Art by Caitlin Roark
After the Borderline Shooting and the Woolsey Fire, the only thing I thought I needed was to get away. In my eyes, it was simple: To escape the trauma and aftermath from two enormously tragic events, I just needed to fly home.
But, as I soon came to find, the answer wasn’t that simple. As comforting as it was to breathe in clean, humid air, I was surrounded by people who had no clue what I’d just experienced. As good as their intentions were, friends and neighbors at home asked all the wrong questions. They wanted to know the specifics surrounding the shooting, the cause of the wildfire.
But they neglected to ask the one simple question I needed to hear most.
“Are you OK?”
A chain of three plain words, but ones I had not thought to ask myself, words that would have prompted an answer I desperately needed to examine.
It’s a question I don’t think we ask each other enough, especially months after these tragedies have unfolded. If there’s anything I’ve learned over the past year, it’s that no two people handle trauma the same way. Trauma has no finite end, no predictable moment where breathing gets easier.
As a community unified not only by our shared school colors but also by the effects of Borderline and Woolsey, it is each and every one of our responsibilities to ask one another these three words. It’s our shared burden as the people left to tell this story.
In these pages, we, the Graphic, provide a snippet of this ongoing story and insight into where some of our community stands one year after our world completely changed. We’ve done what we can to give these stories the justice and honor they deserve.
It’s our hope that these pages are a call to action, to continue the important conversations and to ask each other, “Are you OK?”