It’s been almost 18 years since that Tuesday morning in September of 2001 and, until just recently, I had never identified as a “9/11 survivor”. I carefully painted myself on the fringes of the tragedy, even though I was there.

Whenever I tell people where I live in lower Manhattan, I always get THE question, “were you there on 9/11?” I acknowledge I was — but almost every time the question is posed, the person asking…