Yesterday, we got to the movie theater earlier than most and grabbed center seats. As the room started to fill up, I started feeling really anxious. A tightness in my chest. Giving people an extra once-over as they settled in with their popcorn. When the lights went down, I realized I had slunk down in my chair so my head was barely peeking over the back. With the previews rolling, I took a few deep breaths and told myself…”You’ll be fine.” Really? Who is this person that’s afraid to be out and about? To be with people. To live her life.
Something changed for me on Friday. Watching the news come in, the tightening in my chest and the sinking feeling as the updates went from bad to worse. I’ve had a couple heaving, shaking cries. Mourning the loss of so many innocent people, searching for answers the way I know many have since then. Trying to sort out in my head how I can talk about bringing children into a world that’s, frankly, pretty scary. Incredulously wondering where people are safe if they can’t even go to school without fear. Thinking about dear friends who care so much for children & how selfless those folks are. I haven’t felt this way since September 11th – scared at how thin our fiber is when it is held up to the light.
I’m not a political pundit. I’m not an expert on gun control or security or psychological care. I’m a food blogger with a quiet space to turn to when I need to chat. I come here to sort myself out and, sometimes, folks come here to read it. I’m also a citizen who knows that the tragedy that took place on Friday should never happen…yet happens far too often. As many in our blogging community are observing a social media day of silence – in honor of those whose lives are forever changed – I finally have the lump out of my throat and, today, I just needed to talk. Will this be the thing that jolts us awake? Will be be able to get out of this blurry sea of fear and grief and do something this time instead of just wringing our hands until the next worst-thing-ever occurs?
Today is the day where we all have to go back to our “real lives” – no more hiding at home and tucking away from what’s happened. We go back to work, we send our children back to school, we do our best to be normal. We hug each other a little more, a little tighter. Readjust to our routine and be mindful of those for whom there is no normal anymore. Send our positive thoughts and energy and love to a town full of folks I’ve never met…and use whatever we have left to not let fear win. My hope is that, after these days of silence, it IS the time to address the access to weapons, a frighteningly weakened healthcare system that casts aside issues of mental health, and a culture where death and violence is commonplace and seems like just part of a game. I hope that, after today, that the voices of all who can’t bear to watch another Friday begin being heard and it might get loud.
photo taken in New York City – June 2012