Amy B. Smoyer, PhD

Incarcerated Lives, Health & Social Work

It Gets Better

Thanks to a tip from my amazing nephew Owen, Javier and I went to see Rise of Guardians on the day it was released, in late November.  What a lovely, imaginative movie - I can't recommend it enough. If you ever wonder how the Tooth Fairy does it and what Mr. Sandman is like, this is the film for you.

Among the many details in this film that brought tears to my eyes, were the filmmakers' ideas about what might happen to a child's spirit when he dies and their expression of compassion, and even love, for the Boogeyman.  Little did we know how meaningful these story lines would become.

It gets better, right? But today, the minutes go like hours.  There is a sense of distraction and sadness, even miles away, that makes imagining what folks are experiencing in Newtown breathtaking.

Might this sense of excruciating slowness also be what the boogeyman experiences?  Caught in something so thick and mired with pain that both present and future seem impossible. A never-ending disconnect and invisibility that infuriates beyond belief. One article I read said that much of this pain dissipates by middle-age, so apparently it does get better.  Still, 30 years of waiting is a long time.

So Yes to gun control, mental health services and unwavering support for teachers and first responders.

Also Yes to stories.  To allowing people to tell their stories - stories about themselves, their communities and the children who draw frost on our windowpanes. Allow every body, including the boogeyman, to be heard and seen so that they need not clamor for our attention with semi-automatic weapons.  Make room for the happy, funny stories, and the dark, scary and inconvenient ones, as well. Ask, listen, learn.