You are human. Your feelings are valid. Your emotional and rational takes on any given situation exist simultaneously, so by all means, go ahead. Allow yourself to have those feelings, sit with them and explore their shapes, no matter how different your circumstance, culture and society advise. As long as you don’t drop into that other space. The one of prolonged self-pity and inadequacy. Catch yourself before you fall into the abyss.
Mini-me’s life so far has been book ended by the 9/11/2001 attacks and COVID-19. Think of the times in which the girl grew up. She was a naive yet sensitive 7 when Katrina happened. Today, her graduation from a small and tight-knit liberal arts school was officially cancelled. Domingo and I feel for her given how much she cherishes that community and home of the last four years. Closure was never promised to any of us and my family knows this better than most. Still, it’s not necessarily a lesson you imagine or want the next generation learning in a sudden and hard way. Plenty of time for that down the road. But, there she is, helping her school, running online classes, and making sure her education and that of her classmates keep chugging. Domingo noted that the cheerful way in which she deals with difficult people and circumstances will help her go far. Yup, in that sense, our family sure did save the best for last.
Living in the American South and Katrina taught me that not everyone experiences anything the same way, especially tragedy which becomes untold history. Bearing witness is a responsibility, then. There have to be multiple histories and tellings because there is no way one history represents all.
Write it down. Keep a diary. Do what I did during Katrina, even if it seems pointless. Because it isn’t.
This [project] will, of course, not be routine writing and composing. That’s the point. There is much that all of us and each of us have already experienced in the past few weeks that is shocking, unexpected, unpredictable, unknowable, new; much that we have not felt before and not seen. What is it like to live today knowing that we do not know what tomorrow and the day after will bring?
“I hope that when they have taken this course and others, they have become imbued with the idea that they are citizens.”
Me: I’m a live-in-the-moment kind of person.
Mini-me (simultaneously): It’s the truth of the moment.