Why I can’t read “sad kid” stories anymore

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I’m not sure when I became this person. This person who avoids danger at all costs (except for speeding, and is that really dangerous? I’ve driven on the Autobahn for goodness sake). This person who delves into a story about a woman who is beheaded by her husband but shies away from a post about a kid left alone in a hot car.

I ignored that I’d changed. I mean, I was a cops reporter. I knocked on people’s doors and asked said stuff like, “Hi, I’m Crystal. I understand that you knew the victim who was found in that car in front of your house. Can you tell me about him?” and “What happened after you saw the car flip over the SUV?” My favorite types of movies are “shooting and killing.” And yet. I turned off the one episode of Game of Thrones I started to watch when a kid got pushed out of a window (according to my sister, he lived. But I never watched again).

It doesn’t take a genius to connect the dots. #1. I can’t stomach kid violence. #2. This directly coincides with my becoming a mom. It feels weird to admit “out loud.” But I know me. When I see something; read something; hear something that really gets under my skin, I can’t forget it. I picture it over and over again. I relive it. I can’t shake it. And the next step is substituting those involved with those I know and love.

So if you ask me about a popular story and I say I haven’t read it; or if I straight up say, yeah, saw the headline but I can’t read it; or if say, more succinctly: “nope. not doing it.” Don’t take it personally. It’s not you, it’s me. And no, I really won’t read it. Ever.

But hit me up the next time someone falls off a treadmill or a review of the next action movie that features explosions plus a trite plot. Because that, I can stomach. And that won’t make me tear up at work.

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