Be the girl that:
I've been watching the local and national news ever since I was old enough to look at a screen. It's all part of a daily routine that, save school breaks and Sundays, has not been broken in years. Every morning, my brother and I would wake up a good hour and a half before school to my father's call. My family isn't talkative in the mornings, so my father would switch on the TV, and we'd all begin the day with a healthy dose of WSBTV'S Channel 2 Action News. Then, the clock would strike 7 a.m., and we'd spend the remainder of our pre-school morning watching ABC's Good Morning America.
The thing about watching that much news (besides being more well-informed than most of my elementary-aged and middle-school aged peers) is that one gets accustomed to hearing a plethora of local and national and international tragedies on a daily basis. Missing children on Monday, mystery murders on Tuesday, tragic car crashes on Wednesday, thieves on Thursday, corpses of the missing children found on Friday and so on. As I was born post-Columbine, I could depend on hearing of school shootings monthly or so with varying degrees of success.
While the widely repeated "no news is good news" isn't strictly true, it was perhaps 99 percent true for me, and over time, I've become desensitized to tragic events to an alarming degree.
When I first heard about the school shooting through one of Alpharetta Odyssey teammates, I couldn't even be bothered to look it up. 17 dead, she said. Tragic, I thought, before realizing that it had been a while since there was a successful school shooting. With how common they've become, it felt like we had one long overdue.
As my community peers expressed their shock at humanity's general decline, I had two epiphanies in subsequent order.
First, I noticed how people avoided liking my post like they were with everyone else’s because of how disturbing the concept of normalizing something as horrific as school shootings is. Second, I soon realized that my attitude isn't was nearly as disturbing as it was pragmatic.
It's horrible that I've learned to normalize the idea that some humans simply lack hearts. But once you get past the initial implication associated with the idea, you will realize how ignorant we are to continue to be shocked every time something slightly more tragic happens at this point in time. I’m writing this on February 14, 2018 — Valentine's Day. We are only one and a half months into 2018, and there have been 18 school shootings (of varying degrees of success) in the America.
It's about time we start learning to expect situations like this and prepare ourselves accordingly, like the way we do for other unexpected disasters, such as fires and tornado warnings. And while it can be truly difficult to implement a feasible school-wide system against the ingenuity of the determined heartless, we should replace the mentality "Oh, it's never going to happen to me," with "It might happen to me." (But in moderation. There's also something to be said about being so afraid of possibly dying that one simply fails to live.)
It's truly tragic that we have to resort to such a mentality. But then again, it would be much more tragic to actually die without ever having considered that dying is a very real possibility.
With that all said, however, do not start singling out people you may see as potential school shooters. That is an unsolicited assumption, and you seriously do not know that person as well as him/herself. Only that person can know if they are capable of shooting up a school. Second, pointing out certain people and alienating them based on assumptions might actually be the direct cause of the suspected person shooting up a school. Driving a person into a corner puts everyone in danger.
I truly applaud the people who continue to believe the best in people, despite events like this occurring. Those are the people who let their guards down and are open-minded, regardless. And though it may seem counter intuitive, it is actually people like these who are the best remedy to the prevention of school shootings. People with true friends (or at least people who have someone to reach out to, at the very least) are much less likely to become the perpetrators of such a catastrophic scenario with such a collateral ending.
Nevertheless, we should learn to expect catastrophes, while also keeping open minds and open hearts. I know. It's not easy. But for the sake of everyone, know that the effort is worth it.
I’ll start this post by telling you about myself. I am a college student at a music conservatory program. I am extremely hard on myself and I am a “must have straight A’s” type of student. Well, between my education and all of the time it takes whether that be class time, rehearsals, or homework and studying time, combined with TRYING to have a social life and remaining in touch with family and myself, I find myself continually wanting and needing to exercise. But the problem is, I never feel like I have the time, or I make excuses when I do have the time, partially due to fear of failure or doubt of perfection. Now let’s rewind to the summer months. Here, I have to practice and brush up on certain academic responsibilities, but generally speaking, I do have more time in my schedule. So I go and make a plan and schedule to go to the gym every day. Well, being 5’3” and of a more athletic frame, my daily exercise soon started making me look like a bodybuilder. I was eating well, the best I have ever eaten, but while I was just trying to tone my muscles and lose weight, I found myself gaining “scale” weight and “looking” bigger, even though I was physically feeling better. So I stopped…determined to now lose all the muscle I had just gained because the number on the scale wasn’t cutting it…literally. Now, how does perfectionism come into play? Well, I had an idea in my head and an end goal, though not a carefully planned path to get there. When people desire to lose weight, their goal sounds something along the lines of, “I will lose 20 pounds.” Okay, so I am glad you want to make this change, but HOW are you going to do it?
Make SMART goals.
S-Specific M-Measurable A-Attainable R-Relevant T-Time-Based
What motivates this goal? What are you looking for besides the surface layer of your goal?
If you want to lose weight, let’s use the same example–20 pounds over a short period of time–and you find that that goal is not attainable for you and your schedule or you feel as though it will add more stress and bad than good, try re-centering your goal to sound something like, “I will work with a nutritionist, dietitian, and/or personal trainer to create a healthy, attainable nutrition and exercise plan to tone my muscles and live a happier, more fulfilling life. My goal is to NOT focus on the number on the scale, but instead base my achievements on the consistency of my plan, as I juggle it with a full course load.
This forces us perfectionists to shy away from the ALL or NOTHING plan when we don’t get the EXACT results we are looking for. I know that health professionals usually want people to shy away from the number, but in this case, I advise it because it can soon become an obsession that spirals you into a negative direction. I am currently attempting to take my own advice.