcam in his room, recorded his roommate, eighteen-year-old tyler clementi, having sex with another boy and broadcast the video across campus. clementi, an aspiring violinist, updated his facebook status with jumping off the gw bridge sorry and ended his life.

here's talent the world has lost. here's love. here's hope. and you've killed it, you who cannot appreciate and respect another's differences. this breaks my heart.

and let's not forget (or did you even know of?) fifteen-year-old phoebe prince, formerly of county clare, ireland whose family had relocated to massachusetts. her presence in south hadley was not so well-received. she hung herself. her twelve-year-old sister found her. the taunting continued even after her death on her memorial facebook page.

or thirteen-year-old megan meier of missouri who also hung herself after being bullied through myspace by the mother of one of her peers.

a mother did this.

and there's tale of nine-year-old montana lance found dead in a bathroom at stewart's creek elementary school.


what will happen to those who caused these individuals such pain?

to brown's tormenters? nothing. to clementi's? maybe five years in prison for invasion of privacy. maybe.

they'd probably say it's the boys' fault for being weak.

i say it's the bullies' fault for being so.

out of the ashes

September 11, 2010

it was such a beautiful morning as i sat down for breakfast. but i realized there were none of the usual birds outside my window, and i wondered do they know something i don't (angel franco).
the u.s.s. new york.

and for those few of you who may be reading this and going to kyle field today, you should stand for the duration of the game, and you should yell as loud as you can while the aggie defense does its damnedest to hold the line, and you should wave that white towel as high and as fast as possible for those who can't.

if you're watching a game in another stadium, if you're taking your kids to the park, if you're out having dinner with your family...celebrate life as best you can for those who can't.

i should've stayed home today

September 1, 2010

the trouble with going to sleep unhappy with yourself is that you wake up that way. only it's worse, because, while you were sleeping, all those negative feelings you had magically intensified exponentially, so that when you wake the next morning, you have maybe two hundredths of a second to revel in the glory of the sunlight and the comfort of your bed before your brain switches from automatic to manual.

and when that switch takes place...

some days, nothing good can come of that.

this morning, i woke at ten after seven. by fifteen after, i was feeling despicable, and the feeling wouldn't be shaken, no matter how many times i tossed and turned or how much more deeply i buried my head to snuggle under the covers.

so then i tried to distract myself by watching tivoed shows. ones that had been camping out for months, waiting for me to remember that i actually liked them. i watched three rivers. why i liked that one, i do not know. i watched ncis: los angeles. that one i love. i watched the last two episodes of grey's anatomy. these made me cry. both of them. so much for distraction.

by this time, it's eleven or so. my head's started to hurt. i figured maybe if i eat, that might help. so i all but hobbled downstairs to the kitchen (on days like this, mental anguish begins to take on a physical form, and all my joints hurt, especially my knees and ankles) to pour a giant bowl of cheerios.

i camped out on the sofa and flipped through a dozen channels. first i settled on football. while last night, i might have succeeded, momentarily, in shrugging off despair with the glee of anticipating a fast-approaching football season, this morning, football could not pacify me. so then i switched to what not to wear, because i think stacy and clinton are cool. this morning, however, they annoyed me. so then i switched to are you smarter than a fifth grader. no luck there either.

by this time, i was crying again. i figured sitting at home's not helping, and i have errands to run -- money to deposit, bills to pay, vehicular registrations and inspections to make current, a vehicle to wash. responsibility. so i went back upstairs to change. i managed to quell the tears while doing this. but then, as i got my hair wet -- because fine, curly hair never does well the day after -- the tears came again. the more i stop and start this crying, the more despairing the tears are. i remembered i'd left my comb in my father's car the night before. so it's back downstairs to my parent's bathroom, still crying. somewhere between the landing and the doorway to their bedroom, the crying morphed into full-on wailing and misery.

which morphed into wrath seconds after i've entered their room.

and by this time, by this time, i might as well have been hunched in a ball in a corner.

wrath terrifies me. whatever strength i think i might have dissipates rapidly in her presence.

tears that were once huge rivers became quiet streams that are more reluctant to flow, and i was chanting no, much like my nineteen-month-old niece and nephew do when they're crying and miserable. no. no. no. scared. because i never think i'm going to get through it when i'm in the throes of wrath.

but somehow i do.

and i'm grateful for this.

i rounded the corner, passed their closet, into their bathroom, still chanting. i rummaged through my mother's cosmetics drawer for a comb and sat on the commode to slowly, slowly, run the comb through the tangles. five minutes or so of this, and i was better.

drained, but better.

the trouble is, i didn't indulge wrath.

usually it's better if i let her play for a bit. harder to handle. harder to live through. but better in the long run. usually, afterward, i'm tired but nice. i won't smile at you, but i won't tear your head off, either.

i've got those errands to run. and on this day, i wasn't so sure of my strength. so i shoved her back.

somewhere between the time i left the house and the time i came home, i got ugly with cranky and snarly. so much so that by the time i got to the last errand, i was at the i'm-gonna-tear-your-head-off-just-for-looking-at-me stage.

when i was twenty-five, my family went to austin for the fighting irish versus the longhorns football game. a handful of my older brother's friends met up with us. i'd been having a conversation with one of them -- i'm a pretty sarcastic girl, and those who know me are amused by this, as they should be, because i mean it in good fun, but those who don't aren't so much. this one didn't know me. all of the sudden, he comes out with god, you're bitter. i don't even remember what i'd said that prompted him to say this, except that whatever i'd said, i hadn't meant for it to be so sarcastic that it offended.

flash forward twelve years. i thought of this conversation today. of this friend of my brother's.

today, i was a prime example of bitter hag. ugly with it.

this is what happens when i don't give into wrath.

i bitched at an employee -- an elderly woman who works in the floral department (what a lovely job that must be. really. happy and thoughtful) -- for not washing her hands after using the restroom before returning to work. i snarled at the library staff because printing a single sheet of paper is more of an inconvenience and challenge than i think it ought to be. god forbid i should consider that they don't have to offer such a service. i don't have a printer hooked up to my mac. my mother's printer's not communicating with her computer, and my father's computer is off limits. so i have to borrow someone else's. that it doesn't work like i want it to do so is, apparently, a criminal offense.

the best example? i stopped by a courthouse, after having finally succeeded in enlisting the help of a reference librarian to get the damned proof of insurance card i needed so that i could get my registration updated, and had been walking, rather intently (in other words, in a don't-fucking-talk-to-me fashion), when a woman had the audacity to smile at me and ask if i worked there.

what? (said in the same fashion as i had used when walking.)

do you work here? (she's walking toward me, still smiling, still being friendly. curious. in need of help.)

i was wearing a t-shirt promoting a grand junction, colorado brewery, capris and flip-flops. i looked like death. no. (said in a what-the-hell-would-make-you-ask-such-a-stupid-question tone of voice.)

now she's not so friendly. now she's taken aback, and a helluva lot smarter than she'd been a second before. she proceeded to tell me that the building was locked, that i couldn't get in, that i was rude...etc, etc, etc.

the moment i heard that i can't get in, i turned and headed back to my car. so while's she's telling me that i'm rude...

i could hear this boy's voice in my head, just as i could while at the library. see his face just as clearly today as i'd seen it a dozen years before. god, you're bitter.

earlier today, i found a picture of me as a first-grade student. i'm sitting there with my hands in my lap, my arms pressed to my sides, my shoulders slightly drawn up. i'm grinning. beautifully.

i wish i could be that girl again. i wish i could channel her and infuse my present personality with a bit of the cute and funny my mother said i was back then.

i don't understand why i have to hurt so much. i don't understand how i could hurt others knowing how much the hurting sucks ass.

i've watched that nfl ad twice today. i will probably watch it another dozen times in a desperate attempt to recapture that sense of yee i felt for most of last night.