Some years back, when there was some natural disaster or another, where people were suffering and it was being well covered by the media, I was asked why I never wrote about such things. Didn't I care that people were suffering?
Or...in the subtext as I remember it...is your life so charmed that you think you can get away with such a thing, not sharing in the national or international grief that the rest of the blogosphere is covering? You must never have any problems. Who do you think you are?
Then, some weeks back, I was asked something similar in reaction to tragedy. I figured I'd just let it go much like I'd let the first question go.
Much more often I get complimented on my little corner of the internets being a place where one can get a giggle away from the rest of the world's worries and bullshit. I feel that way too. I write that way. There is always something you can find to laugh about. Parts of the world are far too awful without a laugh.
But then the tenth anniversary of 9/11 made it's way around the media and internets and had me thinking about the question. We retold our stories, revisited our shock and anger, and relived our sadness. My story is no different from anyone else so far outside of what went on that day. I woke, I turned on the news, I saw the second plane hit and I knew we were at war. Nothing would be different in my day to day life in practice other than the instinctual reaction of my veteran husband to get on a plane and walk into the nearest Army base to report to duty. I'm glad he didn't do that.
Before I explain myself, here's where I could stomp and say this is my blog and my content. Dare you complain about my content! If I want to write about boobs and farts, then I'm gonna write about boobs and farts. Go elsewhere if you want different content. I hear the fart jokes are better on The Huffington Post anyway.
That's not the point I want to make at all. Criticize if you like. I don't mind. That I don't write much about the grief or tragedy of others or base my writing in my own painful moments isn't because I don't care but because I don't come by it naturally. It's not the way I am made.
I'm not the sort that processes grief and sadness out loud. If I'm sad, hurting, facing problems, or confused I will turn to my husband first but then most of the time I rely on myself to work it out. And most of the time I can. I like working things out on my own and feel great satisfaction and peace when I do. It's a source of strength and a base in weakness.
Now, imagine what 9/11 would have been if everyone internalized like me, trying to muddle through on their own. That would have been the tragedy. Thankfully it takes all kinds and the world is all the more beautiful for it.
What I think about our American life post 9/11 can, strangely enough, be summed up by yesterday's This American Life: Chapter Two: In the Garden of the Unknown Unknowns. Widow Marian Fontana says what I've thought with far more validity than I could ever pretend to have.
Otherwise, I'm going to keep on laughing. That's also the way I'm made.
Monday, September 12, 2011
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