Nos cœurs sont avec vous.

It’s important to note that I do not speak French, but I took the title from someone I believe does (and I Googled it to make sure it was right) but if it *isn’t* correct, someone let me know? I don’t want to be offensive.

I had to look up Bastille Day, because I didn’t really know what it was. Turns out, it’s an important celebration because of the French Revolution. So I can understand why there were loads of people out today in France. I mean, in my city, during July 4th, there’s a little thing we call Red, White and Boom which draws half a million or so people-all for an independence celebration. And yet, it wouldn’t have even passed my radar, had not one vile thing occurred.

Just a month ago, I was writing the words about pain and sadness and frustration because someone felt the need to attack a group of citizens. A few months before that I spoke of how my heart hurt for Paris, and how love would conquer hate. And here we are once more. Seventy-seven people lost their lives today while they were celebrating freedom in their country and I am sure that more people were wounded. The truck which plowed into people was fully armed, all the way to explosives and grenades.

How do you tell people that you’re certain that the will of the many will outweigh the actions of the few? I grappled with that for a while after Pulse. How do you preach words of love and acceptance while friends and family members vanish instantly from your life? What can be said to heal people who just wanted to enjoy time with their families?

Nothing.

No words can be said to spare the pain, or ease it.

I remember just a couple years ago, I was at the funeral of a childhood friend who had died by suicide. I remember feeling so shaken because I couldn’t find the words which accurately described just how I felt, or to remove the weight and pain from my heart. And I looked at his family and realized that I couldn’t say anything-because words didn’t fix anything.

Words will do nothing so long as that is all they are. Well-wishes can only touch the surface of the pain and sadness which are and will be. It is only when they are followed by actions-by the continued efforts to value and protect life that words mean anything at all.

You see, it doesn’t matter if you spend all day speaking words of love and peace if that is all you do. You must live the life you speak of. You must live it in every action. And even then, the reality is-it just might not be enough.

I know this all sounds a little bleak. I find that each time something of this nature comes across my news, I am both disgusted by it and empassioned by it. We are all suffering. Each and every one of us. And we have to help each other.

“Unless someone like you cares a whole awful lot, nothing is going to get better. It’s not.” -The Once-ler.

Thankfulness, Day 15

I’m having such a hard time focusing on what I’m thankful for with concern reaching out for Paris and Lebanon and the victims of the earthquakes, as well as the funeral bombing in Baghdad. It hurts my heart, just as Ferguson did. It took me a good long while to decide what to even write today, as everything just seemed superficial in comparison. And what I inevitably came back to was compassion, empathy and unity.

  (I love this photo!)

Those words sound a lot like the script from V for Vendetta, and although I’ve made a post about Guy Fawkes, there are loads of life lessons that can be learned from those stories. Here is V’s introduction:

But on this most auspicious of nights, permit me then, in lieu of the more commonplace soubriquet, to suggest the character of this dramatis persona. Voila! In view humble vaudevillian veteran, cast vicariously as both victim and villain by the vicissitudes of fate. This visage, no mere veneer of vanity, is a vestige of the “vox populi” now vacant, vanished. However, this valorous visitation of a bygone vexation stands vivified, and has vowed to vanquish these venal and virulent vermin, van guarding vice and vouchsafing the violently vicious and voracious violation of volition. The only verdict is vengeance; a vendetta, held as a votive not in vain, for the value and veracity of such shall one day vindicate the vigilant and the virtuous. Verily this vichyssoise of verbiage veers most verbose, so let me simply add that it’s my very good honour to meet you and you may call me V.

Although I love his aliteration, the eloquence is somewhat lost on our generation. So allow me to explain: 

“On this luckiest night, allow me, in place of common name, give a fittingly dramatic pseudonym. A theatrical veteran, chosen as both the victim and villain by the circumstance of fate. This personality, not simply vanity, is an outfit of the “members of the public” now long gone. However, this heroic instance of a long gone struggle stands alive, promising to destroy these bribed and deadly rats, holding vice and protecting the violently vicious and adamant violation of free choice. The only option is vengeance; a blood feud, held as a memorial candle notin vain, for the value and strength of it shall one day clear the steadfast and virtuous of blame. Truly, this soup of words teeters on being too wordy, so let me simply add that it is my very good honour to meet you, and you may call me V.”

I LOVE this introduction. Why? Because it breathes of the hope for a new world-a unified one. One where corruption and terrorism is no longer a thing, but where those who are just and virtuous will regain power and those who are corrupt will be no longer in power. And that’s what we need now. We need peaceful individuals to rise up, creating a unified world where hope, honor and empathy are the currencies, and hate terror and corruption are reduced to nothing. 

  So I guess, today I am thankful for people who agree to try to use love and peace as glue for our world. We are one world, not many countries. We are one human species, not several races (which do not exist). We are united, not split by anger and hatred. And I am thankful for people who also believe that. 

Thankfulness, The 14th Edition

Where to begin. I’ve been typing these blogs for two weeks now and I wanted this one to be about my new job and my life direction. And then yesterday happened. And now, I find myself at a need to say something about all of the above. So while I will get to the thankful part (the ability to make a difference), I must give a little bit of background first.

Yesterday, although I didn’t have class, I got up early, got dressed (complete with my hand-ornament cup of coffee) and prepared myself for an interview. I had confidence, but you know how those things are practically designed to induce fear regardless. (On a sidenote, I’d like to do a blog on the whole process, as I have sat on both the interviewee and the intrviewer side of the table and I think it’s important for people to know what happens.) So, on Friday the 13th, a lucky day for people like me, I walked into my interview and got the job! I am now the Graduate Studies Administrative Assistant for the Department of Anthropology. I work right under the grad program coordinator and she’s the nicest person I may have ever met. Anyway, so the job is mine!

Right after my interview, I went to see a most trusted professor. I’ve been really rethinking my life A LOT and I needed someone who has “been there, done that” to tell me what I needed to hear. So while I’ve been floating down a path of anthropology, I never really felt like I had one path in particular to belong to. I started as a bio student, switched to anth and couldn’t decide between physical or cultural. When I floated to the cultural side, I wanted to study the occult, religion and mythology. more specifically, the etiology of those things. But no one in academia is nearly as interested in those things as I am and I knew I would never get a job doing what I am most passionate about. So I put a spin on my idea and decided to focus on religious extremism and violence. She helped me plot down which direction to take that idea and everything. I owe her my future, basically and I will find a way to repay that debt. I decided to steer myself into international studies and diplomacy, through a joint anthropology and law degree. My future had a direction as of noon yesterday.

And then last night happened. A terrorist attack on Paris, and from what I’ve read, there was one in Lebanon as well. I was in third grade when 9/11 happened here in the States. I didn’t understand what it meant, nor the implications it would have on my life. But Pennsylvania really isn’t that far from Ohio and life changed, slowly at first and then more and more. So I understand that France has changes in store. I offer my prayers and thoughts to them, but also the Islamic community with no ties to ISIL, as they will most likely face prejudices far too grat from far too many ignorant people.

  So if I had any sliver of a doubt that international diplomacy was the direction I wanted to head before, I have absolutely none now. I have found my way to help the world, one peaceful mission at a time.

My heart goes out to those who have perished.