Last week, there was a shooting at Florida State University. In the age of school shootings, gun control issues and other heated issues, I am not unused to seeing the news of shootings on the news. It’s a sad reality, but it’s true. However, I didn’t expect that it would ever happen to someplace that I called home.
FSU was the place where I found myself. Where I figured out, away from family and the town I grew up in for the first time, who I am. What I am doing. Where I am going. It was the place where I discovered what it was like to be defined by no terms but my own.
Last week, the security of that sense of home was shattered by the news I woke up to on Thursday morning. I wrote this post to share on a Facebook group, and at the time I knew it would become a blog post, but I wasn’t quite ready to share it until now. This is my reaction on the day of:
Today I am not courageous. I am self absorbed. I am frightened. I am hurting for a nameless group of people who were terrified out of their minds last night. I am trying not to bury myself in comfort mechanisms that don’t serve any purpose, and aren’t actually all that comforting, but they’re what I think I should do for some reason. I am trying to hold it together, and I’m failing.
But that’s okay. Today I’m allowed. I don’t have anything supremely important to do. I am just working towards finishing the day in one piece (or at least several large, easy to put back together pieces) and beginning again tomorrow.
I went to Florida State University. I spent four years in that library, in the middle of the computers on the main floor, hiding in corners of the research floors with earbuds in writing papers, chatting with my German classmates in the Starbucks for Stammtisch. I lived for two years in the dorm that is not 500 yards away from that same library. I sat on the steps. I hung out on the green. I directed freshmen to the research materials they needed.
And last night, someone shattered the safety of a full library three weeks before finals. Someone hurt my fellow Seminoles. And honestly, even living three hours away and being a student at another school completely, it still shakes me like I had been there. All of the news footage is almost too personal – I know that doorway, where it leads. I know those stacks. I know that display case… you get what I mean. You never think that it’s going to happen to you, in your home, where you live. But last night, for me, it did.
Today, I’m praying for families. For injured. For the family of the shooter. For the students who have to be brave enough to resume their normal lives tomorrow, and keep moving forward. They’re not going to be okay, but they’re going to do it anyway. And so will I.
But today, I’m allowed not to be courageous.”
Time marches on, as we go forward, we learn to heal, however hard it is.
A student, Fahram, was injured in the shooting, and is paralyzed as a result of his injuries. The news story about him can be found here: http://www.usatoday.com/story/news/nation/2014/11/25/fsu-shooting-victim-paralyzed/70072640/
You can donate to help offset his medical expenses through this YouCaring site.