This post mentions violence and could be triggering for some.
I woke up on Wednesday morning and thankfully prioritised my meditation practice and some yoga.
Once I finished that, I lunged for my phone and started to do what I do best... scrolling.
On my social media I saw cute photos and videos of dance crazes that made me smile. But then a news story stopped me in my tracks:
'Tragic loss of 19 kids and 2 teachers in Uvalde, Texas school shooting.'
At first, I'll admit, I continued scrolling, thinking, 'this only happens in America.'
But then I froze. Because, despite the fact that I'm a mum who lives in Australia - my eight-year-old son goes to school in America.
Arizona, not Texas, thankfully.
But as that sunk in, and I continued to scroll, I realised - this was a big deal.
An 18-year-old went into a school and aimed his gun and/or rifle at the bodies of children and their teachers. Typing this sentence drains life out of my body, and I don’t know what to do.
Once I connect with the humane side of me that feels the pain of ‘others’, I realise my initial instinct had been to disassociate - a process where we disconnect from our thoughts, feelings, memories, behaviours and sometimes we even separate from our identities. We do this to survive, to stay in our bodies, to continue to operate without falling apart. I empathise with those of us that choose this mechanism.
Now, thinking of my son, realising the magnitude of this, I couldn't disassociate. I felt deeply unsettled.
As I mentioned, my son currently lives in the USA. I am consciously co-parenting with his father and after seven years of being his primary and dominant parent in Australia; he went to live with his dad in Arizona for a little while.
My brain did flips and somersaults as it tried to rearrange the emotions I should be feeling versus the emotions I was actually feeling.
Relief he wasn’t in Texas, shame for thinking I’m glad it wasn’t him, sadness for the loss of those lives, and frustration at US gun laws.
And yet my thoughts and words felt and feel hollow.
I recently shared a stage with Australian Paralympian Gold Medallist Kurt Fearnley as part of the PwC Academy event called ‘The Outside’. Kurt shared his inspiring stories of resilience, triumphs and challenges alike, but the part that struck me the most was that of his shame story. The one that has him live in a country and world that is unequal to the disabled, despite the percentage of makeup they have in society and the world. He shared that until everyone, regardless of ability, shared his shame, the world will remain unequal.