If You’re Lost and Alone, Carry On
I don’t even know where to start. How does one put into words something that they don’t understand? I didn’t even know what label to use for this post. Because I’ve never had to talk about things like this before.
Looking back at yesterday, everything can be defined as occurring before it happened or after it happened. My boss kind of casually popped out of her office and mentioned what happened. Not because it was a casual event, but because I could tell she was trying not to cause anyone to majorly freakout when so little information was available. As part of my job, I had Twitter and Facebook already up on my computer, and was trying to make sense of what they were saying had happened. In a panic, I tried to get on boston.com or some other legitimate news source and couldn’t, leaving me in a state of continual refreshing to find out any details.
As I sat at my desk, in an office on an island 30 miles away from the coast of Massachusetts, I couldn’t help but feel connected and isolated at the same time. All I could think about is that I was standing on that street a mere 48 hours before, walking down the sidewalk of Boylston and admiring the setup that was in place, seeing runners everywhere, either getting in their last minutes of training or toting around bright yellow bags from picking up their marathon essentials. A weird paranoia takes over- were the explosives there then? Would I have seen anything out of the ordinary if I were paying attention? For a moment I thought about myself, and then realized how many people, some close, and some mere aquantinces, that I knew that were in some way involved in Marathon Monday.
I have never personally witnessed it, and I grew up less than an hour away. But to be honest, I have never cared for running- doing it myself or watching others do it, and given that it was a holiday and school vacation, I always had to work. My friends used to look forward to it with excitement every year, whether or not they were training their bodies or just headed to a bar on the route to witness the spectacle. I was completely distracted from my work and sat for 45 minutes just checking Facebook, Twitter and furiously texting to make sure that everyone I knew who possibly could be there was okay. It was only minutes, but felt like hours until I got some responses. I was even tracking people I barely knew but had known via social media that they were running on the tracker provided by the Marathon association to see if they were safe. Friends in places like New York City sent me texts acknowledging that while they knew I was on an island nowhere near Boston, they just wanted to make sure that Steve and I were okay.
Because that’s how things are around here. Boston is a small city, and if you live anywhere in this state or even in surrounding New England states, you feel a connection to it. People outside of this area don’t differentiate Boston as its own city sometimes, as I found when I first attended college in upstate New York and people assumed that New Hampshire and Boston were somehow the same place (or didn’t realize that New Hampshire existed at all).
I was in Boston on Saturday for a last minute opportunity to do something as a result of my blog that now I can only look back on as a memory of as an ordinary day spent taking pictures on the Common and the Public Gardens with the city in the background. I was so excited to be a part of it, and now I fear I won’t be able to look back at the photos and not remember is as an eve to a somewhat loss of innocence. I hope someday I can share the pictures with you to celebrate a tiny ion of accomplishment for this blog that I love so much with respect for what happened only days later.
Unless you’re new here, you know that the highlight of my day is posting my #OOTD pic when I get home from work. I’ve been doing it for a month straight now, and it’s just part of my routine. I get so excited to share this little thing that I do with people that are far away and it brings me so much excitement anytime I get a comment or a like, or if people ask me where my bracelet is from. It’s silly, but now it feels like that is just a part of my life and I love that consistency.
But yesterday was not a day for consistency. It was the day where everything you know changes in a second. Where you doubt your own actions out of fear that it’s not right or that you are wasting energy on something so unimportant while much more serious and awful things are happening not so far away from you. When I got home, an outfit photo didn’t even cross my mind. It wasn’t until 8:00 that I even thought about it for the first time and thought about how not necessary it was. People had died. Others lost limbs. Who really effin cared about the Old Navy dress I was wearing?
It’s been a little over 24 hours, and I am still frantically obsessed with finding out information. I’ve been refreshing Boston.com every 5 minutes, looking for answers. Of course there aren’t any, and probably won’t be for a while. But it’s through social media that I am staying connected, because right now, being 30 miles out to sea feels like being in Antarctica.
So today, I went back. Aside from seeing and hearing all these horrible things, nothing for me had technically changed. I wasn’t there. Everyone I know that was there is okay. I went to work and had a staff meeting and ate lunch with my husband and went about my day. It still consumed my thoughts and was always present in the back of my mind, but I was trying to do what they told me to do- go back to your normal life. Don’t let this stop you from living. I’m still me, I just feel like a sad version of me. But I’ve been told that it brings some people happiness and inspiration when they see my outfit photos, so I went back to posting again. It felt weird, doing something that feels so self-centered (I mean, it is called a selfie after all) knowing what is happening to people right now. But it also felt necessary to do something normal and kind of fun again, and to hope that maybe it could have momentarily distracted someone today from feeling sad too.
So that’s all for today, folks. I hope you are all okay, physically, mentally, emotionally. I hope it gets better for everyone. And I hope that the world we live in can still be beautiful and creative and that it’s okay to want to laugh and smile again. Because if we can’t, then what are we doing?