non-silence

After September 11th, maybe it was days or a couple weeks, I can’t quite remember, I went out one night to a Black Eyed Peas show in the city at S.O.B.’s. This was pre-Fergie, when the group was still considered hip-hop. I wasn’t too familiar with their music, but I went because it was my first month of college and I didn’t really have any friends and a girl on my floor who also liked hip-hop looked liked maybe she could be my friend down the road (never happened). I think the weather was pretty cool that night and I remember it being very dark.


The city was a strange, strange place at that time. It was so quiet. Strangely quiet, and obviously sad, and very unsure of itself. I don’t remember much of the show. It was the kind of show where you don’t know most of the songs by heart, so you can’t get that into it. The one or two songs I did know, I was happy about. Towards the end, Will.i.am stopped the show. He acknowledged September 11th and wanted to have a moment of non-silence. I can’t remember his exact phrase, but basically a minute or so to create the opposite of silence. On his mark, he encouraged us to make as much noise and energy as possible. Clap, scream, shout, whatever. I had never heard or thought of anything like it and I wasn’t sure if I was really going to participate.


Once it started, it was a beautiful commotion. Music blaring, drums pounding, everything and everyone in the room at full volume making maximum noise together. I rarely think of that night but was reminded of it today on this day of bloggers’ silence for Japan.


I respect the movement wholeheartedly and believe we should all think of, remember and mourn for all the people lost and those that continue to suffer.


But standing in that crowd that night. That noise. After so much pain and sadness and loss, it was like nothing else. The screaming. It was a release. It was all the chaos and confusion, fear and feelings that felt impossible to articulate, flowing out, vibrating in the air. We were shouting, crying out, we’re still here. We’re still alive and you live on because we will never forget you.

Categories: japan, new york, words
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19 comments

  1. this brought tears to my eyes… lovely and heartbreaking.

  2. This is a beautiful post.

    I’m so glad that those of us who do not agree with silence have blogged about it, without being disrespectful or aggressive. It just didn’t sit right with me and though I felt nervous writing what I did, I didn’t want to be hushed into silence.

    This story is perfect, beautiful, moving. Thank you for sharing!

  3. This post was beautifully written, and like Andrea above, brought tears to my eyes. Thank you for saying it.

    merci,
    Shannan

  4. In all of the touching and emotional words I’ve been reading, this got me in my my deepest of deep places. I love this post. It’s perfect. Thank you for these words, just like this.

  5. Beautiful.

  6. thank you for that

  7. Soothing.
    Thank you.

  8. tears in my eyes as i write this. i seldom think about september 11 as well. it was too real, too painful, and too close to heart when i witnessed what i witnessed. but i do remember that quietness. for months. thanks for sharing jenny xoxo

  9. beautifully written.

  10. Thank you for this. Like Jane Flanagan, I don’t want to be hushed into silence. Beautifully and respectfully written.

  11. So well said. I’d never thought of the opposite of a moment of silence either until now. Makes so much sense. Great story, great share.

  12. What a healthy way to expunge energy. Thank you for sharing that experience! September 11th was a difficult time for me as well, as I was connected to it on very close measures — NY is my home, I was a junior in college in DC on 9/11, and my father worked in Tower 1 on the 106th floor for many years.

    I had a college radio show at the time, and during the weeks following the events, I decided to play the loudest music I could possibly think of.

  13. agree with your sentiments completely and i loved this more personal post from you. nice one, jenny! as an aside, the black eyed peas were so much better then…

  14. thank you times a million for commenting everyone. it means a lot.

  15. Like those who commented above me, I definitely teared up at reading this. Such a beautiful, heartbreaking, and hopeful moment. Thank you for sharing it.

  16. wow. quite possibly the most moving post I’ve read regarding Japan. Thank you for writing this, Jenny.

  17. Jenny, this post is one of the most beautiful I’ve read. It’ so eloquent, and heartfelt.

    I love the sentiment – about not being silent. Tragedies like this should inspire dialogue and kinship.

  18. So moving and incredibly eloquent. I so appreciate you voicing yourself in this way and have to agree with everyone else — the most heartfelt piece I’ve read thus far.

  19. Wow, beautiful words Aubrey.