What does it sound like when fireworks go off? What does it sound like when a gun fires? What does it feel like to run? Panic? To hide? What does it feel like to survive?
I have a perfectly, well written blog post ready, "how to stay productive while working from home." But I've spent the past few days writing in my journal, gather thoughts & feelings that I haven't felt in soo long- I figured that one lame post can certainly wait another week. There will probably never be a better time-
My anxiety is back.
Going to the grocery store this morning was, for lack of better words, terrifying. Not knowing the people around me (although there was only about 6 other people in the entire store). Not knowing what people are going through. Not knowing how they are dealing with the stress of Covid- how this truly is affecting their mental health. Wondering, "is this the day- they hit their breaking point- are they ready to crack"? When every sound is heightened. You're on edge. On high alert. You have this god awful beating- pounding feeling in your chest... You're planning where you would run. Where you would hide. This is me, with PTSD......... I guess.
I'm sure many of you already know myself and Josh were part of the horrific shooting in Las Vegas a few years back- honestly it feels like a decade ago. Many of you- not even our closest family and friends have really heard how it has affected us, well I'll say how it has affected Me- someday Josh may be willing to share his story. I'm sure you heard me rush through that night- telling broken pieces of what I can remember. One crack. Second crack. We thought it was fireworks. The music stopped. Everyone stopped. Then a chain of shots. 25,000 people drop to the ground. The huge lights lighting up the massive field go off. Everything goes dark. You scream, scramble to your friends. Shots stop. You run. Shots start again- you keep running. You hide. You hide under the concert stands, crawling in as far as you can with strangers laying next to you. Not a sound, only those fast cracks. You see through the stands people running. Do they have guns? Will they find you? We had no idea the shooter was across the street in some swanky hotel- we thought they were in the crowd. You wait. You cry. You want to call your mom. Silence. We run. Run to the nearest hotel. Drop in the lobby hotel. Thousands of people. Someone screams- everyone runs and you hide in the hotel kitchen Galley, using chairs to barricade yourself in. You quickly text your Mom, "we are ok." We wait, for hours. Police find us and move us to a massive conference room- again with thousands of strangers. Using hotel towels to keep us warm. Crying, cold, in shock. No windows. The only sounds- helicopters and sirens in the distance. Fully armed police officers with huge guns walking around in the room- waiting and ready...and you wait.
I rush telling people about that night. Rushing, putting on a brave face to get through the details before I start showing any real emotion. Thats who I am. I'm not a talker. Apparently I like writing tho, which doesn't really come as a big surprise. Side note; when I was in my prime- asshole teenage years, grounded- I'd write my mom notes, letters and leave them in the bathroom to tell her how sorry I was or try to explain why I did what I did (yea thats another topic maybe for another day)... so here we are. People have heard my 3 min recap of that night. No one, has seen the nights (there are many) where myself and Josh lay on the living room floor- in silence, very few words, listening to Jason Aldean and cry- happy tears of how grateful we are to be here. No one knows the feeling we get when we hear fireworks go off. When we are at a coffee shop and get this weird uneasy feeling, from the person across the room (who likely is the most genuine and polite person) and have to get up and leave because it just doesn't feel right. The feeling walking downtown with all the tall buildings towering over you, wondering who could be watching from above. How anxious you feel amongst a crowd. How you'll always sit in the back, closest to the exit when you're in a room full of people. How you're in that same room- sitting in the back, the lights go off unexpectedly and you instantly plan your escape- stop, drop and crawl. Just picture yourself stuck, heavy pounding chest, mind racing, trying to breath. Thats how that feels.
Our trip to vegas was probably one of the best trips we've actually ever taken together- minus that Sunday night. Beautiful weather. Three day concert with some of our fav bands. We drank, We ate. We laughed. We sang. We danced. The Memories of that night are sometimes a little vague. Maybe I've chosen to forget. Although the feelings and triggers are likely something I'll live with the rest of my life. Why am I writing this now...seriously I have no idea. The horrific events that happened this past weekend in our very own country. #novascotiastrong brought back emotions and memories that I wanted to share. I recently started a daily gratitude journal- lame I know but all the successful boss-babes tell me in their podcast to do it, so I do! At the end of the day- I quickly jot down 5 things I'm grateful for. Last night I wrote "Covid-19". Which sounds twisted I know. A list full of gratitude and the world pandemic makes it. It's unfortunate that the world has to experience this. But I'm ever so grateful for being here to experience it. To spend extra time with the kids- although most days, by 11am I'm about to loose my mind. Dance parties, mid day art sessions, Tuesday movie nights, mornings spent in the mud, hide & seek extreme, as Ben would call it. Its hard- thinking about how long this could last makes it even harder, but in the end I think most of us will be much more grateful.
A lot of people ask if we'll ever go back to vegas... My immediate response. Yes. Yes, someday, we most certainly will.
Sunday, Oct 1st 2017. Hotel selfie before we hit the strip to see Luke Combs & Jason Aldean. I still have this outfit hanging in my closet, waiting until I'm ready to wear it again.
For all our fellow #vegasstrong survivors and families who were affected, we miss you. And to all the families affected by the recent shooting in Nova Scotia, our thoughts and prayers are with you.