What I Think About: 9/11

I remember a little about what happened that day; I was six years old and proud to be in the first grade. One of my parents brought me to school, and all proceeded normally for a time. I assume I talked to fellow classmates while getting ready for the first class period. I remember we were halfway through the class when the teacher next door walked into our classroom. She asked our teacher to come outside for a minute. I didn’t think anything of it, this sort of thing happened quite often in private schools. Suddenly, our teacher burst back into the room and ordered us to stand and recite multiple Hail Mary’s without explanation. She then told us that many people were dying because a plane flew into the World Trade Center. I had no idea what that meant much less knew what the World Trade Center was. I vaguely remember the class going into the other first grade room and watching the television for a few minutes. I was very confused save for the fact that I was very sad that all of these people were dying. My youngest sister was born ten days later, and she would only ever know about it through documentaries and history books. The following year, when I was in the second grade, the principal of my school asked myself and some third graders to read a prayer on the one year anniversary of 9/11. I agreed. The last distinct memory I have is in the third grade. I was in Girl Scouts, and we all went to school in our uniforms. The school gathered in the courtyard around the flag while the National Anthem was sung and Lee Greenwood’s “I’m Proud to be an American” was played. I stood upright with my hand across my heart, proud to be an American. That’s about all I remember.

I was a very pious and patriotic child, and I took pride in standing up for what was right. I was never angry at the people who committed the terrorist attacks. I actually prayed for them before I went to sleep every night because that is what I was taught to do, to love your enemies. Still to this day, I am not angry at them. I do not and have not ever held prejudice against people of Middle Eastern heritage. I think it is absolutely insane to do such a thing, A group of people were responsible for what happened, not an entire nation.

It is the basis of racism in this country to blame every person for a crime they didn’t commit just because of the color of their skin.

When I was twelve, I went to New York City to visit my uncle Shawn, and we took a trip to Ground Zero. Before me stood a giant square hole in the ground littered with dirt and rubble surrounded by orange construction tape. I remember how quiet it was though there were people standing all around us. My other sister, who was only two years old at the time of the attack, blurted, “Why are we here? This is boring!” I turned around sharply. “Do you know how many people died here?! About three thousand people died here!” I was furious that she didn’t understand the magnitude of what happened. How could she be so disrespectful of an unintended burial ground?

The last time I went to New York City, again to visit Shawn, I was eighteen, and before me stood the magnificent Freedom Tower. I marveled at the building that filled the gaping hole I had seen six years before. I stood in silence, happy to see a memorial for the those I had never met yet I had mourned so deeply.

As I reflect on the anniversary thirteen years later, I am amazed at the length of time that has passed. I look at how much this nation has changed: our values, our morals, our beliefs. A nation that was reminded it is not invincible or immune to the acts of terror. With each passing anniversary, I am reminded of the world I live in and the dangers that surround me. I fear terrorists, bombs, mass shootings, nuclear meltdowns, E. Coli infected meat, and airborne diseases. Despite all of these fears and potential dangers, I find that I am more able to adapt to my surroundings and am able to decipher the truth among biased media propaganda. The attacks and the internet have made the youth of this country think on a global scale when it comes to disasters, terrorist attacks, and humanitarian work. We are no longer just citizens of America, we are global.

Anna Marie

kennedylejeune:

A great tribute to my great-grandmother written by my mother.

Originally posted on a walk on the bright side:


My grandmother would have been eighty-seven years-old today. She was a feisty Cajun woman, a pillar of strength–who was largely and sadly misunderstood. I am like her in many ways, and I miss her dearly. My great-grandmother died giving birth to her, leaving a widowed husband to care for their two daughters–a toddler and a newborn. It was 1927 and times were hard; my great-grandfather promptly deposited his children on his in-laws’ doorstep and never looked back.

She married my grandfather at seventeen and gave birth to their first child at eighteen in 1946. She would give birth to nine more, the last being born in 1965. Ten children in twenty years–and three miscarriages in between. She buried three sons and her husband before her own passing in 2006. She was, in effect, a single parent with a loving husband. My grandparents came from an era in which the woman…

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On Finding Inner Peace

The other night, I looked up at my ceiling in the dark and breathed. I heard nothing. Nothing. Silence. All I could hear was the sound of the ceiling fan and other quiet noises of the apartment. But, I heard nothing in my mind. My brain looked around for something to worry about or stress about only to come up empty handed. It was the first moment I had actually acknowledged that I found peace within myself.

The journey up until that point and hereafter was a difficult one. I dealt with moments of depression, anger, love, hope, sadness, loss, happiness, etc. It was an emotional roller coaster. I was always worrying about something, always stressing, always anxious. There were some moments that I made myself sick, I worried so much. I cared  what people thought about me. I cared about what I looked like too much. I cared about people that didn’t care about me. I couldn’t find the strength to let anything go, to free myself of these unnecessary burdens.

Then, while arguing with my mother, it just hit me out of nowhere. I can let go of things. I can react to people and their emotions without being defensive. I can create a shield that blocks people’s negative energy from getting to me. I don’t have to change people to fit me, I have to change to fit them if I think they are worth my time… if I see they are trying just as hard as I am. 

With this realization came happiness. I don’t care anymore about people or things that don’t matter. I can live freely, do as I please, and most importantly, I can relax. I can enjoy my life. 

September 8, 2014

I write this as the clock turns midnight.

I have been in school for a few weeks now. I am enjoying most of my classes. I think the one I don’t particularly like is Spanish just because I learn languages better with one on one kind of learning. But, my English classes are fantastic, and I love my Sociology class, too. I don’t have much to say on the subject of school. And, work is a bore.

But, yesterday, I learned something new about myself. My roommate and I were discussing gender and sexualities, and he brought to my attention demiboy. The light bulb went off. I identify more with demiboy than I ever have with female to male transgender. I feel like transgender is too extreme for me. Whereas, with demiboy I can be male/masculine, but still have a connection to my minute feminine traits. I can also finally have something to explain to people if they ask my gender. While I have always not liked the idea of labeling myself publicly because I enjoy being just me, I have always privately enjoyed categorizing my personality and gender and sexuality. I discussed this with my girlfriend, and she says it has something to do with the need and want to belong. I agree with that, I have always wanted to fit in with something, I love a sense of community, 

In other news, I had lunch with my mother yesterday, After a long quarrel last week, I believe we have finally settled our differences. Well… more like I finally accept our differences. Our visit yesterday was one of the most fulfilling times I have had with her. I felt such a connection. We conversed about our lives and our family roots. In addition, she finally gave me my high school graduation present (about a year and a half later). It is one of the most special and beautiful gifts I have ever received. She gave me a journal in which her and one of my sisters drew pictures, wrote poems, and pasted photographs filling it with memories and hopes of a bright future. She says I may continue it in whatever way I please. I am overwhelmed with emotion and possibilities. I am so thankful. I love you, Mom.

Anatomy

I stretch my arms to the ceiling,

flex each muscle tenderly,

and feel each joint and knuckle crack.

They let me know that I am alive.

 

I breath a deep breath that

swells my lungs to the point of burst,

and let it slowly fill the air above.

They let me know that I am alive.

 

I think conflicting thoughts passing

from the right to the left brain,

and I cringe and cry and laugh at them.

They let me know that I am alive.