Over a bowl of ramen, in a Midwestern state of the USA, the news of an attack in Paris - the details as yet undetermined - lands on my mobile device. I stop eating. I feel sick. My stomach muscles clench. I go through every mobile news site, every social media platform I can think of. I want to know. I want to grieve.
I'm not from Paris, but I am from Europe. And contrary to the rampant euroskepticism that has dominated European politics - how much of this is age-related is something worth studying - I strongly feel like a European citizen. And a lot of young people do, a lot of young people have embraced this identity, even if this opinion seems to be unpopular in current political discourse, even if detractors of the EU project constantly refer to a EU identity as an impossible thing to achieve.
The horrendous, horrific, appalling, disgusting, cowardly Paris attacks felt like an attack against me. An attack against my loved ones, an attack against my friends, my boyfriend, my peers. An attack against everyone I know and do not know that lives and laughs and loves and breathes and goes out and enjoys herself on the weekend, and goes for a picnic when the sun is out, and takes a stroll around the neighborhood, and visits a fast food chain near a football stadium, and goes for a glass of wine on a cold November night, and takes a date to a concert hall.
And beyond everything else, and despite the cliches I might echo: I am human - and I feel fear, an incredible fear - and I feel a deep sadness, a profound sadness - because this attack was an attack on the youth and an attack on Europe's future.
And when I say Europe I do not only mean white Christian Europe. I mean an all-inclusive, secular, tolerant Europe. That is the Europe we must preserve. That Europe was shot in the heart tonight.