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I'm sorry I haven't updated sooner. I no longer have the vocabulary to talk about the hideous disasters happening in New Zealand, Japan, and elsewhere, not to mention the ongoing struggle in places whose disasters are already yesterday's news, and there doesn't seem to be anything else worth talking about. I get very agitated reading the newspaper. Chris says, "Well, then don't read it."

I say, "They deserve for me to!"

He says, "Well, not if it's going to freak you out. Those people don't want you freaking out on their behalf."

I say, "THEY DO! I DID!"

Yes. In the early days of August-September 2005, it made me unreasonably furious to think anyone anywhere was leading a normal life. Later on, it was comforting to spend a few days in a place (Chicago) that wasn't full of gas lines, MREs, and other refugees before coming back to New Orleans and trying to rebuild some kind of life. Right after it happened, though, the whole world was turned upside down as far as I was concerned. I'm not saying this is right or wrong, only that it's how I felt.


( 21 comments — Leave a comment )
Mar. 13th, 2011 08:50 pm (UTC)
"I don't even know" sums it up quite nicely. The world is pretty scary right now...
Mar. 13th, 2011 08:59 pm (UTC)

I did (not on the same level as you). I wanted the world to stop and freak out and FEEL it and HURT. I'm having a hard time with world events right now as well.

Mar. 13th, 2011 09:03 pm (UTC)
No right or wrong. I get deeply upset thinking of people still tra-la-la-ing it through life while Japan is hovering on the edge of a nuclear breakdown, and I've only been through 9-11, which as bad as it was didn't leave hundreds of people homeless and some shot just because of the color of their skin.

That said, you are allowed to give yourself freakout breaks, though. It's not like you're living a normal life - you just give your body a break from toxic stress. Two hours of happy animal indulgences, or something. Getting a horrid disease from someone else's trauma isn't what I'd wish on anyone with super-good intentions, & I can't imagine you would either.
Mar. 13th, 2011 09:06 pm (UTC)
In the early days of August-September 2005, it made me unreasonably furious to think anyone anywhere was leading a normal life. Later on, it was comforting to spend a few days in a place (Chicago) that wasn't full of gas lines, MREs, and other refugees before coming back to New Orleans and trying to rebuild some kind of life. Right after it happened, though, the whole world was turned upside down as far as I was concerned. I'm not saying this is right or wrong, only that it's how I felt.

This, only I was exiled in Connecticut. And it's almost frightening how easy it is, all these years later, to summon those feelings back simply by thinking about that time. The tragedy in Japan is a particularly poignant reminder. Love to those people.
Mar. 13th, 2011 09:16 pm (UTC)
there are no words for the insanity going on. life is far from normal for anyone with a conscience or a soul i think. i'm not really able to post about how i feel about it but it's totally important to pay attention.
Mar. 13th, 2011 09:44 pm (UTC)
Shortly after our quake in Christchurch, my father's friend Paul in Louisiana immediately thought to track him down by whatever means possible and make sure he was okay, and offered to send anything he could to help out. The upwelling of support from around the world was heartening, but personal connections to people who'd gone through their own disasters and wanted to help us were especially touching. And seeing Japan's damage and suffering, I can maybe understand a little more of how you feel now. On the other hand, I'm sure there's still more I need to process that will come out in months or years ahead.

Despite the central city cordon, most of the residential parts of Christchurch are coming back to normal now, but in the eastern suburbs - more often where the poorer people live, as it happens - they're still working to repair water, power and sewage lines and get some of the basics of modern civilization going again. We still have the "student volunteer army" from our university that's going into the affected areas and helping people get their houses cleaned up, and food and water to those who need it.

There's a lot of rebuilding left to go, but my spirits were raised this morning by the news that we have Urban Search and Rescue teams heading to Japan to assist them. To help save lives. Our people, making reaching out and doing what needs to be done. Somehow, that makes the hurt less.

Oh, on an entirely unrelated note? I saw a game on the web the other day which features a Piano Guy with a lost cat called Elton. Naturally, I thought of you.
Mar. 13th, 2011 10:03 pm (UTC)
The world has turned upside down.

I'm 42 years old and already 2011 is the weirdest year for historical events I've ever lived in.

And, it's only March!

Mar. 14th, 2011 07:11 pm (UTC)
I know what you mean! We had a tornado here in Oregon, and southern Oregon got hit by the Tsunami last week.... tons of damage in Brookings in the port/docks area.
Mar. 13th, 2011 10:19 pm (UTC)
I thought about the disastor in new orleans when I saw the terrible news about japan.

I lived through a major earthquake and even though it doesnt compare in magnitude what other people have been through I do know about the sickening feeling. I ll wake up sometimes thinking the house is shaking, I dream about the ground opening up.

Mar. 13th, 2011 10:22 pm (UTC)
It is so sweet of you to be agitated on the behalf of the strangers who are living through these horrific events.

Chris is right though.

It's a bit of a serenity prayer thing. So far away and with only a certain set of resources, there are things we can change and things we must accept.

As you well know, for those people, the world is paused.

It is changed.

It is ended.

However, their pain and anguish is not lessened by your freaking out. There may be ways for you to help, but that isn't one of them.

I want to join Chris in the gentle chiding. My caring husband, you need to care for you.
Mar. 13th, 2011 11:29 pm (UTC)
i remembered you today!
I was speaking to a friend about Japan and I remembered New Orleans and the fact that I know smb. living there who must've witnessed all this
Kenny Roberts
Mar. 13th, 2011 11:32 pm (UTC)
"This day is a special day, it is yours.
Yesterday slipped away, it cannot be filled anymore with meaning.
About tomorrow nothing is known.
But this day, today, is yours, make use of it.
Today you can make someone happy.
Today you can help another.
This day is a special day, it is yours.
~ Indian Poem from the 'Death and Rebirth' section of the 'A View on Buddhism' website with the Dharma quotes collection
Mar. 13th, 2011 11:44 pm (UTC)
A month after Katrina, I went to Atlanta. It was like I'd gone to another world-where things had never changed. I'd see people and they'd ask how I was. I went to a store and had to show my ID; the clerk asked how I was holding up. When I went to pick up a friend at the airport, the attendant saw my Louisiana plates and would not charge me for parking. It was surreal to me.

I think it's important to be concerned for others, and to want to help in a disaster. That's part of being human.
Mar. 14th, 2011 01:20 am (UTC)
Know that some of our lives were so turned upside down from what happened that we ended up moving here.
Mar. 14th, 2011 01:25 am (UTC)
I remember coming home after Ivan to a washed out apartment, eating MRE's with my fiancé's roommate, and feeling pretty down. When Katrina happened, we cleared our home of everything we could possibly give, thinking if had veered right, it would have been us. We visited as soon as possible. I can only imagine the way these people feel, having felt a tiny bit lost. That being said, these end of days Evangelical idiots are really pissing me off, just like they did in 2005.
Mar. 14th, 2011 02:28 am (UTC)
I always read without commenting, but I live in Japan and just wanted to say thank you.

I'm lucky to be living in an area not physically effected by the quake, but it's still a very somber atmosphere with everyone worrying about their loved ones and desperately trying to find anything they can do to help.

Reading posts by friends back home talking about their daily lives is so surreal right now, because daily life here is anything but normal. So when I opened LJ and saw your post right at the top of the page, it really meant something.

I am sorry to hear that you're freaking out, but thank you. Reading about the situation in Japan from someone on the outside was exactly what I needed this morning.
Mar. 14th, 2011 02:41 am (UTC)
People ask me where I was on 9/11, and the answer was, furiously working like crazy, because the company I worked for had products directly involved in the immediate aftermath, to help and assist. Though I wasn't a firefighter or policeman on the front lines, there's just a part of me conditioned to "it's go time" when I see something like this.

But then again, a childhood friend's dad was one of those lost in the Indonesian tsunami, so this was a bit more difficult to watch, and a bit less to switch off the empathy for.
Mar. 14th, 2011 09:54 am (UTC)
My hubby simply cannot follow this; it's too much. My PseudoSpouse and I are following, and updating each other, and he said "I am always interested in the news and weather, especially in Japan, but I'm about to hit emotional overload." I know how he feels. There is so much that it's hard to process. And Japan was well prepared for a quake!

We need to be able to maintain some part of our own lives, but we can watch and worry. Freaking does no one any good; not the folks struggling to recover, and not you or your loved ones. Take in what you can handle. The rest of the information will still be there later when you can handle more.
Mar. 15th, 2011 03:10 pm (UTC)
Another alienating thing about non-Katrina veterans beyond their obliviousness to the catastrophe at the time is their ongoing denial & detachment. Some gems that spring to mind: "Why didn't 'they' leave? The government sent 'them' all a check. 'You people' aren't tough enough. It's been 6 years." Many who lived would never see their neighbors again. Nor their pets. Every songbird in Plaquemines Parish perished. Week after week we drove past ruined toys and scrapbooks of thousands of people's lives piled in a mountain on the neutral ground of Pontchartrain Blvd. But 'we' should be over it by now. Thank you for this cathartic board, Doc and other posters. I hope somehow it can translate to the people in Japan. They sure will need it and more going forward.
Mar. 21st, 2011 11:30 am (UTC)
I am in Chch NZ and the whole new attitude that the central city mustn't be rebuilt because it was built on Bad Land yadda yadda reminds me SO much of the upsetting crap Doc was reporting on here then. I want to punch people who talk about "leaving", like they think people *can*. I did and could, and it's not easy. Place is *important*.
Mar. 21st, 2011 11:28 am (UTC)
I know, I felt irrationally annoyed that people elsewhere were having normal fun lives and writing about them on Facebook or wherever, and then I felt really irrationally and guiltily annoyed that Japan was having a far worse disaster and all attention was turning to it. It is good to know people are worried for us. But you do have to look after yourself first and foremost. I keep telling myself I don't have to direct a lot of energy to Japan, even though I am luckily evacuated from Chch and living a comparatively normal and very comfortable life, albeit with strangers around me. I do actually have to let myself go through the process of dealing, even though I think I should be Over It by now and don't want to be.

You are allowed to get compassion fatigue. If you can't let yourself, find joyful solace in something. There always is something. And if you can't find joyful solace in anything, then you have to focus on yourself completely because your crisis is closest to home and most pressing. And do not feel guilty.
( 21 comments — Leave a comment )

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