Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Don't Let Your Nightmares Destroy You

You Can't Hide From Genocide. "However, it is good to educate yourself and others but if you breathe, smell, and try to taste it everyday, it will destroy your soul." Many people in this sad world have faced many tragedies. Some might be personal and others might be more conventional such as the loss of a loved one. Some people might have been sexually assaulted as a youngster or even raped as an adult. Others may have been violated in another way or form. Some people tend to use their emotional ordeal in order to educate others about the statistics of what it is they are trying to inform us on. I imagine that anyone who constantly educates on a devastating/emotional topic has to extrinsically and intrinsically relive it daily. I imagine that those people that preach and educate others do not sleep at night as all of their nightmares that they talk about during the day, come to life at night. Outside, they seem fine, but I know that if you deal with a horrid topic daily and consume yourself with it every second, it will suck upon your inner being. As an educator, I had to take professional development courses for my thirty and above, my masters. When teachers complete their 30 credits, they receive a stipend in their salary. As a young girl, I was always fascinated to learn more about the Holocaust. I lost family memebers to the Nazis and always wondered about the travesties they faced. I was fortunate to take a class at the Museum of Jewish Heritage: A Living Memorial to the Holocaust, in NYC. I strongly reccommend you visiting it. I must say this museum is wonderful. I took different courses there for three summers in a row. The first summer I took the course with a friend; not knowing what to expect. It was a basic introduction to the Holocaust. The following summer, I decided to further educate myself on this topic and took another two courses. These courses were given a week apart. One course dealt with America's view and their strategies that they did under FDR's ruling during this time. The other dealt with survivors of the Holocaust. I had the pleasure of meeting many survivors as well as the infamous, Ruth Gruber. She was a journalist that traveled to Europe to escort many war victims to safety. In 2001, Natasha Richardson starred as Ms. Gruber in the movie, "HAVEN". This film I strongly reccommend you see.
The third year I took another class during the summer. The course was also wonderful. One course I took was titled, "Genocide." This course did not just deal with the Holocaust but rather other genocides that took place. We learned about the unfortunate happenings that occurred in Cambodia. We spoke to a survivor via webcam. We also learned about the horrific genocide of Ruwanda. We were visited by a beautiful survivor who was a Tutsi. During this genocide the Tutsi's were considered to be the minority. The Hutu's were the ones to carry out the act of genocide against the Tutsi's. This woman spoke about a time that she was home and was shot in the arm through her window. She said that if it hit an artery she would not have been alive, and considered herself lucky. I rather not write the names of these survivors as I feel they have been through enough and they may not want me writing about them. I definitely want to respect that. Although, I know that all survivors want to speak about their nightmare in order to educatoe others. We watched the movie, "Hotel Ruwanda." This is another must see flick. We also touched upon the genocide in Darfur and the struggles people of Darfur face today. As the course continued, I felt myself getting more and more anxious. There was one film that was taken in the camps. The Nazis forced Jewish prisoners to dig. After these prisoners dug, they were shot and landed in the hole that they had dug. This was done in an assembly line. The people were forced to dig their own graves and know that any minute, they would have to enter it lifeless. This piece of film was captured on camera. This video really struck a nerve with me. It is ok to watch a film where you see an actor get shot because you know it is only an actor and he/she is doing their job. However, the video I watched was reality and that gives me a whole different light on humanity. I remember I went through weeks without sleep even after this course was over. I constantly thought about it and discussed it, obsessively. I wanted to educate everyone about genocide. I do believe that one should educate others on these horrific topics. However, I do believe your inner soul needs a rest too. I know that if you eat, sleep, and breathe it, the stench will take over your dreams and lead you into a land of nightmares. You will feel trapped and hopefless and most of all frightened of others as well as of yourself. You might appear fine on the outside, but in the inside you can't be; especially with no sleep. Your body will shut down and you will fall into a dark abyss that sucks you in and you can not leave.
My message today is to continue to educate. It is important to speak about your experiences. It is also important to take a two day break from it as well. You take care of yourself because only you can. Love yourself by enjoying the beauty that life has to offer. Use one day to take a break from the daily talks, discussions, tweets, about the education of inner demons that lay upon your heart and soul. Use that day to talk about fun things such as pies, music, cupcakes, pets, etc. As for myself, I may take another course there in the near future; not for credit because I mastered that already but just as an observer. However, I did give myself a two year break. Facing your demons is important but don't let it subterfuge you into a world of a ghastly, horrific nightmare. Take time to sniff a flower, breathe in and out and that is how you can also ostracize your fears.

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