The weekend of Friday November 13th was truly a Friday the 13th weekend. As my thoughts and prayers go out to those effected in Paris, Beirut, Mexico, Japan, Lebanon and Kenya, I also sit with a heavy heart aboard my second one-way flight to India. I hate leaving loved ones worried when so much hate is being spread among the world, especially as I am journeying to the other side, so far from their reach if anything were to happen. This goodbye was definitely the hardest. A year is a long time. 365 days of growth, memories, and aging – Will I look the same when I return? What parts of me will become more mature or more defined? In the past 10 months since my first departure to India, I can’t even measure how far I’ve come. It’s intangible. I think my heart had to grow six sizes bigger to fit all the love I feel. I think my arms stretched at least a foot so I could embrace new friends and loved ones, and my brain could easily burst out of my skull at any moment from all the knowledge I’ve gained, especially from all the trial and error I have done in the work field, in love and in myself.
I’m a traveller and I come from a Western country. I’m supposed to be scared and I have every reason to be. I board planes more than I board buses. I enter more countries that look like ideal targets more than I enter safe zones. I am sometimes naïve. I give everyone the benefit of the doubt and all my trust until proven they are not worthy. It’s my friendly nature and my energy that refuses to think every person is evil and that there is an ulterior motive behind their actions and words yet, I suddenly seem to have been let down more than enough times. How am I so strong yet so weak when faced with such situations?
Terror (noun) – extreme fear.
Terrorism (noun) - the unofficial or unauthorized use of violence and intimidation in the pursuit of political aims.
I stand with and by every life that has been affected by acts of terror, whether targeted individually or in mass groups. I want to learn to be fearless but it is one of my greatest challenges. How do we live fearlessly when it’s the biggest strategy used not only in extremist groups and in political contexts but also in the media, the workplace and throughout society. What is the first step? How do we move forward?
We all want to make a difference but no one knows where to start.