Today, I’m struggling more than usual. It’s September 11, 2018. Seventeen years ago, I experienced a lot of chaos and confusion. I heard many screams. There was a large amount of tension and pressure in the air. My mom didn’t know how to talk about it. How do you tell your 6 and 8 yr old daughters that two large towers were crashed into and thousands of people were dying? How do you tell them that you’re terrified of the smoke in the air? How do you keep it together and not panic because your kids look up to you and see you as a strong woman?
As a New Yorker, whenever September 11 comes around, I always dedicate a moment of silence to those that passed away, those that helped, and those that are still suffering from health problems due to all the smog. In school we had a collective moment of silence, whether I was in NY or Philly. But in college (ATL), that wasn’t a practice and even less so now that i’m in grad school (Athens, GA). And I miss that. I miss knowing that although others may not have been in NY at the time or had family/friends that were affected, they still took some time out of their day to reflect on that moment. Or even just show a sign of respect. For some reason, I miss that. Having a moment of silence as a group gives me way more feels than a moment of silence on my own.
Today, I feel heavier than previous years. I’ve actually cried today thinking about 9/11/01. I feel isolated. I feel misunderstood. I feel invisible. I feel uncomfortable. I feel moody. I feel tense. I feel anxious. I feel nervous. I feel restless. I feel swollen. I feel broken. I feel torn. I feel confused. I feel angry. I feel shitty.
I had never done this before, but today a professor asked me if I was okay (guess my face was either blank all class or showed confusion). I replied, in a raspy voice (I lost my voice this weekend), “ I just feel shitty. Today is 9/11 so its a shitty day”. I’m assuming they weren’t expecting that reply and as best they could, quickly responded with (or something similar to) “well, today’s a beautiful day, but it was a shitty event”.
Immediately after this, I felt so guilty. I felt surprised that I said that out loud in class when the professor was just trying to make sure I was following along. I felt like he wasn’t ready for that response and I sounded bitchy. But I really wasn’t in my body all class. My mind is racing. My body keeps moving. My eyes can’t focus. My tears keep coming and going like waves. Just never sure when they are about to come out of my eyes.
For all of those who lost someone on this day 17 yrs ago. For those that courageously helped others get to a safe place in the middle of all the chaos. For all those who gave up their lives to save another. For those who were as confused as me, an innocent 6 yr old. For those who became villains in the eyes of the US due to this tragic moment. I’m sorry. I love you. I’m with you. May we all continue to learn from 9/11 and somehow gain the courage, bravery, compassion, etc. that others displayed on this day. Thank you to all the volunteers, workers, and civilians.
Take a deep breath. Reflect. Love. Cry. Hug. Draw. Write. Dance.