*My blog today is, in no way, meant to disregard the victims of 9-11. I still feel very deeply in my heart about this so much that I don’t even want to talk about it in detail. This is just a perspective of how the day makes me think now as I am hoping to come to a new place of awakening instead of mourning every time 9-11 comes around.”
Thank God for call waiting.
It was the reason I “casually chose” not to answer the phone at the office that morning when I saw my boss’ name come across the screen. I knew he was calling to yell at somebody. He was WAY too uptight and I wasn’t in the mood. It was my one year dating anniversary and my bags were packed to head to my boyfriend’s house after work. I wasn’t trying to do anything but make time go by. I decided to let someone else get it.
There were only five of us in the office. So when he told us someone had struck the Twin Towers with a plane, we all went rushing downstairs to crowd around the office’s small 13 inch television. The truth is, I’m not even sure I knew what the Twin Towers represented. I remembered them being pointed out as I was flying through New York trying to get to Penn Station to make my train on time. It was more like a blur. I remembered the Lincoln Tunnel more. But I just kept thinking, “Who in the hell would be so off that they would crash into a building?”
And I don’t want to talk about it anymore. 9/11/2001 tore me apart and I wasn’t even there. I didn’t lose anyone personally in the towers. I only had one friend in New York that I could think of and he was safe. But I became a zombie. And I realized how much of a zombie I had become overall.
My boyfriend (that sounds so funny since he’s now my husband and has been for almost eleven years) noticed how “off” I became. From crying hysterically at the gas pump because I thought the world was ending (the lines were SUPER long) to thinking about my son who was living with his dad (in Memphis…nowhere NEAR New York) to just being obsessed with EVERY detail of what was going on (I am the FEELING type and if I am not careful, especially back then, I could take on the emotions of anyone around me) to thinking I would NEVER fly again (I had only done it twice anyway) I was losing it. He banned me from watching the news that day. I sat on the edge of his bed and cried all night while the Cartoon Network played in the background.
What was the world coming to? And what was I doing in it?
It wasn’t until two days later when I was in Starbucks and I was on the phone with my grandma. It was her birthday and I was talking about her and then, like always, she got on to me. I’ve told this story A MILLION times but today, wow, today it hits me for sure.
My grandma asked me why was I working two jobs. She then proceeded to tell me (in the dramatic fashion that only your grandma could pull off and make you feel super guilty) that I was killing myself. The world could be ending (her words) and I was in there working to have enough money to buy an extra shirt. I was already working full time and a full time grad student. She was right. Mostly. I was working because I missed my son terribly and I needed something to do to occupy my time because I needed to feel needed.
Sort of what Beth Moore calls the “captivity of activity.” Sort of what I have been doing with my life lately.
I’ve been so busy lately and some of it is TOTALLY unnecessary. It’s just footnote to wanting to be needed….in case the world ends. How would people remember me? I have to read more, know more, do more, see more, say more. And I’ve started to become captive to the world around me, like I was in September of 2001 and October and November. I started leaving work to go home and watch coverage. It’s sort of like staying up at night worried about things that already happened. Replaying mistakes over and over again feeling like a failure in a world that could end at any moment because someone could bomb the very house I’m sitting in when really all I have to do is…
Live. Right now. Live.
That’s what my grandma was trying to tell me. Live your life and stop placing yourself in unnecessary captivity. If the world were to end tomorrow, if I had been in those Twin Towers, would ANYBODY have gotten up at my funeral and said, “I’m glad she’s dead because she was supposed to work on that new TRX exercise and she didn’t.” Or, “well, good riddens, Tasha. You didn’t do my song in the class last week so…..?” Unnecessary captivity. Because life CAN be short. And, however short it “may” be, we have to live it without being occupied with dying. Or performing. Or avoiding.
The news was death for me. So I don’t watch it anymore. Working so much that I barely had time to do anything but get ready to go to work or school again was death for me so I drank my Starbucks, went to work, finished my shift and quit. And there are some things now that are taking me down that road. And I will walk away. I don’t need certain things to feel “fulfilled” anymore. I embrace open spaces in my life. I don’t need to be “needed.” I don’t need to be anything. I want to just be. Just be.
It’s all a rebuilding process. And the hurt of what we’ve lost may never go away. But, one step forward, even if it’s slow, is a move towards life. And I now know that 9-11 gave me the opportunity to live life. For real. It just took me twelve years to really get it.
God bless and keep the families of the victims and all who were affected by such a violent and terrible act. My prayers are with you. God bless America.