Uvalde Is In Our Bones


I want to let you know something about me. Writing has become my own therapy. I’ve googled and even went as far filling out intake forms in the thoughts of seeking help. But reflection, through words, keeps my adam’s apple above the tide. Still, I had so many questions. But because I don’t take my insides serious enough, I lean on writing these words instead. My body is fragile. I think through things instead of talking to people about them same things. Instead of asking for help I try to figure it out on my own. 


Being grown and oldish and tested and double or triple educated and “woke” and experience-ridden and from there and now here hasn’t left me stronger, more wiser. It’s left me broken. I’ve developed the ability to block things out like repugnant viral videos of kids lighting themselves on fire for the sake of a challenge or cops killing men that they view as dogs, to the point where them things don’t really affect me on a day to day. But after the shooting in Uvalde, I realize that those things slowly metastasize, regardless of whether I see them or not, in my brain, in my heart, in my soul. And damn, parts of me just slowly crumble away every single time I even hear about one of them.


Jay’s text read, “18 dead in a school shooting in Texas! Wow.” I wrote back, “The fuck?!” I didn’t do what we do when we get a message like that. To be honest, when I read the message, I was driving anyway. “For real?!?” I wrote back, typing in the two question marks and the exclamation in between while waiting at a red light. It’s so sick. I’m so immediate. I’m so sick. I’m so immediate. What the fuck?


We were all somewhere way before and now we’re here. Before, for me, I was in high school when Columbine happened. My interior nature made me look around, and even then I noticed that it, the school, was a place of shock, then subtle intersection, then consolidation. Then when I got my first job as a teacher half a decade later they taught us to teach math in three-part lessons. Minds on first, right? Action second, right? Third, you know. 


Where I was way before here we all reacted to tragedy––deep and dark and uncompromising tragedy––differently. I stuck to my television when it happened. We talked, to hear, to heal, to help, for days. When I was there a lot of the children and a lot of the adults were damaged but most were not broken broken. We’re all broken now.


I’m very broken because I’ve told you things about me. And the things I’ve told you about me should let you know that I know that you know I can’t do things on my own. But me and you just carry on. Don’t we? Haven’t we? We learned but did we?


Apathy and numbness, I’ve realized, are two separate things. I am apathetic to a text message alert because I’ve become numb to those alerts over fifteen sixteen twenty two years. A morning conversation in a classroom after a beyond-repugnant display of evil is beyond-helpful. But left at that is why my skin is so thick and my heart so calloused. Left at that is why some of them still feel left alone. Alone at that is not education, not learning, not love, and for sure not therapy. Left alone is why we will talk about it the next morning but not be vigilant in fighting ourselves for true help. I still have so many questions.

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Matthew R. Morris

Educator, Speaker, Writer

Matthew R. Morris is a writer, speaker, and elementary educator in Toronto. He has an M.A. in Social Justice Education from OISE at the University of Toronto and is the author of the forthcoming book, Black Boys Like Me. 

Matthew R. Morris

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