Tweeting Through the Tornado: Social Media Saved Me

Tweeting Through the Tornado: Social Media Saved Me

I picked my daughter up from school early yesterday because I thought there would be extreme weather, and I was paranoid after the decimation of Joplin.

The sun shone and the birdies sang.

Then there was today.

Surrender, Dorothy masthead


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I was totally joking. And note to Rita: It's Wednesday.

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I grabbed Petunia, my work laptop, my cell phone and my work notebook and shut myself in the only room with a door in the basement. And then my mind starting doing its anxiety thing.

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I heard thunder and rain and sirens going on, shutting off, going on. I live in the eastern suburbs of Kansas City.

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I pictured my girl hunched in the basement at school, crying. I pictured not being able to get to her. I pictured every nightmare a mother can have. I felt so lonely.

And then they started pouring in: the tweets.

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Finally the storm passed. Unfortunately, it took its toll on nearby Sedalia.

Even though I picked up my daughter early yesterday, even though we were two hours late this morning because of a dentist appointment, I asked.

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And they made me feel better, normal even.

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The sky was a mixture of puffy white, angry gray and brilliant blue as I drove to the school. Kind of like my mood.

"Were you scared?" I asked, as we walked to the car.

"A little."

"Did you cry?"

"No, I tried to be brave about it."

The teachers did skits for the kids during the hour and a half they were in the basement. And apparently gave them Pop-Tarts because they were stuck down there during lunch. I am so impressed by their ingenuity and grace under pressure keeping all those kids entertained for so long.

I came back and realized I'd left people hanging, these people I'd relied on so heavily over the past two hours. So I tweeted I was home with my girl.

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All told, I probably talked to at least 25 different people today, some of whom I barely know. They distracted me and filled my heart with their good mojo. I didn't feel alone anymore.

Thank you, my friends. It's an amazing thing when you can have community alone in the dark.

Rita Arens authors Surrender Dorothy and is the editor of Sleep is for the Weak. She is BlogHer's assignment and syndication editor.

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