Believe me, I was not naive before this. Everyone I know has had terrible things happen in their lives, including myself and aspects of my own childhood. As a fairly paranoid person, I observe (and occasionally dramatize) the enormity of bad stuff around me. I have never not looked behind my front seat, for example, because I just assume that somebody will be sitting there with a knife one day. I also am afraid of driving because, perhaps more rationally, I know that literally tens of thousands of people die each year from it. Also, I have expensive insurance and do not want it to raise, but that’s beside the point.
I am constantly aware of sexism. I am knowledgeable about rape and rape statistics and rape culture. I am knowledgeable (though, much less so) about war and famine. I notice dangerous shit all over the place and yet, I still have never once wavered in my desire to give birth to or adopt three children.
But seeing the headline that just had the names and ages…I imploded in a way I have never felt before. Just reading the number “6″ that many times, over and over, I couldn’t breathe. I was alive when Columbine and September 11th and many other horrifying things happened, but I think I was too young to process much besides, “People do bad things and I’m very sad right now.”
Instead, I am feeling so overwhelmingly upset, I don’t know how to handle it. I don’t know how to react besides horror and awe and a now huge, sickening fear that my lifelong dream (i.e. my future kids) could someday be destroyed because of one person with one cruel action.
I am quite certain that I’m not the only person whose feelings regarding kids — whether they exist already or not — have changed in the past week. My mom, who works at an elementary school, just held me for a long while because I couldn’t stop crying. I have read so many stories about petrified parents who have never been afraid to send their kids to school, but are now having to force themselves to let them go each morning. However hard I’ve taken this news, I can only imagine the fear that people who are already parents are experiencing. And then, one step further, I don’t think I possibly can imagine the pain that those who were directly affected by Sandy Hook are now feeling.
But I can tell you how it’s affected me, if you’re interested in the highly distressed views of a now slightly more jaded 23-year-old.