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[ profile] reena_jenkins podficced "girl, you're like a weird vacation" and you can find it here. She has awesome covers! And a fanmix! I am very lucky.

I'm not sure how to articulate my feelings about today; like most Americans I have a story about where I was and what I was doing, even though I was 12 in 2001 and only peripherally aware of world events. I won't type any of it out because it feels a bit pointless to me, like making it about me when it really isn't about me (especially since I have no personal connection to New York at all).

But I realized today that I've been operating these past ten years with a sense of newness; as if 9/11 was the first day of my life, in a way. There are still times when I am surprised at how much time has passed, because I still feel as if the state of things in my country - the paranoia, the extreme patriotism, the emphasis on being a "real" American, prejudice against the Eastern world, you name it - as being relatively new. Despite the fact that it's not new, that it's been an entire decade and nothing about it is going to change overnight.

Being an American, I've found, is a lot like being in a fraternity. You constantly are challenged to prove your loyalty, often in juvenile and pointlessly ritualistic ways, and if you aren't incredibly enthusiastic about being a part of it, you feel this gross mix of guilt and discomfort, kind of like how you feel when you're 14 and have just said something really nasty to your mother. Then you feel indignant and pissed off that you feel like that, and since you're inundated with propaganda and mixed messages every single day of your life, you just keep getting more and more mixed up about it the longer you live, and eventually your own nationality becomes this swirling typhoon of contradictions.

So every country has baggage, and the US is no different. Our baggage is very arrogant, self-centered and hypocritical, and has a huge sense of entitlement and an overinflated self-worth. But along with that comes an unwavering strength, fortitude and innovation. Americans are diverse and beautiful and frustrating and as stupid as they are smart, and I think as long as I live I'm going to have feelings about this, but at the end of the day, this is my home and my heart will always live here. So I cried today, watching old news footage, and I'm not even PMSing, how about that.

There were a lot of fucking consequences because of 9/11, the most of important of which is that I, and others my age or younger, don't really remember a time when we weren't constantly on the defensive. That makes me indescribably sad, and angry, and a lot of other things, but mostly it makes me think of people like my friend Nadia, who doesn't tell people she's a Muslim until she trusts them, and Julia, who lost her father to Afghanistan in 2003. We all feel something about the way things are today - as much rage and fear as there is in the world, how could we not - but for Americans especially, 9/11 is the day that focuses it all for us, and makes us feel it all at once.

I don't really know where I'm going with this. Let's just keep our eyes open, yeah?


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