I’ve been thinking a lot lately about how the world was when I was a kid. And how it looked to me.
I grew up in a suburban neighborhood in Northwest Ohio. I spent my days playing soccer and goofing around with my siblings and writing songs on my computer from 1995 that couldn’t access internet. Songs about Christmas and stopping and smelling the roses and a cute boy in my class.
Meanwhile, there was this big world outside my window that I wasn’t even aware of. But it’s hard to imagine that it was as bad as things have been getting recently.
Then I think about 9/11 and how that shocked and changed our nation. How much hurt it brought people and how much damage it caused. And I think, maybe the world felt like it was going to end 15 years ago, too.
I love Twitter. I love seeing clever jokes that are carefully crafted into 180 characters or less. I like seeing interactions between and updates from my friends.
But now every time I open the app, I feel this overwhelming wave of sadness and this need to cry. Because like many people my age, I hear a lot of my news from Twitter first. And the fact of today is that people are hurting every day. Some days it’s far away, and the pain doesn’t hit me as hard, or stay with me as long. But these past few days have been brutal.
People killing people. Because of race, because of fear, because of prejudice, human beings are killing one another.
I started learning about Alton Sterling and Philando Castile as their stories were told through hashtags and video footage and then news stories that were shared in between tweets of funny vines and “medieval reactions” and horoscopes. So I closed the app and watched Philip DeFranco and read some articles, marveling at how close these events happened and how the world can still be this way and just feeling that overwhelming sadness again until I had to put it out of my mind and get on with my day.
Tonight I went on Twitter and saw a new hashtag trending, as I’m sure people are aware: #Dallas. More deaths–this time cops. More shootings. Every day it seems there is a story that breaks that is sad enough to last… well I don’t know how long it’s supposed to last until we start changing or stop mourning or whatever. But the point is there’s never enough time. These wounds aren’t healing because more and more is happening on top of them. Our nation is being cut and torn apart and we’re mourning something new each day.
And I think to when it was 2007 and my biggest fear was going down the basement stairs alone.
Now I’m scared of everything. The future terrifies me. The thought of bringing children into this world worries me more than anything and I think, are kids today aware of the evil? Are they going to grow up completely unaware that in 2016, their parents were so scared?
Then again, some kids do know. They know all too well. The young daughter in the Philando Castile video–who had to comfort her mother moments after his death–she knows all too well.
And I guess that’s privilege. The fact that I learn/ed about the horrifying events of history instead of living them.
I still hold plenty of privilege, but I no longer have the privilege of ignorance bliss. I guess that’s the conclusion I’ve reached tonight. I’m 19 and I’m learning more each day about the reality of our world and the evil that human beings are capable of committing.
Sorry for the word vomit. Sorry I couldn’t be more eloquent on this subject (many people are much better at this than I am). Sorry that I’m failing to see the good in the world tonight.
PS. I still believe this to be true so I’m going to leave this here.