Finding My Smile Again: Post Friday the Thirteenth 2015

*On the anniversary of the terrorist attacks in Paris one year ago I publish this blog post today to remind us that so much can happen in one year. In one year we can heal from great tragedy, we can grow, we can move on and learn that things can change and manifest in ways we would never imagine. So as we face the reality of the 2017 election, we can take heed, we can take a collective deep breath, and know that indeed much can happen in a year. 

I am a walker, among many other things. Walking brings my heart and soul peace and joy. As I walk I rarely am without my smile, for it is the one thing I have that I can share with everyone. It is the one way I reflect back to the world the love and peace I hope for all who walk our planet. So no matter what city or country I may be walking, I offer the same, for there is no language barrier in exchanging a smile.

On my walks I occasionally encounter someone who refuses to smile. Preferring to look down at their feet, avoiding eye contact.  I would think “Avoidance is no way to experience the world.” I would think “Avoidance not only keeps us from experiencing pain, it keeps us from experiencing much of anything.” We all know people who seem to live their lives ruled by fear and avoidance. Well for the first time, I felt I had the experience to help me understand “closed off” and “avoidance”. In the wake of Friday the 13th, 2015 upon returning home from Paris where the whole city was experiencing a kind of pain and violence one can not put to words, I found myself wholly debilitated by sadness and grief. The kind of sadness and grief that left me paralyzed, wishing only to escape and avoid. Feeling a sense of urgency and panic to avoid feeling, escape is what I did.   With my bedroom as my shield from the world and all it’s realities, I wrapped myself in a cocoon of self-pity and there I remained, feeling nothing but a gnawing pit in my stomach.

You wonder what brought me back to reality? Back to my smile? Oh there was no one thing, it was a multitude of experiences, people and love that gave me the courage to return. The breath of my son sleeping next to me, his sweet face reflecting innocence. The memory of the countless people, who like me, just wanted to leave Paris and be home. We pooled our courage and supported one another with our stories of survival. We touched our Parisian friends on the arms and lent them our support as they start on their journey to healing. The knowledge that a familiar face would be waiting for me at the airport. The family and friends who sent their love and support when I needed it most. The words of one of my best friends reminding me time and time again that I would be okay and remained the voice of reason and calm when there was no reason and calm in sight. The knowledge that I am a mom, with two children who desperately need me to be okay. And as I sit here in a place of comfort and familiarity, far from the tragedy of Friday the 13th in Paris, it is here that the whole picture becomes clear. The final puzzle pieces falling into place allowing me to make some sense of my experiences and allow me to begin to understand how one gets to the point of avoidance. It is here, home, where I find myself once again. Though I may not ever be same, though I still experience moments of overwhelming sadness, the events of Friday the 13th forever etched in my heart, I find myself slowly finding my smile once again.

It is here that I remind us that this life isn’t a sprint, it’s a marathon.  Take it slow and steady, be gentle with yourself and stay hydrated.


Your Delightfully Urban Blogger~

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