Thursday, September 11, 2014

The 9/11 in 8/9+ [Because parallels]

I've been thinking about this for a few weeks, but today seemed like as good a day as any to try to verbalize how the feelings I had during the aftermath of the conflict in Ferguson felt a little 9/11.

There are plenty of things to point out as not parallel - scale of the loss of life, external conflict versus internal and so on. I am sure many people would balk at my even mentioning the two incidents in the same breath. I am sure I agree with you on a conceptual level. Here I'm talking about my personal experience which, if we've taken one thing from Ferguson, is mine. I realized as the past month unfolded that there was a familiarity to the decentralized anxiety, focused-unfocus, and, well, heaviness drenched in hope.

Something happening in my back yard (I currently live in St. Louis, I lived in NYC then) that impacted me but didn't impact me.

Watching the national and international filter while simultaneously living (some version of) the on the ground reality.

Obsessive consumption of news and information, hitting refresh/flipping the channel/scrolling in anticipation of new information, a new piece of information to help make sense out of something that doesn't make sense.

Having that news and information permeate every conversation - from the personal to the professional - to the point that the absence of a reference could call into question the validity and importance of the entire interaction.

Fear and self-hate fueling words and actions agains and for entire groups of people as if they were a monolith.

People wanting desperately to _do_ something but there being few tangible things to "do" to "help."

Angering and bristling at the theatrics on the back of the pain, confusion and uncertainty.

Feeling guilty about feeling impacted and emotional when there are so many people so much closer to the "ground zero" of it all.

A date/city name morphing into a keyword for an entire set of events, experiences and opinions.

Wanting desperately to push myself that much harder to move through fear and live my best most authentic life, believing that will somehow help keep the collective pain from being in vain.

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