Don't Tell Me To Feel Safe. Just Don't.

Opening my eyes, I feel innocent and free. Happy even. And then the world descends upon me.

I remember.

Orlando. Newtown. Boston Marathon bombing. 911. Syria. And on. And on. And on. And on.

Orlando was one of 43 shootings in the United States on June 12. One of 43.

I remember that I have an event to go to. Out in public. In front of many people.

And it doesn't feel safe.

Please don't tell me we can't live this way. That I can't live this way, in fear.

How do we live this way?

How do I feel safe in an unsafe world?

Please stop telling me that I shouldn't feel unsafe.

I feel unsafe because in this country, where I live, it's become less and less safe.

I don't feel unsafe because I'm over protective. I don't feel unsafe because I'm anxious. Or neurotic. Or paranoid.

I feel unsafe because people go places that they think are safe and then they find out they are wrong. They go to work because they think it's safe and they are wrong. They go to places to enjoy themselves or push themselves or ask questions. And they think it's safe.

We mourn them because they think it's safe and then they are killed.

I'm not missing anything. There's no dot that I have left unconnected.

I feel unsafe because the world is unsafe.

And every single time I start to feel safe again, something happens again.

Something.

A shooting.

A bombing.

A murder.

Don't put it on me that I feel unsafe.

That's all I ask.

It's ok that I feel unsafe in an unsafe world.

It's what I do next, what we do, that is going to matter most.

So feeling unsafe, I go. I go out to places that don't feel safe. Places that I never worried about before.

I feel fear, when and where I never have before. In my throat, as I try to swallow. In my stomach, which is
rumbling and not from hunger. In my legs, that sometimes tremble when there's been no physical exertion.

I feel it overwhelming me, washing over me. I feel myself drowning in it.

And there are no simple answers. No miraculous fixes. The fear is present and real.

But I slowly swim up. Because I see the loving faces around me. And some I recognize and many I
do not.
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I see friendly faces. I see love. Compassion. Humor even.

I see you.

And I see me.

And the fear slowly circles around the drain.

Gone.
For now.