Battle Scars

Guess who’s bizzack?

Hi guys! I know, I know, it wasn’t that long of a hiatus, but it was full of changes and shifts and transitions and lots and lots of head clearing. And then… something wonderful happened. A mere four months after I decided to stop writing until I had something new to say, I woke up the other morning… with something new to say.

Hallelujah! Thought I was losing my mojo out here. Anyway, for a quick update: house sold smoothly, I quit my job, moved back to my hometown, and took an entire month off to think and write and contemplate where else I want my life to go. Things are settling down for me finally, which is probably why I’m finally compelled to put down some non-fiction words. But enough of the update. On to the topic, right?

My sister got sick over the holiday. Now, she’s diabetic with a myriad of other health issues, so her being in the hospital was serious, but it wasn’t the first time. It wasn’t the second or third time either. I tried to take it in stride. My parents were scared. They usually are. And I try to keep a clear head, but I worry too. I’m already and anxious person. I’m already full of worry about things going wrong, about the destruction of any of my carefully laid plans. So I was scared too, though I tried not to show it in front of her kids. Which leads me to the crux of this matter. Her kids… not so scared. Not so worried. Either they wear the bravest faces I’ve ever seen and hide the fear so deep you can’t detect it, or they’re so numb after years of her health issues that they really weren’t affected. I didn’t wipe any tears. I didn’t give them any comforting words. I didn’t hug them and reassure them and let them know it was going to be okay. And it’s not because I didn’t want to do those things. I didn’t have to. They didn’t need it. There were no breakdowns, no clinging, no tears. And it dawned on me that those things didn’t happen because THEY ARE USED TO THIS. They don’t need the coddling because they are used to this, and as such, numb to any fear of it. They probably have some deeper seated fear of the worst happening, but as long as the worst is nowhere in sight, they are fine. They were so fine that they got me thinking about scars. How first time fear is a fresh wound, and second and third time fear rips off the scab, but then… nothing. The scar heals and then it’s par for the course. We are scarred but we don’t feel it anymore. It fades. We can walk through our lives and ignore it. My nieces certainly do. And some would think that’s making them stronger. But is the fact that they don’t feel as much hurting them in the long run? Hurting us all in the long run? I think it is.

I hate to think of my nieces getting to the point where worrisome or fearful things just roll off of them, but it’s hard to be an aunt and want them to be scared. I don’t really know where to go here. I’m a little anxious about it. Okay, a lot anxious. I have no desire to see them turn into me, an extra anxious over worrier who can’t stop thinking of what could go wrong. But it’s not okay that they’re so used to what’s happening that they have no reaction at all. I mean, that affects you. It changes you. And not in a good way. I want them to be able to feel things in their interactions with other people. I don’t want them to be jaded.

It makes me wonder about the battle scars I carry. The things I’ve seen and heard so many times that they just roll off of me; the things I don’t react to anymore. Is my sister one of those things? Am I not as worried as I should be? Do I not take it as seriously as I did the first time she got sick? A part of me thinks I don’t. And it’s not just that. Am I numb to bad news? Goodness I hope not. But after a while, you feel like you have to ignore it to survive. You can’t let it affect you too much because then how can you go on? Sometimes, there’s not much else you can do to keep moving, keep living. But how do you strike a balance? Where’s the line between letting the scars heal and not letting them fade completely so you can feel?

They talk about it on Twitter all the time. How we’re so numb to the unjust death of our people that it barely resonates anymore. Maybe for #TrayvonMartin it hurt. Maybe for #JordanDavis it hurt. Maybe it even hurt for #FreddieGray. But does it still hurt now? Does #LaquanMcDonald hurt the same? Does #JamarClark? Does #SandraBland? Or are we all just numb now? Have our battle scars faded to the point where we can’t feel them anymore? Are we just resigned to this being a normal, regular, thing? I sure as hell hope not. And those deep and active in the movement will say absolutely not. But sometimes I’m afraid that it has. That it will. I’m afraid that my nieces are resigned to my sick sister. That they’re numb to the medicine, and tubes, and visiting the hospital. That they’re used to it. Sometimes, I’m afraid I’m used to it. But you know me. I don’t always have the answers. This is just the place where I ask the questions.

But when I think of it, I guess the answer is the balancing act. I guess the balancing act is life. And I guess I’m back. Thanks for reading.

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