Stand Back, She's Going To
I hate the Harry Potter stories. Mmmm, that feels like a good place to start. The main character is mean and whiny, and, true, I only read the first book and maybe it gets better after that, but I just didn't care enough about the twit to give him a second chance.
In case anyone judgmental is still reading this when I just told you to butt out, let's just get it all out in the open. I'm sheltered, self-centered, and cowardly. I live in this fairy tale bubble of a world where nothing bad ever happens and I don't have the courage to ever step out of it to actually help people who aren't even a fraction as lucky as I am.
Okay, fine! I'm consumed by guilt. This little temper tantrum is all about me hating the complacency of my life but not having the will to actually do anything to rectify the situation. Where is all this juvenile emotion coming from?
Well, it's all been festering inside, but then the festering started leaking out after I began reading Baghdad Burning, which is a blog by a young woman about my age who shares what everyday life is like in Iraq. And everything I've read so far is driving me crazy. I can't stop thinking about this utterly foreign world that the writer who calls herself Riverbend is trying to survive in and how unfair it is that my life is so...easy in comparison.
What do I do every day? I work, I walk my dog, I blog, I bake, I laugh with my husband. What does Riverbend do? She watches the news constantly, she's afraid all the time, she can't sleep because of all those exploding bombs falling around her, she is describing to us how her world is growing more and more damaged, more unsalvageable every day.
How can I not do something? How can I continue as I have been, in my safe little world? This is not just about assuaging guilt. This is standing on the street, gaping at a woman being assaulted, and not doing anything more than feeling horrified. It's so wrong, my entire being is protesting.
But what can I do? Me, an average woman, living in Japan, fluent only in English, and hopelessly unqualified for anything useful. Should I pack my bags, say bye-bye to my dog and husband, catch the next flight to Washington, join an NGO, lobby the politicians, protest the so-called collateral damage caused by military troops?
When I was six, I knew I wanted to become a doctor. As I grew older, I kept adding to the dream, dead certain I'd join Doctors Without Borders right after graduation. I had it all mapped out. When I got too old for dodging bombs between delivering babies and amputating limbs, I'd return to Canada, start a private practice, make loads of money, then move to Thailand to build a shelter for child prostitutes (but of course they'd also receive educatation and training so as to be self suficient). I figured I'd eventually die of a terrible disease, like Father Damien--or be snuffed by a pissed off pimp whose sex slave had come under my protection--but I knew it would be worth it.
Embarassing, huh? Not my dreams, but how far removed my life is now from all those childish aspirations. I feel like I should apologize or at least travel back in time to tell my young self to forget med school ("Cause you just plain suck at chemistry.") and to definitely forget majoring in magazine journalism. I can almost see my 12-year-old self looking scornful, saying, "Why would I do something dumb like that?" Why indeed.
I am sorry, truly I am. I know you're probably thinking, Sweet Baby Jesus, stop whining and do something already. Hey give me a break. I'm just starting to figure this all out. Nobody wakes up from La La Land and instantly knows the plan from A to Z. Well, not me, anyhow. Better late then never is the only cliche I can think of to keep up the optimism. If all you can do is roll your eyes...just don't roll them in this direction. But if you've got any ideas, then tell me.
I'm also sorry I said I hated Harry Potter. Well, I do. But I guess I didn't have to be rude about it.