I enjoyed seeing so many of my friends at the march on Saturday. What a heartening response to the ongoing crisis of gun violence in our country. .
I wanted to march as well, but ultimately decided to sit this one out. I had my kids that day. And while I’ve loved taking my kids on marches in the past, I was concerned about having them participate in this one. I have struggled with generalized anxiety disorder my whole life. It means that my brain obsesses over possible negative outcomes every single day. I jokingly call myself a skilled catastrophizer. But in reality it’s a mental illness that causes me a lot of distress, and it’s been that way since I was a child. When I was about 8 my parents let me watch a news program about the threat of being bombed by the Russians. I took in this information and thought about it – all day, every day – for years. I also laid in bed every night obsessing about possible calamities, like being robbed or our house burning down or getting kidnapped.
Unfortunately I see some of these anxious tendencies in some of my kids. (Specifically the ones who share my genes.) I pray, a lot, that this will just be a personality quirk and not an actual DSM diagnosis in adulthood. But I see their tendency to obsess, perseverate, and worry over scary things. I think most kids do this at some level, but mine more than most. And I had to weigh my desire for involving them in activism vs. adding fuel to their anxiety … I had to weigh wanting my kids to be versed on social justice issues vs. wanting to protect their brains from seizing on a fear that I can’t really control. It was like two contending mama bear instincts: to protect my kids from the threat of being shot at school, and to protect my kids from the daily fear of being shot at school. And I decided … not now. .
All that to say, thank you for everyone who stepped out today on our behalf, and the behalf of kids everywhere. I’m with you in spirit, and hopeful today brings about change.
Art by @lisacongdon