Sunday, April 13, 2014

Moving (right?) Along

I'm sitting here watching the local news waiting for weather and to see if there's anything important to know when I get the relentless "Tuesday is the anniversary...." In case you've  been living in a hole, a year ago a couple of kids blew up the Boston Marathon and I think I can finally say, "I'm not OK."  More than that, I don't need a whole day of coverage It is punctuated with stories of people who didn't finish last year's race and how they're coming back this year to remind me of how much I'm still hurting over everything.

I tell people I chose not to volunteer because I know people need to do something and let them jump in this year and I'll come back next year.  The truth, I don't know if I can stand there the way I always have without crying early and often.  I didn't go to the photo shoot yesterday because, even after 5 years of supporting runners at the mile 18 water stop, I don't feel like I belong in that photo shoot.  Leave it for the real runners, like my brother who will run his 32nd Boston this year.  It's a decision I made, in spite of being a Boston runner, and I'm good with that call.  I know not all people gave it that much thought or came to the same conclusions I did, and I'm good with that as well.  We have to do what works for each of us.

Last year I went to the gathering at Newton City Hall to acknowledge what happened and ran into an old student.  She hugged me and said she was worried about me because she thought I might have been running instead of working the marathon.  (Me?  Run a marathon?  Not likely.)  I was nervous wearing my jacket on rainy days because I didn't want to upset kids.  Recently I realized how much everything hit me because I just can't wear the 2013 jacket comfortably, so I've fallen back to my 2012 jacket as my default and the other previous years when that one's in the laundry.

More stories about increased numbers of police, check points and increased surveillance doesn't make me feel safer.  It makes me afraid.

So what would it take to move forward for real?  Normal would make me feel a lot better.  Not these acts of sadonecroequinebeastiality (beating a dead horse) to tell us we're "Boston Strong."  We're not, we're still Boston under siege.  Boston Strong is giving the middle finger to those that would harm us and celebrating our bandits in costume and other characters who are crazy enough to lace up their sneakers and run 26.2 miles from Hopkinton to Boston on the third Monday in April.  It's not clamping down on the weirdness, it's celebrating it and embracing it as something that makes us who we are.

That siege mentality has crept in around us and we're wrapped up in it without realizing it and people like me keep feeling hobbled by it all.  So Tuesday, I will acknowledge my feelings.  Like far too many people, I will head into Copley Square to leave something that marks the end of my mourning.  After Tuesday I will be able to comfortably live again without fear and remind myself that Boston Strong isn't just words written on a ballplayer's cleat that triggered a slogan that carried us through the darkness, but it's now time to step back into the light.

I hope others follow me.

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