Sixteen Years Later

It seems each generation has that one day in history where they can remember exactly where they were and what they were doing when they heard the devastating news. From Kennedy, Martin Luther King Jr., the Challenger, Pearl Harbor and so many others it seems like we mark history with horror.

My date, like so many others is 9/11.

I can still remember the climactic moment when our principal came over the intercom and informed the school that The World Trade Center was hit by a plane. I can remember my teachers running around trying to get a hold of friends or family. I can remember not wanting to watch the television as the towers fell. To this day, I’m glad I had my head down in that moment.

It’s been sixteen years since I stepped foot on the grounds of The World Trade Center. The last time just months before that fateful day. May 2001, a field trip earned by hard work and some begging of money from my parents. I didn’t want to go at first, but something inside of me, call it an inner voice or intuition, told me to go because I may never have the chance again.

That seems pretty foreseeing considering what would happen just four months later. Back then it was more, I knew my parents would never take me to New York City than the idea that the buildings would be gone.

Sixteen years later and I finally made my way back. As I approached World Trade Center One an overwhelming sadness filled me. Tears filled the brim of my eyes and I held back the suffocating feeling of change. This was not a good change, this was a hurtful change. My thoughts stayed silent as I approached the South Tower memorial.

Observing those around me I could see how much our world has changed. From disposable cameras to selfie sticks, from two powerful standing towers to two crying water memorials. Why were people taking selfies? Thousands of people had died a horrific death and here they were posing like models on the trees, benches, and even up against the memorial itself. This wasn’t a place for a duck face. This was a place of unbeknownst sacrifice.

Being a teenager I couldn’t fully understand what was happening when 9/11 happened. As an adult, I realize now that there are some things completely out of our hands that will never have answers. In the museum, there are pictures and names along with remains of those who died that day. They made a sacrifice for our country, they didn’t know it was going to happen, they didn’t know that their lives would mean something to someone they never met. They didn’t know that they were not going home that night.

Walking the museum I thought about the travel ban, the hovering fear many have and of my friends who see the discrimination every day. The argument that we can never let something like this happen again is understandable. That day marks a point in my history that I pray no other generation has to go through. But as I read the arguments surrounding the current proposed Travel Ban I question if anyone really understands what happened that day?

Do they know it wasn’t just white men and woman, Christians and American’s who died that day? Do they know that youngest to die was an unborn child? Do they know that not everyone working that day was a CEO or someone of wealth? Do they know that The World Trade Center does not just represent the ideal image of America?

  • 28 Muslims individuals died on 9/11 because of terrorist**
  • 324 Jewish individuals died on 9/11 because of terrorist**
  • 61 Countries had victims die on 9/11 because of terrorist**
  • 372 Foreigners died on 9/11 because of terrorist**
  • 177 Hispanic males died on 9/11 because of terrorist**
  • 81 Hispanic females died on 9/11 because of terrorist**
  • 136 Non-Hispanic Black males died on 9/11 because of terrorist**
  • 79 Non-Hispanic Black females died on 9/11 because of terrorist**
  • 122 Asian/Pacific Islander males died on 9/11 because of terrorist**
  • 54 Asian/Pacific Islander females died on 9/11 because of terrorist**
  • 1,659 White Males died on 9/11 because of terrorist**
  • 407 white females died on 9/11 because of terrorist**

“I do not use the word Islamic to describe the cowards behind the attack, that gives them power that they do not own.”

As I made my way around the memorial and museum I felt the final impact of grief overcome me. I’ve been here, I’ve walked these grounds, and yet nothing will ever be the same. Many people I know think that we should hold hate for what happened on 9/11, to be angry about that day and all the lives lost.

I am angry, but my anger is not directed at other victims, the ones everyone is so afraid of. They did not fly those planes that day, they did not decide to attempt to take down America. They watched just like the rest of the world in horror as hate became our biggest enemy.

Sixteen years later and I finally understand, 9/11 was not about the economy, religion or the free world. 9/11 was about hate. Hate is a strong word, one that can literally destroy. So when I walked through the museum, looking at the faces of all who made an unwilling sacrifice I realized that no matter your color, race, religion, gender or age, hate can truly destroy you.

I know many will disagree with my stance on the Travel Ban and I know many will never fully understand what I feel about 9/11, but someday my generation will no longer be around and I hope that when that happens the world is no longer afraid of the simple emotion of hate.

**Some of these numbers may not be exact.
*https://english.alarabiya.net/articles/2011/09/11/166286.html
*https://majorityrights.com/weblog/comments/how_many_jews_died_at_the_world_trade_center_on_911/
*http://brilliantmaps.com/9-11-victims/
*https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Casualties_of_the_September_11_attacks

 

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Filling in the Cracks

I tend to fall on the wayside of writing especially when life throws me lemons. I’ve been home from Europe for three months now and I have yet to write about it. Ironically I find it hysterical that my friends and family are just now receiving my postcards as well. Guess in a way it was really a reminder for me to write.

The stories aren’t fresh, but they are very vibrant within my mind. If I wrote about everything that happened just the day before I would have little time to reflex and absorb the lessons I learned that are now incorporated into my life.

When I got back from my trip there where parts I didn’t want to talk about. They are personal and deep to the point that I actually sat down with my therapist for a few weeks mulling over how to handle them. This journey of traveling and trying to find myself has only lead me to truly realize that some lessons are meant to be only cherished by me. And that while some of the pain we experience in life can be drastic and earth shattering, it doesn’t mean we are broken.

Many people travel right after a break up or a huge life change that shocks them and messes up their identity. It’s a hope that you will find yourself, build a new you and come back even stronger. But what if you come back weaker? What if you come back weaker only to realize that you are strong. What if you come back stronger only to realize that home is what makes you weaker?

Leaving behind hurt and pain to gain some possibility of newness has its risks. But in the end, we get one life so why not make it the best life?

I will confess I came home weaker than when I left. I regretted some of my decisions and choices, but as I moved forward in my reflections of my trip I started to see how much easier it was to bounce back. How much easier it was to fight the pain and mental struggles instead of wallowing in my bed for months on end. Three months since coming back I realized that my weaker moment turned into my strongest moment as I realized my fears and self-worth where nothing of what I had seen before.

I look in the mirror and I see the reflection of myself with a smile, a poise of confidence I once didn’t have, and a love for even the things I hate. I look in the mirror and I see the scars both emotionally and physically, but I also see the hard work that it took to mend those back together.

Like the Japanese art of Kintsugi, where broken pottery is repaired with gold, I too have filled in my cracks.
I have filled them in with empowerment, courage, bravery, education, sexuality, adventure, poise and class. I have filled them in with love, beauty, kindness, and tenderness. I have filled them in so that next time I won’t crack so easily. This is what I learned from my trip to Europe.

Sick travels

I haven’t had a chance to make new videos in two weeks mostly because I’m still recovering from the horrible stomach bug that decided to hit me on Thanksgiving morning. At one point I thought death would have been sweater than recovering, but I was wrong so now I’m trying to catch up.

So in the sick spirit (pun intended) of the holidays and traveling lets talk about a few things to think about when packing, traveling and in the season of flu, colds and stomach bugs.

1. Build a medical bag

This is a smaller version of your medicine cabinet at home. Stock it with medications like Tylenol, Imodium, cough drops, eye drops, band aids, and any other medicines you would normally use within your days of being sick. I usually bring one small box of each item I use, knowing I’m not likely to use it, but rather have it near by just incase.

2. Rest but keep going

Being sick can be anything from having a sunburn to the flu or even breaking a bone on your travels. Heat and sun are my worst enemies when it comes to traveling. I get migraines and have suffered from heat exhaustion more times than I can count. While laying in bed and just chilling out for the day and wasting precious travel days I will lessen my agenda. Meaning, instead of hitting 3 places for the day I’ll decide on one place that hits the top of my list and making my way there then meandering throughout the city at a pace that allows me to enjoy the day while fighting the exhaustion. This will usually mean hitting up local shops and getting a lot of my souvenir shopping done.

3. Drink Water

This may sound like motherly advice or redundant, but keeping hydrated is extremely helpful to staying up to par on travel. Our bodies are made up of 60% water, without replenishing this it can make for a disaster on your immune system by weakening it to the airborn viruses and bacterias that float around in a plane, train or sit on the door handles and bus seats you will be encountering.

4. Keep your hands clean

Ok ok, I’m not trying to sound like a mother, but seriously this is the best advice I can give you to avoid colds, flus and stomach viruses. Germs are everywhere, and while you may not be able to reach a sink with running water, advances in technology have allowed for us to have a few other options. Such as hand sanitizers. This will help keep those germs at bay until you can reach a sink and wash your hands clean.

History of Us

Growing up I lived in a house where history was instilled into me like water, it was our way of life. Almost every weekend, my parents dressed me and my brother up in itchy wool clothes, him in pants and a white shirt, me in a skirt and cape, where they thought it would be “fun” for us to go and tell the world about how history was made during the revolutionary war. Seriously, this was our families thing.

I stepped away from this hobby around the age of 10, but the hobby never left my family. Now my dad gets paid to give living history presentations on a weekly basis here in Philadelphia. What I got besides the love for history, is the knowledge and appreciation of what men and women sacrificed for this country to be born. Our land was not handed to us, it was not earned either. It was stolen from the Native American’s, in which it was then fought for by the British army.

Those who came over to this land, the ones who fought for the land from the Native American’s are now the one’s who have relatives telling others who come here to leave if they don’t like it. Whether it’s over gun laws, religion, freedom of speech, or government policies; our opinions do not count towards the understanding of our country.  Hypocrisy of our nation is that when we don’t like the opinions of others, we fight for our rights even if they hurt those around us.

That’s the history of US.

Living in America, the land of possibilities and dreams, is probably the best thing on earth. You get a chance and that is a luxury many countries don’t give their people. A chance to build on their dreams, their wants, to move past the struggles of their homeland and out of the expectations of what their class, race or gender would have placed them in. America gives everyone a chance, if we just gave each other a chance.

These last few months, let alone the last few weeks have been interesting. From the news to social media, the arguments just get louder and stronger. But what seems to be forgotten is that we are all immigrants here (except for Native American’s) we all started somewhere else, whether it’s from grandparents or great great great great great grandparents, someone had to have made the first step to allow for you the chance to express your opinion.

However, what we as the American people have seemingly never really done well, is listen to other people. So now’s the time to change the history of US and make it better, make our melting pot of a country become a better world for everyone. For your kids, grand kids or even relatives you will never meet, because all you did was listen.

Starting Over on this New Adventure

I started this blog over a year ago in hopes of building onto a novel that I was in the process of writing. In a way it was for me to continue my en devours as a writer, instead, I wound up forgetting about it and putting the book on the back burner.

Allison is a character my novel that I’m writing, but honestly Allison is me. She’s trying to find herself in a world full of lost love, lost chances, broken hearts, confusion, abandonment, and hope. I have taken a lot of time to think about what to do with this character and novel to come to the conclusion that while I asked for help on the research of getting it done, I honestly just need to live it myself.

So I’m working on pulling together my blog and vlog (yep I’m on YouTube!) about traveling as a single girl in a world of uncertainty.

Allison is not lost, she’s in my heart and hopefully as I adventure into unknown worlds her story can continue to write itself. But for now, I hope you join me as I bring the pieces together and build this blog into something that’s much bigger than me. My hope is that you join in the conversation, whether through my blog or vlog or social media where I can answer your questions as I show you my world of travel.

So I’m starting over, just like every one, it just takes a little faith and a big leap to get started.


queenbeemek

I’m Melissa, I’m from the suburbs of Philadelphia, PA. I still live in the same home I grew up in. Not by choice, but it’s working out the way it’s suppose too. For years I focused on my career in comedy, until I became completely burnt out. I wasn’t happy, I was always trying to impress someone else, and my topics where starting to shape my image into something I didn’t want to be remembered for.

A little background about me. I’m single, 30, and I’ve had a brain tumor since 2013. Don’t worry I’m ok, promise! I love to write and travel, but I also love to make crazy videos. So with the help of a friend, I decided to start combining the three.

I will be posting my thoughts and stories here on this blog, while you will get a chance to join me on my trips in my vlogs HERE on YouTube.

I want to hear your questions and stories about your travel experiences. From fears, to dreams to hilarious adventures to nightmarish stories. This is a passion, my passion. So join me in this crazy adventure as I buckle down and drive forward with this new project.

Follow me on Twitter, Instagram & Facebook – Queenbeemek and let’s talk!