Sunday, September 11, 2011

Sunday Reflections: When Reflecting On The Past Is Okay

We talk about this every year. 
It's September 11, 2011, exactly 10 years after planes crashed into the twin towers killing a countless amount of people and changing the lives of people across the world forever. Every year on the anniversary of that tragic day millions of people across the world reminisce. CNN, FOX, and other major news stations replay the crashing of the planes, the victims stories, and show how the lives of the victims children have been affected. Many people who didn't have a family member or know someone that died on that day, remember where they were when they heard the news. Some were at work, some were at school, and others were doing random things like watching television. While this is a huge bonding time and a day to remember a tragic event, what I find most interesting is that fact that people take out the time to remember.

They remember where they were, who they were with, what they were doing, who died, who was born, etc. They cry all over again and try to rationalize why such a tragic event could occur. What would make anyone think killing people on a plane or driving a plane into a building would be worth it? What would make anyone terrorist volunteer to commit suicide while murdering others? Could some of this blame be based on the United States? Those are just some of the questions that come up. However, while we do this with the September 11,2001 terror attacks, many of us fear reflecting on our past.

Everyone has heard the sayings...

"Leave the past in the past."
"What happened yesterday doesn't matter today."
"I don't want to talk about it."

Why is it that we avoid talking about the memories that hurt us the most? We can talk about 9/11, Hurricane Katrina, Haiti, Barack Obama becoming the fist black president, whether Lil Wayne glorifies prostitutes or teaches them how to love, and how in debt Drake is with his emotions. However, we put up a wall when someone brings up that ex-boyfriend or girlfriend, the family member that has always been the big bully, that dream that we gave up on, and even when we try to figure out why things in the past happened.

For instance there is something that has heavily been on my mind. This problem bothered me a year ago and it still bothers me up until this day. I'm not sure if it bothers me more because it happened or because nothing has changed since then. It was actually a little more than a year ago. Are you ready for the story?
4th of July 2010, Trying to hide my pain behind the camera.
It was July 4th weekend of 2010. I had been out of college for approximately three months and still didn't have a job. There were no job offers when I was graduating and applying for one was becoming more and more stressful. However, the lack of a job wasn't the worse part of that weekend. The horrible part was seeing my family. My parents and two brothers had came down to Florida to help me pack all of my belongs and move back to Texas. Seeing family is supposed to be good, right? This visit was the worse though.

I didn't want my family to see me looking a hug mess, so two of my best friends had paid for me to get my hair done. I was broke and could not afford it. I was also grateful for what they did, but my parents weren't. They never asked me who did my hair or how I paid for it. They never said they were glad to see me that weekend. They just arrived and immediately started yelling. They yelled about my lack of packing fast enough. my lack of being enthused to moved back to Texas, my lack of cleaning quick enough, my lack of a job, my lack of  having money, lack of planning out a great career and being on my own by then, etc. They made me feel like a failure in every possible way. But it didn't end there. It got worse.

Instead of going back to Texas right away, we spent a week visiting family in a small town in Florida. During that week they humiliated me in front of any and everyone. They made sure everyone knew that I was unemployed and they made sure everyone knew that they thought I wasn't trying hard enough. By the end of that week my confidence was dead, and if I wasn't depressed before then, I hit the biggest depression. However, they didn't notice my depression. They continued to say hurtful stuff. On one of the days of the trip my dad gave his plan of a successful career for me. He basically told me that he never thought of journalism as a good idea. He believed I should be sitting at someone's desk shuffling papers all day to make money. Apparently that's a safe and great career for someone. He let me know that he didn't respect any of my future goals and was what hurt the most.

September 11, 2001 was a tragedy for everyone across the world, but that 4th of July week in 2010 was a tragedy in my world for the rest of my life.

This may be pathetic, but I actually think back on it every time I get yelled at. When my dad yells at me about not doing the dishes, I remember how 4th of July week in 2010 he told everyone I was a failure. When he yelled at me this summer because I had not been going to church, I remembered that he thought I was a failure anyway. When he gave me a talk earlier in the summer about independence, I remembered that he must still believe that I'm a failure. Sure things have changed. I have a job, paying some bills, working on a job and a career on the side, and continually trying to figure out the next move. However, there's no respect still. There's been no acknowledgement of accomplishments, just complaints so it lets me know that I must still be a failure to him.

See, I titled this "When Reflecting On The Past Is Okay," but actually reflecting on the past is okay all the time. Even if it's something mediocre, because as much as we want to ignore the past it has changed the way we think today.

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