Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Disaster Porn.

DISCLAIMER: This blog may be triggering for victims of natural disasters. I won't be discussing details of the event I experienced, but I'll be discussing blunt feelings and reactions related to themes of natural disasters. I'll be cussing a lot as well.

At the moment, I'm livid.

Let's just get the porn out of the way here. Yes, I lost my home two years ago today. Yes, my childhood home and my sister's home and my grandparents' home and the homes of many of my friends and coworkers were also in various states of completely fucking obliterated. By nature. Two years ago today. Yes.

But it's a beautiful spring day that has nothing to do with that day. Of course I know what this day is an anniversary of...

I don't even know where to start. I'd like to say intelligent things, but it may be more of a livid rant. Whatever, I am a voice for a minority that feels the way I feel, but because there are new people dealing with a similar issue (Moore, OK), there will be more people that feel like me. There has to be.

So, ok. You know how when something really really awful happens to a person like war, murder of loved ones, rape, kidnapping, etc, there are things that trigger that person? On lots of websites if an article is something that might trigger a person who has dealt with tragedy or mental health concerns related to what is about to be said in the article, they will have a disclaimer. For example, "The following article deals with subjects of sexual abuse and violence against children and may be triggering for victims of child abuse, rape, and incest." So those that know they have issues with the following subject matter can NOT READ THE ARTICLE. But it seems that people are not having the same respect on Facebook toward survivors of disaster. I'm sure survivors of Hurricane Katrina can relate and survivors of tsunamis and many other disasters. It's not fair that I know I would be totally ok today if it wasn't for my friends and family posting pictures on Facebook and reminding us of what they were doing at exactly this moment two years ago.

I also want to say that I do understand that the majority of people are getting something out of this. Somehow it helps a lot of people to view these pictures and post these pictures and rehash all the old shit. I don't get it, but if people are doing it en masse, they must be benefitting from it somehow.

For me, however, it makes me extremely upset. I go back to that place. I feel scared and trapped and have to poop (and please don't mention this to me, for fuck's sake) and just really AWFUL. I have a few friends that feel the same and it's just not fair to have people we love shoving it in our faces. I don't want to "walk the path of the tornado" to remember the fucking awfulness of 2011. I don't want to be subjected to profile pictures (they CANNOT be avoided if you go to the site at all) of destroyed houses. I don't want to be tagged in pictures of my once-beautiful house ravaged by nature.

What I'm asking here is that the whole subject be treated with a little bit more delicacy and respect. A lot of us can handle questions about what happened to us, but some can't. If you'd like to post images of destruction, warn people that the following pictures may be triggering to those that have dealt with tragedy of this nature. I can't imagine how the people in Moore feel right now if they're aware of the social media vibe in Joplin right now. I am extremely upset by it all two years later and for them it's been TWO DAYS.

*If you don't know someone and want to ask them about this subject, ask how they feel about talking about it FIRST.

*If you know someone has gone through tragedy (of any kind) and want to talk to them about it, ask how they feel about talking about it FIRST.

*If you have gone through tragedy and feel comforted by posting pictures and rehashing details, put a small disclaimer before you disclose FIRST. I would never want to begrudge anyone else their healing process, but I would also like mine respected.

*NEVER volunteer information about others that have dealt personally with tragedy. It is not your place to disclose their private information.

*DO NOT ASK THE REFERENCE DESK at a ravaged-by-nature town for a map of their town's destruction. Find it online or somewhere else. Don't ask someone that may have lost homes and/or loved ones for a map of places their lives may have been destroyed. That's just not polite. Have some empathy and respect for the feelings of others.

*DO NOT TAKE PICTURES of someone's destroyed property. Just don't. Not even if they give you permission in tears to take photos of you cleaning off your Star Trek DVDs, because they're really not in the right mind to give you permission. Leave them alone if you'r not offering your help. And if they don't want your help, leave them alone anyway.

Anyway, I am angry, but I'm not angry AT people I love because I know that they're not doing these things to be hurtful. They just don't know how I feel, so here's how I feel and I'm not alone. Some of us are very triggered by images and videos and retellings of events. I'm sure a lot of people in Moore would appreciate a little bit of disclaimers and respect as well, so let's treat them better when it's been two years for them.

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