You are insecure. So am I. We all are.
Just this weekend I got prime proof of this theory.
First, fellow blogger and heretofore virtual friend of mine Nic wrote a story. It was, and is, a haunting account of a mother separated from her young child by a TSA agent while navigating the security line at one of our nations airports. The story was laced with emotion and accusation. And we online citizens read the story. Through the pixels of our screens, Nics voice carried. We felt her pain. As mothers, as people, as imperfect creatures who race for flights and forget to remove pacifier clips, her fears and her outrage became our own.
Next, some individuals felt compelled to do something with this outrage. To stand up. To speak. To stomp virtual feet. To take part in righting an inglorious and conspicuous wrong. To be part of change. Hundreds of people left comments on this Nics blog expressing sympathy and support. Some went a bit further, disseminating this story. Thanks to Twitter and its brethren technologies, this story spread fast and furiously. Some even contacted the TSA.
And then, of course, came another story. A different one. The proverbial other side. From the TSA itself. And this story had both words and images. In its defense, the Agency published video footage of the allegedly aggrieved mother and her young son progressing through the security line. Per the video, mother and son were never separated.
At this, many people felt confused. And angry. And deceived. At this, many people took it upon themselves to spew their own words, venom-soaked and vicious. At this, some of us (myself included) wondered and waited for more information. And, in due time, the next story came. Part apology. Part explanation. Part continued accusation. More words, woven together. Another tapestry. Another truth.
And as the storm swelled, big-timers heard whispers and weighed in. More words. More stories. More takes. More angles. Including this one. I write these words because to me they are true, yes, but I am beginning to believe, and fervently, that this story, any story, is about more than truth. Thats part of it, sure. A big part. But its also about the insecurity, deep and raw and undeniable, that affects us all.
As I have said over and over on this blog, I do not think insecurity is always a bad thing. It is a human thing. It is a fact of existence, the center stone of lifes tarnished ring undeniable, conspicuous, sparkling. It is one thing that unites us when so many other things divide us. We might lead very different lives, but each and every one of us worries about the life that we do lead.
And so we do things to combat the insecurity, or to deny it. We tell stories. We fumble with truths. We make mistakes. Big ones, sometimes.
And when big mistakes are made, apologies should be offered. Real apologies. I think most of us are willing to forgive if given the opportunity.
Sometimes, whether blogging or just living, we consciously or unconsciously exploit ourselves. And others.
And when we exploit ourselves, or others, we must own it and vow to stop. Paths can be reversed.
Maybe I am an odd bird, but I dont need to know what happened on that security line in Atlanta. I am willing to wait a bit longer to learn more. If there is in fact more to learn. I am not yet willing to point fingers and scream. I am not yet willing to burn bridges recently constructed. Who knows - I might feel differently hours or days from now. But not yet. Perhaps I have my head in those proverbial fluffy clouds (always a distinct possibility with me), but for now I am more interested in what the bigger story says about humanity than what the smaller story says about one blogger.
I feel relieved to know that I am not alone in not rushing to judgment, in occupying my troubled-and-curious plot of earth. As Maggie of the blog Okay. Fine. Dammit. so eloquently stated, "For me, this story isnt about Nic. Its about us." I'm with you, Maggie. I think this is in part, in important part, about us. And as Heather of The Extraordinary Ordinary said so compellingly, "We are angry and confused, sometimes hurt, making guesses at why someone would do such a thing. Money? Fleeting fame? Mental illness? All of the above? And some of us react rather than respond. We don't take the time to think it through. So that's what I'm trying to do here. I'm trying to understand this." And I'm with you, Heather. I too am taking the time to think this through. I too am trying to understand this. I too am trying to respond, and thoughtfully, rather than react.
And this is my response. Clumsy? Perhaps. Honest? You bet. Unfinished? Always.
For me, one person, one blogger, one mother, this is about insecurity. We are insecure beings. We crave love and attention and praise and traffic. All of us.
Yes, there should be limits on what we do to secure these things. Truth should not be compromised. There should be boundaries, firmly traced, that we should never cross in securing these things for ourselves. We should, for instance, never deface the integrity or reputation of another person or institution, in securing these things. This is not okay. If this is what happened, this is decidedly not okay.
But if we take a step back (and I know this is sometimes so hard to do), we might conclude that if anyone is guilty, perhaps we all are. More or less. To varying degrees.
We are all on line and online together. The insecurity line.
And on this line, we wait. And wait some more. Together, we wait, our collective patience tested, our emotions in fierce flux. But wait, we must. For information. For understanding. For apologies. For forgiveness.
For truth. Whatever that is.