Evolution or e-volution?
Shortly after the World Trade Center 9/11 disaster in New York City, I found myself reflecting on friendships and people I have lost along the way.
I turned inside myself and began journaling on a daily basis to help myself overcome the horror and isolation that comes with such an event.
Friends I had gone to school with; productive members of the community… people who had accomplished so many things I had yet to do myself. So different from the I was living at the time.
The feelings were overwhelming and went far beyond fear, solitude, and I began to question my purpose in this life.
Had I been just a few miles closer, heading west that day instead of east, I would have driven right into Ground Zero.
Friends circulated e-mails about form,er classmates that were presumed dead. They had families: pregnant wives, children, and all of the things that I believed I would have by the time I reached my 30’s.
I quickly realized how many of my peers had achieved at least some of the goals they set out to accomplish years earlier— and I felt pangs of guilt and sadness seeing how much they were loved, how fondly they were remembered, and how many of them were on their way to achieving great things.
By that time, I was nearing my thirtieth birthday and the list of goals I set for myself seemed hopelessly beyond my reach.
Not just beyond my grasp— the future seemed ominous, scary, and it took everything I had to keep myself alive.
In the months after the assault, I became increasingly aware of just how disconnected I was from my past.
Before FaceBook, there was classmates.com…. One day I got one of those e-mails that makes you feel as though someone from my past was trying to contact me. I thought long and hard before I responded.
I had a mix of emotions.
I had done everything I possibly could to quietly erase any ties or connections I had to the past.
Filling out the online registration for FaceBook; responding to my 20th reunion invitations; afraid to be exposed for being poor…. but then it came time….
I am not poor, I am merely a rich person without any money.
Because I had never lived with one parent, one house, or one school any longer than a year or two at best, it was not that hard to fade away into a distant memory.
I wanted to be forgotten.
The last few weeks of my life have been anything short of living moment to moment… confronted with all the crises I wanted so badly to leave behind…. yet those experiences; my fight or flight instinct carried me through.
Thank you to all who tweeted and chatted… I made it through the storm, and I am glad to know you were there with me.
I am glad to be alive today, and I look forward to attending at least one of the three possible reunions. I hope you are glad to have me.
Cheers to you all, can’t wait to see y’all at the Freak Parade!
Elyssa D. Durant. Ed.M.Research & Policy Analyst