My White Privilege

I took this photo of Cameron and a new friend almost a year ago. I’ve never shared it or posted it though it’s one of my favorite pictures I’ve taken in her short life. And I’ve taken a lot. 

I’ve kept it to myself because it’s a treasure. This is what I look at after hard days. This is what keeps me strong when I want to be weak. These angels know nothing but love and kindness. They walked around the park together for over half an hour, hand in hand, helping each other up and down the stairs, giggling at the birds in the water. They were in their own world, and it was beautiful. 

Our world is a mess. You may think it’s hopeless. You may think change isn’t coming. You may decide to give up on finding peace and equality in your time. But don’t give up on this. On them. This is my reason for caring about people I’ve never met. This is my reason for fighting for rights I’ve so unfairly been treated to while my friends have been denied. This is everything. 

I firmly believe that acknowledging the truth is the first step to finding a resolution. So I look at this photo, and I honestly and sincerely tell you my truth. My truth is that I am privileged because of the color of my skin. One of these innocent babies is too. But just one. 

My white privilege is that I will have a child and not worry about him or her being killed out of fear of appearance. I do not worry about the day I have to teach my child to be silent in the face of authority in case that day is the day somebody is too fearful to be strong. My white privilege is having a child and allowing them to be a child. To love, to explore, to question without fear of punishment or violence. 

I challenge all white people who read this to speak your truth. We are privileged. Do I feel guilty? Yes. Should I feel guilty? Only if I do not do my part to ensure this little boy grows up in a world as open and welcoming as Cameron’s will be. 



Fight the Fear

“The only thing we have to fear is fear itself” – FDR

It may seem simple, but the truth usually is. There is a destructive pattern stitched within our society called fear. It keeps us from making change, it keeps us from speaking up and speaking out, it keeps us from holding on to a cause after the media has decided it’s time for a new story to grace the headlines. Fear immobilizes as it grows, leaving us so much worse for the wear.

I do believe the only thing to fear is fear. It is the simple root of our complex problems. Fear breeds ignorance, hatred, anger, and violence. We don’t know how to be afraid, so we pretend we aren’t. We pretend the color of somebody’s skin doesn’t cause our heartbeat to increase or the way somebody dresses doesn’t make us choose another seat on the train. That’s not us. We’d never do that. That’s how the others act. We are better.


We are a society that feeds on buried fears. It festers inside of us until one day, years and years of assumptions and stereotypes take over rational – even just humane – thinking and we burst open with an anger so vast we are willing to kill.

It’s time to accept the fact that we are a weak society. Our potential is infinite. Our children have the grace and insight and humanity to love one another because of their differences, not in spite of them. Let’s not spoil that when we have a chance to let it continue. We do not need more hate. We need to shed the belief that we must be strong to become stronger together. We are not strong. We are broken, so very broken, and we are not going to mend without coming together. Let us be honest, let us be open. Tear down those self-righteous walls and help.

Snide remarks and drawn out arguments on social media that just lead to anger and resentment are what we do best, but they don’t help us do good. We need good, in the most intense way. Need is no small word. Fear is no small word. Yet we misuse them and take away their true significance. We glance over the words without thinking about what they mean and the value they hold. Don’t let this be the case here. Listen when I say,

We need to accept, confront, and conquer our fears. Not for ourselves. The monsters in the closet don’t keep us awake at night anymore. We are content in our ignorance. But one day our children will look in that same closet and see what we’ve blinded ourselves to. Do we let them follow us on the path to fear and shallow contentment, or do we beat back those monsters before our children ever set eyes on them?

A 4-year old little girl saw that monster when she watched her daddy die in the front seat of their car. She’s seen what we are capable of at our very worst. That is her truth now. We owe it to her and to all of those who haven’t learned to fear or hate yet to fight our battle together rather than ignore it. Fear needs to lose. We need to let fear lose. Set everything else aside and acknowledge your fears, our society’s fears. Fear’s strength is on our inability to look it in the eye. Stare it down. Talk to it. Embrace it. Overcome it.


Tick. Tick. Tick
An incessant itch.
Little by little,
trickling into nothing
as space becomes past
tense and the present
becomes too much.

Tighter than a noose –
a noose is an end.
This is life, a long
reality tightening
around your throat,
grabbing hold just enough
to sultrily tease with the
cool, crisp, gentle respite of oxygen.

Feeling like you’ll make it but
praying that you’re wrong.
Nervous habits,
Constricted lungs,
A mind racing ’round a corpse
Whose heart is still beating
To escape its mortal cage.
Anxiety crushing every last
moment of me. Every last chance.

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What’s Left

It’s flattering to hear people remember,
sharing eulogies for my former self. She
will be greatly missed. So much she had
left to accomplish. Full of heart and drive.

Nine years later and being useless
has become second nature.
It’s what I do best, really. Disappointing
others who see the potential smothered
By a cancerous pain that dropped in
for a surprise visit and decided to stay.
If only this, if only that. If only.
Then I’d really be something.
    Somebody great.

And of course it’s not my fault she’s gone.
I should never feel guilty.
But survivor’s guilt can be paralyzing
When the victim was another side of you.

So as flattering as it is to know how much
I am missed, it is crushing to know what’s left
        Isn’t good enough.


Tangled sitting here, alone,
But tangled nonetheless,
In the chaos of you, of me,
Of what I’m supposed to be
Without you. Or am I
Supposed to be anything
Without you?

It’s an intertwining of spirit and soul,
Of lust and longing,
Something so physical it suggests
Something far beyond physicality.
Or emotion. Or spirituality.
A combination of what I need to be me
And what I want to be us.

Sitting here, a chair and me,
In the darkness, wrapped in everything
As potential feeds on possibilities
And possibilities drown out doubt.
Finding a way out by giving in
To the tangled web.