Monday, September 26, 2011

Downward Spiral

Ifeel like my life just keeps deteriorating before ne. And I have no control over it anymore. Its truly terrifying. These blank spots in my memory... no recollection of things I've done... and now my car... again... I have about $80 to my name and my name is no good. I'm losing control of everything and I have no idea what I can do. I need help but I don't knoelw where to go to find it or how I can even begin explaining things without sounding completely insane. Which I know I a
... but it doesn't help.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Where Were You?

I was in the car pulling up to school for orchestra practice, around 9 am NYC time. I remember hearing what had happened and not even knowing where the World Trade Center really was. When the bell rang and we all went to class, we were immediately put on lockdown and were forbidden to turn on the TVs. Around 9:00 local time the principal came on the intercom and told us the details of what had happened. At lunch, a couple teachers turned on the TV. I caught only a glimpse of the smoking towers before we resumed class. When I got home at about three, I immediately went downstairs and turned on the TV. I remember sitting there, paralyzed, as I watched the footage of the planes hitting the towers, the billowing smoke, the collapse, a smoking gash of rubble in a field in Pennsylvania. I was haunted by images of empty malls, businesses, and airports, and reflected in the silence of the air above my home.


For the first time since 2002, I visited The Healing Field. My mother and I woke up this morning, got in the car, and drove to the usually empty field just south of Sandy City Hall. According to the program the sponsors were handing out, the Sandy city Healing Field was the first of its kind in the entire nation. Upon turning onto 10000 South, I caught a glimpse of the far portion of the field. I was overwhelmed with the sight of hundreds of flags flapping in the cool September breeze.

I am not a fanatic patriot. I criticize my government and leaders for making stupid or irresponsible decisions.  But I vote. I have a voice. And while I don't support the war, I respect our soldiers on the front lines and here at home working to maintain what we are so lucky to have. I respect the flag of my country and every human being who has given their life in some way or another to keep it flying. Because if we go back 200 years, the original ideals and goals of the fathers of The United States of America had it right. Government by the people, for the people. All men created equal. Freedom of speech, of religion.

Whether or not these things have faded in and out of practice during the course of time, what this country was built upon and created for is what I take the most pride in. And the thousands of lives needlessly ended on September 11, 2001 represent the very best in courage, selflessness, and unwavering compassion.

The sight of nearly 3,000 American flags in one place is tremendously moving. Attached to each flagpole is a small laminated card with a name, location, age, and short biography or memory of each victim. We wandered through the field for more than an hour, reading the names and stories of people on the 95th floor of the North Tower, first responder firefighters, and heroes on board flight 93. As the flags flew in the wind, it was almost impossible not to be touched by canvas. And for a moment there, I wondered if, in some way, the caresses of the flags, the way they wrapped around us, were somehow indicative of that person's spirit reaching out to those of us who remember them. I know it sounds silly, especially since I struggle to really believe in spirits, souls, or angels, but sometimes I have those moments of warmth, those shivers that tell you something, someone else, is there. And when the sun breaks through the morning clouds, just in that spot where you are, brightens the thousands of stars and stripes, and warms you ever so slightly, it's hard to believe there isn't something more.

A lot has happened in the 10 years since the attacks. I, and so many of my generation have grown up in a world post 9-11. And there are those who have been born directly into the world in this state. It's hard to remember how things were before then. I have some foggy memories of being able to walk the terminals at the airport, passing time before going directly to the gate to pick up a relative. Recollections of a time when my country wasn't fighting its' longest war in history.

I know it sounds redundant, but we really will NEVER forget.

Saturday, September 10, 2011

"I Was There"

I am not religious. I don't go to church. I don't say my prayers every night. I have my doubts, my uncertainties about what lies beyond or before life. I question the world to find my beliefs. But nearly ten years ago, on Christmas Eve night as I was trying to sleep, I heard a narration of this poem on the radio. I remember crying, not being able to move, but once it was over, I went downstairs to where my mom, dad, and Eric were, and I told them what I heard. In my (at that point) 11 years, I had never felt something connect me to an undeniable inner warmth and peace.

Some time later, I received the text of the poem in an email. From a friend, my mother, my grandmother, I don't know. For many years I have thought of this poem on the anniversary of the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001. And for more than eight years, I have not had the text. Today, while watching nearly 2,000 motorcycles drive down the street in front of my grandma's house in a memorial ride, flags flying, one line popped into my head. And that one line was all I needed to find this remarkable poem.

Whether you find your faith in western Christianities, Hinduism, Judaism, Taoism, Islam, the Goddess, magic, music, or nature, I hope this poem speaks to you as it first did for me. There are some days I question the existence of a "God" as those around me believe him to be, but there is never a day I don't believe there is something divine beyond the stars, a higher power of some kind, energy personified.

I remember where I was. And I always will.



You say you will never forget where you were when you heard the news on Sept. 11, 2001.

Neither will I.

I was on the 110th floor in a smoke filled room with a man who called his wife to say "Good-Bye." I held his fingers steady as he dialed.
I gave him the peace to say, "Honey, I am not going to make it, but it is OK...I am ready to go."
I was with his wife when he called as she fed breakfast to their children.
I held her up as she tried to understand his words as she realized he wasn't coming home that night.

I was in the stairwell on the 23rd floor when a women cried out to me for help.
"I have been knocking on the door of your heart for 50 years!"
I said "Of course I will show you the way home - only believe in Me now."

I was at the base of the building with the Priest ministering to the injured and devastated souls.
I took him home to tend to his Flock in Heaven. He heard my voice and answered.
I was on all four of those planes, in every seat, with every prayer.
I was with the crew as they were overtaken.
I was in the very hearts of the believers there, Comforting and assuring them that their Faith has saved them.

I was in Texas, Kansas, London. I was standing next to you when you heard the terrible news.  Did you sense Me?
I want you to know that I saw every face.
I knew every name - though NOT all knew Me.
Some met me for the first time on the 86th floor.
Some sought me out with their last breath.
Some couldn't hear me calling them through the smoke and flames,
"Come to Me...this way...take my hand."
Some chose, for the final time, to ignore Me.

But, I was there.

I did not place you in the Tower that day - you may not know why, but I do.
However, if you were there in that explosive moment in time, would you have reached for Me? September 11, 2001 was not the end of the journey for you.
But someday your journey will end.
And I will be there for you as well.
Seek Me now while I may be found.
Then at any moment, you know you are "ready to go."
I will be in the stairwell of your final moments.

Remember...I love you.

Thursday, September 8, 2011


Sometimes I wonder what possesses people to steal things like a tortoise. A gas-can. Two rebar posts. For eight years we have been in this rotten neighborhood and have had probably a couple thousand dollars worth of things stolen from us. At least 5 different bikes, including a vintage cruiser, a motorized mountain bike, and a bike my dad had just invested over $300 in for my brother. My scooter, I think one lawn mower, and other random things we've had in our yard.

My brother often uses his lawn mower and weed whacker on our lawn, some people who pay him for his services, and he takes the weed whacker up to my grandmother's house every weekend to help maintain her lawn. He uses those tools to keep our lot in compliance with park "policy" so we don't get nasty notices stuck to our door. Last week, the gas can was stolen, and last night, the weed eater was. Now I know we probably should have had them locked up, instead of just behind the porch. But the thing is, why should we HAVE to do this? And why were these people wandering around in our yard, more than 30 feet from the public "sidewalk"?

My aunt has recently had to move out of her house due to lack of funds and a bed-bug infestation, so we are watching her parakeet and desert tortoise for her until she and her son get back on their feet. Last Saturday we noticed that the tortoise was missing, and so was my brother's 5-gallon gas can, full of gas. WHO STEALS A TORTOISE!? Really? What's worst about that is that it's not even something of ours that was taken. My aunt was very understanding, and through some kind of twisted luck, one of our least favorite neighbors found the tortoise today after nearly chopping it up with his lawn mower. So that's one thing...

But the weed-eater is what really pisses us off. Whoever is taking things from us has to know what's there and has to be waiting and watching for the opportunity. And it's not like we can afford a new one. We very much can't. It's just so upsetting, especially because my brother works so hard and does such a good job.

This evening we were sitting on our porch just surveying everything left on our patio, and we realized that our flag rebar were missing (On the one year anniversary of the 9-11 attacks, a nearby city put together what they called "The Healing Field". They set up nearly 3,000 flags in a field in memory of those who lost their lives. After the event, the flags went up for sale, and we purchased two. They came each with a section of rebar to pound into the ground and support the flagpoles). That sent up a red light for us. There's some sleazy guy who lives a few streets down who has a junk truck. A few months ago, my brother's favorite bikes were stolen, right before our eyes (we watched this kid ride off on it, and couldn't run fast enough to get him), and one day while he was walking home from a friend's house, he noticed what looked like his bike frame stuck in the heap of scrap metal. He informed the man who owns the truck and looked through, finding his exact bike, minus pedals, handlebars, a seat, gears, and everything else. He didn't find the other bike, but this guy has unsettled us for quite some time. He constantly has a heaping pile of metal stuff and scrap on his trailer, and frequently things don't look like they had been on the curb for being thrown out, if you know what I mean. So the fact that METAL had gone missing again makes us wonder if he didn't come sauntering back onto our patio, and left with the hefty metal bars and a nice weed-eater.

We've filed a complaint with management, but they don't seem to care. The police do little if anything at all. We're supposed to have a neighborhood watch going on, but I think all anyone watches for in this neighborhood is an opportunity to snatch something up. It's quite upsetting because we were using this piece of equipment to comply with their expectations of the residents. We are one household of few who actually respond to clean-up notices  with a concentrated effort to CLEAN UP. All these other homes have litter and junk piled up around their entire lot, broken down cars in the driveway, and lawns full of weeds and grass up to your knees. For having to put our own money into our trash cans, it also sucks that the garbage men have broken both of our cans. When we get that paper taped to our front door, we mow the lawn, weed, gather up any trash that may have accumulated and make it right. And it seems like nobody else does.

And I can't help but wonder if we get picked on and screwed over because we aren't hispanic. I really do.

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Paradox of the Day

I am often quite paradoxical. I may smile through the inner turmoil, play off a shed tear or two, but the wheels in my head keep turning, and often get jammed on some rather nasty topics.

I know I am lucky, far moreso than even friends and family members. I have a roof over my  head, food to eat, clean clothes, clean water, an amazing family and a handful of incredible friends.

At this point in life, I try to accept the happiness as it comes, one day at a time. And on the whole, the last several weeks have been, for lack of a better word, wonderful. I've reconnected with someone who I thought hated me, and we have developed a new friendship, and are beginning a relationship. It's been a long time since the mere presence or communication with someone has just made me genuinely smile, when absolutely nobody (else) is around. He makes me happy. 

Which is also precisely the problem. 

For years, now, I've been drawn to someone else. It's a complicated and convoluted series of events, but last year, roundabout Christmas, we became close again, and I haven't seen him since the beginning of the year. He'll be (more or less) back in a week, and even though I have this great person who wants to see me and be close to me and who always does manage to make me feel better about myself, when the thought of this other person pops into my head, I miss him with an ache that makes me feel sick. There has never implicitly been a more-than-friends relationship between us, but I can't make these absurd feelings go away. I have been honest with the man I'm with, but it still makes me feel guilty that I'm (my heart?) torn.

I hardly make sense to myself, and of course I am terrified to explain and justify my feelings to this person that I miss... Even though the one right beside me knows, understands, and is okay if I don't choose him. It doesn't help that the two of them are basically best friends. 

So that's the paradox of the day. I look happy, and to an extent I am. Incredibly so. But on the inside I am screaming as these two parts of me battle each other within my mind, within my heart. I haven't the slightest idea which part will win. And I'm almost afraid to find out.