I cried when I killed a bee today. I watched it crawl across the floor of the cabin that we’re staying in for vacation; it’s teeny, spindly legs trekking across the carpet, clearly seeking something. Before I stepped on it, I thought about what could happen if it lived. I’ve been stung before – I know what it feels like, I know how it hurts – so I made a choice. Instead of waiting for the moment it was sure to hurt me, I killed it. I waited until it was close enough that I could easily lift my leg and bring my clean, white Chuck Taylors down on it, and end its life.
It was easy.
Until I watched it curl up, like I do when I’m in pain, like it could stop the pain if it made itself smaller, lesser, insignificant. Maybe it cried. I would have. And when I watched it, tears pooled in my eyes as the life left him (her?).
This morning I saw an article about a friend’s son who met J.J. Watt. Because he has leukemia. Because of the Make a Wish Foundation. He’s not even ten. I cried when I told my husband the story – for him, for his family, and for us. Cancer sucks, you know?
Two days ago a man killed fifty people. Because he was sick. Because they were different than he was. And we’re worried about gun laws and terrorism and me, me, me. And what about them – the victims, the family, the friends?
Last week Brock Turner got off easy. He was caught in the act of raping a woman, an unconscious, helpless woman, and he was given six months. SIX months. Because any longer would have “too severe” an impact on him. Don’t worry though, he won’t be able to swim for USA anymore.
Everyday our military fights for us. They protect us. They serve us. They love us. And the government continues to cut their budget, to cut their benefits. Many times, they get little to no respect from civilians who benefit from their protection. And still they enlist, still they train, still they deploy.
I used to cry regularly and for no apparent reason. I would cry when I was sad or angry or happy. I would cry because I didn’t know how else to express myself. I would cry because I wanted to. I would cry for a reaction – from myself and others. I don’t cry much anymore. Since cancer, there doesn’t seem to be a point. It doesn’t fix anything and, more often than not, it only serves to make people feel they have to comfort or fix me. I don’t need to be fixed.
But something does because the system is broken – our country is broken. It’s twisted and snarled, full of people who can do nothing but point fingers and argue, full of people with excuses, full of people who sit by and talk, talk, talk forever, full of people who expect others to take action for them.
I know. I’m one of them. I sit behind my computer and I type. I cry to my husband about the injustices of the world. I talk to my dad about my beliefs and what I stand for. And I do nothing. I change nothing. Because I believe, like so many others, that it won’t matter, that my voice is nothing – it’s small, lesser, insignificant – like the bee.
But maybe it isn’t. Maybe it only takes my voice and then another and another and another, until all of those voices have joined together. Maybe if we’re loud enough, we can create a buzz that others hear. Maybe we can make a change, bring goodness and light and happiness – even if at first, the change is so small, it’s nearly imperceptible.
And maybe that means next time we won’t be so afraid to be stung.