So Monday I epically failed my glamour-girl diet. Not just because I failed to pack any real protein, but because as I watched the bombing aftermath unfold, I realized that life is too short, to precious, to waste feeling like crap for the arbitrary goal of beauty.
No one should have to wait for a text that says their friend is okay. No one should ever have to try and figure out who they know who might be running so they can try to contact and make sure they’re not dead or lying bloody in the streets.
As a reporter, I not only had to worry about my own friends, but I had to call around for local leads on what might be the worst day of somebody’s life. We got a Facebook message hinting that one girl, who’d been at the finish line, was in the hospital, and I got charged with calling her mother at 9 at night and asking what happened when all I knew was that her kid might be dead. She wasn’t, luckily, and while she had indeed been at the finish line, she left 20 minutes before the explosion for a doctor’s appointment at the hospital. It was a happy ending to an otherwise grim day, but that’s not something you can do on an empty stomach. It just makes a world that’s already scary even more terrifying.
Being a reporter means that you’re in the middle of all the tragedies but there’s nothing you can do, and that in itself can be emotionally trying. You just have to stand there, writing down every moment of the Worst Day Of Someone’s Life. But because it’s not your tragedy, you feel bad about feeling bad. People tell you “others had it worse” or accuse you of being a grief thief. And sometimes, there’s nothing to do but suffer in silence, because there’s deadlines, there’s work to do and there’s always another lead to chase. This is the second Really Awful story I’ve had to do in the last two months (the first was a murder-murder-suicide where the woman killed her boyfriend, the dog, then herself and set the house on fire, and the cops found the husband had been stuffed into a barrel for three years). In addition to covering City Hall and Community Profiles, I’ve got the Awful Beat.
There’s a reason there is “comfort food.” Carrots and yogurt are awesome, but they don’t bring the same emotional soothing as a real meal at the end of a long, long day. There’s a reason we bring food to the grieving. No one eats non-fat yogurt after a funeral.