Other Ramblings...

Wednesday, 12 September 2012

9/11. The Beginning.

Where was I when JFK was assassinated?

Where was I when Elvis Presley was pronounced dead?

Where was I when man first landed on the moon?

I wasn't born.

And so, when, on the 11th September 2001, the caretaker rushed into our classroom to tell all members of staff to go and watch the TV which had been set up in the Library, my world was completely, utterly and absolutely shattered.  Nothing of such importance had happened in my short life.  Nowhere had I been exposed to such pure hatred; such misery.  Although I knew of war, and that sometimes countries 'didn't agree', I had no idea of the magnitude of such events.

I've never been so good at showing my feelings.  I've written before about how easy it is to show the feelings other people want me to feel; to reflect the general mood, but that day I didn't show how devastated I was by the news until my Mother watched me go terribly, terribly pale and asked me whether I was going to faint, at which point I promptly burst into tears.

I remained in a state of anxiety, higher than it had ever been before, for a long, long time.  I remember developing avoidance strategies so that I didn't have to be reminded of how the world was falling apart on the news and I remember saying long, complicated prayers so that my headteacher didn't announce all-out World War whenever he came into my classroom.  I remember feeling safe in the swimming baths because I thought that nobody could break such terrible news in such a noisy place - and, anyway, I could put my head underwater so I didn't have to hear - and I remember wondering whether it was wise to go and play on the street, in case Osama Bin Laden came to blow me to pieces.

This, I think, was my introduction into the world of proper, all encompassing, anxiety.  Although I'd previously experienced it to some extent, never before had it coloured everything I did and everything I knew.

And so my heart goes out to all those families who were touched by the 11th September 2001.  My world was changed only a fraction as much as yours.  And if it's still hurting me now, then I'm pretty sure it's one thousand times worse for you.

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