Author Archives: Lauriel~Arwen

Grief, Love, and Remembrance

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A few days ago I found myself standing in front of the memorial for the victims of the racist, violent attack that happened last week on a MAX train in Portland. I stood there and cried, while other people did the same. Portland has always been my home, but standing there made me feel like I was somewhere else, in a place I didn’t know, even though I knew in my heart that it is very much this place, that led to this attack happening. This made it all the more painful. We have not done enough. I have not done enough. This incident has put a spotlight on the legacy of colonialism, racism, and white supremacy that is alive and well in our community and in our country. As long as hateful people can see their views reflected and held up in our society, these acts will continue. We must do more. I must do more. But, too many people claim to have the answers; claim to know the one righteous path forward. There is a general lack of humility and refusal to listen, that is pervasive is the current dialogue. Our community feels like it is both coming together and breaking apart all at once. But, I believe that there are no simple answers and I rarely trust those who claim to have them. Humans are more complicated than that. We live in both a causal condition, while also constantly striving towards free-will. Until we can recognize both the causality of our lives and our personal responsibility to act morally and ethically, we will continue to spin in circles of violence and extremism; of righteous self-indignation that leads to discord and the disintegration of compassion for others. We must start using love and empathy as verbs, not slogans. We must start listening, start seeking to understand that which makes us uncomfortable, and working to actively dismantle oppressive systems and ways of thinking that are woven into our culture. I am heartbroken that this happened and I grieve for the families who lost loved ones and those who were traumatized by this act of terror in our community. But, I will also continue to have hope knowing that most people are good people and that together we can work to make this world a better place for all.

 

State Testing: A Poem

State Testing: A Poem

When you make State Testing

Two weeks long

And feel like prison

It becomes clear that a test

Is more important than my learning

Like something I deserve  

Because I am not good enough already

When I get detention for acting out

Because I am sad

My home is falling apart

I am hungry

It becomes clear that rules

Are more important

Than me

Than my dreams and aspirations

Than this pit that grows in my belly

And makes me want to scream

When you tell me

Through daily repetition

Of the importance of grades

My worth gets tangled up in abstraction

I learn that failure is inevitable

That I am worthless

Top students get praised

I get scolded

Words that burn

On top of scars

That are now my identity

Words that follow me

Everywhere I go

When you make sitting in class

More important

Than living life

I never learn to live

And I never live to learn

Oly Fall 2014-4