Thursday, May 23, 2013

Mother Nature's BLOW OFF

If you've watched the news or been on the internet at all this past week you've most likely been inundated with stories and images of the aftermath of the devastating tornado in Oklahoma.  Events like this usually make people stop instagramming photos of their lunch for five minutes and remind them to be grateful for what they have.  But after the five minutes their life returns to normal and the gratitude and news coverage fade away.

I personally sympathize with everyone in Oklahoma being the victim of a natural disaster myself.  Wait, that sounded weird.  Like when my grandmother tried to get reparations from the German government from the Holocaust even though she made it to America just in the nick of time was alive and well.  I'll explain.  I was in my senior year of college at USC when Hurricane Katrina hit New Orleans.  My family was fine and had evacuated, but my neighborhood was under water and it took about a month for the city to allow people back into it.  When they did there was bright orange spray paint on the front door of every house.  They should call the color "National Guard" or something because I've never had a color ingrained in my memory so specifically.  It had the date that they entered and how many bodies were found.

Then came the attempts at salvaging things.  For my family we only had water up to the ceiling of our first floor which meant that everything on the 2nd floor was pretty much okay.  When my parents evacuated they only took things that were irreplaceable which was mostly photographs (remember this was 2005.  It was pre-iPhone, Dropbox, and almost everything being digital) and some childhood artwork I'd done.

They had everything that was really important and we had insurance so the rest of the stuff in the house was in fact just stuff.  Whenever I'm asked about Katrina and people give me their sympathy I always politely thank them and tell them that it's just stuff.  And then, to this day, my eyes still well up with tears when I add, "But it was all of my stuff."   All of your things have memories attached to them and while it sounds silly to be so attached to material objects, it's more about the meaning of the objects and the loss of the object than the actual object. And you actually need to grieve the loss of them.  It's not like you're losing one thing.  It's almost everything and all at once. 

Luckily Hurricanes do not come without warning like tornadoes and earthquakes do.  But the people in Oklahoma whose houses were demolished didn't even have time to grab anything with sentimental value.  And while I'm sure they are all extremely grateful to be alive, their emotions about all of their possessions are probably going haywire.

So the point of this post is to try to remember to be grateful for what you have everyday.  Friends, family, relationships and even all of your things.  Because at the end of the day, none of us can put a price on sentimental value.


P.S.  Fuck you, Mother Nature.

If you'd like to help the people of Oklahoma, please donate here to the Red Cross.

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