This morning a friend linked The Onion website. They had filled their front page with iterations of the article they post every time there is a mass shooting. Twitter link wasn’t giving the visual of the page so I stitched together an image for twitter.
Seeing the same article over and over with different locations really hit me. It hit a lot of people. My tweet of that image has 10k retweets and counting.
Around 2000 retweets I muted the conversation, because the conversation isn’t about me or about the image I put up. People aren’t talking to me. They’re doing the same thing I did, borrowing a visual to help them express their pain.
Because this hurts. When I encounter public pain, I find myself thinking back to a post I wrote just after the 2016 US election and then re-posted in 2020 when we were all aghast at the George Floyd video. https://www.onecobble.com/2020/06/01/pain-in-its-first-moment-reprint-from-2016/
Maybe that’s why The Onion’s display of repeated articles speaks to me. I too have words that I wrote and return to because the incident of pain changes, but in my effort to understand the new hurt, I land in the same emotional place.
One of the criticisms I saw before I muted the thread was that The Onion’s posting was just as performative and useless as empty statements of “thoughts and prayers.” I disagree.
There is power in repetition, in returning to the same words over and over writing them on our minds and our hearts. We return to this same article and are TIRED of returning to the same article. So we ask ourselves, what can I do to not have to be faced with this article again?
For me the answer is to do as Shep advised, adopt a cause: https://twitter.com/NeolithicSheep/status/1529416308219060224
Shepherd@NeolithicSheepPick one fight that calls to you. Trust that other competent people have got the others. Boost their voices, send $5 when you can, but otherwise let go of any belief that you are necessary to every fight.
And follow that up with this second piece of smart advice: you can’t fight all of the fights: https://twitter.com/NeolithicSheep/status/1529417194614013952
Shepherd@NeolithicSheepWe need you in *A* fight. But it is not humanly possible for you to be in every fight. So, yknow, pick your battle and throw yourself into it with a whole and joyful heart.
For today, I’m letting people in that first Onion thread have their moment of pain undisturbed. Many of us are not our best selves today. It is hard to be our best selves in the first moment of pain.
And I am taking time to remind myself of the causes I’ve picked so I can funnel my “must do something” energy into places where I have the best lever.