888 — One Moore Thing

There are moments that the world stops turning. Something so monumental happens that it shakes the world and we all pause to take it in.

For a moment we are unified in our empathy and our compassion. We talk about the latest shootings and natural disasters over cookouts and we say things like how horrible and what can we do while our children run through sprinklers before us. We stand together in our desire to help while also feeling helpless. And we refill our plates and we keep on living.

There are moments when our own world stops turning.

Last week in building 888 on Bestgate in Annapolis, our city stopped breathing. It has yet to exhale. This is a city connected, small and safe. I was in that building with one of my sons that day. I had friends that were in the building when it happened. A dear friend of mine went to high school with the shooter. So many people I know, knew personally the five victims that were shot that day. Five families lives were forever redefined because someone they loved showed up for work that day. They showed up doing what they loved to do. So much of the nation paused and said how horrible and felt helpless and refilled their plates, silently wondering not if another shooting will occur, but when.

Here we are in Annapolis still shaken. We know we are resilient. We know our connected city is strong but what do we do about the helpless part? What do we do so that we are no longer numb to shootings where no place is no longer immune? I don’t know what the right answer is but I do know that a change needs to happen. Maybe it starts with a shift of the spotlight to not be the face of the shooter, but the faces of the victims. We need to stop attaching fame to those who commit such heinous acts of crime. It is okay to question the motive and to dig deeper into the why in the hopes that we can prevent this from happening again, but that does not mean that their face and their name is what we should see across our newsfeeds.

Maybe it starts with shifting the stigma of mental health in this country. There was a powerful meme after the recent suicides of Kate Spade and Anthony Bourdain that said, “Check on your strong friend.” Simple. True. And necessary. If we put 100 adults in a room and asked them if they or someone they know had some type of mental illness and has thought about hurting themselves or someone else, I think we would be more surprised if any hands were down in the room, instead of the number that were raised. We need to promote therapy and to take the shame out of reaching for a doctors help as a vital part of the human experience. Exercise. Eat right. Ask for help. Talk to each other.

Maybe it all starts much younger than we want to acknowledge. We need to check on our strong child. We need to check on our quiet child. We need to ask about their good days and their bad days and all of their days in between. We need to talk to our children. We need them to feel safe to tell their secrets to us. We need to be the keepers of their worries so they can keep on being children that won’t carry the weights of their heavy and their hard experiences like wounds unhealed into adulthood. We need to be the listeners. We also need to acknowledge that the majority of the shooters are men. We are somehow failing our sons. We need to talk to them younger, we need to stop blanketing them with excuses like boys will be boys and teaching them sensitivity is somehow a weakness. In my house, it is okay for anyone to cry- we’ve all earned the right to show emotion regardless of gender. Teaching them to bottle their emotions is like asking them to swallow a ticking bomb. At some point it will detonate. I do not doubt that we can rebuild our cities. I do however question our ability as a society to rebuild our sons.

The children with secrets running through the sprinklers don’t have to grow up to be the adults that carry revenge in a firearm. We do need to keep on living but we also need to be the change. Starting now.

#AnnapolisStrong

Katie’s essay and tangent collection about motherhood, life and imperfection, Happy Broken Crayons is available on Amazon now. Thank you for reading. You are the (queen) bees knees. Happy happy holidays and happy happy new year to you. In setting your hopes for 2018, please think about your word. I can’t wait to hear it. Xoxo

To read more blogs by Katie Moore click here.

MooreFam SKatie Yackley Moore is a freelance writer, real estate agent, yoga instructor and a momma of four navigating life and a separation and finding herself in the process. She adores coffee shops, laughing until it hurts and impromptu dance parties. Her work has appeared on Scary Mommy, Mamalode and HuffPost Parents. She has published a journal entitled "Dream a Bigger Dream" and the children's books "You Are a Warrior" and "We are Family" and just finished her first novel. Catch up with her between tea breaks at The Naked Momma and on Facebook.

© 2018 Chesapeake Family Life. All Rights Reserved.