I have been without internet for two weeks and so much has happened. So much.
The blue river is grey at morning
and evening. There is twilight
at dawn and dusk. I lie in the dark
wondering if this quiet in me now
is a beginning or an end.
-Jack Gilbert, Waking at Night
I had two posts lined up before I lost the internet, one on language and how it affects us as advocates, and one on the It Gets Better Project musings. Since then, though, I’ve started working response team shifts, and I can’t post here without talking about that. Getting pages at four am, stumbling out of bed to talk quietly into my phone to sheriffs and survivors, scribbling down addresses and case numbers and “evidences of past abuse”. Counseling, alone at my glass desk, the entire world narrowed to the woman on the other end of the line, talking softly to me, the crickets outside my window the only sounds filling our silences. Going back to bed and looking at the person sleeping next to you and knowing that the heaviness you feel in your heart is something for you, for only you and the person who gave it to you and feeling what it’s like to share such a link with someone you’re unlikely ever to meet. Realizing that the heaviness you feel, you feel because someone gave it to you, because a stranger trusted you with the things that hurt the very most. Two weeks, and everything’s changed.
The world changes when you force yourself to think about everyone in it. It’s a stretch, because the world is big and people are small. I am small. I am a small person in a big world, a world that is too big for me to ever hope to understand everyone, and the thing is that understand is such a romantic word. I was a scientist before I was anything else. In science we talk about understanding and equate it so often with learning, when sometimes it’s just the opposite. Sometimes understanding is unlearning. Sometimes understanding is seeing.