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mixed emotions about Sandy

I’ve spent the past 36 hours reassuring people that I am fine. So, here’s a rambling update of a post for those of you who were wondering about my status in central NJ.

No, I am not injured.

Yes, I have food.

No, my car was not damaged.

Yes, I still have some power and my cell phone is charged up.

No, my family was not hurt or injured.

Yes, I did stay on campus, but my campus has turned into a refugee camp for evacuees from across the state and for evacuees from other campuses, including the one I lived on for three years.

I’m just unsure of how to react to it all. I’m mixed between grieving/guilt and feeling thankful/lucky. I’m surrounded by refugees who may have lost everything, whereas I’ve lost nothing, so it’s an emotional rollercoaster.

My family is without power and I feel really guilty. They’re coming over tomorrow, and my mom wants to watch the news. I don’t think anyone realizes how bad it was until you see the images on tv/ on the computer. It’s chilling. This morning, I felt really guilty about NOT going home by my family, especially when I realized I was better off than they were. Buttttt I felt like I needed to be here for my RAs and whoever else needed me. It’s in my blood to continuously help others, and I think I would’ve gone crazy if I weren’t helping others today.

I couldn’t help but feel incredibly guilty and privileged even more today. If I wasn’t blessed with the opportunity to go to grad school and live on the campus I live on, who knows where I’d be? In a weird twist of fate, I also accidentally live in a handicap-accessible apartment on campus. Due to its handicap-accessible status, there was a generator connected to my room and I had minimal power throughout last night and today before the building’s backup power finally kicked in tonight. If I weren’t in the handicapped apartment, I would’ve suffered like the rest of people on campus. However, the fluke in this system allowed me to take the duty phones from my RAs on one campus and charge them in my room on another so that they wouldn’t be disconnected in case of emergency once the power ran out. My “handicap” privilege was extremely useful here.

Before the storm really picked up, I baked hurricane cookies for my RAs to calm my nerves. Baking is soothing to me.

Also…is it weird that I’m excited to see all the entirely different columns and blog posts that will be posted these next few days? I have so much to say, but none of the words to say it. I’m hoping someone else will be able to find the words for the emotions I’m feeling.

A lot of the individuals being shown on the news have lost their vacation homes, even though a lot of the people living on the Jersey Shore are of lower socio-economic status. How will the world react to this natural disaster upon seeing the media’s interpretation of it? How does this disaster compare to Katrina? Will people make accurate comparisons, or will they be blindsided by the media?

I have so many memories that have made me who I am on the Jersey shore… Some of them suck, but they still made me who I am. Some are even memories I tried to forget, but when I saw the coverage of The Beach Bar being destroyed, or of AC, I started crying. It was so odd to be grieving the loss of memories that have caused me heartache in the past.

I’m feeling like part of my identity died, even if I’m more of a Central Jersey gal than a Jersey Shore Gal.

This is such an emotionally conflicting situation. Oy.

What are you feeling? How has Sandy affected you?

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