For awhile, this website went through an identity crisis. And after months of planning, when it finally emerged from its cocoon and finally became the writer-centric place it was always meant to be, I made a promise to myself. I promised I wouldn’t make it about me.
But every once in awhile I still have to step back, break from my normal flow of content, do something different. I don’t think I could have gotten through today without stepping away from what you might normally expect to appear on your feeds or in your inboxes, to address what’s on our minds and hearts today.
The thing is, I don’t really know what to say.
How do you even put something like this into words?
If you’ve taken a basic psychology course before, you might remember learning a little about how kids’ brains work. Basically they’re very self-centered, not because they don’t care about other people, but because that’s all they know.
I think that day, 14 years ago, was the first time I grieved for someone other than myself. I didn’t know what that was supposed to feel like at the time, of course. It’s scary when you’re just a little kid and you feel sad and upset and worried about people you don’t even know, when you don’t feel safe, when you don’t understand where all those feelings are coming from.
This #NeverForget hashtag trending today didn’t really resonate much with me at first. Of course we’ll never forget, I thought. How could we?
But in that moment of silence this morning, leaning over my kitchen counter, I realized how clearly I remember it. How much do you remember about being nine, really? Not much. But I remember my friend Matt telling me a plane had crashed, asking if my dad worked in Chicago (he did), I remember not understanding at first how big of a deal it actually was. Until I did.
No one should have to understand something so real, so horrible, when they’re just a little kid.
We’re going to share a lot of pictures today. We’re going to keep using that hashtag today. Not because there aren’t other ways to express how we feel, but because it’s so, so hard to put how we feel into words that convey it all, universally, for everyone.
I wasn’t personally affected by this. I’m not sure I knew anyone personally affected, anyone who lost a family member that day. But when your entire country is hurting, how can you not? It’s not wrong to grieve. It’s not wrong to stand over your kitchen counter and cry.
Maybe that’s all we can do. Share photos and hashtags and hugs and tears and memories.
It’s so hard to write about things like this. The whole time I’ve been sitting here, nothing I’ve written feels like it’s been the right thing to say. But maybe that’s the point. Maybe there isn’t a right or wrong thing to say or a right or wrong way to express how we feel.
I won’t forget. None of us will.
But we can keep writing, even when it’s hard, even when we don’t know what to say. Putting things into words doesn’t mean those words are going to say everything. Sometimes silence is okay. Sometimes silence is just what we need to remember.
Eventually we do have to lift our heads and move forward again. If words are enough to help us do that, we’ll just keep on writing them.
Take care. God bless.
Image courtesy of Novelty Revisions.
Meg is a twenty-something workaholic with a passion for writing, coffee and health. In addition to her status as an aspiring novelist and Grammar Nazi, Meg is the managing editor at College Lifestyles magazine and a guest blogger for Food & Nutrition Magazine. She is a seven-time NaNoWriMo winner and has written several creative pieces for Teen Ink. Follow Meg on Twitter.