Suddenly I’m hearing from people on my facebook feed who are demanding to know why other people on their feed aren’t posting up about Ferguson. They’re offended, and insisting that we tell them why we,”aren’t saying anything important.” And the general impression that I get from that is that they believe we don’t care.

I want to make it abundantly clear that I do care. I also want to make it abundantly clear that the digital world is not where I do my politics or my activism.

I pay attention: I read,* I talk with people, I listen to the radio. I spend a lot of time navigating and having heavy conversations with my teenage son. I make myself available, and I ask questions. I process and process and process. I pitch in where I’m able. I can honestly say that I am engaged and informed and active to the best of my abilities.

And I also engage in self care – I actively maintain a space on my own personal fb timeline where I can breathe and not deal with atrocities for 10 minutes at a time. The news eats me alive. I cannot think 24-7 about the terrible stuff that happens or I will fall the fuck apart, which is of absolutely no use to anyone.

When you don’t see news articles on my page, it does not mean that I’m not aware. It does not mean that I’m unaffected or disconnected or complicit.** It does not mean that I don’t do what I can in meatspace. It does not mean that I don’t believe in being the change I want to see in the world and actively work toward it. It does not mean that I’m living in a pretty pink bubble with my fingers in my ears.*** What it does mean is that I don’t want to argue with people on the internet. What it does mean is that I believe the political is personal, and it doesn’t have to happen on my facebook page for me to make change. What it does mean is that I believe I can be far more effective in person, and I prefer it that way.

So when I give you a “like” on your posts, please understand it in the spirit intended – in solidarity, and in likemindedness. I am sincerely doing the best I can. I refuse to bring recycled news to the table. And I likewise refuse to arrive to the table with compassion fatigue. I promise to arrive ready, informed, and with all my resources intact, available to help. I’ll even brew the coffee – someone has to brew the coffee.

In the meanwhile, let me show you the sweetness that I can find in the world – the sweetness we’re all fighting to make change for.

***

*I read a lot. I read the articles you post, even.

**To assume that is reductive, and, frankly, deeply insulting.

***I’m fucking outraged, if you want to be completely honest. I have HUGE issues surrounding authority mistreating people. My baggage surrounding people who are supposed to be protecting other people misusing that authority could fill a stadium. On top of that, gun violence is vertigo-inducing; it makes me, literally, feel like the ground below my feet is crumbling. I get into a spiral that generally ends with sobbing in the bathtub, feeling like the whole world has gone hostile, and how am I supposed to manage? How am I supposed to raise a son in this world? A few years ago I left social work with teenagers when their age and his age came close enough together that I feared for him in a dark world where there was nothing good to savor. I left that job and spent an entire year being sick and coughing up thick snot between crying jags. Let’s not pretend I don’t care how we treat each other. Images of Micheal Brown’s sobbing mother tear my guts out.

Add to that other peoples’ assessments of my character because of their own assumptions of me and/or insecurities about their own effectiveness, and I can completely lose my shit. No – I won’t come apart at the seams to make those people happy. I am of no use to anyone when I come apart at the seams.

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