I thought I was always being extra sensitive, especially when it comes to violence, any act of violent behavior. It’s not easy, if I can feel weird vibrations from someone around me, I just want to run away as quickly as possible. I had to hold it in, whenever it was too much, when it was overwhelming to just be around people. I remember my first year in Berlin, a pretty chill city, when some drunk or high dude came into the wagon and started being loud. This is normal you might think, there is always a loud dude on the subway, it’s a given. But this dude was mumbling things and then he threw his phone on the floor, which exploded in many parts. He started searching after those parts and one was touching my foot. I got so scared, I didn’t want any interaction with his, so I pushed the phone part away discreetly, thinking he would not notice and leave me alone. But he saw what I did and started yelling at me and then he jumped on my foot with all his weight. I didn’t expect that, some guy told him to stop and I jumped out of the wagon when it stopped. I started sobbing, it was so fucked up, I didn’t know what to do. I wanted to go back home, I felt incredibly lonely and shocked.
I hadn’t thought of this event in years, until yesterday, when I was on the subway with my 3 year old daughter. She was tired, in a bad mood, not listening to me, the afternoon had been quite difficult but we were going home. A cute dog in front of us was saying hello, she was laughing and playing with him. It was cute. Then we turn our heads to see a black man stand up in front of a white woman and confronted her. A Turkish man stands up, grabs the black man and throws him out of the wagon. This lasted 10 seconds, not more. We didn’t even hear what they said, I was in shock. It was really violent. But I stayed silent and tried to breathe and came back to reality to check in with my daughter. She was in shock, she didn’t say anything at first and then she pointed at the window and said « papa, papa » while crying real tears of sadness. It broke my heart in one million pieces. I held her, hugged her, told her it wasn’t her dad, it was another man. I was confused too, trying to understand what was going on in her little head. Did she think it could happen to her dad too? Did she see the racism in this horrible interaction? I don’t know. She cried and cried, even the cute dog didn’t help her stop. We got out of the subway and called her dad immediately. He was fine, I thought it would reassure her. But it didn’t, she kept crying and telling me what had happened. I felt useless, I wanted to cry too.
Those tears were so sincere, so sad, it disarmed me. The worst part is that this is just the beginning. But I am ready to help my kid deal with those emotions, because they are real, she is not extra sensitive, she is just reacting.