under the influence of lightning

laying here in the heart of a storm. thunder is rolling overhead and when lightning strikes it’s as bright as day in the whole sky. midwestern storms are extravagant.

today is the anniversary of Mike Brown’s murder, a day that holds its own distinct horror and grief, a day that changed many of our lives, grew us up in ways we never wished for. i pray in my way for his family and his community today.

i spent the day mostly offline, playing with my nibblings, noticing the ways in which they listen to authority and the ways they don’t. i have respect for the latter and try to only demand the former when their safety is concerned. today one nibbling said i was the bestest auntie, except…’you do get mad sometimes.’ i told them to notice why i get mad, and if it’s ever not about their safety, they should tell me and I’ll let it go. i don’t want to participate in getting them to listen to me ‘just because’. doesn’t work anyway. and what do i know, really?

i can’t remember if i should start counting when the lightning strikes or when i hear thunder, to measure the miles between the storm and my body. i like the idea that this is a crucial survival skill. and like most crucial survival skills, i only kind of know it.

i’m learning to trust myself under pressure, learning that i string together my random bits of survival knowledge when i need it, apologize and adapt when i fuck up. and anyway, perhaps the best contribution i can make is staying calm under pressure, which i inherited from the women in both sides of my family. calm allows me to discern who to trust when no one is quite right.

the biggest dangers my people face right now come from our government, and we don’t yet know how to survive it, not en masse. but we’re learning. as quickly as we can, messes and humanity in our wake.

it’s eight miles away now, the storm, counting from lightning to thunder.

watching the kids learn the subtle survival skills of being 4, and 7, and three days til 9, i see how we learn on yes. in somatics we know that, the body learns on yes. but we live in a punitive authoritative society. we conform in response to no, we try to control the base urges and wild instincts that make us unsociable as we are told to stop, quiet, take it elsewhere. but when we are invited into the world as whole complex creative beings, invited to contribute our truths and ideas, held through our disappointment and confusion – i am amazed at how kind the children can be, and prolific, and fun.

that’s true of every child i meet. i’m learning to hold this possibly for every adult, too.

the lightning is right out the window now, two miles away. but also maybe it’s just everywhere these days. it’s terrifying to be alive these days. it’s also beautiful.