It was Thursday morning. I woke up at 6 am and checked my phone. That was when the shock hit me. Today would not be like the others. Today, my peaceful abode has been targeted. Today, my humble hometown has become the center of attention. I read the words “shooting” and “Thousand Oaks” and immediately jumped out of bed to find my mom’s eyes glued to the local news channel. With tears streaming down our faces, we both watched the news in disbelief. My safe place, my hometown, is where a mass shooting took place.
The news shocked me, causing a flow of emotions to run through my body. To think that these young people were at the Borderline bar to have fun, release stress, see friends, and have a good time yet 12 of them did not return home. Where are we safe? The thoughts that ran through my head and the tears running down my face, all filled with so many emotions. And to think, what if I had been there? What would I have done? How would I have reacted? How would I even know what to do in such a scary situation? I could not stop from putting myself in the shoes of those affected. Do I need to wear comfortable shoes every time I leave my house just in case I need to flee a situation? Why do we have to live in fear?
Not even 24 hours passed and the Woosley fire was impacting my hometown. It was Friday morning, walking up to my driveway and my house was surrounded in black smoke. What do you grab in such a moment? My house of 25 years, the house I grew up in, the house I created memories in, now engulfed in black smoke. Questions were unanswered, as the future was unknown, no idea what will happen.
Seeing all the cars, back to back, flee from our homes and escape the smoke was terrifying. As I looked in my rear-view mirror and saw the black smoke behind me, I couldn’t help but have tears running down my face. The feeling of uncertainty ran through my body. Not only did my community just have to go through a mass shooting but now, not even 24 hours later, we were evacuated from our homes, our safe place. I left with nothing, scared, trying to keep it together on the outside while on the inside I was crying and shaking of fear. My safe place, destroyed. How do you deal in such a situation?
Throughout the tragic events, supportive friends and families reached out to me. Thank you to all my loved ones who sent a message, offered a place to stay, welcomed me with open arms, and allowed me to feel supported. Personally, support was what I needed and continue to need to overcome this traumatic event. Do not hesitate to reach out. Talk it out. Mindfulpath is here to help, to tell you, that we are all human and we all need support. You are not alone.