During traumatic times, those of us who have lived through trauma do one of two things.
- Avoid the news like the plague, which is likely the smarter thing. This was we avoid being re-traumatized by recent events.
- Start to look at everything out there that we can, videos, photos, articles, everything we can to try to connect with the traumatic event that is unfolding.
My best friend watches the videos of jumpers from the towers of 9/11 every anniversary. I believe she does this in order to connect with her own feelings, to connect with that moment where someone made a choice to end their own life (though a quite different circumstance) in order to understand her father, and by extension her own trauma.
Today, we watched as people ran from a madman shooting at Mandalay Bay in Vegas. But what was different was the cell phone video taken by one of the people in the crowd. I found myself captivated by it, and horrified, as much of America, but not as a lookie-loo, but as someone who could immediately place myself in their shoes.
The things they said “we have to go or we will be trampled.” the looks they exchanged as they weighed their options of ‘do we stand or do we huddle in place?’
The looks they exchanged as they weighed their options of ‘do we stand or do we huddle in place?’ Where is the shooter? Is there more than one? Which option will cause our odds to live to increase?
Where is the shooter? Is there more than one? Which option will cause our odds to live to increase?
Which option will cause our odds to live to increase?
These are the moments of trauma. I watch the video over and over… Because the looks made me feel less alone. It was horrifying to connect on such a visceral level. It shook me to the core, you see.
Others who haven’t truly lived through a moment like that can think they get it. But until they lie in a stairwell, fearing to breathe, fearing that the knife that is stuck in their hair might still be used against them, they have no idea. They can imagine, but that’s all.
Until they have a moment like Mandalay Bay.