Orlando

Everyone is fully aware of what went on this past weekend, so I'm not going to recap the events in Orlando... I simply want to talk about the aftermath because I’ve been left feeling a lot of things this week and I don’t exactly know how to process them.

Every event like this has hit home for me. Every shooting or terror threat whether it be from ISIS or from some mentally ill American, leave me feeling more and more numb and confused. However, this one struck a chord somewhere much deeper. It has left me speechless, emotional, angry, frustrated, sad, scared and questioning what the future holds if this is our present. Since I woke up to the news alert on Sunday morning that there had been a shooting, I have been moving about my world trying in vain to resume normal day-to-day life. But how am I supposed to do that when there are hundreds of people mourning the loss of their loved ones slain in an act of hate and violence; or when there are millions of Americans afraid to go to the grocery store or a concert or out to dinner because they are afraid of what could happen to them?

How am I supposed to return to a “normal life” when something so tragic has happened again. I’m angry, scared and sad that once again, our country is put in this position.

A large part of my anger comes from the fact two of my very best friends were able to stand in front of each other and a room full of loved ones on Saturday night and commit themselves to each other for life… an act that not too long ago was not possible for them in this state simply because they were both males. It was quite possibly one of the happiest days of my life being able to see two people who love each other so much make that commitment to each other. And I know it was one of the happiest days for both of them. The next morning we all woke up to hear that a group of people celebrating who they are in a place full of people from their community, were murdered. I feel angry that members of the LGBTQ+ community were attacked. I feel angry that this is how my friends who have overcome so much to love each other freely, are going to remember their wedding. I’m angry that a group of innocent people were brutally murdered and I’m angry that this is the world we live in. It makes no sense to me.

I’m scared because that could have been my friends. That could have been me. Instead of a gay club in Orlando that could have easily been a gay bar in Austin that I go to with my friends. These things are so randomly targeted that it easily could have been us. And I think everyone is feeling that right now. I’m scared of who is going to be next. I’m looking around wondering if it’s going to be the concert I’m going to next week? Will it be the grocery store I stop in? Is it going to happen at my office building? Because if we’ve learned anything as a community, as a country, every time we raise our arms and spout off “never again,” it happens again and again and again. And it’s sickening because we just sit around and let it happen.

I’m sad because those people were living their lives. They came out to their friends, family and the world and were owning their life and their love. They were out for a simple evening of fun and excitement and their lives were taken. I’m sad because they should have had the chance to live long and beautiful lives. I’m sad because it seems like death – more like brutal murder – keeps surrounding us and closing in on us and I can not shake the heavy cloud of inevitable ending that's closing in on me.

Yet I feel selfish for walking around like a zombie this week because I didn’t even know anyone who was killed in this act of terror. I feel so selfish that I am sitting over here crying and hurting for those whose lives were lost, while I still get to live. But I can’t help but think about them and I can’t help but mourn those lives, those people that had so much more to give. Since we can’t give them their lives back, I guess the most we can give is our thoughts and prayers.  

I really don’t know what else to say accept that I’m angry, scared and sad. I’ve been walking around with tears in my eyes and not knowing what to do or think or say. I still don’t know what to do or think, but I had to say something… 

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