Wednesday, April 24, 2013

For Boston, and for America

Source: Janiz Dee, Pinterest

My heart will always be in Boston.  I pursued my college and graduate degrees in the city.  I met my first love, married my husband, gave birth to my first child, rode the tech bubble, and bought my first home in Boston: it's my city of achievement.

To me, Boston is also a city of family and love.  It is home to my sister and her family, my step-children, and many of my most cherished friends.

I cannot explain the emotions I felt last week as I remained glued to my Twitter feed, which spewed out information by the second, first spitting forth gruesome information about bombs, then shootouts, manhunts, and murders.  I was scared, anxious, and angry.  I felt these emotions for my family, my friends, my city, and my country.

What is happening in America?  Is the American Dream dead?  Is the America I know a thing of the past? What do I do now?  What do we do now?  The questions flooded my mind and stayed there, racing around at a furious pace.  I could not quell them because I had no answers.

Curiously, I realized I asked myself the same questions just a few years earlier, in 2010.  At that time I was struggling with the fallout from the financial crisis.  I was angry and frightened.  My life had fallen to pieces.  My home, my belongings, my children's schools, my social activities became out of reach within a few short months.  I no longer recognized my life.  One day I was enjoying a latte with a friend, my feet soaking in a tub of water, awaiting a massage and a fresh coat of bright red nail polish.  The next day I was taking anti-anxiety medication because the stress of dismantling my outsized life when the economy was in a free fall kept me up for days at a time.

In the aftermath, as I tried to piece my life together again, I questioned whether I'd entered a "new normal," as so many liked to say.  Should I fight this new reality or accept it with as much grace as I could?  I decided to fight, as all good Americans would.  Today my husband and I are clawing back our way to solvency.  We've become nimble and scrappy.  We do not accept rejection.  Instead, we work around it.  It is our upbringing, our country and its people who taught us to fight this way.

The American people will respond similarly to last week's events.  We will draw from our roots and tap the American spirit, the spirit that does not give up even when facing seemingly insurmountable odds.  We will not tolerate terrorism.  We will not let it become the "new normal."  With all the violence in the Mideast, amid a world where so many oppressive governments thrive, it is essential that we fight to remain a beacon of hope, an example of how democracy, pluralism, and tolerance allow a country and its people to flourish.

I know this deep in my heart, where truth resides: it has to be, and it will be.

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