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How It Feels to be So Close to A Natural Disaster

If you'd like to help with the Nashville tornado relief, please donate to one of the funds I've listed here.

I'm still processing what happened just a few nights ago on March 3rd here in Nashville. It's a combination of so many conflicting emotions and everything feels a bit tangled right now.

Here's a running list of things that feel strange:

Waking up Tuesday morning and thinking everything is fine - looking out the windows to a sunny morning, with no sign of damage to our neighborhood. 

Realizing how close the tornado came to us and how little we took it seriously. 

The amount of texts we receive from friends and family asking if we are okay.

Counting the construction trucks that drive by as I work the afternoon shift at The Getalong - knowing where they are all going and wondering how much work is left to be done.

Grabbing food at The Turnip Truck - getting out of my car and looking out over the parking lot to Main St, where businesses are unrecognizable, streets are blocked off, and more debris is piled up to be taken away.

Looking down McFerrin Avenue to see what look like construction cranes from afar, but are actually several electrical equipment trucks fixing lights and power lines that were demolished in the storm. 

Driving through the neighborhood at night - I decide to grab some items from my studio, where the power is out and there is slight damage to the exterior of the building. I know it's not smart to go at night - there have been looters around the neighborhood taking advantage of the storm's damage - but I go anyway. On my way home, there are more police lights and streets blocked off. I manage to get home relatively easily, but notice how eerie it is that some streets have no street signs or stop signs and some blocks are completely black, even though I know there are - or were - homes that line the block.

Driving down James Robertson Parkway for the first time and realizing the damage covered more ground than I thought. I see damage to the school where I used to play soccer and the trees that line the highway, littered with large pieces of metal wrapped up in their snapped branches. 

Seeing empty billboards - only a few pieces of plywood holding them together.

Driving through Lockeland Springs - Once I realize I need to turn around because the damage is unbelievable, it's too late. I'm caught up in the traffic of onlookers like me, who want to see if it's really as bad as they're saying.

Trying to get work done - it feels impossible to go on with business as usual, knowing so many people are in need of help. I feel guilty for the big deadlines I have this week, feeling like I have so much work to do, but feeling like my work has lost all importance when people in my community have died, lost their homes, and don't have anything. It feels selfish.

Wanting to help, but not knowing how - I want to drop everything I'm doing and help. The whole city wants to do that. I donate money and household items, but it doesn't feel like enough. I keep reminding myself that the damage is extensive and there will be more opportunities to volunteer. The city is overwhelmed with volunteer support right now and when I am able to help, they will still need me. It's okay that donations are all I can do at this moment. 

A combination of emotions - I feel guilty, sad, angry, confused, grateful, helpless...it's a lot to process and it will take time to heal. I know I'm not alone in feeling this way.

Even if you weren't directly impacted or hurt, you probably know someone that was - whether you've gotten tea at High Garden, gone to a show at Basement East, or know someone whose house or apartment is no longer standing, you are probably dealing with a lot of stress and anxiety too. It's okay if you feel confused, anxious, or guilty. Something this devastating is hard for the whole community.

If you'd like to help, please donate to one of the funds I've listed here.

Nashville will take time to rebuild, but we've done it before. We are a resilient city. 

 

 


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