Tuesday, June 18, 2013

There's More To Life

May 26, 2013

... than just right now. But everyone says, now is where you have to live. This moment. Here. And yeah, I'm a believer in that. Sometimes when the now is wrought with fantastic suckage -- especially for young people -- the now is kinda on the lame.

I read about a suicide in New Jersey. Gabrielle Molina. A 12 year-old girl who may have taken her life because she was being cyber bullied. I don't know the hard facts. I'm not part of the "know" aside from what I've read via media posts. Nevertheless, here was a beautiful young life with potential beyond anything she could have imagined at 12 years-old. Now that is gone.

And be that adult who says to a young person that there's more to life than just right now. I've heard kids say they sometimes resent the It Gets Better Campaign because it suggests waiting for it to change -- sometimes years of waiting. When you're a kid, an hour can feel a forever. Years are almost unimaginable especially when you are in the thick of being different or maybe weird or bi-sexual, transgender, too short, not loud enough ... lack of fitting into the clique of social machine. In the great divide of being a teen, the lines are drawn with tenacity. How do we say, just hold on. It will get better.

Here's my thoughts. I wish there had been a It Gets Better Campaign when I was a kid. Where people stood up and said you can make it. I also believe it has to get better now. I would be elated to have a dialogue with other creatives and parents and young people about what it would begin to look like to have a program or process by which to empower young people to feel seen and heard now. Is there something else that we are all missing? Because New Jersey shouldn't of happened. Rehtaeh Parsons of Canada shouldn't have happened. Nigel Hardy of California, Jadin Bell of Oregon, Harley Donna McGuire of Maine, Audrie Pott of California, Eden Wormer of Washington, Phobe Prince of Massachusetts and so many more.

These kids could have done -- been anything. They were not the truth that others had fed them. Again, I'm someone watching through the glass window. As an artist and a human being, I don't want to watch and hope. I want to be a part of the solution. Don't you?

Planes, Trains and Automobiles (Or How I Got There)

May 21, 2013
Heading back in the Cincinnati via San Antonio, I flew just west of Oklahoma at roughly the same time the Moore F5 tornado dropped. I stepped off the plane in Chicago to what would normally be the white noise of CNN's more pronounced. Tornados had dropped in Oklahoma the night before, so I assumed that was the coverage.

I had no idea.

The splintered wood and bent beams, beer can crushed cars and would-be buildings now wiped clear of the foundation was a new dark disaster. I watched with other passengers, jaws agape, at the place that was once home, school, business ... community. I watched parents reunite with their children and wondered about the children who were inevitably missing.

My adopted father had been a weather man in the Navy before somehow working a deal to join the Air Force. My eyes were on the skies growing up. Learning how to spot a shelf cloud, what rotation was and knowing when the clouds were essentially about to scream!

Where we lived was flat and the comfort was knowing you could always see what was coming at you. We always saw what was coming if our eyes were up.

One thing my adopted father said repeatedly, "If a tornado drops, don't try to out run it. Don't hunker under a bridge. Get under ground or the lowest ditch."

But we didn't talk about F5 tornados much. Namely because it was an unspoken understanding of the hell on earth they would rage. When I asked about those, he'd just say pray.

When I saw the devestation in Moore, OK I was pretty sure that was the imprint of an F5. From the photos my adopted father had shown me and the discussion we had. And when I touched down in Cincinnati, Ohio,  I looked up at the sky. The copper hue spilling on the soft almost Tim Burton clouds. It was warm, not hot. It was peaceful.

I felt a pang. Knowing what would be next. Next in Moore, Oklahoma. A place I've driven through on the way to somewhere else. Now it's a part of my story.