There are events in life that you will never forget; you remember everything about that moment, what you were wearing, who you were with, how you felt and what happened. When you look back on these events all of the memories come flooding back in an instant, including what you were feeling at that time. Some of my events include the birth of my daughter, my cancer diagnosis, being sexually assaulted and the 9-11 attacks.
On 9-11 2001, I was working at a salon, clueless as to what was unfolding in our country until a client came in and asked if we had heard the news. She explained that a plane had crashed into the world trade center. We turned on the tv seconds before the second plane hit the second tower. As the news unfolded that this was not just pilot error and was instead an attack by terrorists, Boston was being repeatedly mentioned. Dave was working in Boston. I was terrified for him, for us. I called and pleaded with him to come home, he couldn’t, but he was safe. I will forever have a unique bond with the people that were in the salon that day.
When something tragic happens we start to lay blame. On that day, it started with blaming the pilot, he messed up somehow. Then, when word came out that it was in fact a terrorist attack, our country lay blame onto an entire religious group. In reality, it was a sect of a religious group, radicals if you will, but it didn’t matter, for many it became a blanket reaction of anger, fear, and contempt.
When something happens to us personally, or on a more local level, like assault or a cancer diagnosis, we start to ask questions. What were they wearing? Were they drinking? Is there a family history? Are they a smoker? We are trying to make sense of a tragic event, but in the process we minimize the person and the event. We seek to lay blame, for with blame comes a logical sequence with which we can better process and understand.
Until you are in a person’s shoes, it is impossible to put it all into perspective, their perspective. We are so quick to judge, to lay blame and to choose sides. We are more concerned with voicing our opinion than listening to those who need it the most. Why do we do it? We are terrified. We want to put as much distance between “it” and ourselves as possible because we cannot think about it happening to us. If someone else or something else is to blame, it makes it easier to believe that it won’t happen to us.
Tonight, on the eve of the anniversary of 9-11, I will be performing at the Be Brave Gala, an inspiring event to honor and encourage survivors of domestic and sexual violence. One of the numbers I will be performing is Lady Gaga’s “Til it Happens to You” and it goes something like this:
‘Til it happens to you, you won’t know
It won’t be real (how could you know?)
Not it won’t be real (how could you know?)
Won’t know how I feel
We cannot understand what someone is going through, until we have experienced it ourselves. Even then, our perspective will be different, because we are different. We cannot know how someone feels, we can only guess and empathize with what we think they are going through. We do not have to understand in order to react with compassion and empathy. We can put our fear aside and instead try to support them in any way that we can. Let’s use this anniversary of 9-11 to remember those who have fallen, show support to those who fight every day, and exercise compassion for those who are going thru something that we cannot understand, until it happens to us.
“We do not see things as they are, we see things as we are.” – unknown
Namaste my Fabulous Fighters,