Sunday, September 11, 2011

Unintentionally Surviving

I just feel like being reflective today.

It has literally nothing to do with the date. I feel bad because I know this day is supposed to be a solemn thing. I know we are supposed to be reflecting on what we were doing and where we were when it happened. Sure, I can tell you exactly where I was and what I was doing and how absolutely ignorant I was of what was going on. I knew nothing. I was nine. And for that reason, I feel quite torn about the whole thing. That day did not affect me then. Even after I watched news special after news special, it did not affect me. Because I was nine, and I knew nothing different. I figured that sometimes in life really shitty things happen because logically life can't be great all the time. And everyone told me that world peace was something to strive for, not something that actually existed. This was just that being demonstrated for me.

The only time I get emotional about the actual event is when I think about how much pain all of those people in the buildings must have been in. How scared and hurt they must have been in their final moments. How some of them had to choose between burning alive and jumping off of a building and how they were probably envious of those who did not need to make that choice, but were rather killed immediately. That fills me with grief. However, in order to truly feel that grief, I have to take myself to a place in my mind that I am quite confident none of those victims would want me to go. So, overall, I feel quite disconnected from 9/11. I suppose that seems odd, considering it has affected the latter half of my life thus far and will continue to do so as I age. But as I said earlier, I know nothing different. In this way, I suppose I am fortunate.

My only connection to this date is the fact that one of my close friends went to a war zone that is largely forgotten because of this event. He risked his life for a purpose that has now been so distorted, I doubt anyone can clearly see the conflict. Of course, that doesn't matter. My friend, he still went, and thankfully he came back. But now he's seen things that people aren't supposed to see.

I didn't start caring about any of this until he was involved. I did not care about a ten year conflict until six months ago. I freely said that the entire conflict in the Middle-East was misguided and pointless. Even though I still think that is partly true, I can't say it anymore because that would mean that my friend went over there for nothing, that he was permanently changed for nothing. I don't believe that. So my beliefs are contradictory. What else is new?

And yet last night, I watched Supernatural with Ashley for a few hours and laughed. Today, I got up (long passed the moment of silence) and got my favorite sandwich from the Commons for breakfast. Then Ash, Jen and I counted out change so we could buy ice cream. As I ate, I realized that I was truly happy with my life again. Then I called my mom and told her how horrible our half-time performance was last night. And I spent a couple of hours trying to get Windows back on Jen's netbook. As I write, Bon Iver is playing in the background. I can't decide if I am going to play guitar or start Final Fantasy VIII after I finish this post. My life is so simple and happy.

How can I reconcile this with the guilt I feel because of what day it is? I feel like I shouldn't be happy today. Like that's disrespectful. Like that's insulting to all of those people and their pain.

But those people died. And many people have died because of them since then. Many people have changed their lives and lost their lives so those lost on this date ten years ago would not be in vain. And I am living my life, happy, just like all of those lost would have hoped to be living if they were still alive. There is nothing wrong with that. There is nothing wrong with living today. I am quite confident that all of those lost on this date ten years ago would gladly be living today if they were in my position.

It is a strange thing to have survivor's guilt. Stranger still to have it since you were nine. I feel so guilty about today. And I truly have no idea why because I survived when I was never in danger. None of them were either. It just happened. Because world peace isn't real. Bad things happen in life. This is how it's always been. When I was nine, I came to terms with everything easily. I expected it even. But now, ten years later, it is as if I am seeing everything for the first time again. I know how I should feel, but I don't feel it, so I feel worse. I feel like something is wrong with me because I am having a normal life. Even though I know none of them would want me to feel like that. I know they would simply encourage me to live my life.

I know I said this had literally nothing to do with the date, but I guess I lied. I wanted to reflect on my life in general and how I am in such a great place right now, but I guess that tangled itself into the date too.

I am always confused on this date.

No comments: