Fight for it. Whatever it is. Whatever makes a difference. Because I’ll tell you the things I’ve seen in the past week have made me want to find a way to be able to fight for our youth in ways I never even comprehended before. When there are teens actively asking for and seeking help, their families right beside them, asking for support, turning to the very people who are supposed to help us – to be continually cast aside – where do we go from here?

We wonder why there are more school shootings than ever, more violence than ever, more addiction and drug abuse issues than ever, but have we ever stopped to consider why? Perhaps what we need aren’t more laws and regulations. All that does is the same thing we keep telling our youth. Don’t do that it’s bad. Don’t do that or you’ll be in trouble. That hurts, that’s stupid, that’s illegal, that’s awful. How about we look to the root of the problem?

Do you know anyone who has turned to heroin or other drugs because they had a great life (and knew how to love themselves on the inside)? Know anyone who shot up a school out of good intentions? How about someone who cut because they were making the world a better place? No? Me either. You know why? Because these things do not exist. What does exist, however, is a world full of throwaway girls and angst-ridden boys with unrealistic expectations being taught what they should or shouldn’t do because someone said so. The law said so. Their idols said so. That influencer said so.

Who the fuck cares? I know I don’t. I don’t care who says what where when why or how. I care about ME. I care about MY choices. I care about what’s MY responsibility.

You are not your trauma. Your trauma is not your fault. Your healing – and your happiness – absolutely is your responsibility. It’s about damn time we do something about it, together.

How can we expect our kids to know better, do better, or be better when all we do is police them? We police society and look to cure evil and anger and hatred with laws and regulations. Does taking away our guns keep people from getting killed? I don’t know. Maybe. But does it make the kids (and adults) acting out any healthier? Are we doing anything to fix the ACTUAL problem? The human problem? The problem that makes our children hate themselves, and cut themselves, and never feel good enough? The problem that makes picking up a gun and shooting innocent people feel glorifying rather than horrifying? The problem that makes us forget the joy and grace we get from helping others? The problem that makes our society riddled with death and despair want to act out instead of help each other? Because as far as I can see, the answer to all of that is no.

This week alone I’ve witnessed two parents (one of them myself) be questioned by CPS for the very same things we brought our kids in for help for. Yesterday I witnessed a CPS worker degrade a 16 year old girl by measuring her cuts. As if the simple fact of her repeated cutting wasn’t enough to alarm any caring intelligent adult that this girl clearly suffered from self-esteem issues, in the name of “protecting her” a representative for an organization named Child Protection Services actually inflicted damage on three children simultaneously while asking that child about her cuts in a shared hospital room with two other girls suffering from trauma, with nothing but a curtain in between them. It was, in a word, mortifying. The own mother felt so cornered at what to do and how to even say something to the perceived authority she also froze in fear.

I spoke up. I don’t care. I will NOT ever sit by and watch or listen someone damage our youth under the guise of best intentions and to hell with whatever policy or belief gave that person the so-called authority to act in that way. I hope some day you feel the same shame and embarrassment you unleashed on that child who was in the ER waiting for psych help…for the fourth time. How fucking dare you.

Just when did we forget what the word empathy meant? When did being an empath become more important than acting with empathy? Great some Facebook quiz said you’re an empath and that’s why you overthink and are the way you are. Here’s a novel idea. How about you learn to act with empathy and do something to change other’s lives for the better? When did personal responsibility go out the window? What makes you think that forcing medications on a teen (even your own in your own home) and forcing them to be drug tested or nicotine tested or whatever tested regularly under the constant threat of being punished will teach our children anything BUT that they are not trustworthy?

If we can’t teach our kids to trust themselves, how can we expect them to trust us? Society? Others? Anyone?

Why not teach them to care about themselves first? What about teaching them that they and only they have the power to choose their future? Their lives? What does and doesn’t happen to their bodies? Their minds? Their souls? Why is this everyone else’s responsibility? Why are we so reluctant to give them the power over themselves?

The best thing we can do for the younger generations is teach them to be empowered to write their own future. And the only way we can do that is to show them we care, we trust them, and we love them. Give them the tools and the freedom to make the right choices, and learn from the wrong ones they will at times, inevitably make. Let them succeed. Let them fall down. Let them stumble, and rise. Help them up – but not always. Teach them they can do it themselves, but that they also don’t have to. Teach them to help the weakling, the odd ball, the special needs child, but also to help the kid who seems to have it all together with the perfect family and the perfect life because hey. You never know. You never, ever know. Ask me how I know – and I only know my life and what I lived through.

I met some incredible people this week. Nurses, techs, doctors, and staff all overworked but still caring. Exhausted, making mistakes, but still trying. Aside from perhaps that awful woman from CPS, everyone was very clearly doing the best they could with the information they had and likely not enough pay, sleep, or support. Let’s fix THAT. Let’s fix the society that’s focused on asking our children whose fault it is, why they cut, why they are weak, sad, broken, and afraid. How about we instead we ask our children how do you feel, what do you want? What’s your choice, your life, your dreams, your goals? How about we work together to get them there.

Because you know what? Laws don’t stop mass shootings. Taking away guns doesn’t make people happier or healthier. Holding kids for a week in an over-full ER waiting for psych help because every single location across the state is full and we have nothing in our county at all for adolescents doesn’t fix mental health. All those things do is slap another band aid on the symptom that leaves everyone sending thoughts & prayers, and screaming about reform on social to the point of nauseating bullshit background noise that does absolutely nothing.

You want change? Go sit in an ER for a week and listen to the children asking for help getting turned away. Go talk to someone who never got help and is now a drug-addicted adult who can’t seem to kick the habit no matter how awful they feel about themselves. Talk to someone who lived through suicide attempts and hell. Find out what makes them tick, what makes them broken, and let’s put this life back together. We’re failing not only our youth, but we’re failing each other. I get to see it up close and personal every single day, and you know what? It makes me sick.

So fight. Stop fighting each other, our politicians, our government, our enemies, and our friends. Stop all of that. Fight for US.

How about we start talking? Being honest. Authentic. Real. Talking about why we skew towards violence, or self-harm? Why do we idolize people behind a computer screen while being too afraid to even stand up for ourselves and our children? What made us so afraid to speak out when we see injustice right in front of us? I’m not talking about race or religion or gender or sexual preference. I don’t give two shits about that. I’m talking about just being a basic, good human being? When did that become so hard?

In a society that’s been so mangled and perverse, let’s stop and not just smell the roses, but talk to the person next to us. Do me a favor. Tomorrow, when you see something someone does / wears / says / looks that makes you smile, tell them. Smile at that stranger. Say hello, how are you and stop to listen when someone responds. Maybe all they needed today was to be heard. Guess what? Listening is free. So is showing empathy, or paying someone a compliment, or just simply stopping and appreciating everything around you. So do that, please? Our society needs you, and our youth is following our lead and right now, they’re dying because we are so busy fighting each other we can’t stop long enough to do anything more than fight about laws to even see that we could fix so much more with love.

Stop fighting darkness with red tape. How about we stop fighting all together and instead just start caring for one another and see where that gets us when we all learn that no one has control of our lives but us and it’s about damn time we start living them in a way that matters.