As our country begins to piece itself back together after yet another terrifying and devastating act of terrorism, I have been watching the familiar pattern of defiance emerge. Candid quotes that love will conquer appear all over Facebook, vigils take place, and the PM always, always, holds a COBRA meeting at 9am the following day.
In the past, when terrorists have struck around the globe I have read and listened to bloggers, journalists and celebrities vow to live life to the fullest, refusing to let this rancid disease dictate how or where they live their lives. I have always fist pumped along with the best of them, not giving my next trip to the cinema, bar or concert a second thought.
But this time is different.
And this isn't something I am proud to admit.
This time, this time has truly frightened me.
Manchester is too soon after Westminster, too soon after Brussels, too soon after Stockholm, too soon after Paris.
This time I am letting these horrific events make a difference to how we live our life as a family.
I know I should be strong, and should be shouting defiance along with the best of them from the rooftops, but this has scared me. It's scared me most because I am a muma and it is my job and instinct to protect my babies. Despite my best efforts, there monsters are making me question that protection, and think again about how we lead our lives for the foreseeable future.
Crowded places feel unsafe to me now: if somewhere as iconic as Manchester arena - the largest of it's kind in the UK can be attacked, what hope do festivals, theme parks, cinemas, shopping centres... the list is endless, have?
For the first time ever I thanked God that we live in a tiny town that no one has ever heard of and bares absolutely no relevance culturally or politically to anyone. It feels safe here, and I feel like I can protect our young girls who are only 3 and 6 in this little piece of 'nowhere'.
It makes me angry to think that when we plan our summer holiday trips this year my first thoughts will be 'What is the terror threat level?' and 'Will it be safe?'
I can't help it, I am just being honest.
We are due to go to Funk The Family festival in Hove Park in June. It sounds like a brilliant day, our kids would LOVE it. I'm even running a competition for tickets! But I don't know if I can go.
I know I'll be scanning the crowds, questioning anything that seems a little 'off', basically acting like a paranoid loony.
With the terror threat level raised to critical (I'm not entirely sure what the lingo means, but it doesn't sounds great does it?) I just don't know if I can put my girls into a potentially risky situation.
Don't get me wrong, I am under no illusion that I can shield my babies from these monsters forever, their attacks are so random who knows what is around the corner. But at this very moment all I can think is that I must try, as best as I can, to avoid putting them in harm's way. And yes, for us, that does mean avoiding crowded places for a while.
How on earth are we going to tackle this terrorist cancer? It keeps on spreading and growing. Neither have a cure, and all I can think is, 'Where's next'.Suggest a correction