Throughout my life, my parents have made sure to remind me that I am, above everything else, smart, strong, and brave. Those words are carved into my mind and implanted in my soul and I strive to fit into them each and every day. Most days, I feel that I do. And then there are days like today when I hear about yet another mass shooting and read the history of a notorious serial killer and everything in the world comes crashing down on me all at once. And in these moments, I am terrified.
So on a night like tonight, rather than prepping for class the next day or curling up in bed or working on one of the millions of projects I have to do, I am left sitting alone with all of my social media accounts up and running and the lights on because I cannot get the fear out of my body. And that really pisses me the fuck off.
I hate that I have to ask someone to walk me to my car at night, I hate that I feel the need to lock myself in my room before I go to sleep, I hate that I am skeptical of everyone that I meet, I hate that I fear for my life when walking down the street or going to a movie or going to class or just existing as a person. I hate that I am scared of the world.
I started texting my friend, Hannah, about it and this was her response:
“…We’re all affected differently by different things, but they’re all capable of triggering feelings like that…If we let those things hold us back from living our lives though, then we’re letting hatred and violence win, and we can’t do that either. Which is why we just have to be brave and go out and face every day life, something that’s beautiful and terrifying all at the same time.”
She’s completely right. Life is beautiful and terrifying all at the same time. So I guess all I can do is live my life as fully as I can until the day it’s over.
Until that day, I will do. I want to fight for what I believe in. I want to change the world. I want to learn about art and law and the stars and the moon. I want to educate people about safe sex. I want to act and dance and sing and scream and laugh and cry very little. I want to fall in love again and again and again. I want to get the kind of drunk that makes the night sky glisten with hope. I want to go to the art museum and feel tiny. I want to wake up early and watch the sunrise and fall asleep to the sound of rain on the roof. I want to marry the man who needs me as much as I need him (and sometimes even more) and I want our ceremony to last 4 1/2 minutes but the reception to stretch on for hours. I want to bear beautiful, happy, healthy children who I can raise to be wonderful humans. I want to plant a garden of vegetables and adopt 43 dogs and bake oatmeal cookies and feel the sun on my face and kiss a lot. I want to write and read and never stop discovering new things I want to be. I want to drink coffee and tea and red wine and sparkling water. I want to wake up next to you and open my eyes and smile because I am alive, because you are alive, because we are alive, and I know you and you know me and here we are, together. I want to be the kind of lover that’s never forgotten. I want to be the kind of mother that sings to her babies as they wake up. I want to be the kind of daughter that always finds her way home. I want to be the kind of sister that never stops supporting. I want to be the kind of writer that leaves an impression. I want to be the kind of artist that makes you want to save the world. I want to be the kind of person that is smart, strong, and brave every single day of her life.
Things will stop and life will end and someday none of this will matter, but for today, tonight, it does. It does so very much.