Monday, October 14, 2013

Personal Reflections

This is a small departure from the normal style of this blog. Really spent a long time internally debating if this should be posted here or on The Power Exchange. Still not at all certain where it belongs, but since it has more to do with me as a person and not the slave, this place seemed to be a better fit.

I can't watch movies or tv shows about September 11, 2001. I can't bring myself to relive in anyway the pain of that day or the weeks that followed.

It's interesting, to me because on December 8, 1941, then president Franklin D Roosevelt addressed congress calling the attacks on Pearl Harbor, "A day that will live in infamy." To me, it's a note in a history book or something my grandfather refused to speak about. I asked him once, while planning an exciting -- at least to me -- trip to Europe, if he'd ever want to return, he answered no. He'd seen enough of Europe on D-Day.

In November of 1963, the young president John F Kennedy was assisinated, and for the longest time, you could ask anyone older than myself, where you were when Kennedy was shot. It was that generation's memory and probably loss of innocence. In that odd way, both December 7, 1941 and November 22, 1963 were both a loss of simplicity. Yes better days in the 1950s were certainly ahead, but in retrospect it wss fleeting and never meant to last. That generation, already hardened by the great depression was asked to give more during the war, followed by an new era of hope, squandered in Dallas. The world became more and more complex.

Still, I can watch movies or documentaries about those times without feeling a connection to them, as will always be the case, newer generations lose that -- or perhaps it's just an American thing? Grandchildren of residents of the Normandy region of France still welcome servicemen who fought for their freedom. Although those numbers are fast dwindling.

September 11 is different, at least for me. I wss born the year construction on the twin towers began. When I realized it, they had been built and destroyed in my lifetime it hurt me. It hurt all of us. There was a strong sense of disbelief that shook off whatever semblance of Arcadian upbringing that was left over from Watergate, Patty Hearst, Jonestown, Columbine, and Oklahoma City. It wss like there wasn't anything left.

A strong loss of national confidence -- not confidence in the government, but in the collective consciousness of its people. We don't trust anymore. It's like we wont allow ourselves to be led down an uncertain path. Maybe this is the reason we seem to have so many troubles in our country today? We have forgotten how to trust. We can only see the shadows of people we meet along way, and rarely the layers that lay beneath them. In order to trust, we need to connect with them, but the wires are frayed and exposed to the elements. Outwardly, we smile, make the polite small talk but under those now protective layers, we are naked, scared and oh so very bitter.

I'm not bookish, but there are several lines from a book I once read years ago that resonated with me and haunt me today. I read the book not as an assignment in school, but by choice. I wanted, no I needed to understand why John Lennon was shot. How could a simple work of fiction inspire people to kill, or attempt to. I admit, I didn't care much for the book save for probably one insignificant paragraph. Maybe this is the lesson we must try to remember.

“Among other things, you'll find that you're not the first person who was ever confused and frightened and even sickened by human behavior. You're by no means alone on that score, you'll be excited and stimulated to know. Many, many men have been just as troubled morally and spiritually as you are right now. Happily, some of them kept records of their troubles. You'll learn from them—if you want to. Just as someday, if you have something to offer, someone will learn something from you. It's a beautiful reciprocal arrangement. And it isn't education. It's history. It's poetry.”

― J.D. Salinger, The Catcher in the Rye

Maybe we need to tell our stories, even if they're painful. The visceral reaction to tragedy, even when we know it hurts we need to share. Even when we leave a little a poison of our pain behind, we need to tell about it, so maybe others won't forget it.