The CNN reporter was interviewing people visiting a makeshift memorial in Paris. I immediately felt emotion fill my chest, rise to my throat and tears form behind my eyes. I paid attention to the faces they were showing of people visiting, paying their respects. I remember those same faces at Copley Square 2.5 years ago. Of course, not the same faces, but the emotion. The first few times I went to the memorial (I used to go every single day, determined to have it get easier each time.), I didn't look at anyone. I was numb, living in this sort of surreal out of body place at times. But, then I started to look at people. Some look stoic, some looked lost and others cried. Those same faces were on the TV today. Those faces that were feeling so much at once.
While agreeing with a friend on someone's FB post that these times can be a reminder to look into ourselves and find our own peace and how that can affect the greater good, someone started to get argumentative and accused us of talking about sitting down with terrorists to talk about peace (uh, not even close to what we said). I simply just said what I had to say, reiterating that I never said such a thing. In the conversation, she then said, "Well, you should just be grateful you weren't hurt (in the bombing)". Well then. That statement was definitely made to get a rise out of me. Why would anyone say it if that wasn't the case? I wasn't getting mad or changing my stance and sometimes, people decide to hit below the belt. Two years ago or even one year ago, that would have deeply affected me. (Remember above, survivor's guilt?) But, I actually laughed a bit. I responded the way I felt. I told her that the statement is offensive to those with invisible injuries, and even those injured would be offended (they were) but that it didn't bother me. I said I knew she couldn't understand and wouldn't want her to because no one should have to go through that. There was one more dig at me and then, I gave short response, I wished her the best and said I wouldn't engage anymore, even stopping all notifications from that thread.
That short conversation reminded me that people just don't understand. They don't understand what those people are going through even if they want to try. They don't understand my words about finding peace in yourself because they haven't experienced it (I hope everyone does at some point). They don't understand all of the complex issues around terrorism, refugees, or any other of the issues that are surfacing due to the recent attacks. None of us can. But, I continue to read about them. I have been for years. After the bombings, I avoided coverage of the bombings themselves for the most part, but I read more and researched other things connected. And, being in a better place, I research and read even more now. I have spent the last week reading opinions, factual articles and official websites to get a full view of the issues at hand. That's why I feel confident in sharing my opinions, especially about these topics. It doesn't come from emotion or a reaction to what happened to me. If it had, I would be more likely to have the opposite opinions of the ones I have. I would live in that fear and have anger toward more people. I would probably be afraid of letting people come in to our country without actually thinking and knowing about the reality and the facts such as the lengthy vetting process refugees go through. I wouldn't feel the peace I do and wouldn't have the control over those many emotions that rise up when these attacks happen.
So, I will continue to have my opinion and I will share it. I know most people don't care about my opinion especially when it doesn't match theirs. I know people won't read what I say in the way it's intended and will read it with their own perspective, beliefs, etc (like that woman assuming I was saying we should sit with Isis and talk about peace...yeah, no). I know that people read too much into things. I was reminded of this when people had a concern with me posting "too much" this week and wondering if it meant something about being in a bad place. It absolutely did not. In fact, just the opposite. But, I think not caring about other's opinions is awful. I may not agree with people, but I still hear them out, I still read what they have to say. I've had people (not with this topic) that have made me think of other sides to different topics. I think that's great. I also agree to disagree with many. I also have people who privately talk to me about things I post and find it helpful or just agree with it. So, for the rest of the people out there, they don't have to read what I write. I'm not writing for them. I'm writing for me and for those who do get something out of it. So, I will always share my opinion. I used to be that person that never gave her thoughts on anything and stayed quiet. I hated her. She wasn't as strong as the woman I am now. She wasn't as aware or as passionate. She didn't care enough to have strong opinions and was too afraid to share them when she did. I will no longer live in fear of any kind. I will not live with anger or hate in any part of my heart and soul, only love.
I could go on and on with all of the topics and thoughts that have been floating around my head, but I'll end here and share more another day.