So much noise

The dog tore her ACL.
The not-so-much-a-baby-anymore still isn’t sleeping.
The almost 5-year-old won’t try anything new to eat.
No one wanted to eat dinner last night.
We’ve been fighting all weekend.
The cat screams at me at 5 am every day.
The laundry needs to be folded — even the socks.
The litter box needs to be cleaned.
All of the clothes in the toddler girl’s section are pink-i-fied.
My niece’s college is on alert because of a possible threat.
Animals are being abused at an alarming rate and with a disgusting level of brutality in this country.
Women can’t get ahead professionally if they have children.
There are armed military personnel in Port Authority Bus Terminal when I arrive in the morning.
A police officer beat an unarmed woman he stopped for an alleged seatbelt violation in front of her two children, causing a concussion and long term memory loss.
There was another bill introduced today attempting to regulate women’s bodies.
Another unarmed black man was shot by a police officer.
The Syrian refugees need help desperately.
48 million Americans live in food-insecure households.
There was another school shooting. Lawmakers won’t do anything about it.
A fifth grader shot an 8 year old child with a shotgun today. You won’t see it on the news.

(Lack of) Gun control. Homelessness. Mental illness. Poverty. Climate change. Homophobia. Childhood obesity. Tsunamis. Fracking. Unequal access to education. Wild fires. Hunger. Children killing children. Addiction. Human trafficking. ISIS. Historic floods. Unemployment. Religious persecution. Violence against women. Austerity. Religious wars. War on women. Hurricanes. Genital mutilation. Transphobia. Mud slides. Racism. Euthanasia. Suicide. Homicide. Genocide. Deep sea drilling. Terrorism.

These are all thoughts, words, headlines, and issues that entered my brain through one channel or another within the last 12 hours. The issues swirl around in my mind like one of those timewarp vectors in Austin Powers.

I work in New York City.  Today, during my lunch hour, I felt a palpable level of anxiety that I was not safe.  A freight truck dropped its tailgate with a loud boom and nearly sent me running for safety.  A police siren blared (a very common sound in NYC), and I glanced around for a gunman headed my way.  Maybe I have an anxiety disorder.  Maybe we, as a society, have a collective anxiety order.  Maybe there should be less in the world for us to be anxious about.

It’s a lot of mental noise to listen to all at once.  There is so much wrong in the world, that I hardly know where to start.  I simultaneously want to shield my children from all of the evil in the world, and prepare them for it so they are safe, and I cannot figure out how to do both.  How do I tell them to hide, run, get down if they see someone with a gun, when I don’t even want them to know that there are crazy people out there shooting children in schools?  How do I talk to them about this without scaring the ever-loving life out of them?  I feel the pressure increase in my chest, and suddenly feel like I can’t breathe.  I have to do something.  There’s nothing I can do.  These issues…these overpowering, seemingly unsolvable problems that plague us as a nation, as a society, as a species…what can I, as one person, do about any of them?  I blog.  I read the news.  I share information.  I sign up as a member of organizations that are “fighting the good fight.”  I donate when finances allow.  I vote with my conscience.  It’s not enough.  And I don’t know what else to do.

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