I can be awful with names. I sometimes need to hear a person's name a few times or meet them a few times before it sticks. But, then I'm usually good. Well, I've probably heard the names of the two bombers 1,000 times (more??) and yet, I could not tell you what they are off the top of my head. I know the last name. There's something about it that I remembered. But, the first names? Nope. At times, I've wondered why, I haven't just learnt them simply because of how often I've heard them spoken or seen them flash on the computer or TV screen. But, I know why. Because I simply DON'T CARE. Knowing their names wouldn't help me. Knowing their names wouldn't change anything that happened. Knowing their names would give them more power than I care to let them ever have over me, my life, or that day. Sure, if someone says, "_________ Tsarnaev (is that even the right spelling because I have no clue?), I know they are talking about one of those people, but I wouldn't be able to say which one or put the face to the name. Maybe some day I will. Who knows. But, for now, I'm happy I can't.
Funny though, I did want to know more about them. I even read that article written back in 2013 (Holy crap, "back in 2013" seems like a lifetime ago and yet, like it just finished) about the family and their past. Why? Well, because I have a different opinion and way of coping than maybe most people do. Everyone is different. People may not agree with how I feel or how I think, people have even thought I don't have enough anger (what is that?? I mean not having ENOUGH anger? Weird), but it's gotten me pretty far and I found an immense amount of peace a lot sooner than I think I would have if I dealt with this or thought about it any other way. So, it's ME. It's how I deal with things and it's right and works very well for ME. Here goes.
When people do bad things, no matter what it is, I always think about why. It can be the person who is just always rude or a person who did something to hurt me. It could be someone who hurt another person I love. I'll tell you a little story of a conversation I had with a high school student not too long ago. This girl is very smart and inquisitive and asks questions that sometimes shock you at first. That is, until she gets to her point. One day, we were chatting as my friend , J tutored her and she asked if I'd be friend with J if she killed someone. This wasn't a totally off subject, morbid question. She was reading about this topic for a class. I immediately said "no" and then I said, "Well, who did she kill and why?" Her reply, "A child" to which I said, "Absolutely not. That is not acceptable no matter what the circumstances." Her next response was, "But what if it was an evil child, like Hitler as a child?" I again said, "Absolutely not. Do you want to know why?" She didn't need my answer. She already knew. "I know why. Is it because Hitler wasn't evil when he was a child? That he grew up and learned to be evil?" Yes. 100%. That was my answer. She then went on, "What if we could travel back in time and take all of the children we know grew up to be evil and put them on an island where we could actually teach them to be good instead? What if we did that over and over with all of the evil people who do bad things and rather than them become bad, they became good?" Um, seriously? Obviously it's an impossible thought, but the fact that she had that thought, that she is THAT AWARE, was amazing and gave me hope for the next generation.
Of course, we can't change anything. We can't take away the evil in the world. Would that even be good? I mean, without bad, how would know what's really great? Without hate, how would we REALLY know LOVE? I digress. This conversation I had with this 18 year old was an example of how I feel. I have had people do bad things to me, nothing I'll get into specifics about here. While I have NEVER condoned bad behavior or thought it was okay, I have always looked at why? What was their childhood like, what is their life like now? It's not an EXCUSE, but instead, a REASON. Let's look at the difference.
Reason, - noun a statement presented in justification or explanation of a belief or action, the basis or cause for a belief or action
Excuse, – noun a pretext or subterfuge, an explanation offered to justify or obtain forgiveness
I, in no way justify anyone doing something bad, well, I guess there are some cases. Let's look at the case of the bombings. I never wanted to give them attention. I don't care what happens to him now. It doesn't change anything. I know he's not walking free and that is enough, simply because it means he won't hurt anyone else. Whatever happens from here, it won't bring back the people who were killed, it won't bring back lost limbs or repair the injuries or take away the scars. It won't bring back the year to year and a half of my life that my body was in extreme anxiety and my brain wouldn't calm down. It won't make my digestive problems caused by it go away. It won't erase those memories and images from mine or anyone else's minds. We'll have those forever. And so, it doesn't matter AT ALL to me. But, what did matter is WHY. I wanted to know what kind of evil, brainwashing, training, bullying, whatever that could lead a person to kill a bunch of innocent people. I didn't really need to read about it. I already knew. I have worked with kids since before I finished high school. You'll never be able to convince me that people are born evil, so don't ever try. Kids are innocent. It's what their environment does to them that molds who they are. Again, not an excuse for their behavior, just a reason. And yes, some people come out of horrible situations and end up being amazing people. But, many don't. That's because everyone is different. Children are like sponges. They take in everything. Some are just able to not absorb the bad quite as much or maybe they have something or someone that gives them a purpose or gives them a balance of positive when there's negativity.
The way I describe it to people when they ask is this. What happens to someone to make them become a person who can kill innocent people, including children and feel completely justified by it? We don't know. Because we aren't like that. But, these people truly believe in the deepest parts of their brains that they are justified. Notice I didn't say hearts or souls? That's because I'd like to think that if they got out of their heads and dug deep enough, they'd find the good and their humanity. Maybe that's a naive thought, but I'm an optimist. The way we look at terrorists and say, "they hurt our people, we need to go and kill them." is the same way they look at us. (I am in NO way saying this is right.) They truly have convinced themselves that by us going into their countries and simply by the way we live our lives more free that we are against them. War and terror goes back as long as history. This is a belief system that has been building forever. We can't understand it and we can't change it for them.
Something else I realized. Yesterday, I had a full day of shoots for my new non profit, she. When viewing some behind the scenes photos today, I saw that I laughed A LOT. I thought about that. I do laugh a lot. I love laughing. I have hilarious friends. I'm pretty funny. (I think?) I remember thinking countless times in 2013-2014, "Will I ever REALLY laugh again?" I did laugh. Sometimes it was a real laugh and I truly thought something was funny and sometimes it was forced. But it never felt the same as it had before. It never felt like a full laugh. There was too much sadness, fear, and exhaustion in me to feel that true happiness and laughter. I had these moments where I felt like they took my happiness, my strength and my courage from me that day and I wondered if I'd get it all back. It may have taken a long time, but it all came back and that means something. I have laughing fits with friends that I don't even think I was capable of having for a while there. Like, can't stop, can't talk, can't breathe laughing. They didn't take away my laughter that day. No one can ever take it away.
Does this mean I don't have sad moments? Of course not. It turns out avoiding the trial completely is impossible no matter how much I thought I could do it. I ended up watching a video last week. I knew it had come out and chose not to go looking for it. But then, a friend said she saw herself in it. She said it was the first time she saw it, that it helped them realize her husband was in Marathon Sports before she was and it showed how much of a hero he was and I also knew it showed Shane from the store helping people. Well, being friends with them, I felt I wanted to see. And let me tell you, what I saw was sad and emotional, but it was also amazing. The way people jump into action to save others is just beautiful. So, it was emotional. Very emotional, especially knowing people in the video. But, afterwards, I had no desire to go looking for anything else or to watch it over and over, like I did last year as I began to be sucked in. SO, as long as I can watch something or read something that I choose to read and I can be okay after and go on with my life, it is okay. If I start to get anxiety or obsess, go looking for more and don't just go back to whatever it was I was doing before, then there's a problem. I have plenty of people checking in to make sure that doesn't happen. I love my people. This isn't all saying I won't have trouble seeing things. It is still raw. It's still extremely emotional. I think it always will be and if it ever stops being emotional, I would question what kind of human I am. It should never stop being sad. What I saw that day was sad. What I felt that day was most intense sadness and fear I hope to ever experience in my life.
I watched another news clip the next day. It was a summary of Bill Richards' testimony and some of Jeff's. There was also a short clip showing the only clear memory I had for a while after that day. It was a cop, Tom Barrett carrying a 3 year old boy with blood in his hair. I've spent almost two years wondering how that boy is. When you only remember, from day one, one specific detail so clearly from such a traumatizing day, you tend to put more attention on it and the people in it. So, yes, that clip was emotional as well. As I said, it should be.
Last Wednesday, after I wrote my previous post, I went to go for a long walk with my friend and biz partner, Kiera before doing some work. We walked from the South End to the Charles and along it, basically doing an obstacle course, jumping over large deep puddles of melting snow, climbing snow banks, and trying to walk on the snow along the river while sinking in and having fun. She wanted to make our way back at one point and I didn't pay attention to where we were. It wasn't until we were almost at Newbury St that I realized we were on Dartmouth. I said that to her and wanted to walk down Boylston. As we made our way down, she asked me which side of the street I was on. She'd never heard "my story" since she's a newer friend. I told her I'd give her the tour/play by play. I did as we walked. We passed "my spot" and continued on. I gave a lot of detail, thought some memory is still not there. She worried when we were done if I was okay and would be after talking and walking through it. I realized it was the most at ease I've ever felt talking about it all, especially while on Boylston Street. I felt a huge feeling of relief and pride in that. It may not always be the case. It still brings up sadness when I talk about it at times or when I remember or think of certain things, but every time I get through "my story" and can still feel at peace is a win.
So, I do not know the names of the two terrorists. You know whose names I do know? Well over 100 of the hundreds of people directly impacted that day. Who else? Family members of those directly impacted or who were killed. And most important, I know the names of Martin Richards, Krystle Campbell, Lingzi Lu, and Sean Collier. All of these names are the only ones I need to know.
Thanks for reading.