Yesterday was a day of reflection for me, remembering memories and feelings from 15 years ago. The attacks on 9/11 punctuated my soul and heart, and in moving through all of that, I re-found this post I did. The desire to love still speaks to me even though I recognize the naivety of my younger self. I am still moved.
I hope it is moving for you too.
I Don’t Want To Be Okay
I don’t want to feel better about the world or myself after September 11th. I don’t want to go back to my “normal” routine as a passive player in the world…my job, my daily commute…my armchair perspective of the world.
I don’t want to be okay because I am being told that I should “go back to normal.” I feel like I am being told to forget and pretend that everything is all right. Too much is still wrong; it is still too painful for me to just ignore.
Feeling better means to me that we are ignoring the national and world events that led up to 9-11. It means we are focusing our attention and our resources on a war many miles away—it means that we are ignoring our important issues at home, such as the color line, discrimination, poverty, homelessness, and education. 9-11 reminded us of our needs, and put things such as racial profiling and hate crimes to the forefront for a time. It seems those issues have once again slipped away, back to the closet, where none of us want to acknowledge.
Feeling okay means that I have allowed the commercialized patriotism and the “godblessamericana” to prevent me from seeing what is really happening right now.
And when I allow myself to be honest, I recognize that I am still hurt, still in pain, still reeling from the attacks. And I still feel alone. I want to go back to that moment when we were all alone, together. That moment when we all were worried about ourselves, our friends and families, the people who were living what we were watching. I was stunned, but, for a moment, we were a true community, and that moment made me want to act.
I have become more aware, more compassionate, even more human. It is still too easy to fold those feelings up and put them in my pocket, to carry them around as a badge, but not really use them. Not being okay means that I get more chances to make a difference, to act, to live as a community even when I feel alone.
9/11 is a frozen moment in time, a symbol of pain, and vulnerability; but it also is an inspiration to change ourselves for the better. We can do it. I can do it. And when we do, I will be happy to be okay.