« smack dab in the middle, maybe? | Main | your moments of zen »

Who were you on September 11?

Tristan wants to know.

Next week will mark the second anniversary of the September 11th terrorist act. Since then a lot of people have said that things have changed, that WE have changed. However, when pressed for details, no one can clearly point out how or what really changed.

As a memorial this year, I would like to get a number of people to answer the question as to how they changed. This is where you come in.

Who were you before and who are you now? How did the September 11th experience changed your life, if it did in any way? How are things different in your life now? What have you done/not done as a result of September 11th?

Once you've blogged it (on September 11th),

send me a link to your entry and I'll get a list of everyone who sent me a link up here.

Feel free to pass this on to anyone you think might be interested and together, we might be able to create a joint memorial.

Good thing I have this weblog, where I have documented every aspect of my life for the past two years.

Personally - in the deepest parts of my psyche - I changed fundamentally.

Things have changed. I no longer take future years for granted. I no longer expect the future to be rightfully mine. It's the wars and the violence and the sudden explosions of terror that have loosened my grip on my 5 year planner.

It changed who I am, what I think, how I feel. It changed my the entire core of my beliefs.

Please understand that I was never happy being labeled a liberal because I honestly don't think I was a liberal in the true sense of the word. But the attacks on this country and the ensuing emotions I went through led me down a path that I was headed down anyhow. 9/11 just pushed me there faster.

As I wrote on 10/29/02: I was never a full-fledged liberal. I never wanted to free Mumia, I always thought Michael Moore and Noam Chomsky were boorish fools, I detest the utlra liberal way of protesting things. For christ's sake, people. I drive an SUV. What kind of liberal would do that?

September 11 changed me forever. I'm sure it's changed every one of us, if in some small way. Some of us had larger, broader changes in our world view. I am one of them.

I've been engaging in a lot of self-therapy since last year. Part of that therapy is coming to grips with who and what I am, and not bending to suit the needs of other people. Part of that therapy has been taking medication so I can sift through the self-made anxiety and nervousness that made defining myself so hard. I can see into myself with a much clearer view now that I have removed the filters that stopped me before.I have taken a lot of flack for my stand on certain issues. Let it be known that I am not here to put out your point of view. If you want to be disappointed in my change of course, that's your right. But I am coming clean today and facing up to the direction in which my political compass has swung since last year. I am sliding towards the right.

Who was I on 9/11? Honestly, I don't know. And who am I now? How have I changed?

It's all right here in black and white. I'm not who I used to be and that's ok with me. I like where and who I am right now. I'm more passionate, I'm fiercer in some ways, but gentler in others. I'm more intropsective. And there's something I have inside of my that I didn't have before that day. It's like a black mark on my soul, or a weight on my heart. It's always there but I don't always remember it until I see something that reminds me, and then I suck in my breath and my stomach clenches and that lump rises again in my throat. It's a good thing to have, funny as that sounds. It's like someone pinching you when you are dreaming. A cold, bleak reminder of how the world can be.

That black mark is part of me now and I'm glad for its constant reminder that I should love while possible and do while I can and all those other Hallmark sentiments. Corny, yes, but they are good to carry around.

I wish it didn't take something like 3,000 dead people to get me here. But reality will do that to you sometimes. Wakes you up with a kick in the head.


Comments

It's coming. I starting writing it last night. I hope you don't mind if it's L-O-N-G. But it is decidedly about who I was and who I am now. And I am different even though my connection to 9/11 isn't nearly as personal as yours.

I think the "free Mumia" people should be considered leftists and not necessarily liberals. I know it's convenient to split the whole spectrum into left and right and then smoosh the views together, but ultimately liberality has to with openmindedness, progress, and extended civil freedoms to all. Leftism generally denotes a more radical approach to changing the world.

Similarly, I think conservatism best denotes a tendency to be suspicious of change and an attempt to preserve what is best with what we already have, whereas rightism is a philosophy akin to authoritarianism.

To a large extent, liberal and conservative core views are very centrist, at least here in the US, where people's family values tend to be conservative and the entire national project has long been successfully liberalizing.

Lefties and righties are out towards the fringes and are more about polarization, imho.

Sorry to quibble with your terminology, but I've been thinking about this a lot. I favor radical ideas, liberal goals, and conservative means myself.

Since 9/11 i have held others in this world in little regard, my beliefe in it's "humanity" has been lost. i was naive enough to believe that even with all our problems that the inhabitants of this planet wanted only the best for themselves and eventually each other. That is no longer the case. We now live in a world of boogey men and stone age gods, where conspiracy theories abound and facts no longer proove necessary.
i have, and always will be, been a believer in the best in men, but i no longer believe in most aspects of mankind.

If a conservative is a liberal who's been mugged, then I'm sure that there's a little more realpolitik in the general populace due to the city/nation-wide mugging that took place.

Maybe I was too far away from Ground Zero, vivid pictures and videotape notwithstanding. I'm pretty sure I haven't evolved as a person else or learned anything especially new. Since it isn't especially interested, I don't think I'll e-mail it to Tristan.

Personally, I'm a small "l" libertarian, basically conservative. But I liked Dennis Miller's assessment of himself, he didn't think of himself as conservative unless wanting to keep half your money and wanting to kill the people who want to kill you and your family first makes you a conservative. I don't think it does, also liking Bush doesn't make you one either, Bush is actually fairly liberal, 911 made people wake up (almost said it was a 'wake-up call', it was but that's a bad cliche now) if you didn't wake up and see there is a huge section of the world that wants us and our way of life dead, you're an idiotarian. It's not a left right thing, it's a wake the frell up thing.

It... shifted my outlook back 20+ years. "Enemy territory" describes it pretty well: before 9/11, I'd left those reflexes elsewhere.

Not all bad though [he says with a certain guilty feeling], the world is in living technicolor again. I find myself noticing and memorising the little things around me, because I was suddenly reminded how fragile and easily lost they were.

I still haven't comepletly come to terms with how my outlook has shifted. I'm still discovering ways in which it has shifted that I wasn't aware of until something sparks my notice.

I was a soldier. My father, all my uncles, and my (late) brother were fighting men.
I grew up in the Cold War, served in the late Sixties.
Nothing has changed for me. It's always something, and if you thought the Nineties were an exception, you weren't paying attention.
Nothing has changed for me, because, for me, nothing has changed except the uniform (figuratively speaking) of the Bad Guys.
The only difference is that I am more alert around what might be terrorist targets, in crowds, and I carry more first aid stuff in my car than I used to.
But nothing's changed.

Since 911 … I am more conscious of the people I love and in expressing my love to them directly … most of my phone calls end with “love you.” I don’t remember doing that before. Since 911 … since having military friends leave and stay gone in the war I am more conscious of how difficult life is for many and how good, how comfortable my life is … I complain less … I put more energy into cheering up others first … I strive to share my joys and my sorrows more responsibly and maturely.

Since 911 … my environment … the people … the conversations …. Life feels more introspective and supportive of those seeking a meaning in life including me. Wonder what it is? Don’t expect an answer … am grateful to be consciously enjoying the journey at last.