One of my favorite authors is Jonathan Safran-Foer. He’s a genius writer who can make your laugh until your ribs feel like they’ll break and then turn around and have you sobbing on the floor for hours. In his novel Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close, his 9 year-old protagonist, Oskar, describes his feelings of sadness as having “heavy boots.”
“I didn’t understand why I needed help, because it seemed to me that you should wear heavy boots when your dad dies, and if you aren’t wearing heavy boots, then you need help.”
Since Friday, I’ve been in heavy boots. I know the media is still bombarding us with new information about the tragedy in Connecticut, but it seems that the world around me has all but forgotten that it ever occurred. Friends who were blowing up Facebook with requests for prayer on Friday are now back to posting photos of their Christmas cocktails parties and status updates are more often than not egocentric (this is a general survey and I have to add that several friends are still posting about the tragedy and voicing their concerns).
I’m not trying to sound “better-than” by saying it, but I can’t shake the extreme sadness that hit me like a baseball bat on Friday afternoon. I’ve spent the whole weekend trying to think of something, anything I can do…and I’m at a loss.
I want to stand up and yell at someone. Tell someone how I’m feeling and what I think needs to happen.
But who do I tell?
I’m not important. I’m an 18 year-old college freshman, still financially dependent on my parents. I have a high school diploma, a semester of college under my belt, and that’s it. No money, no fancy degrees, no connections…
More importantly, I have no voice.
Additionally, my problem is I want people to understand my side and agree with it. I want Republicans to concede to stricter gun control. I want the Westboro Baptist Church to be recognized as a hate group. I want mental illnesses to be recognized as legitimate and for there to be a federally-funded treatment system for the mentally unstable.
And I can’t make those things happen. I can’t make people agree with me. I can’t appeal to higher powers in our government. The fact that I can’t change these things frustrates me beyond belief.
I want to write a letter to every family of every victim.
I guess by now I’m just rambling. I don’t know what point I’m trying to make, only that there is something inside of me that can’t accept this.
Maybe you’ll begin to question it, too.
PS – If you would like to send your sympathies to Sandy Hook Elementary, the address can be found below. Also, there are multiple funds being set up to support the community of Sandy Hook itself and I have left links to these charity’s websites under the school’s address.
Sandy Hook Elementary School
12 Dickenson Drive
Sandy Hook, CT