Was supposed to fly up to San Fran yesterday afternoon but flight was canceled because of the shooting. Now I’m sitting in LAX, about to board. I wasn’t at the airport when the shooting occurred, but I’ve been containing a freak out for 24 hours. I don’t want to be here. I don’t want to see my family in the bay. How is everyone in this airport so calm? How are guns so easy to purchase? I’m not an emotional person and these events don’t usually affect me like this. Why did this even happen?
This happened because it’s the new normal. Mass shootings are a thing now. As a culture, our collective consciousness accepts that violently narcissistic young white males will attempt suicide by going on shooting sprees with an assault rifle. We accept that the news outlets will gleefully publish their full names and a list of their imagined grievances. We accept the meager excuse that they are “mentally unstable,” and we accept that there is nothing we can do about it. It’s all bullshit, but hey, we still accept it.
Now take some deep breaths.
Everyone in the airport is calm because they feel safe. The shooting happened yesterday, and they know that it’s not going to happen again today. That’s not how these things work. You’re safe. Even you know that. Of course, that’s not the reason you’re white-knuckling the onset of a full-blown panic attack.
You’re barely keeping it together because you have a shit ton of anxiety about seeing your family that was further amplified by whatever stressful phone call took place between you and your parents yesterday when they saw the news of the shooting. The airport is triggering your freak-out, and you’re doing everything you can to sit there and look normal.
Like I said, take some deep breaths. What you need to recognize is that your single biggest problem is the phrase, “I don’t want to be here.” It is the distilled source of all of your anxiety.
Right now, you are embodying that phrase, and it’s causing a feedback loop of panic. “I don’t want to be here” is poisoning you. Instead, focus on the phrase, “It’s okay that I am here.” Go ahead, say it.
It’s okay that I am here. You don’t have to believe it at first, but keep repeating it to yourself. Keep it in your mind. Turn it into a mantra.
It’s okay that I am here. Keep saying it, and if a little voice in the back of your mind tries to tell you that it’s not okay, just tell that voice to shut the fuck up.
It’s okay that I am here. Keep this phrase with you the whole time you’re with your family in San Francisco. Center yourself around it, and you’ll be back in LA in no time.