Pause, Rewind & Play

Being a teenager is all about knowing when you've got to take a minute just to pause. Take a moment, wait a while and just be where you are. Then you've got to rewind like those old cassettes once you're done taking your time. Reflect like really did that just happened? Finally it's time to press play and go on. This is pause, rewind, and play.
Just pause, stop what you're doing. Stop reading this post, and let your mind be at rest. Be at peace wherever you are, whoever you are, and however you found this post. Take a second, breath, and continue on. September 11th, 2001 - a day that will forever go down in American history as one of the most tragic. I can remember exactly where I was when I heard the news about the 9/11 attacks on the World Trade Centers, Pentagon, and the downed flight in that Pennsylvania field. I was eight years old, in third grade, and randomly in the middle of class my teacher turned on the television. It wasn't something we did very often but news reports were showing smoke billowing out these buildings where important people worked. All of sudden our school day was cut short and I was getting on the bus to head home at 12:45. I got off at my house and went inside to unfinished house (it was still being built) and there was my mom, laying on the ground ... praying. I didn't know what happened, but I knew something was terribly wrong. Soon in the day, I learned what had occurred and I couldn't comprehend the magnitude of what had happened. Terrorists, scary people with beards lead by some madman named Osama Bin Laden had orchestrated suicide followers to commandeer commercial airplanes and crash them into major landmarks killing thousands and changing the lives of millions forever. It was unbelievable, how could this have happened? I paused and wondered to myself so many questions. I thought America was untouchable that something like that couldn't happen here. I wondered where all the people went when they died, if it was their time to go, how God could let something like this happen? It just didn't make sense. I remember the days following having nightmares about Osama himself blowing up my house and I would wake up terrified. It's been 11 years and Patriot Day is still alive and going strong. It was a somber day for most people on campus (some clearly were oblivious about what day it was at all #uvmproblems), but the atmosphere was just different. Throughout the day I would just mutter to myself, and to God how thankful I was to be alive, to be well, to have my family and to have my friends. Taking those moments just to pause and be wherever I was.

Hit the rewind button every once in a while. Look back, see how far you've come, notice how much you've changed, and realize the person you've become. Monday was another hectic day in the world of my teenage life. It started with another crazy confusing African-Americans in the US economy class. I took a pit stop to grab breakfast from Alice's Café and flashed back to that super-awkward incident from last year (no details necessary; apparently all people of color look the same). It was on to chemistry where our Scottish professor couldn't be any better. He mixes the humor, the definitions and the organic chemistry-ness of it all so well, he makes me actually care about bonding (literally). Religion class was spent discussing a creation story of the old Babylonian people (folklore or truth, you be the judge). I grabbed a salad from the Davis Center and hoped dearly to be seen by my #campuscrushes because I was looking hella legit (like even better than my best daily basis) but no such luck. I caught the bus to Redstone campus, made a pit stop in the res life office to fill out some tax forms (first time ever #privilegedkidproblems) and it was into the IRA office to help our director of public relations - Terra update our website. I caught the bus and it was back to my room to eat like lightning and zoom in a flash to another biology lecture. I spend my time complaining to Anna, but when I've got to vent I'm going to have the catharsis I need. Lecture rolls on by, and it's postering the Davis Center and all of Athletic campus for IRA's upcoming event, Wings Fest (free chicken or tofu wings for errrrybody). Such a mess, we saw Felicia in her natural habitat, blasting the Wanted and working the mail desk. I had some free time (aka study time) and it made me rewind to last year when I hit my nonstop go phase of life and was constantly on the move. Off to WDW for my IRA executive board meeting which went the full time but we got a whole lot accomplished - prezy role fulfilled. More homework like you couldn't believe, and a profound talk about racism and white privilege courtesy of my floormates. Deep conversations make me think about the ones I had last semester with my former suitemate, Cullen. Pause, rewind, and play.

Pressing play means after you've paused, after you've gone back to beginning of the rewound tape known as your life, you continue on. It's like in Felicity (yeah, I'm watching in on Netflix, it's so relevant to my college life, don't judge me) when she word record those messages and mail them to her friend. Tuesday for me meant office hours and meeting with Mike Fogg, president of Blirp It (bus tracking system). I caught the bus back to my room and changed for tennis class. Let's just say I wan epic mess today and could not follow through on my swings. My coach my all over me for that, I'll get into my rhythm soon enough. I showered and had a wardrobe crisis. Clothes strewn about and so many preppy-boy problems, I changed multiple times and finally decided on what to wear for the day. More office hours, and I sent tons of emails and made prize packs for our contest winners. My advisor, Learie, and I missed the and walked from Redstone to the University Green on central where we met the rest of the IRA e-board for a meeting with our University of Vermont President E. Thomas Sullivan. It was super nerve-wracking. I was sweaty as hell from running just to get there (darn, bus) but it went really well. Everyone had their piece to say, and we all made a good impression (if I do say so myself). What an accomplished person though, and a funny man - he was easy to talk to and we all definitely made a connection. After a little regroup session, it was off to biology (ecology) lab where we were paired up and measured different species of golden rod flower lengths and diameters. You all know I don't do outdoorsy work, but my partner was super cool and we did work. We collaborated to work on an excel spreadsheet while other class characters did the same. Preppy pro doing the most trying (not that anyone ever knows their in competition with me for best dressed) to outdo me, but I won this round. I grabbed dinner and had time to get my life together before heading to the 9/11 candlelight vigil sponsored by Kappa Sigma Fraternity and Outright Vermont (a center for LGBTQA youth). It was a somber event for sure, people spoke and shared their thoughts on what the day meant and one in particular, one of the brothers, Mackx who had a deeply personal connection to the attacks, gave a speech that really resonated with me. His profound quote, "only in darkness may we shine our brightest" with forever stick with me, that I know for sure. On this day we're reminded of how much we take for granted. Rewind and think about where you were on this infamous day on the American timeline. My day ended in a thoughtful bias incident discussion on my floor which truly showed just how oblivious some people are when it comes to understanding privilege and power. I got a hug and talked with one of my fave girlies- just saying. Paper writing and now this blogging madness (woah, looped back in). This is pause, rewind, and play. (Powerful song for this day - the Wanted "I'll be Your Strength")

Being a teenager is all about stopping what you're doing every once in a while and analyzing what's occurred. We go through our days half-hearted, barely faking the motions and pretending everything is fine. We rarely have time to pause, rewind, and play-back all the happenings, thoughts, and comments that stay with us. We harbor them, we internalize them, and we keep them locked up within ourselves. It's time to express ourselves to unlock those pensive thoughts and to think. Pause, rewind & play.

My blog post question for the day is ... where were you when you heard the news about the 9/11 attacks? You heard my story, now I want to hear yours, share it in a comment.


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