Dress by Pompi Garcia, pictures by Celia D. Luna.
I’ve been struggling the last couple of days to use the right words to express how I feel. If you follow my stories through Instagram, you know what I mean. First it was Irma, who threatend to destroy Miami.
She taught me what fear was.
Just when I was able to sleep again without worries, I found myself at the Earthquake that struck Mexico City, causing more destruction than I could have ever imagined.
It taught me what terror is.
For the first time I could feel the numbness of panic.
Why is it that earthquakes don’t have names? It feels better to refer to a name than just to an earthquake.
I thought I knew what earthquakes were; I lived through hundreds of them growing up.
This was so much more than that; it was a direct hit to our history. We all have stories related to the 1985 Earthquake which happened exactly the same day 32 years ago. It was always a date written in our collective calendar. At that time, my dad used to work at Televisa, and his office collapsed. The only reason he didn’t die crushed by its structure, was a last minute rendez-vous with my aunt.
He spent weeks trying to find survivors and make sense of the left overs. ‘How can you count the number of victims when you have 17 arms, 15 legs and 23 hands?’, he used to say in tears.
As I found myself in the midst of this disaster, sitting on a roundabout, waiting for a friend to find his cat, before his badly affected building crumbled into pieces, with a smell of gas I can’t even start to describe, I was sure that it was the last day of my life.
Buildings were falling everywhere. You could see them. You could hear them. The destruction lead to a union beyond compare among Mexicans. So many silent heroes were born in the last couple of days. So many empty coffins were honored.
We have changed. Our society is different. It has realized how strong it is.
That feeling changes you forever; it really does. For me, it has been the beginning of a Journey from Within.
And now there’s Puerto Rico, and Dominican Republic. The Caribbean will never be the paradise it used to be: Cuba, Antigua, Barbuda, St Thomas, St Martin, St Barts.
Bali is perhaps on the ‘waiting list’ of disasters to come, and so is Mexico thanks to the activity registered by our volcanoes in the last couple of days.
And of course, so are we in the USA, with the growing tensions with North Korea, and the discomfort in La Falla de San Andres — those tectonic plates have absolutely no mercy.
I don’t even want to list all the disasters happening on the West.
Let’s face it. We can’t control what’s happening outside.All we have left is help others while we can, and dare break into an inner journey that makes us understand that we are so much more than what our eyes can see.
We are light. We are safe.