Hello, dear readers. Thank you for stopping by on this somber Sunday for a bit of conversation and coffee. Today marks the 15th anniversary of the World Trade Center attacks and a day that, here in America, means remembrance and reflection.
I apologize for my serious tone today, but I take this day very seriously. Not that I was personally affected by the attack. I didn’t know anyone in the who lost their lives that day, nor was I anywhere near danger, but like all Americans, my life changed after that anyway.
If we were having coffee, I would tell you that I was 16 years old and going through one of the toughest years of my life when the attack happened. I was living in near Grand Junction, Colorado in a dorm on a Job Corps campus. I had been kicked out of high school, and my mother felt out of options, so she shipped me off. I was homesick, depressed and at times suicidal, I had given up on myself completely.
I was entered in the culinary program and that morning I was scheduled to work lunch prep, and I remember walking in and no one was working. They were watching TV. I saw the towers smoking; I watched them collapse, and none of it seemed real to me. I’d been floating along like a ghost for years, and nothing ever felt real to me. A terrorist attack on US soil seemed impossible. All of that came together, and I became disconnected from reality altogether.
The memory has a very dream-like quality. Like one of those dreams that are vivid and surreal while you are in them but fade quickly throughout the next day. All I have left in an intense emotion and a quick visual flash. As if it doesn’t exist but nonetheless is life changing and profound.
If we were having coffee, I would tell you that while I mourn the people that died that day I think about those that died in the war that came after too. I mourn American lives and the Afgan and Iraqi lives too.
My thoughts are with the families who still feel the loss of their loved ones, and I feel for the Muslims who live in the shadow of that day. I grieve for America as I knew it, or could have known it if this terrible event had never happened.
I think we learned something that day, that we were not so special or safe has we had believed for so long. I wish we could have taken the lesson and reconsidered our similarity to the rest of the world. Instead, we held tight to the illusion of our specialness. We held ourselves even higher and pushed those different from us further down in our esteem.
I wish we were the kind of America that we were before that terrible day. The kind that loved and accepted everyone. The kind that believed that many different cultures could exist together. The kind that prided itself on diversity and difference.
That America is gone now, but I still believe a version of it is possible, but I have a feeling it won’t be realized through peace, love, and togetherness the way it was before. It’s going to be a hard battle fought with a lot more hatred and cruelty than we had hoped. The times of active listening and kumbaya are long gone.
If we were having coffee, I would tell you that there is much more I wanted to talk about today but anything else I might say about my week sounds unimportant at this point. My week wasn’t all that exciting anyway.
There were a few highlights; I had a piece accepted to Femsplain, my first that I’ll be paid for, and a date night at the drive-in where we got to watch some very weird Adult Swim premieres. It was a good week, and I hope the upcoming one will be even better.
Most weeks I love talking about myself and telling you all about what I’ve done and how I am feeling but today, today I just want to be still and enjoy the silence. I want to think and feel deeply about the world and where we might be headed. I want to worry a little and remember that another day is never guaranteed.
If we were having coffee, I would say on that note I had better go. I have a lot to do, and I have no motivation to do any of it. I hope you had a good week, that our weekend was a relaxing one, and that this week will be good to you. I hope today isn’t a day of sadness or remembrance of loss for you, and if it is I hope you find some comfort or companionship. I hope you are okay.
Please, drop a note in the comments and let me know how you are, or what you’ve been up to. I do love hearing from you all, even on days like these.
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Featured image via reeqhair