Week 25: A different direction

Thoughts, prayers, pulling back the veil

Are you familiar with the Washington, DC suburb of Silver Spring? According to Wikipedia it is the fourth most populous place in Maryland, after Baltimore, Columbia, and Germantown. It boasts four different Metro stops that will whisk you into DC on the red line, and nine public high schools, and six libraries.

Silver Spring is also where my parents strolled Baby Me around Sligo Creek Park. It’s where I bought the lace dress I wore to the dance at the end senior year of college. It’s where I first saw my friend Kira’s formidable collection of Christmas tree ornaments, back when she lived in that old apartment and spent her days balancing the Obama inauguration budget.

It is also home to my in-laws; has been for over three decades. This past Christmas break, my eight year old niece and I went for a scavenger hunt around their cul de sac, and we all ate crab cakes one night, and on another night my husband and I went to his old favorite bar for belly laughs with a college bestie. Last summer we met up with one of his high school friends in a bustling, brightly-tiled plaza in downtown Silver Spring. She brought her toddler and we brought our baby and we dipped their soft chubby toes in the fountain that definitely did not exist when we were all in high school.

Apparently Silver Spring has also been home to this domestic terrorist (NavyTimes), who has been working for the U.S. Coast Guard by day and spending the rest of his time plotting a lone wolf-style attack, stockpiling guns, and taking steroids to prepare, until he was taken into custody last week.

I read that article and the family memories in Silver Spring started playing on a sinister reel in my head, with a soundtrack of minor chords. Suddenly a bunch of the links I planned to share in the link list this week — like this advice column in The Atlantic, written to the entitled parent of a white, male high school senior who may not get into the college of his choice, and this New York Times piece that defines “toxic masculinity”, and even this one (from Scientific American) about how we’ve lost touch with our bodies — rose to the top, tangled together.

I went digging for this piece I bookmarked in November: The connection between mass shooters and domestic violence (The Lily) even though I have no information about whether this Silver Spring-based Coast Guard officer has a record of this.

I was really planning to go in a different direction this week.

But there is so much every day to digest and there is so much to fight. Maybe it’s my responsibility to go in this direction every week, the what are we all doing? direction, the what personal responsibility are you and I taking, with our cousins, in our neighborhoods, in our schools and workplaces? direction. There’s no reason this Maryland story should hit closer to home than any number of other horrifying truths about the times we live in.

An email from Rep. Lauren Underwood today:

A 2016 tweet from adrienne maree brown:

I’m sitting with that tonight. But the name of this newsletter is not “Sitting with things” so I’ll find some way to move on or around all of this tomorrow.

Link roundup below.

Links for hard times

A lot of folks in my life are Really Going Through It right now.

Links for voters

Those of you based outside Chicago might be surprised to learn that your pals here have a major election coming up next week. For those of us who are here…

  • Thanks to Josh S.G. for sharing this overview of the upcoming election in Chicago (Tribune) - get the basics here, including early voting info

  • And thanks to Jen H.P. for this Facebook thread about the election, where Heidi M. and others shared some useful insights and links to voter guides

  • Speaking of voter guides, remember a few weeks ago when I shared the opportunity to vote in an online poll about what the city’s priorities should be in order to advance racial equity? Apparently 2100 people voted before the deadline, and the team behind it has launched Chicago’s Voter Guide for Racial Equity. You can read more in Niketa Brar’s editorial at The Chicago Reporter.

And some more links

(Sidenote: A few weeks ago I reported that you might get fewer links from me this month because I was trying to be more mindful of my cell phone use. OOPS. While I have learned some disgusting data about my phone habits since I turned on my screen time app, I haven’t made much progress in breaking them.)

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Both photos this week are mine, both from summer 2017.

This newsletter is a 35-week experiment in getting and staying un-stuck. This installment is #25.