Trigger warnings

I continue, for some strange reason, to see stories about people wanting “trigger warnings.” Mostly on college campuses, but often on news reports, such warnings are designed to alert the reader/viewer/participant about subject matter which might trigger a human emotion like fear, sadness, depression, anxiety, etc. In effect, trigger warnings alert people to the fact that they are about to be exposed to something that they don’t want to deal with, and thus feel that they shouldn’t have to.

I hate to break it to those people, but those things are called emotions, and they are a necessary part of the human condition.

And I’m not talking about a disclaimer like, “these crime scene photos are pretty gross, so if you’re prone to vomit, look away.” I’m talking about trigger warnings as ridiculous “we will be discussing slavery today,” or “we will be discussing the Ku Klux Klan today,” or “Make America Great Again.”

You know what needs a trigger warning? It’s something we all claim to want in our lives, but it brings with it the largest potential for fear, sadness, depression, anxiety, anger, and any/every other uncontrollable emotion along with it, being flashed back to time and again when we least expect it, always carrying the weight of our experience with it.

Don’t know what it is, yet?


Love is the single most contradictory thing in all the span of human existence. It is simultaneously capable of building us up, of providing faith in ourselves and others, of giving us something to live and fight for things we might never have imagined.

And then, often, love dies. Either the object of our love physically dies, or the reciprocated love we had been experiencing moves on to someone else, leaving us alone and devastated.

Everything, then, becomes a landmine of emotion, necessitating a trigger warning: the café where you had brunch each Saturday; the song that was playing while you met; the appearance of total strangers in the throes of such a love as you no longer enjoy.

Love is the ultimate human experience.

If Love doesn’t come with a Trigger Warnings, nothing should.




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