Can you believe it has been 10 years?
Where were you September 11th 2001?
I was at home. I got up early that morning, something I didn’t normally do, and had the tv morning shows on as I planned my day. Little did I know I would witness something that would change me forever.
I had decided to stop being such a sloth. I was just coming off of a devastating break up, so emotionally I was already “battle-scarred”. My birthday was in two days. That in itself was a monumental event. You see I was turning 36. A birthday my mother failed to reach, her life cut short by cancer just one month shy of her own 36th birthday.
I had spent that entire year questioning my own mortality, wondering what she must have been thinking and feeling facing the premature end of her life.
I spent the year measuring my life against hers. What she had accomplished against what I had accomplished…and not accomplished.
I had an underlying sense of desperation, living out each day as if it were a countdown to my own demise. As my emotional being began to self-destruct, so too did my physical.
So much so I ended up in the hospital by the end of July, completely out of control.
Ironically, by September, I was just climbing out of the hole I had inadvertently dug myself into.
Then it happened.
The day the world changed forever.
Actually the day North Americans changed forever.
No longer could we complacently watch the news & think..
“that stuff happens over there…to them..”
Now it was happening here, in our own backyard, on an unimaginable scale.
Was this the world I was fighting so hard to remain in?
All my struggling to survive, to pull myself up, what was it for?
I was so thankful that neither my parents, nor my grandparents had lived to see what our world had become, or subsequently what I turned into.
Part of me gave up that day. Turned off. Shut down.
For months after, I became nocturnal. A virtual shut-in. I only communicated via email & chatrooms. I shopped in the middle of the night, when no one else was around.
My emotional & physical breakdown was in full swing. Sleep became a thing of the past. My healthy lifestyle of a few months earlier became laughable at best.
Why bother? What was the point?
I began to question everything. Myself, my job, my friends, my foes….
I began to make adjustments. Cut loose that which made me unhappy, or mad.
(which, as it turned out, was basically everything)
I ached with sadness.
I was paralyzed by fear.
I just wanted to “go”.
I wanted to just fall asleep & never wake up…
Then one day I awoke and decided I wasn’t going to be afraid anymore. Period.
If I was going to continue living this life, I was going to live it damnit!
So I did. And I am.
Over the past 10 yrs I have lost jobs and found new ones, lost friends and made new ones, changed careers and discovered new hobbies.
As I reflect back on the decade that has past, I am amazed by how much I have grown & accomplished, and yet how many steps I have taken backwards…
Am I still sad? Yes, sometimes. This week in particular I am overwhelmed by a deep sadness from losing my fur buddy. I don’t think I’ve ever felt quite as alone as I do this week. And now today I am feeling a long dormant sadness from 10 yrs ago.
Do I still feel afraid? I did for a long time and I still do sometimes.
Not of anyone one thing in particular, just a general uneasiness.
So what have I learned?
Can’t say yet really. I’m still a work in progress.
But I’m still here.