Tuesday, April 16, 2013

On tragedy.

I'm having a hard time writing a new post. Everything I start to write feels forced, like I'm trying to type something louder than the news I have on in the background, full of press conferences and briefings. So I try to write about what's happening, how the world is spinning slightly off-kilter because we keep killing each other. It reads overly emotional and overly patriotic, or it doesn't come across like I wanted to write it...none of it felt right. 

A lot of emotions are kept hidden. (Unless you frequent tumblr. All the feelings are there. Allllll the feelings you ever wanted and didn't want. I love tumblr.) Tragedies force some of that out in the open while people try to deal and grieve and sort it all out. It also shows...well, it shows that some people are self-righteous assholes. 

People were quick to jump on the internet and inform their fellow Americans that hey, shit went down in the Middle East but 'you don't care about that, do you?' I don't understand the point of that. Yes, it's true, and yes, it gets far less coverage than anything happening at home. (For US readers, anyway.) It's terrible. We, as a people, need to stop accepting that these things happen. It shouldn't be easy to change the channel when an attack in Afghanistan is scrolling across the bottom. We should be incensed that people are still doing this to each other. We should care--and we do. We might not care with twitter icons and facebook cover photos and wearing something particular in solidarity. But people care. I really believe that. I don't believe what men tell me in bars and I don't believe romantic comedies, but I believe that people are generally good. 

There is value in reminding people to look at the world around them, past their area code or national boundaries. There is value in remembering that above everything, we're all sharing the same space and we're more alike than we are different. Men lie in bars all over the world.

There is, however, no value that I can see in trying to make people feel badly for dealing with their feelings about this sort of event. People all cope differently. Some people want to watch the news coverage and forage for answers because they need that order. Some people need to watch a stupid sitcom on TV and turn off the pictures and images. Some people need to refresh their twitter and facebook feeds, checking off a mental list of people they know in Boston, waiting for everyone to check in. And it's all ok. It's a great strength to know yourself well enough to know how to take care of yourself. 

People are taking care of each other. As the illustrious John Green reminded his YouTube viewers today, there are always people taking care of each other. I think it's important to keep reminding ourselves that yes, there are some terrible people in the world.** They are terrible in all different kinds of ways, but they are by no means the majority. There are more people helping those in need than the people who put them in need.

I keep reminding myself of that. Some days, it's hard to remember. 

**I don't mean terrible in the ways we generally talk about here. This isn't about exes who moved or texted too much or never rescheduled that blind date--is 16 months too long to wait for that phone call?

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