Once again, I find myself at odds with the vast majority of humanity, or so it appears.
Some time ago, a friend of mine committed suicide. She was a member of my first therapy group, and I had seen her outside of that context maybe half a dozen times, if I were being generous. She was a nice person, and I would have enjoyed getting to know her better, and her death came as a shock to me. I cried for about five minutes, and then I was stunned and silent for another hour, and then I was back to business as usual.
Everyone else in the group thought I was some kind of emotionless bitch because I didn't grieve for her. They thought I felt nothing for her because I showed no response. A lot of harsh words changed hands, and the group
dissolved out from under the tragedy, though there were other events that urged it along.
Now, a terrorist attack has hit the United States, and I've been called un-American and heartless because I've felt nothing in the wake of the disaster.
My only response to the whole situation has been one of dark humor, at the Wag-the-Doggish nature of this whole affair. In the depths of America's recession and the President's slumping popularity, a terrorist strike comes
along to give people something on which to focus and bolster production. War has always been good for the economy. It's the sort of event that people like Art Bell make their livings squeezing for pseudofacts to fit their conspiracies.
I don't know anyone that died in the attack. I don't know anyone that knows anyone that died in the attack. And yet, because it happened on American soil (this phrase has been used a lot lately), I'm expected to be in sackcloth and ashes, wailing and moaning over the horrible tragedy. People who have no relationship whatsoever with the blast are pronouncing vendetta against the perpetrators, and our esteemed President is calling it "freedom
under attack". To me, this is the very sort of attitude that the people who attacked the US had, that striking out at faceless nobodies was the best and perhaps the only means of making a statement.
I am American by birth, but this to me is nothing more than a designation of location, not a sign of any affiliation or belief. I was male by birth, or so claims my birth certificate, and that didn't mean anything to me either. That these events happened in America is shocking only in their proximity; I'm three hours away from each of the major targets. Beyond that, it means nothing to me personally, only in how the after-effects will change the world around me. Because of this, I've already been the recipient of harsh words and I likely will continue to be.
More than anything, if I feel any emotion, it's anger at the double standard by which media stories are reported. Anger at the people who will use this as an excuse to rip away at my rights in the name of public safety. Anger at the faceless, blind sheep who will gleefully accept a new whip in return for the illusion of greater security. Anger at the media moguls turning a loss of life into a media festival. Anger at the idea that anyone could find bloodshed an acceptable alternative. Anger at my own impotence in the face of world-shaking events.
I once walked around in a dark cloud of angst and depression. My life was grey misery, and I believed I would never be free of it. One day, it lifted, and I learned how to love my life and the world around me. Now, instead of
grieving, I find myself celebrating the lives of those who have gone before me. I find within myself a desire to thank those who touched my life in their time on this earth. I wish not for my death to to be mourned but for my life to be exalted when my time comes. I want those close to me to face my death with a smile and the comfort that I milked my life for every drop of happiness that I could.
Now, because I feel no grief, I'm being ostracized by my peers who sit in numbed horror at events that don't really touch them.
I'm feeling very very alone.