On November 13, 2015, I engaged in some activities that are to be expected for someone my age. I went to a nearby city for a night on the town with my lover. First we planned to grab some dinner at a downtown hotspot followed by a music show headlined by one of our local bands. It was a typical night unlike any other. Our dinner consisted of some gourmet hot dogs and two free cheesecake desserts courtesy of the restaurant in exchange for our vote on which one was the best. We could optionally donate any amount we’d like after participating, and all proceeds afterward would go to a local shelter and provide food for the less fortunate on Thanksgiving. We got a free dessert, donated a small amount and helped the less fortunate, it was a win win. Then my boyfriend checked his phone, to which social media had alerted him that there had been an act of terrorism in Paris, France. Not much had been known yet at this point, other than there was a shooting at a soccer stadium, or something to that nature. It is hard to remember what my reaction had initially been. We as a society have unfortunately grown so accustomed to these occurrences, and the only way to really get through the nagging fear of what could possibly happen when you step foot outside your front door, is to become hardened by it. We have naturally become susceptible to brushing it off and applying this “life goes on” mentality, more and more with every tragedy. I chose to brush it off myself, and not let this news fill the rest of my night with worry. I think we both did. We payed the check and then proceeded to the music venue. As the night went on, we enjoyed the music of all the bands that had played at this venue that I had practically spent a good chunk of my own years playing in bands at. Around the time of the last band, I had gotten the text from a few family members and also a friend with more details about the tragedy in Paris, and telling me to be careful wherever I was. I had still not known too much about the details, but their worry caused me to worry more. This wave of uneasiness came over me, and I really could not wait to just go home.
As my boyfriend and I got home, we snuggled up in bed to catch up on all of the news we hadn’t been too informed of throughout the duration of our night out. I then started to see news about hundreds being murdered at a concert hall. Wait a minute, I thought this was at a soccer stadium? Not that it matters WHERE it happened, but now that one of the targets seemed to be young people just like my boyfriend and I, having a nice evening filled with good food, live music, and other social things people my age generally enjoy about life, now it just hit a little too close to my heart. Apparently the shootings had also taken place at cafes, and people were shot while dining on street terraces. It seemed like an epidemic of hatred had broken out in the city of flashing lights, excitement, inspiration and romance. This was a city filled with young people seeking their own enjoyments of life, and it just didn’t seem fair. Seeing the news of this attack where hundreds had been killed, literally made my stomach turn. Young adults, and even lovers, just like my boyfriend and I, who went out for a night on the town, out to dinner, to a cafe, to see their favorite band, never made it home to their safe warm beds. I sat there in shock, news story after news story, trying to piece together why anyone would want to do this to our humanity. And in that moment, the rough exterior that I had in place due to the influx of recent racial wars, pointless police brutalities, public shootings, other hate crimes, and the all too close to home 9/11 attacks, had just cracked. I felt completely helpless and hurt for those poor people. I cried, held my boyfriend, and just thanked God and The Universe for all that I have in my life, because it could literally be taken away at any moment.
Over the course of the next few days it had been made more public that there had also been attacks in Beirut, Baghdad, and also an older story about an attack in Kenya had resurfaced. People had started arguing on social media about which occurrence held the most weight, and all sorts of other different angles concerning them all, which I will not get into here because you have probably already seen it all on your own newsfeed, and also that is not really what this article is about. I spent the past few days in a funk, jaded, getting sucked into the chaos as all of humanity had seemed to go up in arms, spreading their hate-fueled opinions toward one another. It really left me disgusted with the world and forced me to retrieve and be alone with my thoughts. And thoughts there were many. Thoughts like “I never want to leave my house again, I never want to travel and see all the beauty the world has to offer, I never want to do the things I enjoy if it requires me to be in a public setting, or – procreating is pointless in a world that is apparently going to shit, who wants to raise a child around all this hate?”… and the fearful thoughts go on and on.” And while I know that instilling fear and causing a divide amongst all of humanity is exactly what these assholes want, it doesn’t make things any less traumatizing, even if we have not been subjected to the actual events, or have not been directly tied to anyone who has.
You see… we are suffering as a society. We have all adapted to this sense of walking PTSD, especially those of us who are of the empathic nature, who FEEL things like this so very deeply that it takes every ounce of our being just to get out of bed the next day and function. Some of us may even feel a certain sense of “survivor’s guilt” as if we had actually been there, like what right do I have, to stress about the ego-based trivial bullshit of my everyday life, when those poor people who didn’t make it out alive will never have the pleasure of being grateful for ever again? We’re walking around like zombies with our heads so far up our own asses, being directly influenced by everything we see and hear in the media. We have all been molded by it, swayed every which way by bias news outlets without doing the research for ourselves about the one sided story they choose to display. We’re so quick to hit that “SHARE” button, most of the time without even reading the actual story, but just based on the headline alone. While it’s important to be in the know about current events, it is also important to not let ourselves be consumed by it, and that comes with the ability of self-awareness. That hit me pretty hard tonight before I sat down to write this. I was letting it all consume me, and that is what fuels that feeling of depression and overwhelm.
It was very clear to me that I needed to begin healing myself from the strain that the world has put on my heart and I’m sure anyone else of empathic nature could relate to this feeling as well. These feelings are very real and although I feel the need to submerge myself in my introverted state and hide away from this very flawed world, I realize that it is so essential as a human being to talk about the issues that are making me feel this way. It is also very essential as a human being, that when we feel helpless, we need to HELP SOMEONE ELSE. We are of NO use to anyone if we remain hidden in fear. Now is not the time for the trivial bullshit that is designed to divide us in our humanity. Now IS the time to come together and be a crutch for one another through all of this fear, confusion, and pain. We may not be the victims of these physical crimes, but being exposed to it all in mind and spirit eventually takes its toll on the soul.
It is with all of this heaviness in my heart that I have decided to create this mini-workshop for anyone who is having these same feelings as I, to help them heal and deal with the grief of the global losses our world has suffered in the recent days, months and even years. We are suffering as a world, and no one tragedy is worse than another. A tragedy is a tragedy, and it is all over the place. All we can do is spread our love where we think could use it the most and stand together as the light workers we are, because it is OUR LOVE that will save this world.
Join me in this FREE Art Therapy Mini E-Course that I have created in order to help us heal from the tragedy and loss all around.