I know too many stories about girls getting drugged at friends’ houses. I know too many kidnapping stories. Too many rape stories. Who are these people who take whatever they please? I can’t hear anymore of these stories. I can go the rest of my life without seeing someone beheaded in a movie. Without seeing a girl tortured on film.

We are reading Percy Jackson, and so we spend a lot of time discussing Greek and Roman myths. (Gavin pronounces them miffs, which is true as well.) He knows about Medusa, and the Minotaur. He knows about Arachne weaving. About Penelope and Odysseus. About Orpheus. But today I told him about Persephone. Another girl stolen. A future of winters.

“Why did she eat the seeds?” he asked.

“Because she was hungry.”

And then we talked about the gods and their meanness. I told him how Daphne was transformed into a tree.

“That’s so sad,” he said.

“Most myths are sad,” I said. “The gods did terrible things.”

“You can’t change stories,” he said, and shrugged.

And that’s it, isn’t it? You can’t change stories. These are the ones we have learned. These are the ones we’ve been told. The stories we carry. And they are true or near enough, they are imagined and fanciful, they are gruesome and charming. They are slivers of the world. Shrapnel. And in our despair, we wrote heroes. We wrote heroes to combat power without conscience. And then, as the heroes became improbable, we wrote anti-heroes. We wrote humans. The savage and the graceful. Both things in a single body. We wrote the burn inside us.

You can’t change stories.

This is the world we live in. Fight harder. Write a new world. Create it. Honor the best in us by moving forward. Tell. Speak. Fight. Tell. Speak. Fight. Tell. Speak. Fight. Write new stories.

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