Friday, April 19, 2013

Vigilance vs. Fear: The Reality of Living Where We Live

Post-Newtown I wrote about moving on and here we are again with another tragedy that has overtaken the last. Tragedy does seem to come in waves as I was discussing with Mr. Love Bird last night before bed. It's not the type of conversation I like to have before bed, but talking through these things helps me, similar to how writing this post is very therapeutic for me.

Absorbing media after events like this is challenging for me and as someone who has been in the industry, studied it from a sociological perspective and is a consumer of it, now as a mother I find that I shut out the images especially being home with my daughter. I can see how easy it is to get sucked into the black hole of speculation, the same images and soundbites on loop literally leaving one glued to the TV.

While some bloggers carry on as if nothing happened or a small mention of the news, others feel as though to do so is disrespectful. What I believe is that each bloggers' space is their own. It's their choice. If you are a sunshine/rainbows type of blogger that's great; conversely if you're a "let's keep it real" kind of blogger that's great too. If you're somewhere in between, more power to you. My fellow bloggers don't owe me anything.

While I'm not trying to understand the events that happened what I know for sure is that I stand firmly by what I wrote before. This is a troubled world we live in, but what I can do is continue on with my pledge: to be there for those around me, have compassion, show I care and importantly, while it seems cliche especially in NYC: if I see something, I will say something.

A personal experience to share on that point . . .

Years ago my family was in town visiting NYC and staying in NJ. I had secured tickets for my parents to see Lion King on Broadway while I took my siblings to see the Spongebob movie. On the way back while waiting on the PATH back to NJ to depart, I moved seats to sit closer to my family on the other end of the train. After about 10 minutes of sitting there I started to wonder what was going on. I looked back to where I was sitting to see police had entered our train car and were looking around the area I had been sitting. That's when I noticed I had left my shopping bags there. I didn't understand why those around me didn't speak up to say I had left my bag when I got up to move - there were plenty of people around. It's something I do in an instant for others when I see someone's left something behind, but I simply walked over quickly and identified it as my bag and the train proceeded to leave the station.

That incident has stuck with me and while it hasn't caused me to live in fear since, it has caused me to be vigilant. My eyes and ears are on guard. It's one of the prices of living where we (the collective we) live whether "where" is a major metro or a small town.

Today I went out with Nia and was happy to let her walk freely around enjoying a bit of independence on the sidewalks of Jersey City without holding my hand (although she'd reach out from time to time to hold it). I refuse to infuse my child with fear, but I will teach her to be streetsmart and to be there for those around her.