Lately I’ve been lumping people into two groups: those who are genuinely excited that I’m travelling to such a historic and amazing place as Istanbul, and those who think I’m gonna die. And I have to say, I’m getting pretty damn tired of the second group.
I think a huge part of what we call bravery is actually pride and stubbornness. I know this because I consider myself a brave person. My best friend and I spent a majority of our free time as children running around the Nevada boonies unsupervised. We explored the area and made forts of abandoned cars, abandoned mills, and a random hole in the ground. I distinctly remember confronting a group of older boys about torturing a rabbit they’d managed to pin against a house (and if you don’t think it takes bravery to yell at a group of boys when you’re a 9 year old girl then you know nothing Jon Snow). My favorite part of carnivals is the crazy unsafe looking ride that launches you into the sky and then does a few flips before sending you back towards the ground. I once bungee-jumped off a platform 200 feet in the air at the weeklong Spring Fling that comes to the U of A campus every year.
All the things I did when I was little built me up into the person I am today. The girl who can go for walks at night by herself, who can feel comfortable at a party full of strangers, and who can play an 80 minute game of rugby without any padding is the result of years of pride and stubbornness. When I decide to do something I’m gonna fucking do it. I don’t quit, and I don’t back down.
That’s why I’m still going to Istanbul in spite of the recent terrorist attack it just suffered. It's absolutely horrifying that people are no longer alive because of someone's hatred of anyone different than them. I'm truly saddened by it.
There are basically three reasons I’m still going to Turkey for the semester:
I could die anytime. Frankly, I’m much more likely to be killed on the drive to the airport than I am of being blown up by a madman with a vest of explosives. Part of life is the fact that it ends. Should I just seclude myself from the world and hide out in my room all day? Absolutely not. Just because there’s risk doesn’t mean it’s not worth the experience.
I’m stubborn as fuck. I have multiple tattoos despite my dad’s multiple objections. I spent three miserable years on the track team because I’d be damned if I was gonna quit and I hated every minute of those meets. I was so against the idea of cleaning my room that I’d sit and cry for hours until my dad broke down and helped me. I’m definitely too stubborn to let someone interfere with my decisions. It doesn’t matter if they’re worried relatives, judgmental acquaintances, or suicide bombers. I do what makes me happy.
I’m too proud to let my actions be determined by fear. If I skipped out on this opportunity of a lifetime because of a group of people purely motivated by hate and power then they win. They succeeded in making me so afraid that I decided to stop living my life on my own terms. And I think most of you will agree with me when I say Fuck.That.Shit.
So this time next month I’ll be going to school in Istanbul and whatever happens is gonna happen. I think what’ll actually go down is I’ll have an amazing time, get to an even greater level of self-confidence, and learn.