Reuters

The Aftermath Of Dallas: What It's Like To Pick Up The Pieces In Your City

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I live in the most amazing city in the world, Dallas, Texas. I am 31 years old and have lived many places, even New York City. The only place I would ever call home is right here in Dallas. The people of our city are kind, generous, helpful, joyful and full of life on most days.

From chatting up a grocery store clerk to saying, “hi ya'll” to strangers, Dallas is me and I am Dallas. All of us living here, even in surrounding suburbs, are Dallas. Never in my wildest dreams, no matter how many times my mother has told me, “this is real and people will riot. It CAN and WILL happen here,” I never truly believed.

On Thursday night, my worst nightmare became a reality. As I collapsed to the ground, my stomach pains turning from hunger to grief, I realized I was living in the middle of a real-life war zone. You don't really grasp the magnitude of a tragedy like this while you're sitting at home 2,000 miles away watching it on TV, not matter how sad you feel for the victims.

My first thought immediately went to my sister who lives downtown and works as a nurse at a Baylor Hospital, and her husband. She is on the emergency response team, and I had to make sure she and her husband were OK. “I am OK, but Matt won't let me go near the window,” she texted me.

Then, like someone opened the flood gates in my mind a laundry list of people I needed to check on, including two friends who are members of the Dallas SWAT team, raced through my head. I started getting dozens of Facebook notifications and being a bit behind on the new additions to certain social media sites, I didn't pay much attention to what they were notifying me about. I did check my feed and saw the majority of my friends were safe.

I texted my SWAT friends but both sans response. I realized hours later those notifications were dozens of people asking if I was safe. That warmed my heart and broke it all at once. I was so touched by the many people who cared, but at the same time, has our world really become so bad that we have added a standard notification on social media to mass inform people that we are safe wherever we are located? Yes. It has. And it is happening, quite literally, in my backyard.

To the people I love, in the city I love. I couldn't take it, I broke down in tears.

I am a petite caucasian woman who grew up in the upper-middle class suburbs of Georgia and Texas. My parents are still married and my life has been pretty easy, arguably. I am willing to acknowledge I don't know the hardships other minority groups have because I am not a minority. It is not my place to speak on something I know nothing about.

However, I do know what it is like to feel pain. I know what it is like to be a human being. I know love, I know fear and I even know hate. Being in the midst of incomplete uncertainty, incomplete chaos and complete nonsense, I have so many questions. Has the world always been this bad? Or am I just at an age now to where I understand? Why is there so much hate? What are we, as Americans, as HUMANS, doing to change this ludicrous contagion of cold blooded violence? Where did we go wrong? How can I help?

Well, I don't have the answers to most of those questions. However, a friend of mine posted a status on Facebook yesterday and it was so powerful, so true and so real. What he said may not be what America WANTS to hear, but it is what we NEED to hear. When I asked him if I could use his post in this article he said yes. However when I asked if I could use his name, he said he wasn't comfortable with that. Which further highlights the unnecessary fear engulfing and affecting all of our lives on a daily basis.

This was his post:

"I was driving home tonight from work. As soon as I got to Addison, I noticed a cop car pull behind me. I freaked out. I was going exactly 1 mile over the speed limit. He obviously wasn't behind me to pull me over or harass me. However, I freaked out! I started thinking of the scenario and how it would pan out. A black man in a Cadillac and breaking the law right? He would pull me over and he'd ask for my credentials. I would say hello officer, how are you? I think I was speeding! My sincere apologies! How can I get out of this alive? I'm sure you want to see my license and proof that I own this car. He would say yes sir. Then I would say, "how about you go ahead and cuff me, take me to your car to make sure I'm not a threat and I'll tell you where my credentials are. This way you could get what you seek of me and I could go home safely to bed. I literally started weeping as I thought to myself, what has this country come to? We have let INDIVIDUALS coerce our minds on how we think of certain groups of people. I will do my part by praying, being a civil and law abiding and respectful citizen. I will be the change in the world I wish to see and I will not be the person I was on my way home from work tonight. United with prayer we stand, divided we perish and fall!"

I was speechless after reading this. My thoughts went to my friend -- not “my friend who is black,” just my friend. My friend in whom I have never seen anything else but his kind heart, his brilliant mind and his hard work.

I am sure he deals with all kinds of things I can't wrap my brain around but 1) He doesn't let it affect him or change who he is a man, and 2) I, personally, do not think of him as anyone but another human who is just like me.

He loves like me, he fears like me, he gets up and goes to work like me, he eats like me and he breathes like me. Do your part; that is all it will take to change a seemingly hopeless, world. Just do your part. It is that simple.

Dallas is grieving, the country is grieving and this has to stop. Thank you to those who have reached out, prayed for and supported all of us in Dallas, Texas. We have been knocked down but we WILL get up again. We are Dallas, we are America and we can do this together. Let's put this puzzle back together so we can finally start to see the big, beautiful picture intended for this country and the world. #Dallasstrong

Sincerely, Desperate in Dallas