That’s what she said

My grandmother’s motto is “be sure to be careful to be safe.” That’s what I would hear before climbing along the rock structure in the park in Wellesley, or before skipping off to ballet when I was eleven. It’s what she tells me, even now, every time that I leave with my family on vacation.

I would roll my eyes, and smile, and tell her, “of course, Mommom!” and not think twice about the cheesy thing she was telling me that I knew just meant, “I love you and I don’t want anything bad to happen to you.” It was always just something she said.

My mom does this very parent-y thing where she tells me she’ll be proud of me no matter how I do – as long as I try. I wish that promise had more weight in my life. Everyone around me is trying so hard and I try to try just as hard as they all seem to be trying, and then we get in a competition about who is trying hardest and who is suffering hardest and, of course, whoever tries the hardest to win the competition about who is trying hardest gets validation for their trying. Then all of our trying isn’t really worth much, is it?

Oh Mom, I love you.

Society today is one scream strained in from a billion voices. Who’s hurting the most, bearing a burden, trying their hardest – none of it matters if we can’t complain about it. Why are we like this?

A couple of days ago, I was passing by one of the most common “battle conversations” that pervades high school hallways: the Great Sleep War. No one can deny that only getting five hours of shut-eye is rough, especially when you take into account the fact the teenagers’ bodies run on a different clock than adults’. But…that kid who pulls the all-nighter is the champion and her classmates who each got five hours get, well, nothing. But who did get anything? And why does it matter so much?

Sometimes I really wish I could go back to being five and only worrying about who was playing on the monkey bars during recess.

It was enough to be safe. Not enough– exactly the right amount.

That’s what she said.