There’s a reason it’s called terrorism.
It says it right in the word: "terror."
It’s an act meant to instill terror in the everyday lives of human beings. No matter how big or small the act of terrorism is, there is only one way for terrorists to succeed.
The answer is through us. When they see their targets begin to live their lives in fear of what’s to happen next, they know they’ve done it right.
Following the Paris attacks, I was too frightened to leave my apartment. The mere sound of someone knocking on the door sent a shiver down my spine.
I slept with my TV on the entire night, and was tuned to CNN, just in case there was breaking news I had to be aware of.
I assured myself there was nothing to be worried about. Whatever happens, happens.
I am a firm believer in karma. Everything happens for a reason.
But every little sound still scared the living daylights out of me.
I went to a concert three nights after the attack in Paris and found myself doing something I have never done before.
I called my father to ask him if he thought it was safe for me to be at a concert venue. My dad was in the Israeli Defense Forces back in the day, so that gives me a sense of comfort.
He luckily didn’t answer the phone, which gave me some time to go over my thoughts.
What the f*ck was I doing? Who and what was I scared of?
My chains were rattled, and I couldn’t help but think about the fact that I was slowly being brainwashed by an avoidable force.
I was terrified. I let ISIS and their ongoing threats get to my head.
“Don’t ride public transportation, especially in major cities like NYC and Washington DC.” “Stay away from large spaces such as stadiums and concert venues.” “If you see something, say something.” “Be extra cautious of your surroundings.”
I (thankfully) was taught how to cross the street after looking both ways when I was a child. Of course I was going to be cautious of what was going on around me.
Then, I realized that didn’t mean I had to be scared.
Being cautious is not a cause of fear. Rather, it's a correlation.
I am allowed to be as scared or as lax as I allow myself to be.
I won’t let ISIS take away everything in my life that makes it worth living.
I enjoy going to concerts. I enjoy going to the movies.
I enjoy going for my morning stroll to get coffee. I enjoy traveling both near and far.
Most of all, I enjoy the freedom I have been given in life.
There is not one person who can take that away from me. Only I can if I want to.
I could turn to becoming a hermit and never leaving my apartment.
I could disconnect from all technology in the fear that some undercover ISIS member will track me.
I could nix all activities I thoroughly enjoy that bring happiness to me.
I could, but I won’t.
Asking for forgiveness leads to a greater reward than asking for permission.
I choose to live my life exactly how I have every day in the past 22 years, and will continue to do so.
I did not and will not grant heartless organizations like ISIS the permission to change that.
Yes, I can forgive their actions, but they will not change me without my permission.
There is nothing to fear but fear itself.
I will not let the terror in terrorism let me live in fear.