Dear Terrorist – A Poem about Emotional Honesty: Andrianne Haslet at TEDxBeaconStreet (Transcript)

Dear Terrorist,

When I was a little girl, my grandfather called me a wiggle worm, because I wouldn’t sit still. To this day, I am in constant motion, drawn to the people and places that enable me to be the friend with a shoulder to cry on. “Sure, stay as long as you like, child; I will sing you to sleep.” We will save the world with our words, humanitarian that I aspire to be.

Dear Terrorist, while you were little, and dreaming of becoming a misanthrope, I was making what every little girl’s dream was, come true; becoming a ballroom dancer. One day I took a walk, but I was not alone, oh no, I was not alone.

I was walking beside a white hat, as a matter of fact, it was a trap I was a mouse; that blast was as large as a house. It blew off my leg, it broke dreams, it broke teams, it killed lives. Dear Terrorist, I grew up knowing what I needed, and my definition of being whole I dreamed of what my definition was, of all the parts that I needed in order to make my dreams come true.

And I lay there, in a bed of broken dreams, football size holes with blood seeping at the seems of sutures, bound together, pulling muscles back into their place, in a body where people could only look at you and say well, at least you have a pretty face.

Dear Terrorist, I grew up with all the parts of me I needed in order to be whole. You took from me the parts that I needed in order to make my dreams come true. When I was a little girl, all I wanted was to dance. When I was a little girl, all I wanted was for things to work out, and when things fall apart you cannot, with a crayon, draw back the scene of screams, of happiness, of sun, of cheers, of marathoners.

No, no. You are left. You are left on a bed, broken at the seams. Dear Terrorist, I grew up with all the parts of me that I needed in order to be whole. You took from me the parts that I needed, in order to make my dreams come true.

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Yet, I lay there and I’m told, “Do not say you are scared; this will let the terrorist win.” And I was confused I was scared; I was so scared. And when we bury the fact that we’re scared, – which we are – we are being emotionally dishonest. Dear Terrorist, I grew up with all the parts of me that I needed in order to make myself whole I grew up with all the parts of me that I needed in order to make my dreams come true.

Yet, we are left with a society that does not allow us to become emotionally honest. I am not afraid to say I am scared by the terrorist. You don’t need to have your leg blown off by one of them in order to say it. This is the reason we are at war; I’m scared.

And I think that it’s time that we all admit it I think that it’s time that we all admit that we are scared, and we stop being emotionally dishonest, because guess what? In my mind, being emotionally dishonest and being told that we should be ashamed of saying we are scared to go to a board meeting, or to go to any of this, thing that us adults are scared of, we should be ashamed of that? No I don’t believe it; I don’t believe it for a second. We should not be ashamed that we are scared once we stop having monsters underneath the bed. We should not be ashamed of saying we are scared that someone is going to blow us up when we get on a plane.

We, as a society, should be emotionally honest, and say that we are scared. I lie awake at night, I lie awake in fright. We have sounds that make us jump, we check our shoes, we check our bags. We are all scared of Trump. We can say that, but we can’t say we are scared of terrorists.

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I don’t buy it; change the dialogue. Say you’re scared, be emotionally honest. This is what’s wrong with society. Dear Terrorist, you think you took from me all the things I needed in order to be whole. You think you took from me, all the things I needed in order to make my dreams come true.

I danced across your finish line, I danced across what you put the boundaries of, in order to make my dream come true. We are a society that is pulled together, you came into this town, you turned it upside down, we pulled together world series teams that year. We pulled together new dreams, and you think that you won? Let me tell you something; if you opened your eyes, and opened your ears, and stopped talking about our fears, and were emotionally honest with your words, I don’t know, maybe you would have accomplished so much more. Thank you for your time.

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