My morning went like this…

I woke up a little late. My brother’s bachelor party was this weekend, so I needed to catch up on sleep. Per usual, I woke up to 20+ texts and 100+ emails.

One of these texts stood out from the rest.

“Are you okay?”, my brother asked me.

I responded as I usually would, defending my fault for being a little late to the office. I told him I was about to leave my apartment (an exaggeration), but he replied with an even weirder text.

“Have you not seen the news?”

Immediately, I went to Twitter. I looked at my feed, and saw the overwhelming news about the terrorist attacks going down in Brussels – a place I’ve likened to a ‘second home’ after spending five months there for an internship program in college.

The news hit closer to home than I imagined. I called my Mom. I called my Dad. And in a nutshell, I broke down.

Although devastated – I forced myself to shower, eat a bowl of Honey Bunches of Oats, and put on my jeans.

Then I laced up my Levi’s, put on my headphones, and listened to Amerikka’s Most Wanted while I rode the Clark bus to work.

Every time I heard sirens, I paused the Ice Cube playing on my Spotify. Every time I saw flashing lights, I looked.

On the bus to work, I started bawling my 26-year-old eyes out.

People on the bus looked at me like I was crazy, and I started wondering: would people wonder why a grown man was crying if it were the day of the 2013 Boston Marathon?

How about November’s attacks in Paris?

Maybe the people on my bus haven’t heard about the terrorist attacks. Maybe they just don’t care about Brussels. Or perhaps, maybe I just need to introduce them to Brussels.

Brussels is my second home, and where I met my first love.

Brussels is the capital of the European Union, or in other words, the “Washington D.C. of Europe.”

Brussels is one of the most diverse places in the world. It doesn’t have the status of New York, or the appeal of Paris. But it does have the best chocolate, the rarest beer, and some of the most brilliant people I’ve ever met (like my journalism mentor, Gareth).

I understand that the release of Lollapalooza tickets was bound to blow up Twitter in Chicago this morning. So pardon my bluntness, but so were people’s body parts in the Brussels airport.

Maybe you’re not as deeply connected to today’s heart-piercing attacks like I am, but that’s exactly why I just wrote this after clearing the tears from my keyboard like some God damn Taylor Swift song.

In the same way you cared about Boston and Paris, you should care about Brussels. On any given day, there could be traumatic attacks in Chicago, California, or even down in Chattanooga.

Just because this is happening on the other side of the world doesn’t mean you’re not affected.

Brussels might not be a second home for you like it is for me. But one day, your home could be the next Brussels.

So, my final message for you is this:

Hug your friends. Call your parents. And for at least today, watch the news and care about Brussels.

God bless all of you, and thanks for reading.

– Keegan