This was going to be a different post filled with all kinds of rich artifacts of my digital identity during a regular week of life and work. It was going to be a reflection on the past decade or so of sharing my experience within the many social and private spaces I inhabit, but that isn’t this post. Instead, this post is a reflection of my digital identity during the week that my two older children (10 and 12) experienced the most extreme form of violence within their school. You see, they go to Stem School Highlands Ranch. And, on Tuesday, May 7, 2019, they did not have a normal day at school. This post is the result of the day that they had. It is a result of the one that my wife and I experienced. And it is a result of the day and week that the community around us shared. I don’t have any intention for it other than to record this information. I want it preserved for myself and for all of the other #DigPINS participants that are endeavoring to reflect upon their own Digital Identities and make things for others.
I believe there are some events that fundamentally change the ways that we see ourselves and our community. This is one of those events for me.
First, this is a visual representation of my digital identity this week (according to the format laid out here):
Second, these are the posts that I made and the reactions that they received from my community:
Messages Shared in (Semi) Private Spaces:
My short reflective writing pieces that I wrote with the help of the Writing Prompts App:
(Note: Prompts from the app are in bold.)
1: A signal of time is how often I think about my children being locked in a classroom, waiting to find out if someone is coming to kill them. The further I get away from it, the less often this thought occurs. But, when it comes back, it stays and is still just as visceral. I want to protect those kids just as much. I want to save them from this moment. And I feel the teacher’s fear as my own. It is real.
2: To me, a good life means knowing that you will not outlive your kids. That they will not be taken from you and that you will have to survive with the idea of what they could have been and done with their lives. You should not bury your children. You should live to see them free.
3: Whenever I start writing I go to a place in the upper right corner of my mind, remembering what I have to say, as if each time I make more words they come from the same source. They are right there, just waiting to unspool and be put in the right order. All my metaphors are all memories. The statements so sticky that they hang on to one another and drop to my fingers only when they are ready and when I think to call upon them.
4: The color purple reminds me of my youngest son. It is the purple in his unicorn robe. It is the purple in his fingernail polish. It is the purple in his chosen stuffies. It is a purple twinkle that I see creeping into his tooth-missing smile. He is a purple boy, and I wouldn’t want it any other way.
5: I always knew that school shootings would be a part of my kids’ lives. I just didn’t think it would be this intimately intertwined. I didn’t know they would experience the terror first hand or that their school would be internationally recognized as one of the epicenters of tragedy.
6: If I were to disappear I know that the sphere of influence I have built would miss me. It isn’t large, or particularly deep in the moment, but it would be an impact. I have made myself known to others enough that they would feel the absence. And I don’t want to be absent, at least as long as I can help it. I want to be present. To make an impact as deeply felt while I am here as when I am not. I don’t need to be remembered for all time. I just want to fill up the life of those around me and I want to pour into them a love that is more than they would expect.