That last line. You can sleep safely here tonight.
Let me digress for a moment- I've diagnosed myself with general anxiety disorder, which is exactly what it sounds like: a general sense of anxiety about things that really shouldn't be that scary... things that are not rationally anxiety inducing. I'm newly anxious about most things, actually. I'll never walk alone at night, and any restaurant, movie theater, mall that I walk in could really be the next Portland, Aurora, or Newtown. While a little fear and heightened awareness is healthy, it's scary and unfair and horrible to always assume the worst.
I will be taking self-defense classes and seeing a therapist regularly in the fall, for your information.
*Thumbs up; We're A-Ok.*
I don't know where it comes from- the anxiety and paranoia and all-consuming fear. And to be honest, I feel awful when I judge the person who sits across from me on the train and assume they've decided they want to hurt me and they know how they're going to do it. I realize how irrational that is as I type it. That is part of GAD... knowing the fear is irrational but being afraid of it all the same. But I think it comes partially from the breaking news alerts that come to my phone about a person who has lost their marbles and decided to take it out on the innocent people in the wrong place at the wrong time.
But not all people are bad. I know that. And even the bad news has a silver lining. Mr. Rogers said that when scary things were on the news, his mom told him to "look for the helpers. You will always find people who are helping."
And when Linda Ellerbee told me I could sleep safely in this country tonight, shivers went down my spine. Because even through my self-diagnosed GAD, I believe her with my whole heart. Because sleep safely I can. Not all people are bad. And where they are bad people, there are helpers. There are also reporters, who are helpers in their own right.
I have met my match and a true role model in Ms. Ellerbee who believes curious kids deserve to know the truth, too. (And not in a dumbed down way... but that kids should truly understand things.) A genuine journalist, a sweet heart and a kind soul.
Andy Cohen tells a story about the Oklahoma City Bombing and how after 4 days of constant news coverage, he took a shower and sobbed. And then he sobbed the whole way home. Sobbed for the victims, sobbed for shutting off what he felt inside in order to tell the story for people who couldn't do it themselves.
So when I question how to do this, how to shut off the self-diagnosed-general-anxiety-disorder human inside, and become unfeeling and separated, and let the first responders respond, and let the reporters report, Mr. Rogers and Linda Ellerbee have taught me what to do. Look for the helpers. You will always find people who are helping.
And because of them, you can sleep safely here tonight.
You heard it here first,