from The Great American Whatever by Tim Federle


I am able to appreciate the fact that he is attempting something. That he is, at least, not hibernating.  p 242

This week has been fraught with tragedy—

Politics, reports from Orlando,

boys jumping from bridges…

June, this month of

endings and beginnings

all muddled together

becoming indistinguishable from each other,

makes me  want to hide under the covers.

I pull them up over my head

to make the world disappear.

But it’s hard to be

a functioning member of society

from your bed.

Jobs, pets, kids

call out needing my attention.

So I get up in the morning

preparing myself to meet the day.

The sun greets me

and inspires me

to go out and meet the world.

Cups of tea, t-shirts,

jeans like old friends,

These are my armor;

my sustenance.

I seek out the words

to comfort me.

Mantras on repeat

in my head:

Run your own race

Turn it around

What’s your why?

I am a one woman

cheering committee.

As if each day was a marathon.

And some days are…

But there are others I look to,

friends who lend support.

They let me know

that any effort

is a step in the right direction.

The words they offer

become lifeline and lifeboat.

Listening to Jen Lee the other day

she said:

“The angst is optional.

You can set it down.”

I took that to heart.

Considered tattooing

it on my arm as a reminder.

Then later she whispered

that wrapping her hands

around her tea cup

felt like a resurrection.

This morning I discovered

that truth for myself.

Now the sun is shining,

the sky feels neverending.

Hibernating is not an option

on this glorious day.

Despite the news of the world

I am smiling.

Living my life.

Finding my own motivation.

These are the words to remember:

Be Kind.

Be Brave.

Be the light.

And nurture your hope like a candle flame.


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