Growing up in Vermont, I wasn't really exposed to very much violence or hatred. Vermont was never a place that scared me because I believe the people there (for the most part) truly feel that if you treat people with respect then you will earn the same respect in return. Between growing up and moving away, I have (unfortunately) realized the amount of hate and disrespect there is in the world and it still blows my mind every single time I hear news of different shootings or attacks.
I was only around 8 years old when 9/11 happened, so obviously I was not able to fully comprehend what was going on. Since I was living in Vermont and was only in 3rd grade, New York seemed like another world to me. Even as I got older, I never really realized how horrific of a situation it was. Obviously now that I am 23 I have fully comprehended the situation and the fact that terrorism is still very much an issue. I don't know if things started getting really bad lately or if I have just grown up and can now see the pure terror and danger of these attacks, but recently I have been realizing just how horrible people can be.
No one wants to live life in fear, and I truly didn't think I ever would. Call me naïve or ignorant, but I almost felt like all the terror was so far away from me that it would never really affect me. It wasn't until my sophomore year of college that I realized no one was safe.
My sophomore year was the year that the Boston Marathon bombing happened. Being that I lived and went to school so close to Boston, it really hit home for me and changed the way I viewed the world. It was at that point in my life that I started living with pure anxiety that something terrible could happen at any time. The truth of the matter is that it was 100% true, but that was no way to live life. Once I started to let go of the anxiety and accept the fact that if something bad was going to happen there was nothing I could do about it, I started to feel a little bit better.
I am someone who is lucky enough to have travelled quite a bit in my life. I have been to something like 8 different countries and am truly blessed to have seen how beautiful this world can be. In the wake of recent (and not so recent) attacks, I have realized that even though this is such a beautiful world, there is no escaping terror.
Between the terrorist attacks in France, the shootings in Orlando and Dallas and Michigan, and so many other awful situations, I have recently been reminded of how scary the world can be. It seems like there's nowhere you can go these days that you are truly safe. Movie theaters, schools, public transportation, sporting events, celebrations and even bars/night clubs are just a few places that these attacks have occurred at. These are all places we should be able to feel safe and enjoy ourselves at, and the people that are just filled with hate and rage have taken that away from us.
I have been noticing my anxiety getting worse while doing such simple day-to-day activities, like riding the train or walking down the streets, and I can only imagine that is impacted by the awful things that have been going on lately. I see a lot of people writing statuses about how they would never want to raise a child in a world filled with so much hate, and although I am nowhere near raising a child, I have found myself very disappointed in the fact that I agree. No one should be exposed to such awful experiences and so many repeating acts of terror.
I can not find the words to express how truly sad I am about the amount of pain and suffering people are feeling, and although it doesn't seem like much, my thoughts and prayers go out to everyone affected. I hope one day we can teach each other that violence is not the answer, and that there is never a situation where acts of hatred and rage will produce a positive outcome. I don't have a lot of faith left in this world, but I'm hoping that one day my faith in humanity will be restored.