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XGC Charley XS

Four things you learn after Harvey

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1. The shame.
This is my first actual hurricane, while most of the people I know lost *something* - a house, a car, their job because of the damage - I lost nothing. Okay, I lost electricity for a few days and I still don't have clean water that I don't have to boil; And I lost $500 frantically buying supplies that the internet (and friends) told me I would need to survive a hurricane. I know its not my fault that I managed to escape Harvey's wrath, but sitting here inside my dry, well-lit apartment, browsing Facebook for updates because my Wi-Fi still worked, man - the shame is overwhelming. I wanted to do more.

2. The powerlessness.
For the past couple of days, I've been able to get out and help people. But from Friday night (when things got really bad) to Monday morning, as the waters rose and the wind blew, there was just nothing to do. I knew people all around me - people I love - were losing everything. And I wanted nothing more than to go help keep the water out of their homes. But floodwaters and wind can't be kept out; there's NOTHING you can do.

3. The preexisting conditions.
The difference between watching a disaster like this on the news and living it up close is realizing that disasters don't happen in a vacuum. People who had problems before Harvey still have those same problems now, plus Harvey. People who were fighting cancer at the hospital are now fighting cancer AND Harvey. People who were getting divorced are now dealing with attorneys AND insurance adjusters. People who were paralyzed with depression now have one more reason not to seek help. Alcoholics now have one more reason to drink. I never thought about these things before going through a disaster first-hand.

4. The ordinary heroes.
If there's anything beautiful about this devastation, its that this crisis has revealed the true heart of man. In times of plenty, we can afford to be selfish, callous, and divided. But in moments like these, we know we need each other. People came from all over the country to small towns like Rockport, Aransas Pass, Victoria, Cuero, Goliad, Austell-Tivoli, Texas to simply HELP. They weren't asked, some not even thanked, they simply wanted to help. People from this gaming community, messaged me asking if I was okay, if I needed anything, need help. The Cajun Navy came to help in Houston and surrounding counties to help get people out of their flooded homes. I saw one video of a group of ordinary citizens helping a single mom get her two children, her three-legged dog and the kids potbelly pig get out of their house that had been completely overtaken by the flood. Linemen coming to the Coast from Montana, Tennessee, California and all the other states in this great nation to fix the lack of electricity. We had famous people donating their money, but most importantly, their time to help clean up the devastation.

I confess: Harvey has broken me. I'm not the same woman I was last week. And maybe that's not such a bad thing. Throughout all of this, I've seen the best humanity has to offer. Granted, I've also seen the worst. Luckily, the best has out shown the worst.

Texas is not out of the woods yet. We still have massive flooding, families displaced. Schools are shut down indefinitely which effects the elementary, middle and high school students - and college students like myself. But, true to the Texas way, we will be strong. We have amazing support, help and love coming from all over the world. If you would like to help, please reach out to me and I can help point you in the right direction. If you are one of the people that were hit, and you need help, please don't hesitate to contact me. You are not alone. Thank you, from the bottom of my heart, to those who have reached out and contacted not only me, but the other people in this community that were hit by Harvey. You made this dark spot in our lives just a little bit brighter.

Remember my fellow Texans:
Come hell or high water: Texas Forever.

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  1. XGC Sweetsir's Avatar
    Beautifully written Charlie! I'm glad you shared this giving us the opportunity to read it. Really makes you appreciate the small things in life.