Covered in Shit & Earth

*WARNING: I can't guarantee that this will make sense or be a solid piece of writing. They are just thoughts, tumbling out one right after the other.* ************************

Tears envelop my eyes and distort my vision as I sit here trying to type this.

I don't want to engage in a wrestling match between words & my emotions, trying to bring the two together like matching puzzle pieces, giving them life & voice so you can understand my current state of mind.

I'm tired of thinking, of trying to process all that I've read, heard, and seen online and in conversations with people. I'm overwhelmed with trying to grasp and retain it all.

When I was 13, we lived in a 2 acre plot of land in a small town 45 minutes outside of San Antonio. Our neighbors on the left, the Clarks, housed chickens on the back end of their property. Our neighbor on the right, Mr. Lopez, housed goats, chickens, and a calf named Bandit. We had three Rottweilers ourselves, and I spent several occasions hopping over the fence into Bandit's pen, trying to get them back into our own property.

It was exhausting. The pen was full of mud & cow manure, both mixing together into one slippery surface. Chasing after my dogs and trying to grab ahold of them was next to impossible...and messy. Running, jumping, and wrestling them to the fence meant being on my hands and knees, reaching through the mud & manure to grasp their slick legs and midsections. I'd often give up and just sit in the middle of the pen, silently hoping they'd tire themselves out soon & make my task easier to accomplish.

I'd just sit there and watch them run in circles around the pen, terrorizing Bandit & the rest of the animals and feel helpless & frustrated at my inability to make them stop. I'd sit there, covered in shit and earth from head to toe, feeling defeated.

That's how I feel this morning. Like I'm back out in that pen, covered from head to toe in shit & earth, tired from wrestling & wrangling, wanting nothing more than to close my eyes and pretend I'm in another place, and not spitting cow shit out of my mouth.

Only today, it's not cow shit & I'm not on a 2 acre plot of land in Texas with 3 rowdy dogs and barn animals. I'm in my apartment trying to play with my two boys while blinking back tears & quieting a mind reeling from news headlines.

The Wisconsin Sikh shooting yesterday....The shooting spree in Colorado just a couple of weeks ago....gun control, the Second Amendment, the NRA...mental health...hate crimes...violence...

Chic Fil A, marriage equality, gay rights, freedom of speech, Christianity, Homosexuality, religious freedom, dogma, intolerance...boycotts, kiss-ins, appreciation days...

Trayvon Martin, racism, race, "looking suspicious", injustice, politics....

HATE. From acts of violence to comments on media sites & Facebook all I see is hate.

And ignorance. So much ignorance.

And a faith being misrepresented by those who have forgotten what Jesus would've actually done. So called "Christians" who care more about being "right" than people.

Intolerance and polarization. Everywhere I look, I see lines in the sand and giant gaps in the middle where only a minority dare to reside.

My mind has spun tirelessly in an effort to take it all in, process it, draw conclusions, and give a voice to how it all makes me feel. I've spent the summer wrestling & wrangling in the shit & earth that these issues present, trying grasp ahold of my own thoughts on each and find my footing on a shifting worldview, slipping, sliding, and losing a grip that was once firm & sure of what it was holding on to & why.

My mind is back in that pen, and I find myself sitting there covered from head to toe in the messiness & ugliness of humanity, wanting nothing more than to close my eyes, and pretend I don't see it, and that my heart is not breaking within me from the pain of it.

During a session called "Blogging the Fine Line Between Your Identity & the Issues," at BlogHer this weekend, I felt challenged by the panelists to not look away from the ugliness. To find a way to speak to it and give it a voice.

In the past I've been hesitant to talk about things like race, religion & politics here on the blog. I've wanted to share my thoughts, questions, and perspective on various cultural issues that are difficult to talk about but wasn't sure how or if I should. I've been comfortable with being transparent about my struggles but not with my thoughts & feelings on issues I feel strongly or have questions about. But then I attended this session. Heard Kelly Wickham (@mochamomma) say to "work past your own tension & discomfort," when wanting to write about "the issues." When I asked her "how?" she simply extended her foot on the ground and said, "like this-just step out & step up to it, a little at a time if you have to but just get out there. Don't be afraid to take that step."

So...this is me. Taking that step and refusing to just navel gaze and vowing to be more open with you about how I'm feeling & what I'm questioning in regards to "the issues."

This is me saying that I'm going to let you watch me wrestle and wrangle my way through them....and ask you to wrestle & wrangle with me, share your insights & questions so we can be challenged to learn & grow together.

And? This is me, covered in the shit of all the hate, violence, and ignorance of the past weeks & saying it has left my soul weary and my heart broken. It has left me scrambling to find a way to raise my boys in a still racially divided society & infuriated with the Christian Church here in America. I've found myself in the middle of so many opposing sides wanting my cries for compassion to override the hate and ignorance being screamed back & forth, and just being overwhelmed by it all....

How have you been dealing with all of this? Do you feel defeated & overwhelmed too? Are you wrestling with anything as a result of all that's been happening lately?