When I was small I was afraid of Clowns. I have no idea why, but you have to agree, they are creepy!
At the age of 13, the sound of aeroplanes began to bother me, this made perfect sense. After witnessing the horror of September 11th on the news and the adults around me unable to justify/explain what was going on, being a little apprehensive of this new world seems reasonable.
In that same year, at the age of 13, my cousin and friend died. He was only 16 years old and in my young mind that made no sense – actually at 27 it still doesn’t! As far as I knew, only ‘old’ people died, He had no business dying so young. As time went on and the whole story became clearer I understood less and less.
In a nutshell, He had been out on his moped and was hit by a car on a T junction. The driver had taken a substance similar to LSD and in his inebriated state had failed to be sure the road was clear before pulling out. In the car with this man was a woman, a teacher from my school. In realising the severity of the accident, the woman ran away from my dying cousin, taking her first aid knowledge with her and leaving her drug addled boyfriend to deal with the fallout.
She kept her job at my High School and he was sent to some sort of substance abuse counselling. Justice.
This forced me to look at my parents, my sisters, my family and my friends in a new light. At 13 years old I became very aware of the mortality of these people and the possibility that they could all die at any moment.
At 17, I remember standing in a bank in Ireland. I had been in the country for any hour tops when I looked up at the TV screen and saw London under attack. I remember thinking, What is happening? Why London? Where is next? In those initial stages, nothing but shock and fear registered.
One week before, my sister and I had been visiting recruitment agencies in London. Exactly a week to the day – to the hour actually – before the 7/7 bombings, my sister and I had been on the underground heading towards one of her appointments.
As I stood in the bank and the numbers of dead and injured were being speculated, I began to worry about family and friends. Living half an hour by train from Central London was less of a benefit all of a sudden.
In 2015 alone we have seen such scenes of horror that have shocked, angered and disgusted the world. The Charlie Hebdo massacre, Tunisia, the Russian plane attack to name a few, along with the image of the Syrian child washed up on the beach and the stories of refugees desperate to ensure their families safety.
I will be glad to see the back of 2015!
All of these attacks on humanity, the attack on all that we hold dear, leaves me with a sense of dread.
But I am not afraid any more. I am certainly not desensitised, but I refuse to be afraid of of things I have no influence to effect. I will feel the fear, I will acknowledge it but I will not be afraid.
On Friday 13th November 2015 at around 9:20pm a breaking news alert appeared on Twitter. I immediately turned the news on and sat watching in horror as the full extent of the attacks unfolded.
Shortly after, a hashtag began trending on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and all sorts of social media that I am ignorant to. #PorteOuverte
#PorteOuverte lit the streets of Paris on the darkest of nights.
Police told the Parisians to find shelter and safety and to stay there until instructed otherwise. At the same time this hashtag began tending, the people of Paris were opening their doors and their hearts to strangers in need, offering safety to anyone who needed it.
As police cleared the streets and called for all to stay inside, the taxi drivers refused and spent the remainder of the night driving around picking up their fellow human being and driving them to safety, no fee.
The worst of humanity prompting the very best of humanity.
While the safety of our countries is at risk, the constant that cannot be effected is what remains in the hearts of the citizens of the world. The hope, the compassion and the empathy we feel for our fellow man will never be extinguished.
With this in mind -I am not afraid.