Monday, April 4, 2011

I meant to be inspiring, but you'll probably just be bummed...

I've been trying to write a blog post for a couple weeks now. The most pertinent and only thing I could think about writing was the experience that my band mates, friends and I had in Japan. I even titled it My Earthquake Day, pulled out of the Harvey Pekar library.

But I'm stalled. There is something about telling this story in a public forum that makes me feel cheap, which in turn makes me feel like I'm belittling the situation. I feel like my part to play was personal, and any sort of pity party is seemingly inappropriate. Yes I was in the quake, yes I thought I was potentially not going to make it out of that situation. But I left 3 days later, no one I knew was hurt or killed, and I returned to my furnished and cozy apartment. I'll leave the fear mongering and sensationalism with CNN and try and internalize it differently. But it's hard.

Because of who I am, I'm quick to see in this only further proof of the randomness and devastation that humans are subjected to. The concept of mortality mixed with the ever present truth that it can happen at any moment. It's enough to drive anyone to insanity, or religion, take your pick. But this is a part of myself I've been trying to fight forever, this inherent notion to focus on the negative, and convincing myself the worse case scenario is inevitable.

In an effort to be positive and push away the depression of the situation, sans my looming existential crisis, I'm holding onto two things. Watching the civility and respect of the Japanese during the situation was, and is, inspiring. I was close and privy to much of the situation during 9/11, and was surprised then by how much selflessness and humanity can come out of a populous during a tragedy. The way people conducted themselves and continue to is admirable, especially with all the finger pointing and politics involved at this point. They haven't let go of their core values, and obviously won't, even in the face of death.

Also, the first two mornings after the quake, while still in Tokyo, I woke up and had never been so excited to open my eyes. The simple act of rising was a huge relief. Every time REM is over, and the brain starts waking the body up again, is a gift. The typical pessimists perspective is that everyday is one step closer to death. When in reality, it's another gift in a series of gifts we're given through our life if we just...keep waking up. Every day can be the catalyst for change, and putting something off until tomorrow might never happen. Just saying.

I don't plan to wear this as some sort of badge of honor. I'd like to view it as a horrible catastrophe, one where by a simple twist of luck I remain to wake up and do dumb shit everyday, and those people can't. And that's my gift.