frequent tornado nightmares ...the very beginning of quarantine

Less than a month ago, my neighborhood, along with many others here in Nashville, was hit by a tornado. the wind that night sounded like the freight train i live next to was headed towards my house. it was terrifying. i could hear the trees falling as it happened. the lights flickered above me as the house shook. i was sure all of the windows were blown through and shattered. Just before it hit, the sky had a dark orange and purple hue, similar to today's sky... I know I'm going to have another nightmare tonight. I looked up through my living room window earlier and felt terrified all over again but this time, knowing how just how devastating it could be. 

when it finally passed, i felt devastated. i had no idea if anyone was hurt, if my car outside was okay, or if my house lost parts of it’s roof. 

fortunately, there was minimal damage to my house compared to the rest of my neighborhood and a lot of other areas but even still, the aftermath was devastating. Outside my bedroom window, blue and white lights beamed through my blinds until 4am. i don’t think i slept at all. 

two metal phone towers blew over and were laying in the street, crushed like soda cans, hanging off them lied our power lines and the fence separating my house from my neighbors was gone. the large tree in my front yard was ripped out of the ground along with a patch of grass and landed right on my front door and a little bit of my roof. 

i don’t think i slept at all that night yet somehow, i was totally awake the next day. i went to every class, too. not one of the professors i had the next day said anything about what happened the night before. and frankly, i wasn’t sure if that was appropriate for them to do or not. i figured it was at their discretion. so, i walked around feeling alone in my experience and heart broken. my school wasn’t hit at all or the area that it is in so most students were not affected

the next day, my roommate and i walked around the neighborhood which looked like a war zone. many of us had our garbages lined up at the end of our drive way in preparation for garbage day. there was garbage everywhere, hanging in trees, swaying on telephone wires. there were pieces of houses, clothes, and gutters bent in half swaying in the wind too.

the houses behind me appeared like two story victorian doll houses, exposed enough to see in every room. i saw a family standing outside of one of the houses next to a police man, staring at it like “what are we going to do.” everyone in the was in shock that our neighborhood was ripped apart and lying in the streets, stuck between branches in tall trees, and scattered in pieces lying under our feet. 

a couple of weeks later, here i am, again, sitting in what seems to be the safest part of my house. hoping and praying, no one will be hurt again. no one will have to lose their house, their job, or their place of business. thinking about it makes me feel sick to my stomach with sadness. 

when i saw bright flashes of light and a warm orange sky tonight, i just couldn’t help but feel that way. i’m sure being in quarantine for this virus the past two weeks doesn’t exactly help too much with my mental capabilities to handle another tornado or even the possibility one hitting us again. i can't fathom the idea of dealing with another tragedy right now. there are people trying their absolute hardest to stay safe, clean, and quarantined, and unfortunately, there are also people who don’t seem to mind that thousands of people are dying from this incredibly contagious virus. 

life is a gift and if there’s anything i’ve realized from all of this is that we need to treat it as such. 

we need to treat it with respect by taking care of our bodies, respecting ourselves, friends, family and others. 

life is like a gift wrapped in beautiful wrapping paper, tied with the most incredible sparking bow. yet, so often, we just it in the back of a closet carelessly aware it will become banged up and bruised if we don't protect and value it.

so why not take this time we have right now to  appreciate it? dig it out, clean it off, see what it needs to stay sparkly, to stay in tact. take the time to admire the beautiful package it came in with a life time of surprises, ups and downs. 

this moment in time is heavy, it's hard, it's scary. the truth is, we don't know how many birthday's we have...or how many we get to celebrate with those we love. each moment is important. this moment is important. 

what are you going to do with your gift of life? what do you actually want? are you going to live in fear of another tornado uprooting your neighborhood and scaring the life out of you? (me, right now) are you going to toss your precious life in the back of a closet to get bruised and bumped by the shoes you don’t wear anymore and whatever else you throw on top of it? the choice is yours, it always is. we can't get through this alone, we can't shame ourselves for being in dark places, or not being able to see how beautiful the leaves look swaying in trees, glowing in the sunlight. but maybe this helps, or maybe someone helps, or a pet, or a book, or a show that offers connection. now, more than ever, it's so so important not to give up hope. not to forget how gorgeous the birds sound when they sing. to ask for a friend, to be a friend, to be a seer of the light, and an aknowledge-r of the darkness. most importantly, please remember, you are not alone.