The last week and a half you may have noticed my posting was pretty sparse across social media. I got to take off from work to head to Europe for 10 days and ended up disconnecting from social media, aside from brief times when I had access to wifi, and even then I enjoyed the excuse to take a few steps back. I had intended my next post on here to be a recap of the sights, eats and moments from the past couple weeks, but on our flight back to LA on Monday morning, while I was watching a show on demand, my boyfriend nudged me, then pointed to one of the in-seat TVs next to us. You were able to watch live TV on this flight and a ton of people were watching various news stations reporting on the shooting in Las Vegas. I kept watching an episode of Planet Earth about Islands, but would periodically glance over to the TV screens running news coverage and headlines as I saw the death and injury numbers climb while I let it all sink in. After 2 flights and about 15 hours of travel we landed back in LA. That evening we went to bed super early, attempting to beat the jetlag. We woke up, got ready for work and headed to a local coffee shop for one last vacation breakfast together before heading back to work and reality. As I drove into work, I couldn’t wipe the smile off of my face reminiscing of the last 10 days. I got into work, my coworkers asked about my trip, and then the events in Las Vegas came up in conversation, though it really didn’t all hit me until I got in my car to drive home that evening. I hadn’t felt that sad or overwhelmed with emotions in awhile. Last night I had a really bad night of sleep and anxious dreams. I can’t pretend to know one bit of what anyone who was there went through, but the following is all of my thoughts and emotions somewhat organized and collected into one place.
I’m not one to have many conversations or post about politics and gun control, but I’ve also gotten to the point where I’m fed up, along with so many other Americans. When “more Americans have died from gunfire since 1968 than in all US wars” we have a huge problem, and that statement was made in 2013 (Politifact article for reference). At least one mass shooting happens per day in the US, and the one in Las Vegas was not the only one that occurred on Sunday. Oh and the sales of firearms are proven to go up after mass shootings occur. The majority of these sales aren’t because people fear for their lives, but because people fear the restrictions on acquiring weapons will become stricter as a result of these events. Hey, don’t get me wrong, I don’t think all guns should be banned, but when weapons that can cause mass devastation in mere seconds or minutes can be acquired by people who even have the thought that they want to carry out something as evil as the events at the concert in Las Vegas, Pulse Nightclub in Orlando, the Regional Center in San Bernardino, or Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown. These are just (some of) the ones that made international news, but when I dug a little deeper I became sick to my stomach as I read of so many others I was unaware of and that could have been prevented if something was done (LA Times article for reference).
When someone is able to pass a background check to purchase guns, and then carry out attacks of this caliber, we have an issue. When it’s made easier for people with severe mental illness to buy guns, we have an issue. When the day after the devastation in Las Vegas, our Senators vote against closing loop holes that make it possible for people to avoid background checks when buying guns at a gun show, we have an issue. Oh and when the House of Representatives are voting on a piece of legislation this week to legalize the purchase of silencers for guns and the NRA already pushed for lawmakers to pass (then did) a law for people on “no fly” lists to be able to buy guns, we are fucked. And the fact that it is at all possible to buy the caliber of gun that is used in most of these mass shootings, is beyond me.
When is this country going to WAKE UP? I can’t even begin to get into the issue of the idiot that is president or the fact that the word “terrorism” isn’t used in situations that are clearly terrorism, just because they’re carried out by an American on fellow Americans. I encourage you to watch the video below, as it is genuine and extremely informative.
The events of last Sunday in Las Vegas happened at a music festival. One of which, I knew more than a handful of people in attendance. I started attending concerts further back than I can even remember, and today it’s one of my favorite things to do. My first music festibal I ever attended was Warped Tour and I still attend various festivals to this day. Music is a big part of my life. It has been since an early age. I remember being introduced to oldies by my parents during those early days. And the fact that my name was based off of one of my parents’ favorite songs, probably has something to do with it too.
The thought that there is even a possibility someone could be shot at a concert (or movie or church) is absolutely ridiculous and terrifying. I have to be honest, as of late, those “what if” thoughts have popped into my head more often about someone running a car into a crowd, or someone setting off a bomb, or someone opening fire on innocent people. The fact that these are even possibilities is unacceptable. This is not just about gun control, it is about public safety.
I proposed a question to my instagram audience: How do you deal with tragedy? How are you processing the latest events in Las Vegas? I also encouraged people to relate the questions to other experiences they’ve been through.
I thought I would share some of my favorites below.
“I feel helpless if I don’t *do* something. I believe action can cure a lot of my fear, anxiety and helplessness. If an event (like LV) makes you sad or angry – or any other feeling, let that feeling lead you to make a positive change. Volunteer, donate blood, donate money, call your congressmen. It’s okay to not be okay. Trust me: it feels EMFUCKINGPOWERING to do something for others…you have to know what resonates with you and then RUN with it. And kindness has really been on my mind as of late. Just going the extra mile to choose kindness over being annoyed or mad.” @sarahfrizzank
“I write about it in my Journal and try to figure out a way to stop this from ever happening again. I don’t even know what to say most of the time. I just write down how I feel.” @zestfullylindsey
“Pray, sending healing and loving light to those in need. Meditate. Practice gratitude, appreciate my life and all that is good in it. Remember life is short and live life as it could be my last day because you truly never know.” @meganecurry
“Do something nice for someone else. This week I bought coffee for strangers. It may be simplistic, but I believe you can change the world by showing love and kindness to everyone you encounter.” @lexeats
“What helps me be sane is to have a diverse group of folks who are willing to talk about things as they are. Helps me feel less alone and less crazy. A really good meal helps too. 😉” @daliapanke
& an excerpt from one of my bestie’s instagram posts: “I have a lot of feelings today (everyday tbh). It’s so many things it’s hard not to feel insane day in and day out as an empath. I’ve had to accept feelings as my strength because they can be a burden. I don’t want to be jaded. Instead I know how important it is to reserve precious energy around self-care, caring for others in a manageable way, and committing to convictions.
Music is magic. Those concert goers were going to experience joy and community, which so important and in no way trivial, and were subject to sheer terror. It feels moot to say it’s shocking or dissect the motives and background. I pray because I have faith in humanity but I’m not just praying for the victims. I’m going to pray for the broken humans that have the power to stop this from happening and repeatedly refuse and continue to make it easier for one reason only. They receive money and power from an organization that doesn’t actually care about citizens or rights. The majority of the public across party lines, gun owners and non owners alike have asked for reform over and over…The world is grinding our souls down. I’m scared I won’t have him much longer (talking about her dad, relating him to the recent loss of Tom Petty). I’m worried for everything. But I can’t imagine choosing to say “f*ck it” or adopt an attitude of nihilism. I want to curl in a ball (which is ok) but also I want to LIVE unapologetically LOUD. I want to take every chance to forgive and love those in my life (myself included) and ENJOY the things that make me happy. And most of all, waste no time tolerating things that perpetuate injustice or hurt my fellow human.” @kathleenelee
Aside from taking action to make a difference, I have taken the time to figure out how I can personally cope with events like this and the state of our country. I was really taken aback by how affected I was (still am) by these events, not having directly been affected. I think I’ve finally gotten to the point that I am so emotionally drained by the happenings around our country (and the world), I’ve just had enough. In the face of all of this, self-care is so important.
I myself have found refuge in writing down how I’m feeling (you are reading exhibit A), meditating (if even just for a few minutes before I fall asleep or after I wake up in the morning), and taking yoga class. I also find myself purposefully choosing kindness and patience instead of indifference, annoyance or anger. Having just gotten back from my trip, I am reminded that I need to keep going on adventures, exploring, learning and taking the time to spend with my loved ones, because who knows how much longer any of us will be here. I have recently (in the last few months) been making it a point to pause and really take in moments daily, whether they are average or extraordinary. I am learning how to appreciate them all. I did this throughout my trip in Europe and it made a big difference on my overall takeaway from the trip. (Catch a little preview below. I will post a full recap soon).
We all have different ways of dealing with things, but in the end we are all human and I would like to believe there is a whole lot more good in this world than bad, and we will overcome anything thrown at us. Meanwhile; breathe deeper, hug longer, listen more closely, and pause to truly experience your life.
Love and Light,
Miss Foodie Problems