I’d like to begin by acknowledging that intense emotions and acting out of one’s character is not an accurate representation of that person or people. It stems from some kind of trauma or disaster. The outrageous acts and emotions are an outlet from what is felt inside. It’s almost as if the brain is making them distract themselves by doing and saying things out of their normalcy. Then again, fear and desperation makes people do wild things. I was talking to a coworker last week about how they knew a person who had robbed a store about a month ago. In my head, I was thinking, “Why would they share this information with me?”, or “Why would they even talk about it in general”. Personally, if I knew someone who did a terrible thing I would just keep it to myself out of perception of being associated with them one way or another. But as she kept talking, she explained that the man was going to lose his house. Foreclosed. A family of six without a home. The man of the house was absolutely desperate and wanted to save his family, so he did something crazy and unlawful. If we talk about ethics, this situation isn’t black nor white. The point is that when people are scared and their behind is on the line, it’s a fight or flight reaction.
Most people don’t roll out of bed in the morning and plot how they’re going to hurt someone or something. The thoughts rolling through their minds are not in the destructive category. Grief and pain are often associated with memory. It’s the actions played out that often have good intentions, but poor results. It’s hard to think clearly when you’re in that state of mind. Being a human being, we’re wired by emotion. You can’t control it. We’re not robots where you can press a button and your mind stops racing or you put a pause to intrusive thoughts. It reminds me of the film, When The Levees Broke, and there’s one woman in particular that was interviewed who lost a child. There was a camera on her so I’m sure she left a few details out regarding her reactions and post-traumatic stress. Or, quite frankly any of the disasters that we have gone over in this course. There’s a lot of photos and background information. Textbook education for lack of better words. We see the science and the before and afters. It still hits you like a truck when the course material is on your computer. For me, I’m an empath. I see those pictures and I see the people interviewed and I picture myself living through these terrible experiences. I don’t have a single idea how these people have fought the pain and grief. I don’t know how they picked up the pieces and rebuilt their lives. I don’t know how they wake up every day with the memories that I’m sure eat them alive every damn day. We all walk around with masks on to some extent. No one is one hundred percent transparent about anything. Maybe that’s the secret to living? There’s a difference between being alive and truly living. Are they just going through the motions? I ask quite a few questions and my curiosity gets the best of me, but for now, I’d rather not even know the answers.
You see the messed up people in this world who are held behind bars physically or mentally. It makes you wonder if at one point they were an average citizen working a nine to five job and driving a nissan altima. They had dreams and goals they wanted to achieve. Then, their world was flipped upside down. Trauma and fear changed them. You’re never the same person as you were the day before, but there’s some instances that you just can’t recover from. There’s no more climbing the ladder. There isn’t this five to ten year transformation that reveals success and happiness. They get a taste of undeniable pain and they’re stuck in it forever. The memory forces them to not know anything else other than suffering. So, they go deeper. The world sure as hell can’t go up in their minds, so they throw the towel in and dig for hell instead. No one chooses this. This life is damn beautiful, but you can step into burning hell within an hour. A flip of a switch. A snap of a finger. That’s how quickly your life can change. That’s terrifying.
We’ve dug deep into tragedy starting with the first day of class with the tot-tanic slide and bounce. Looking back, I couldn’t think of a better way to begin this class. It was a perfect introduction to the course with something that was tragic, being transformed into something fun. The course concepts of memory, trauma, moving on, and history if you will. I had never thought of something like this before, probably because I had never seen it. However, there are clues and metaphors out there that simulate the idea of the tot-tanic and it has changed my perception. Not necessarily good or bad, I just see certain things differently. Then, we dove right into Unfathomable City to tie into the viewing of “When The Levees Broke”. I feel like as a society we don’t care about things unless it affects us personally. It’s selfish and sad, yet undeniably true. Our course readings throughout modules, the Blood Dazzler, and reading The Tempest, everything just makes sense. There is a method to the madness. For the majority of the semester, I felt like we were stuck in the disbelief of tragedy and loss. Our readings didn’t leave any other option. However, it’s totally okay. This is life and you don’t get to hand-select a time when heartbreak, loss, or tragedy strikes. That’s the beautiful misery of it and why it hits so hard. If people received a text message, “Hey, your life is going to crumble to pieces today”, they would have an idea and be able to prepare… not realistic and the opposite of how life truly is. I’m so thankful to have had the opportunity to participate in this class and have exposure to the topics and conversations. I enjoy experiences that I can keep in my back pocket instead of just crossing them off as credits I need. This course was honest and real, everything that I would want out of my time here as a student at Geneseo. Thank you.