I didn’t cry over 9/11. Well, not at first. I remember a lot about that day: the note on the college classroom door, the constant news footage, the vigils. I don’t remember crying. I don’t remember being upset. People were emotionally crumbling like the towers they kept showing on repeat, and I was numb.
I’m not heartless. It’s a self-preservation thing.
I know people who burst into tears the minute they hear tragic news. They are the admittedly sensitive, the dramatics, the ones you dread speaking with when something awful happens. They are the wall breakers. They threaten the very thing that keeps me going.
They are also extremely strong. Being a stoic in hard times is not “putting a brave face on.” It is allowing the feelings to sweep over you.
I am not that brave.
As a mother, my walls are built higher and stronger. Bad news isn’t just what happens to other people. Every horrific headline is a reminder of how blessed I am. Those families are my family. Those children are my children.
But, I can’t break down.
I’ll delve into the politics, the social constructs and the environment that enables these things to happen. I’ll watch pundits debate their next moves. But, I won’t watch a human interest story. Not yet.
I can’t deal with it right now.
Social media helps. When your feed is flooded with stories of shootings, bombings and stabbings, you get used to it. You get more than used to it. It starts to become meaningless. Unless, you give it meaning.
I’m not ready.
My pragmatic side will keep pushing my emotions down into the basement of my heart. It’s a crowded space filled with everything horrible I have experienced personally or shared with the world. But, I’ll make room.
Because, I can’t feel sad. Not today.
I did, eventually, cry over 9/11. I was watching a documentary during one of its anniversaries. The footage was the same, but I wasn’t. I was ready to be moved. I was ready to break down. So, I did.
I know one day I will weep for everything I kept locked up. Maybe, the lyrics of a song or a scene from a movie will send the tears bubbling up like an overflowing sewer. I don’t know how or when, but it will happen.
Just, not today.
I can’t be upset, today.