My two little boys played on the beach yesterday morning, delighting in minnows and their own imaginations, free to express, be brave, be vulnerable. It wasn’t long after that I heard about the school shooting in Troutdale, OR. This time it broke me open. One after another. The short distance between my little boys and their future high school boy selves. Between me and the parents who have lost their children. The reactivity of my own heart & mind came forth, struggling not to feel the enormity of it all but to defend against. My heart calculated the family and friends that feel so differently than I do about guns, and mental illness, and social justice. I felt anger rise, separating me from the pain. I made quick, quiet plans to move to the UK. And because it is my desired practice, and because I am perched above a stunning lake for two weeks, I choose to feel this awful, hopeless, uncertain feelings instead of make a plan, or blame.
I beg/demand all of you to celebrate the wholeness of my boys, and all boys throughout their precious lives.
It seems to me that there are many things contributing to the endless string of violence. We are all making our own lists, yes? But as I watch my sweet, connected, present little boys play, I see what they have that we have left behind. They are vulnerable and don’t see it as a character flaw. They feel. They aren’t overly attached to gender norms. They ask for help. They love freely. This isn’t hippie shit. This was in all of us. This was you too, friend. The chronic judgement of one another, the defense, the burying of our feelings as if they mean something about us is problematic. The belief that power is acquired outside of our own hearts. All of it.
I feel uncertain as a parent how to offer my boys a way to hold on to their openness, sensitivity, and connectedness with all of the horrific shaming that happens to boys. I beg/demand all of you to celebrate the wholeness of my boys, and all boys throughout their precious lives. And maybe then we can work to do this for each other too? I do this, I practice. This may be the one defense I am unable to put down today. Hear it as a request.
***This post was originally a personal one that I decided to share with my Be Nourished community because I know so many of you are also feeling & grieving in the wake of the recent tragedies. Please know that I am (obviously) all about speaking on behalf of women and shame, but that this post comes from my own questioning, vulnerable parent self.
Hilary Kinavey, MS, LPC is a therapist and co-founder of Be Nourished. She encourages conscious and authentic living, with the courage to love yourself anyway.