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Reflections, eleven years later

Today is September 11th, 2012.

For the past eleven years, September 11th has been a day of solemn reflection and temporary patriotism across the country.

A 9/11 tribute from my freshman year of college

This year, I have been able to look at September 11th through new eyes. I am student teaching tenth graders, and, for most of them, September 11th is just another patriotic day on the calendar. They were 4 or 5 years old when the terrorist attacks occurred, and  if they remember anything at all, they just remember the images that are bombarded across television sets year after year. Of the students who have actually memories of that date, most of the students just recall their parents or guardians being upset, or a lot of people leaving school early.

For me, the day has a completely different meaning. I was thinking about the significance of 9/11 in my life earlier this morning, and I realized that I am 22 years old. 9/11 happened 11 years ago. This means that for half of my life, I have been living in a post- 9/11 world.


A lot of my students have no personal recollections or memories of 9/11. Today, I ended up explaining to them how different the world was 11 years ago. Their minds were blown when I told them there was a time when there was hardly any security at airports, that you were allowed to bring liquids on planes, and that there were very few restrictions on packages you sent in the mail. To them, they have only known a life filled with extra security and safety precautions. Terror alerts are as normal to them as thunderstorm alerts, and terrorist is a casually used word in their media-filled lives. They only know what the Twin Towers look like as a result of “really old movies” (their words, not mine!), and the 9/11 memorial is just a construction project that has been going on for a really long time. September 11th is just another day to wear red, white, and blue, but they don’t get off from school for it. They know that it is socially acceptable to feign sadness, remorse, and a lack of understanding of the events that surround this day, but they do not remember the actual emotions that this day brings out in some people.

For me, I am blessed. I didn’t lose any loved ones on 9/11, although my aunt was in the last subway car that went to the World Trade Center. She and my uncle both survived working in the city that day, and for that I will always be grateful.

A few months ago, for my Teachers as Writers course, I dug up an old journal I had started on September 11th, 2001. I was convinced that the world was going to end, that Osama bin Laden was going to kill me and my family, and that life as I knew it was going to end. After reading through my neglected journal, I wanted to give my eleven year old self a hug and tell her it’s going to be okay. I was so filled with fear of the unknown, like many Americans at the time. In a weird sort of way, being able to revisit my thought process as a child allowed me to realize how much has changed and how much has remained the same in our crazy world.

I haven’t looked at Facebook yet today, but I can almost guarantee that when I do, I will see a lot of “Never forget” statuses. I can also almost guarantee that there will be moments of twisted 9/11 jokes, political ideologies, anger, hatred, and temporary patriotism. I respect that everyone has the right to their memories, emotions, and opinions, but I also hope that all of you will remember that some people are also still suffering various levels of grief and emotions 11 years later. Some people were personally affected by September 11th, 2001, and others were not. I hope with all my heart that everyone who reads this blog will think before joining the bandwagon, and that you all will be respectful of the lives that were lost eleven years ago.

I leave you with the song “Where Is The Love?” by The Black Eyed Peas. We used it to discuss life post 9/11 in my classroom today.


It just ain’t the same, always unchanged
New days are strange, is the world insane
If love and peace are so strong
Why are there pieces of love that don’t belong 

And then there was that one time where everything awesome happened…

This week has been the best week ever.

Remember that fabulous show from VH1? I do.

I met the host, Chuck Nice, when I was a freshman in college.

Seriously, this week has been fantabulous.

I began my student teaching, and it wasn’t a complete disaster. In fact, I’d even venture to say it went pretty well. (I’ll probably post a separate post about that.)

My new job has been going pretty well, and I got my first paycheck today. That led to me grocery shopping like an adult and splurging on 20 yogurts, some sushi, and chicken. Yummmm.

There was a yogurt sale…can you tell???

Finally, what I’ve been waiting to share… why this has been the Best. Week. EVER.

I’m cutting to the chase… I’m one of nine NATIONAL FINALISTS to become Verizon’s next Ultimate Insider.

This whole blogging thing/ having my own website thing is really working out for me, and I found out last night that I’m one of nine (!!) national finalists to be the next Verizon Insider. If I won, I’d get a gig with Verizon through my blog where they’d give me a smart phone and pay me to attend movie premieres, interview celebrities, go to other cool events, and blog about it. I’d really love to win so if you want to vote for me (and share the link) I’d reeeeeeally appreciate it. You can vote as many times as you want by clicking here. 

You know what’s even cooler than finding out you’re a finalist in a national contest to be Verizon’s Ultimate Insider?

Showing up in AfterEllen’s Morning Brew by Trish Bendix.

I’ve blogged about AfterEllen before so you know they’re pretty awesome… but this really was the cherry on top of my week.

Want to make me even happier? Seriously, go vote for me to be the next Verizon Ultimate Insider. There’s a snarky essay I wrote you can read, and a hilarious video of me acting like a fool in front of a camera. Plus, ya know, it’s good for the gays if I win. This is sort of like if Rachel Maddow were running for President… if Rachel Maddow were a femme, and a blogger, and instead of President she was running to be an interviewer on E!…

Let me add ginger to your sass and choose me for this fabulous role!

This is what the next Verizon Ultimate Insider could like. Just sayin’.

Looks like I made it…

I’ve been a busy (wifi-less) bee since arriving in NYC for BlogHer12 yesterday afternoon! This is a brief post just saying that I made it, I’m having the time of my life, and I’m in love with BlogHer!

I’m not going to blog about my experiences until I have time to think and gather my thoughts, but until then I’ll leave you with this lovely gem from my train ride in to NYC yesterday. FYI… NJ Transit lied. BlogHer ’12 is anything but Hell. <3