Today is a different kind of melancholy anniversary for me, as it is for many. 9/11 was a day that changed the world, and in many more negative ways than one.
As cliché as it sounds, it was a day that will always stay with me. On 9/11/01 I was attending classes at Armstrong Atlantic State University (in Savannah, GA). I remember my English grammar prof suddenly cancelling our 9:30am class and telling us to go home to be with our families. I was 23, and in that exact moment, my American bravado was forever shaken (in turn revealing an ethnocentric attitude I wasn’t even aware I had).
But not only that, due being so shaken up to what happened in New York on this particular September 11th, I finally came to the realization that I was in an unhealthy relationship, and I needed to get out. So, one month later, on October 11, 2001, I left my husband (of two+ years). To say that this decision changed my life would be an understatement. Not only was a relationship ending (which was painful enough to go through), but then I also became a version of Hester Prynne in my community. Suddenly, due to leaving my husband, I was morally unfit to volunteer to work with children in the church. My family relationships became strained (and in some ways forever changed), and I lost many friends who couldn’t grasp the reasons why I would act so “selfishly.”
Fast-forward a few months later, and on May 11, 2002, I graduated with a degree in English from AASU, and on that very evening I found myself on a plane to start a new life in Saskatoon, SK.
A few years from that point, on December 11, 2004 I started dating a certain Mennonite boy, and two months later, on February 11, 2005 we got married.
Two years later, on January 10, 2007, I nearly had a baby! That was the day of the infamous Saskatchewan Blizzard, when Emmalee nearly made her appearance into the world. (thankfully she gave her mama another week off and came along on January 18, 2007)
On December 10, 2008, I finally defended my millstone of a Master’s thesis. And on January 9, 2014 (close to January 11th!), I was enrolled in the College of Education for my MEd.
I’m not one to be superstitious, but there’s quite a pile of coincidences surrounding me and the 11th day of the month.
Which leads to me where I am on this particular September 11th. Traditionally this is a day I usually mark with melancholy, for many of the reasons I listed above — it’s a day where I give myself some space to think and reflect and remember. This year’s 9/11 shouldn’t be any different, but it is.
I’ve dusted off my copy of Kate Chopin, and I’m rereading her book The Awakening. At one point in the book Chopin writes: “Perhaps it is better to wake up after all, even to suffer, rather than to remain a dupe to illusions all one’s life.”
September 11, 2001 woke me up. In some ways it feels like another personal awakening is stirring within me on this September 11th too.