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A Life Forever Scarred

Growing up in a traumatized and grieving Nation

By Anna Turnitsa Published 4 years ago 2 min read

Someone once told me "ocean for emotion and mountain for the soul". I have found this to be true. I grew to young adulthood among the mountains of central Pennsylvania. The mountains gave me strength and fortitude as I looked up at their tree covered tops, before hiking up to a spot where I could look down into a green valley. My spirit soared at these heights, and nothing could stop it from enjoying the pure majestic freedom except the churning of emotions deep within, which I was unaware.

I was walking through a mall one day as a teenager when I came across the most mesmerizing picture I'd ever seen. A large picture of a lighthouse in a storm. I took in the beacon shining through the darkness as waves crashed upon the rocks at the base. My wish was to enter the scene because the enormous picture was not big enough to calm my stirring emotions. To stand among the wind, whipped rain and listen to the waves continuously crashing upon the rocks.

Several years later, I made my way from those faithful mountains to the beaches of South Florida. At the time, I didn't realize how blessed I was to have the chance to gaze out at the point where the horizon touched the sea whenever it suited me. However, it wasn't these days that remain in my memory. The day that remains vivid in my mind was when a friend and I ventured out to the ocean's edge during a tropical storm. The wind blowing my long light brown hair across my face as the rain stung my cheeks was refreshing, yet it was not enough; it was standing several feet out into the water where the waves crashed against my body, which struggled to maintain its ground where I found freedom. I was the lighthouse in the storm that had not yet entered my life. A storm caused by the bombing of the Twin Towers in New York City that would carry me to the treeless mountains of Southern Arizona.

Seventeen years later, I'm still holding my ground amid the storm of uncertainty caused by epidemics and social uproar at governments. Amid a storm of discrimination, stigmatization, and violence that range in intensity from loud rumbles of thunder and lightening flashes that touch the earth to wispy breezes and calms before the storm stirs again. A ground that must be held even if it is in external vain.

I am in awe over a potential bigger storm initiated by political uproar in an effort to quell the part of social unrest that neglects to attend to its grief. Pulling in peaceful advocates and innocents like a whirlpool created by opposing currents. Is is possible for humans to be born with an innate capacity for defeat? A capacity that some psychoanalysts call the death instinct.

To this end, the storm that swept me into its torrent is real both in my psyche and out in society. I'm bittersweet as I reflect upon memories both nourishing and angering. It's bittersweet to realize that those who keep the light will be the ones to find solutions and give hope to those affected by the shambles of judicial, psychiatric, social, and political shambles.


About the Creator

Anna Turnitsa


I like writing poetry, memoir, and fiction. If I had to pick a favorite animal, I‘d choose the swan. I have degrees in both mechanical drafting and psychology. My interests go from philosophy and music to theology. 🪷

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