Post-Tragedy

Have you ever wanted to take something back? Change the way you handled a situation?

Those have applied to countless people, and have certainly applied to me very recently.

In my previous post, I expressed my frustration over the guy I was interested in getting in a relationship with another guy, and mulling over the lingering regret I have over the chances I could’ve taken, and perhaps should’ve taken, to get to know him better. It was never intended to be anything malicious, or trying to seek revenge, or hurt him, or anything of the sort. However, he later texted me saying that while he couldn’t invalidate what I was feeling, the way I described him shouldn’t have happened, and said I should’ve talked to him about it first.

In my experience, I’ve had to handle things like emotional blows on my own, and what has helped me the most is to blog about it. Not to paint other people in a bad light, but to simply use it as an outlet for my own emotions, because it’s really the only thing I have. In this case, however, I completely neglected to take into account how he would feel after reading it, and after re-reading it over, I knew that he had every reason to be mad at me, and naturally, I felt awful, as I should.

Without any second thought, I deleted the post. It doesn’t take away the words that were said and the way he felt after reading it, but I believe it’s a positive step forward in me learning from it and moving beyond it, and maybe even having him forgive me eventually.

Based on the situation, I now know it’s far better to discuss certain issues with people directly, and get the full picture before I decide to vent my emotions, because sometimes the way I feel isn’t the way I should be feeling, largely due to the fact that I don’t always know the full picture. It’s something I should’ve realized much sooner, as it would’ve saved me from some of the horrible feelings I still have about myself.

I don’t hate him. At all. I have absolutely no reason to, because he truly is a great guy, and it would be extremely hypocritical of me to do so. Hating someone because they’re dating someone else and not you, for example, is probably one of the most childish things in existence, and it’s not who I am now, and it never will be. More than anything, I would take back that post in an instant and talk to him first and see how I felt afterward. When my emotions involve other people, I need to be extremely careful on how I bring them up.

He may not talk to me for a while, if ever. I’m prepared for the possibility of him ignoring me in person whenever we run into each other again. But I hope he knows how regretful and sorry I am for saying what I said, because it turned out to be more negative towards him than I ever intended it to be. And that’s not who I am. There’s enough negativity in the world. I don’t want to be a part of it or associated with that in any way. That’s not the person I want to be. Ever.

People make mistakes. I’ve made at least a million. This one probably tops the list as one of the worst. All I can do now is try and push past it and learn from it, and not let it rule my thoughts any longer.

Far more important that my personal issues, however, is what has recently occurred in Kalamazoo. Over the course of the weekend, three shootings took place. The first one is perhaps most widely known, as it has been broadcasted all over social media on  a national and international level, involving seven people dead and a few people injured after an Uber driver shot people at random in-between taking fares while on the job. The second was a home invasion and shooting yesterday afternoon in Fraternity Village, not far from my apartment, and the last one occurred in downtown Kalamazoo.

On Saturday night, my friends and I went to the Alamo to see The Witch, which didn’t turn out to be quite as scary as we thought it would be. On the way back, three of them got calls and texts from their parents saying there had been a shooting at a Cracker Barrel a couple miles from Kalamazoo. After we got back to their house, we discovered that the situation was quickly escalating. One of my friends turned to me and told me when I went home that night, she would call an Uber for me to prevent me walking home as I normally would.

It was admittedly terrifying, not knowing exactly where this guy was or what would happen next or who would be killed. Many other students have spoken out against WMU for not providing an alert about the situation. The alert system as it is sends out alerts to any known, credible danger occurring on campus, and as these events did not specifically occur within the boundaries of campus, an alert wasn’t sent out. Thankfully with the aid of social media, many people quickly became aware of the situation, but a number of other people were still unaware what was happening. A few people in the last class I was in today said they had no idea what had happened until this afternoon.

Would an alert have helped? In my opinion, absolutely, as the threat posed a danger to the surrounding area where much of the student population is currently housed, much less to the campus itself. Not everyone has or uses social media or has people to text them and let them know what was going on. Some form of notification would have helped a lot of people. I was fortunate to be in the company of people who found out about it through others, but I know to many other people, it would’ve done a lot of good, especially on a Saturday night in one of the biggest party campuses in America.

One of the comments I read on Yik Yak today involved the anonymous poster saying something along the semi-clichéd line of “The shootings that happened this past weekend really makes me value what I have.” And while it’s a very true statement, and while something like this does make you take into account what you have, events like these shouldn’t be the trigger factor into making you appreciate what you have in your possession. You should, in my opinion, always be mindful and appreciative for the things and people you have around you, because at any moment, at any day, at any given time and any given place, you may not have them ever again.

Tragedy should not be the cue for appreciating what you have. It’s something I need to keep in mind for myself as well.

Change is a powerful, and at times, dangerous weapon. It often comes in some of the most unexpected of ways, in a twisted mixture of good and bad. One day, you might lose your job, only to land a different, better one a few days later. The girl you’ve been hopelessly chasing may eventually decide to grace you with a date, only to stand you up when the anointed hour finally arrives. Yet, there is perhaps no worse change in the world than having someone you love and care for suddenly not be with you anymore, alive. Things change, almost instantly. There are mistakes people make that have irreversible effects. There are words you can say that go far deeper than you can ever imagine. And as much as you have the power to lift people up, you also have the same power to bring them crashing down.

The biggest test of any person is dealing with change, from losing a job, to handling the trials that come with relationships, to moving on from someone they once cared deeply about. Not all changes are good. Not everything in the world is positive. But by enduring the negatives, that alone is the only way to reach the other end of the rainbow. It’s long, dark tunnel many people in Kalamazoo have to face after this weekend, but light still exists. The tunnel won’t last forever.

And neither will mine.

Life doesn’t get easier. You just get better. And I swear on everything I have and love, I will get better.

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