Saturday, June 3, 2017

light and laughter in our darkest times

It seems like every day there is another horrific tragedy in this world, and each one feels closer and closer to home. I can’t read the news without feeling helpless, confused, and utterly heartbroken. It’s easy to want to retreat; the world feels so unsafe, so unstable. Living in NYC is a constant reminder of that. Though I didn’t live here during the attacks — in fact, I never saw the twin towers in person — my stomach drops when I pass the World Trade Center. It’s easy to forget that so many of New York’s citizens lost their loved ones, when we’re going about the daily hustle and bustle. But all of those names on the memorials and the flowers that mark them throughout the year’s visits — they’re a sobering reminder that the nightmare was real.

It’s easy to want to stay inside where you feel safe, to avoid traveling, distrust strangers. I wouldn’t blame you. But if there’s one thing I’ve learned from New Yorkers, it’s that life must go on, even amidst tragedy. And life is worth living to the fullest. Fear may keep you safe, but it can also hold you captive.

I don’t want anyone to think that I’m unaware or unconcerned. I think it’s easy to follow people online and wonder if they’re living in a bubble, completely unmoved by current events. I get that, because I’ll admit that there were times when I got on my own personal soapbox and implored my peers to use their platforms for something good, for some kind of change, when I didn’t think they were doing enough — something that’s really none of my business, because they very well may be doing that in their own private way (and that’s not snark — I truly mean it). Much like I mentioned in my recent post, our whole lives are not online. Some people choose to keep this a happy space. I have toed the line of keeping things light and keeping things real, but sometimes…it just gets a little too real a little too often, and I have to deal with it in my own private way. Sometimes, I really do want to keep this a happy space.

The fact is, sometimes you really do need to self care, to not let something affect your life to the point of inaction. And given my recent state of mind, I’ve chosen to embrace that notion and practice it as much as possible. I read the news every single day. The very first thing I do in the morning is listen to NPR’s Up First and The New York Times The Daily, before I’m even done with my coffee — and that’s my morning digest. I am always informed, always concerned, always trying to do my part to make some tiny pocket of the world just a little bit better, even when I’m not prattling on about it. But I get consumed to the point where it affects me a little too much, sometimes. When I’m going through my own stuff, it becomes even more consuming. I’m an already anxiety-ridden girl with crazy insomnia who has an ability to wrap herself up in politics and world crises and social injustices like it’s her own personal burden to bear. I don’t think that will change; I’m not even sure I’d want that. But I need a disconnect. I need carefree lunches with my best girls, road trips with my lil pup and impossibly optimistic life partner (he’s the sunshine to my raincloud). I need happiness. I need the surface, because sometimes going too deep feels like drowning.

That’s what certain pockets of the internet can sometimes feel like for me — the surface. I like that I can get real with you all when I need to, and then talk about skin care and beauty and dreamy dresses in the same week — because that’s what real life is like to me. Go down deep, come back up and take a breath. Repeat.

I guess what I wanted to say is that I, like many of you, am mourning for the world on a pretty frequent basis. But I’m going to keep with that New Yorker mentality and keep on keepin’ on in the best way I know how. If I can use this platform for good, you know I’ll do that — it’s a given. But if things feel light and bright on here and anywhere else on the internet, in your local cafes, or within your peer group, it doesn’t mean we aren’t acknowledging the state of the world. It might just mean that we need an escape — not from reality, but into our own reality, back up to the surface where we can catch our breath and feel a little sunlight on our face. Because if there’s anything we know for sure from all of these attacks, it’s that life is all too fleeting, and we should be enjoying every moment. When the world is full of darkness, that’s when we need a little light and laughter the most.

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from Keiko Lynn

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