Canal Street in Bruges, Belgium

Before I dive into how my weekend was I need to address my feelings about a serious situation. Normally I don’t feel things too heavily especially when it comes to far away things. I can feel empathy and understand someone’s tough situation, but rarely does it affect me in a direct manner. I don’t internalize other people’s feelings, for better or for worse, but that’s just who I am. If I’m being honest the Brussels attack really shook me up. All my life terrorism has never directly affected my emotions. When 9/11 happened I was too young to really know what was going on and to understand the magnitude of the situation. I knew I had family in New York and I knew they needed to be safe, but other than that it didn’t really hit me too hard. I feel like because of the world that I personally live in, I don’t view terrorism the same way other people do. I know it’s something that happens, but in my personal opinion I feel like I have more pertinent things to worry about than what could potentially happen in a wrong place, wrong time type of situation. 

But with all that being said, the Brussels attack changed me. It sparked something inside of me. Maybe because I had been in Belgium a few weeks prior, maybe because my best friend had just been in that airport 5 or 6 days prior. Whatever it was it hit me, and it hit me hard. It made me feel this sense of sadness and connectedness to a place that I had not really all that much connection to. It made me realize that terrorism is extremely real and it knows no bounds. It showed me that terrorism itself is something that is carried out by evil, angry people and it made me feel so unhappy and confused. I’m not sure if it was guilt or sadness or fear. It really could’ve been any emotion and I’m not sure I can pinpoint exactly what it was. Maybe it was hopelessness, for trying to think about how the hell can we begin to solve this type of problem? I’m not sure what can be done, but I know that acts of terrorism and the killing of civilians and innocent people isn’t something we should be getting used to. There’s no way it should be normal to wake up and hear that yet again lives have been taken for sheer pleasure and “to prove a point.” I don’t have all the answers, but one thing I know is that praying for something isn’t going to cut it. Hashtags and social media outcries aren’t the answer. Changing Facebook photos to filters with a country’s colors and lighting up the Eiffel Tower are not answers to these type of events. 

For now, all I can say is teach the world. Instead of praying, let’s teach the world to be kinder. Teach the world to be understanding and tolerant. Teach the world that violence and hatred aren’t the answers. I feel that discussion and education are key. Talk to children, talk to adolscents, hell, talk to adults and tell them deliberate anger and violence are not valid ways to get a point across. I’m not Sway, I don’t got the answers, but I know there’s got to be more that we can do than to just post on social media. 

(And I say all of this as I write this blog post….gotta embrace your contradictions.)

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