These last two weeks have been challenging, I have to admit it now. When hurricane Sandy hit New York, I thought I dealt with the whole thing really well–I felt like a trooper. I kept living my life as normally as possible, and fulfilling my duties as much as I could. Yet now as the dust settles, I find that the ordeal affected me much more deeply than I realized at first.

I think that for a lot of New Yorkers, Sandy was reminiscent of 9/11/2001. Even if we aren’t aware of it on the surface, there is an unconscious film-roll that started running with the shocking nature of what the city went through last week. It’s an entirely different circumstance of course, but the halting, traumatized feeling of the past is renewed. I would have disagreed with this assessment last week in the midst of my “brush-it-aside-and-keep-going”-attitude, but now as I relax a bit and let my body work through and finally heal itself from what is possibly my third cold in two weeks (!), I have to say, it’s true.

I’m sure I’ve said this before, and I know I’ve even said it in a lyric of mine, but often the body knows better than the mind what is really going on within us. Right now, I’m telling myself that it’s ok to be unsettled, that it’s ok to feel the plethora of emotions that a huge event like this brings about. The rest of the world is already moving on, but this destruction has left a mark on all of us in this city, whether we realize it or not. Just like 9/11 did.

Yes, we can choose to brush these things aside and pretend like they don’t touch us, but what’s the point in that? They manifest themselves in other ways if we refuse to feel them. Either way, we can’t run away from ourselves. Whatever you leave behind now, you will have to face in the future. I have learned that through my own experience many times. I am learning that I can’t skip over feelings that seem inconvenient, I must feel them. Only in doing so can I heal myself and be whole.

“Stop masking your pain for it will bleed through somewhere else in your life.”
― Sherna Benjamin