I’m going to take the weekend off. No plans. No obligations.
I just need a couple of days to decompress.
For me, decompressing generally involves writing, reading, watching movies, spending time with my husband, petting our animals and baking. These are the activities that bring me joy and nourish my soul.
The week wasn’t all that bad. I mean, there were some high points. I wrote a story that was splashed on the front page of HuffPost U.S., U.K. and Canada. That same story received more than 33,000 comments and was viewed over 1.6 million times. My dear friend John resurrected The Blog of Death on a new server so I was able to post an obituary I really liked. I tried out a recipe for carrot cake and it tasted delicious. I spent time with friends, both on the phone and in person. M woke me with kisses every night.
All in all, the highs were pretty good.
On the other hand, the temperatures rose, a rain storm blew in and all of the snow disappeared. That article I wrote, the popular one? It also generated a great deal of mean-spirited and insulting e-mails/comments/tweets. I got a migraine from the storm, though thankfully it didn’t last. We didn’t win the lottery. Again. And, as sometimes happens, I let the news get to me.
This occurs to most journalists at one time or another. I’m convinced that’s why so many have alcohol problems and broken marriages. As Nietzsche said, “When you look into an abyss, the abyss also looks into you.”
So many things hit me this week. The 200+ people who perished in the nightclub fire in Brazil. Did you know that the victims’ cell phones, which were placed on their bodies, continued to ring as frantic families tried to reach them? The cruel bastards who were dog fighting a pack of pit bull terriers in Florida. (When the authorities showed up to rescue the dogs, the look of relief on this pup’s face nearly broke my heart). The gunman who shot and killed a school bus driver and then kidnapped a little boy (he’s been holding the child hostage for two days now). The woman in Mogadishu who was allegedly raped by soldiers and still had the courage to report the assault, only to have the government arrest her, interrogate her for days without legal counsel and then threaten her with years of imprisonment. Her husband and the reporter who interviewed her were also arrested. Do you know what prisons in Somalia are like? People aren’t just processed and bailed out. Think more along the lines of torture, starvation, gang rape. It’s too hideous to comprehend, and yet I must, because right now, that is what these people are facing.
Almost every day is like this. The stories I cover allow me to see the goodness in some people and the awfulness of humanity as a whole. Yet what keeps me going back to work night after night is the knowledge that I am serving society to the best of my ability, and that by covering these horrific events, some readers may be inspired to respond, to act, to change the world.
Most of the time, I don’t let the horrors get to me. But every once in a while, I simply despair. On those days, I close the laptop at the end of my shift, and try to leave the misery behind for a few hours.
Hugging my husband always helps.