I’m not sure if anyone reads this. I see in stats that there are a handful of people checking in from time to time, but it most certainly is not the viral sensation that other’s have achieved. For the few that do check in, I’m sure you have noticed that I have been absent for quite some time. Partially because of writer’s block, partially because of lack of time, partially because of personal issues. But I would like to get back to the blog because I do think it helps to write things out.
I definitely categorize myself as a private person. I don’t like sharing my emotions and I will do mostly anything to avoid shedding a tear in front of anyone. Including my family. My parents call me, “nonchalant Sam.” My vocal range is set at a steady tone that rarely fluctuates. I’ve often been compared to Wednesday Adams, Aubrey Plaza and Lydia Deetz. Comparison that I can’t say I don’t fully agree with and pride myself in. But lately I’ve found myself losing this battle against my emotions. And in lieu of the terrible tragedy that occurred in Paris last night, Beirut last week, and all the other countless acts of terror, I sort of feel compelled to write these emotions out. Because we are all suffering, at different times, over different things. Sometimes, all at once. And I know I have found comfort in the work of others, and so maybe I can help you, no matter the size of your tragedy, because we are all in it together.
In June, I lost one of my best friends. My Uncle Rick. I will never forget that day. It was the coldest and rainiest June 1st that I ever saw. The night was black, and the rain fell hard, day after day, all week long. As if the world was crying along with me. I remember looking out my window and not being able to see the city. It was covered in a thick fog and the buildings were obscured, much like my vision from my tears. When the sun finally emerged, I found myself irrationally angry. Angry at the sight of the Empire State Building. Why? Because I couldn’t understand how it could still be there if Uncle Rick wasn’t. To me, he was the symbol, the light, the heart of this city just as much as the Empire State Building was. How could it still be standing if he no longer was? And I think that is one of the most difficult, surreal stages of loss. Dealing with a world that will obviously go on. People going to work, laughing, dancing, making jokes, making plans, enjoying themselves, when your world has just crumbled around you. How could I go on serving overpriced pad thai and pretend to care when the guest found that it wasn’t flavorful enough? How could I celebrate a new job when I couldn’t tell the one person I really wanted to celebrate with? How could I walk down the same streets day after day, the ones that used to make me more happy than words, knowing that now, all I wanted to do was cry at the site of them. Walking past these familiar West Village storefronts, the wine shop, the corner pub, the donut shop, I now find myself in a daze. Like I’m walking on a separate plane of reality and these once happy sites slide past me like an old grainy film. The happiest memories becoming the saddest. I would spend all of my Fall’s in New York. It was my happiest time of year. Celebrating Thanksgiving and my birthday with my Aunt and Uncle. They always made me feel so special. I would count down the days until November. But now, as I sit in the middle of this most festive month, it all seems as wrong as this unseasonably warm weather. There will be no celebrations, no sleepovers or late night chats. Things have changed. And it only hurts so bad because I was so lucky, you know? The more you love, the more you have to loose.
I have been glued to Facebook, like most people have been since the horror in Paris took place last night. And I’ve found myself with so many mixed feelings. On one hand, I can’t bare to see it anymore. I can’t read another story about it because it is just too horrendous. But yet, I keep clicking with every new detail. And yet on the other hand, I get offended when I see someone posting something frivolous. How are you posting a silly video? Why are you posting about clothing sales? Who cares about Kendall and Kylie Jenner’s fight? But then my mind switches to, “well of course, we must go one with our lives or else these terrible people have won.” And then, in the midst of these battling thoughts, I stumbled upon Man Repeller’s post entitled, “Our Thoughts Are with the World,” written by Amelia Diamond. And when I read her words on the attacks, I found such comfort in our similar thoughts. She began by expressing confusion as to why the sun rose today. How it could be such a beautiful idyllic day here in New York when in reality, it was so very dark. She wrote:
They (acts of violence) make us feel helpless. They make us feel small. They are stone hands on our bird bone shoulders that push us into the ground, paralyzing our beings. Can’t think or breathe or move. In tiny voices we barely whisper, “What do we do?”
I called my dad last night to ask him as much. I needed to know if it was okay to watch something other than the news. Was it okay to not break plans when the world was breaking? What if something was funny? Could I laugh — was I allowed to? How do we at Man Repeller open our site Monday morning with a post about clothes and shoes?
He told me that the difference between all of us and terrorists is that terrorists destroy. They tear things down. They do not build.
We build. Humanity creates. Music, literature, art, film, architecture, laughter, food, family, love; we make these things. It’s why in spite of destruction and horror, we will prevail. We’ll rebuild.
And these words helped me. They helped me stop looking at my newsfeed in judgment. They helped me understand that in tragedy, life goes on because if it doesn’t, all those who are gone will have died in vein. They wouldn’t want the world to stop. They would want the world to keep moving. To show all those who seek to destroy our freedom and our happiness that they can’t. And they never will be able to. The light will always return.
And of course, this does not make tragedy any easier. Currently, I am in the midst of losing my Grandma. I have been lucky enough to have her in my life for just about 28 years. She has been a source of constant love, my greatest support, and a pillar of strength. When people leave this world, the worst feeling is guilt. Guilt that you didn’t spend enough time with them. Guilt that you didn’t show them how much you cared and loved them. Longing that you could go back in time and do certain things over. I wish I could be home with her. I wish I could say the things I want her to know. I wish she didn’t have to go. I think the hardest part about losing a grandparent is losing a piece of yourself. They hold the key to your past. To your childhood. And whether you’re five or fifty, that chapter of your life comes to an end when they do. I can’t even think about my grandma without getting a lump in my throat. I cry everyday. The thought of being without her truly hurts. You just want to scream, “Please don’t go! Please don’t leave me too. I need you, please!” But she will be gone soon. And I know it won’t be real for a long time. I know because I am still in shock about my Uncle Rick. And with each day the reality of it all knocks a little more wind out of me.
I don’t know if I’ve made a point with this post. Maybe it was just a bunch of depressing ramblings. But it felt good to write it out. And I hope that you know you aren’t alone in your feelings of loss. I hope you know that you aren’t alone in your fear or your confusion, and that you may have found strength in knowing that there is someone out there on the Internet, who is hurting too. But I have to believe that this pain will dull someday. That there will be happier times. Because there must be. We must hope, and we must go on.