I am Mute Today

I have been quiet the past few days, in trying to process the horrible news out of Colorado and my own reactions I have been quiet. No, not entirely quite but more quiet than is my norm. Some people who know me well have asked when I was going to jump into my normal forums with both feet and all ten fingers, others have asked why my Facebook page isn’t full of condemnation (there are a few comments). Instead, I have stayed mostly quiet.

Why you might ask, it is a good question. I am not the quiet type; in fact, I am a bit of a firebrand most days. I admit to being quite outspoken on some issues. There are issues in the public domain that chap my ass, cause me great anger and some sleepless nights. Truthfully, there are many such issues these days.

I don’t want to talk about politics though, not today. I don’t want to talk about the public domain at all. I want to tell you why I have been mostly quiet, not even visiting your blogs for the last few days.

I just couldn’t.

I was paralyzed by my own personal sorrow, fear and memories.

All I could think about is how terrified those victims in Aurora must have been. All I could think about was how terrified their families must have felt while waiting for news, was it their mother, father, sister, brother, husband, wife or child. All I could think about is my family when I was shot and left for dead by strangers. All I could think about was how I felt laying on the side of a road with three bullets in me, put there by strangers who were not crazy, were not insane and did not have any reason to hate me. 

I was paralyzed and my voice silenced by fear and memories. Each time I tried to write, each time I tried to comment my hands would shake and my eyes would fill with tears the screen would blur, coherency lost to muteness. It has been 7,367 days since I was shot; that is a lot of days. Some days I think it is behind me, some days I don’t even think about it in the sense of bullets flying. Other days I have no choice, the repercussions of that day are with me from the moment I wake up to the moment I lay down to sleep, sometimes beyond that moment.  

Aurora tied my tongue, made me mute in the face of great tragedy. More than this, I could not watch the news without my tears pooling in my eyes and streaming down my cheeks, their salt leaving a trail of bitterness in their wake. This morning I realized part of my sorrow is rooted in the great tragedy that is our national personality. That we are unable to come together even now and talk to each other without rancor, ideology and the drums of political animosity getting in the way of human decency. I saw this in my few forays on social media since Friday, each side standing their ground firmly refusing to step down from their positions even briefly to mourn the great loss of life. I backed down from the fight rather than continue.

I don’t have the heart for it not this day, not now.

Avoidance, Confusion, Consequence of Choice, Manipulation

I am heartbroken, partly because I was rendered mute. I didn’t know my memories were still so close to the surface. I didn’t know they could so easily shake me. I don’t know why this affected me more than other equally horrific acts of terrible violence. What I do know, we are a people that seem to ignore compassion and empathy as valued trait. I know many people on both sides of the argument who individually are wonderful human beings, who have compassion for those they know as individuals and don’t realize their words fall like hammers or fly like bullets, leaving gaping wounds. This is what demanded my silence, that I not stand my own ground even for what I believed was so desperately true, even for what was so personal.

Yes, we come together during times of tragedy, but then we turn our backs returning to our ideology and our rage with equal fervor, thus making certain the next heartbreak will occur and likely with more frequency and greater loss.

I didn’t have the heart for it today, tomorrow I will because I have to!


  1. WordsFallFromMyEyes says:

    A thoughtful post, very pained too. I am truly sorry these things happen. My view is, I don’t understand “everyone” having a gun. I saw a news item a teenager in the US was having a bad mushroom experience and he shot himself in the face “to end the dream”. If there was no gun at hand, I imagine he would have stabbed himself or maybe run into traffic “to stop the dream”. Guns…I’m just sorry they’re handed out so easily over there.

    My deepest, deepest sympathies. Saw photos of the victims, the dead. Young, spirited couple was one of the photos. And to think, I went & saw ‘The Dark Knight’ too with my son – to think that could ever happen by just going to the movies.

    I hope you are okay today.

    • I am fine today, back to my normal feisty self I think.

      I am funny about the issue, I am a huge defender of our Constitution including the Second Amendment, which makes me an odd one on this issue. I may not like guns or the violence. I have very personal reactions to it obviously, but this personal reaction doesn’t change my pragmatic support of the legal rights of my fellow citizens. I just wish they would meet half way.

      Thanks for visiting!! I am glad you are doing some fun things with your son right now.


      • WordsFallFromMyEyes says:

        Pleasure to visit, Valentine, as I’m always sure to find words to reflect on. Yes, my son & me are having some good moments 🙂

  2. Not here to debate the issues, just to say this is a great post. Lovely piece of writing. Well done.

  3. Val, do you know the first thing my Kenyan pen pal told me 5 years ago? “We are afraid of Americans because they shoot people up with their guns.”
    I couldn’t believe it. I was like, “Is that what you think of us?” and she said, “Yes.”
    Are we the greatest country in the world? NO. We are such a think we are soooo Superior to other countries….
    We need to come together as one. We need to make it DIFFICULT to get guns. And the question is: Why don’t we?
    I am outraged w/ our indifference.
    I am embarrassed.
    I am willing to help w/ the change.
    Lets vote on this in our next election.

    This was a fabulous post. Thank you for bringing awareness. I did not know you were shot. So sorry, Darling. I must read some of your other posts to see what happened.
    My sister’s murderer knew he had to shoot several times to get the results he wanted.
    Damn him. Damn this country.
    I want to be part of the solution.
    Lets get off of our asses and TAKE ACTION.
    Xxx Many KIsses from MN.

    • Kim, your pen pal is absolutely correct. We shoot people, it is what we are good at. We are great at sweeping these horrifying events under the rug and moving on. We are great at ignoring the violence in our streets with platitudes about criminals and guns, but a significant number of gun deaths are by legal gun owners.

      We won’t be able to change this until we can change the power of the Lobby, NRA owns our elected officials. This is a fact of our lives in the US today. Our elected officials do not owe their duty to their constituents but to those who pay. We, that is those of us who have been directly affected by gun violence it victims don’t have sufficient money to have a voice.

      I agree with you, damn your sister’s murder. Damn every murder and every would be murder or attempted murder in this nation.

      If you would like you can read what happened to me in Crime and Punishment (read from the bottom up). That Category tells the story.

      Much Love

      Val XXX

  4. Being relatively new here, I’m stunned by the power of your words and the sharing of your experience. I wish you continued healing and strength. Thanks for sharing.

    • Thank you, for your wishes and as always for reading and your thoughts. I heal, every single day I heal. Some of those days thought I find the world stands in the way. It is strange how the actions of strangers can have such a profound impact on how we view everything, not just our own lives but absolutely everything.


  5. I think the world has reflected the terrible lost and senseless slaughter of those that day.. When it hits home just how fragile life is. It has hit home doubly so in your case Val, bringing those memories you long thought healed to the surface.. Such is the Climate of todays Changing world.. as we are now facing daily new challenges, and reaching inward, trying to sort out our emotions and turf out all the baggage we carry..
    Many things, Crazy things are happening around our world.. things we cannot even begin to fathom.. Today you were mute.. as many more are speechless in our disgust and outrage… But our Rage is not the answer… Like Red said.. Silence is not a bad thing … for it gives your mind time to digest and take stock as your memory relives and adjusts..
    So too we have to as the Human Race need to take stock and adjust and understand we cannot keep our silence for much longer as we stay quiet about atrocities which take place all over the world.. The Dark side of our selves needs to rebalance and come together in Unity.. We have to now bring about somehow a kinder world..
    One where we do not go back to our daily business as if nothing happened.. Where we do not read newspapers and toss the deaths of thousands of innocent victims like garbage.. We have become so used to seeing statistics of violence.. It isn’t until we are going about our daily routines and normal family life. Both in the USA and in the UK where a gunman went rampant not long ago killing many innocents..
    Thousands around the world face such heartbreak every day… We need that silence Val.. To use our thoughts to ask for peace..
    ( You may find my latest post insightful as to the Crazy behaviours occurring during this time )
    All I can say Val is Give yourself that time.. and stay in the quiet and peace for as long as it takes..
    Love to you ~Sue xxx

    • Thank you Sue, you always help you always bring a perspective that I in my fury and outrage simply do not have. I am trying to give my self time, but honestly it is difficult to keep silent when all around me there are those who stomp their feet and demand their “rights”. It is difficult to be silent when all around me there are those who will not even come to the middle and negotiate even some small concession, when even family members demand my ‘fairness’ be in place and others be heard before reaching over to preserve my emotional balance and need for someone to say they hear me.

      I am trying in silence but also with balance. Right now, well right now my hurt and my rage seem to be getting the better of me.

      I have your latest up. I have, as I always do with yours read it once and kept it open to return to it with a more peaceful mind.


  6. The quiet is not a bad thing. It is not your normal stance, but had your normal stance stood in face of this it would have belied your inner humanity, which is what makes your passion when you are on your normal stance burn so very bright.

    This shows you are above those who play in your sandbox. It is part of why I love you.

    • Thanks Red. My silence is burning me right now though. I feel as though I am being lashed with rawhide dipped in crushed glass. Each time I have to say, this is not a pragmatic or intellectual argument; this is me this is a fight that belongs to me. I feel a part of myself open, I hate that.


  7. Val, I have “Pressed” or re-blogged your story because I consider it very valuable. I find it astonishing that there cannot be a CIVILISED debate on gun control and the culture of violence in America, and that such a clever country cannot come together and find some solutions. I sure as hell know that needing metal detectors and armed guards in schools is a symptom of a society gone mad, and not a solution. I will join your debate when you have it, and thanks to your timely writing, I will remember to have that debate civily.

    • Stephen, there has been one debate on this issue on my other wall. I finally had to say to that person, DO NOT REPLY as I am tired of your ideological and ignorant stance. My wall my rules, I get the last say. If he replies, I will not only delete his reply I will delete him.

      I agree with you, it is a symptom and we are sick. This issue though is so close to me, to my own experience I find it difficult to be pragmatic. Difficult to be without an emotional response.

      Thank you for the re-blog. Thank you also for your comments.


  8. Val – I read this in the morning.. my phone was being ornery and would not let me comment. I am humbled to be in the presence of such moving and heartfelt expression.. I am usually quiet and today I had a rant, a rage … a shitzxstorm I so wanted to post because I am tired of it all – the inolerance the idiotic way people are treating each other.. all thte things you mentioned..and one thing was the straw.. that had me ready to really lose it in unLizzie like fashion..I was so hurt and disillusioned by the world this morning and I let it all out in a nasty spew that would have had effects I am sure I can;t even imagine for my life…. Your words caused me to think about what I was doing, and another friend helped me let go later… I am so sorry for your pain, that you felt the experience of those feelings.. that you were fearful, and in pain, but thank you my friend for sharing it with us. YOu were quiet, and you made waves…
    ❤ LIzzie

    • Thank you Lizzie, both for reading and your comments. I will be honest with you, I very often rage shaking my fist and those immovable objects within the world. Usually, those objects just add more plaster and shore up. Like you, things sometimes disillusion me and make me want to simply throw up my bile on the world.

      It isn’t worth it though, not in the end.

      For now, I think I will just get through this. I am trying to find something great about each day to rebuild my wonder and joy in life. We can rage, we can throw fuel on the fires of anger; there are days I enjoy my forays into politics (most days frankly). But for the next few, I am going to look for some things that simply fuel my joy.

      Maybe we can do this a little at a time and make it better.


  9. I believe that I will always think of you, Val, when unthinkable things like this happen. And I will hope that others will not suffer, will not hurt, will not be silenced by violence.

    Wish I could help ease the pain.

    • I don’t know if that is good or not Elyse. I just know I am furious that I feel so silenced right now, so bound by my fear and fury. Today I simply need to find my courage, I don’t feel as if I have any.

      I wish I could reach the survivors and the families and tell them it will get better, it truly well. But after the last couple of days, it would be hard for me to say it without feeling like the biggest liar on earth.

      Thank you for reading and commenting Elyse. I am always grateful.


  10. I am sending prayers to both the families in Colorado and to you my friend. Sometimes we think we are beyond the past and it is hard when we do not expect the rushing back of emotions… xx

  11. I don’t have the energy anymore to talk about these vicious attacks on innocent people. My brain cannot process any of this and it keeps happening over and over again. I am outraged, yes, but numb to the core.

    • So am I my friend which is I think what I am trying to say. This cut me so close to my soul, so close to my own personal experience I just could not say anything. But this one also for some reason really affected me personally, bothered me on a very personal level and brought my own experience very close to the surface. I don’t know why.

  12. This is a little flashback of Luby’s in Texas some years back. I lived near the restaurant and walked over that way several times to drop mail. Even applied for a job there when I moved back to Texas and it wasn’t in the cards for me to have it. Man just swerved in the lot and shot and killed 27 folks. Folks were running all over the complex I lived. Sad to see this all over again. And it keeps happening in short cycles. What’re we gonna do? Is there anything that can be done at all?

    • I know, I think we can name all the tragedies and all the deaths. Yet we refuse to take on the hard discussion of what to do. This is what continues to simply cause me to such heartache.

  13. So sorry you suffered such a horrible tragedy. No wonder this has hit close to home for you. It’s hard to wrap one’s mind around this type of thing. My heart and thoughts go out to all of those affected.

    • It sucks to be any person dealing with tragedy of this magnitude. Those left behind will have a great deal of healing to do and we aren’t doing much to help with the rhetoric and nastiness filling the airwaves right now. I think this is part of what has me mute.

      Thanks for reading and commenting.


  14. Val, I just thank God that you are with us today to get to know and love!


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