Writing this blog, this year, has turned out to be therapy for me. And I’ve especially needed This Writing Therapy, this past week, since I live — and work — in Boston.
Yesterday, I wrote about how weird, how awful, it was for me, that all the scenes on TV — as they hunted for the Boston bombing suspect — were so friggin’ familiar.
And that surrealism continued throughout the day, after I published the post in the morning. Every place the media went, every place they set up their cameras — all were super familiar to me. I recognized everything.
And the climactic scene, last night, in Watertown? Hovering in the background, as the news media people waited, was my favorite diner.
The Deluxe Town Diner in Watertown. I’ve spent countless hours at that diner.
My favorite t-shirt, which I wear when it finally gets warm enough in these parts (like now!), is from that diner.
All the people I love in the world? Most of them have been to that diner with me.
I am grieving for that diner, right now, in a way. I feel very sad, as I’m writing this — for how that diner — and all those other familiar things — have been tainted, in memory, by the violence in and around Boston this week.
But I’m also mad right now, as I’m writing this.
(Anger is part of grieving, too, which you may already know.)
Here’s why I’m angry, right now. I thought this was over (for me). Like most people, last night, I was relieved when they captured the guy, and he was alive. The media told us he was on his way to a Cambridge Hospital. It was over. The healing could begin.
And I woke up this morning, eager to write this blog post. Eager to write about lots of things I’ve learned, from this experience.
I love when I’m in that place, of eagerness to learn.
I’ve blogged about something, several times this year (because it’s important for me to remember). When I’m feeling bad — helpless, powerless, depressed — my own personal experience of “traumatized” — I forget something. I forget that I will get through that bad period.
But I always do. I always move through the bad times and come out the other end, with lots of gifts. Those gifts always include some sort of wisdom — things I’ve learned that I can apply to my journey through life.
This morning, when I woke up, I thought I was through the Bad Time — the time when things feel out of sync, unfamiliar, scary, overwhelming, confusing, shocking — of this Boston Trauma.
But I’m not.
Now, I’m reading that the media is reporting that the guy might be at the hospital where I work.
So when I go back to work on Monday (after missing work yesterday, because my home was on lock-down), I’m assuming that my world will look different. The media will be there. The police will be there.
When I was talking to people — staff and patients — last week, at the hospital where I work, I could see that people were traumatized by the proximity of the pain of the explosions. Some of these people had run in that Marathon. Almost everybody knew somebody who was in the race or watching the race.
And, according to the media, several of the severely injured people from the bomb blasts were at the hospital where I work. Staff talked a lot about how we could help others — and ourselves — deal with the nearness of all this.
I am so angry at “the bombing suspect” (as the media calls him) right now. I’m so angry I can’t even go there — write about it — right now.
I’m especially angry that I might still be in this guy’s movie.
I’m also angry at the media — the ones who are making this friggin’ movie. I’m especially angry about the misinformation that the media puts out there. I’m angry about the mistakes they sent out over the airwaves — throughout this experience that overtook my home — without ever owning their mistakes.
Digression about Why I’m So Pissed at The News Media
As I wrote, earlier this year (regarding how Weather Forecasters Never Admit When They’re Wrong, here), it drives me up the wall when people promote speculation as fact. I don’t like when people say they’re sure about something, when they’re not sure. And I don’t like it when they don’t own their mistakes.
The more powerful the people are who promote Speculation as Fact — the more angry I get. I judge it as irresponsible – because it hurts more people.
That drives me up the wall because I, personally, am soooooo careful to say: I Am Not Sure About This. That is a value of mine — to own when I don’t know something. I don’t want to mislead people. I don’t want to use my power — my expertise — to give somebody the wrong information.
The 24-hour News Media? That doesn’t seem to be a value of theirs, at all. And I can understand the forces that dicate their being that way — that viewers want to know what’s going on, that they don’t have time to fact check, etc. etc. But it still drives … me … up … the …. wall.
End of This Digression
So, right now, I’m assuming that my place of employment — the location where I get to do work I love — might be crawling with the media on Monday, when I go back there. Lots of law enforcement around, too.
Can you picture it? Imagine what that might be like?
I’m imagining this: Bright lights, armed people.
The volume — and the visuals — turned WAY UP.
Dear readers, I was so ready for my world to start looking normal again.
For me, it might still be Trauma Central, on Monday. Because this is how I am defining Trauma, right now. It’s when the familiar and the safe becomes strange and frightening. It’s when we have trouble seeing past that, to a return of normalcy.
Well, as my sister said to me this morning, if he is there, he won’t be there for long. That helped — to look ahead to when my personal healing can begin.
And it’s a relief to know, that for many people around me — the people who were “locked-down” yesterday, the people who recognized the locations on TV yesterday, the people for whom the Boston Marathon was a comforting touchstone, the people whose sense of reality was disturbed in any way by the bombings here on April 15 — the healing process DID begin, last night. It began with the capture of the suspect, last night, in Watertown, MA.
I felt that relief, last night, too. And I guess — I know — that I will feel it again.
And for the rest of this weekend, I can try to help that healing process along, before I might need to return to the Familiar/Unfamiliar at work on Monday.
I will use those things that help me, this weekend.
I’ll be more in the moment. (I’m not at the hospital, now!)
I’ll listen to music I love.
I’ll walk around my no-longer-locked-down town, and take in all those beautiful flowering trees — the ones I wait all year to see.
I’ll connect to people I trust.
I’ll talk about it.
And I’ll write about it, here.
Thanks for reading, as I do.