Can’t Stop Thinking

Thinking, thinking, I am still thinking. I can’t stop thinking.

About the shooter

About the grief and fear and pain and fear again

About the abortion ban

About my body and who controls it

About being a woman

About men

About men who hate women

About loneliness and freedom and the simple treachery of the moments in between

About Wellington and the easy routines I’ve adhered, as familiar as any I had in any other place I’ve lived but not so easily left

About how I will have to leave in three months if I cannot find a way to stay

About getting older

About where I was ten years ago and where I’ll be in another ten

About fall

About my soft sweet empty bed and why in the world I am currently not in it

About the early dark of this cold quiet night

About constantly saying goodbye

About writing

About forgetting how to dance

About going to Australia

About going back to Seattle and maybe never finding my place ever again there

About all the hate in the world and the insignificance of righteous indignation

About each moment of each day, waiting, waiting for something I know I can’t have but want anyway

About how that last sentence sounds hilariously like my fifteen-year-old self writing in her paper journal

About holding on and letting go

About weariness

About not being able to see around the next corner

About the unfocused longing of the body

About family and how I will never understand how some things went the way they did

About keeping on, keeping going, never stopping and never going home

About rest and peace and quiet from all of this relentless burning-up inside-out mental chatter

About the chill of this long evening, wrapped up in a blanket, thirty-two years old, safe and unsafe, still on edge.


  1. Have you ever tried meditation? I meditate to quiet my mind and remind myself to enjoy this second, this moment in my life. It doesn’t mean that I don’t have goals. It just reminds me to be fully present, and accept myself as I am today.

  2. The last line is poetry.

  3. Just out of interest, now that you live in an almost entirely gun-free environment, do you do things differently? Do you feel safer in a country where the day’s main news story may well be about an otter missing from the zoo because nothing else happened?

    I guess I’m curious to know if, as an American, you were actually mindful of guns in your day to day life or if the media has blown the danger in the US out of proportion to the rest of the world?

  4. Jane: Well, the thing is that in America I lived a pretty much totally gun-free existence, too, as far as I knew. I guess I know a couple of people who do own guns–and now that I think about it, I think one friend actually has a concealed carry permit–and friend Linda has guns in her house and has been to shooting ranges but that’s about all the exposure I’ve had. I don’t think I’ve ever even seen a real gun. I guess I have always thought of it as something that didn’t have much to do with me. I find weapons really frightening and intimidating and I don’t think I’d want to have one in the house. I don’t think I’d ever want to learn to use one, either.

    And as far as the main news story aspect of living in New Zealand: we have a dangerous rapist on the loose in Welly at the moment, and an English friend of mine here just lost a friend in a terrible car accident down in Blenheim, and I still am uncomfortable walking by myself after dark in my neighbourhood. Someone leaned out of the car and screamed WHORE at me just the other week while I was waiting for the bus stop.I guess I don’t do things much differently because my experience is pretty much the same here as in America; terrible things happen here as much as they do in the States, to be sure. They just tend not to be gun-oriented, but since none of the bad things I’ve experienced first (or even second) hand have been gun-oriented either, I think the whole thing has just been very invisible to me, you know? If I think about it, I just generally feel better that people are less likely to be able to shoot me in the street if, heaven forbid, I was ever in a situation where that was remotely possible.

    Does that even begin to answer the question?

  5. No it doesn’t, try again.

    Kidding of course! I guess it’s just that so much of the American stuff we see and hear of here makes it sound like a pretty dangerous place, whereas NZ seems so safe to me (that’s not to say I walk around at night on my own).

    When I was in Japan I discovered that people there still leave their houses unlocked, and their shopping purchases sitting in their bike baskets – the bikes stand (also unlocked) on the footpath, yet no one steals the bikes or whatever treats might be in the baskets. So weird, I just couldn’t bring myself to leave anything in my basket because my head couldn’t deal with it.

  6. appearently “Falling” is a bigger killer than “Firearm assault”

    also morbidly interesting is that Suicide by firearm happens a lot more than assault.

    Appearently acts of God could only beat out fireworks.

    Regarding your actual post.. keep on thinking. ;)