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Stages of Grief: #OrlandoPulse

June 12, 2016, Omar Mateen, a 29-year-old security guard, killed 49 people and wounded 53 others in a terrorist attack/hate crime inside Pulse, a gay nightclub in Orlando, Florida, …

Where were you?

 I woke up with an odd feeling I couldn’t shake. Having a coffee phone date with my friend. Deciding what Grizzly and I were going to do today? We had been debating on going to Philadelphia Pride that day. That was the odd feeling. I didn’t feel like going and suddenly I had this urge to go. 

“So go!” My friend said.

“By the time I get Grizzly up and we’re ready to go. We’ll be walking from outside of Philly limits for parking! But why the sudden urge to go? I was pretty adamant about not being up for a crowd today.” I explained.

I immediately checked my social media. There it was, “What happened in Orlando? Why is there a hashtag Orlando?”

” I dunno. What? What’s going on?” My friend started asking.

” I don’t know yet. I’m looking into it. I know Pride is happening everywhere this weekend.” There it was. The link that explained everything that occurred in the wee hours between partying and ready to go home. The hours Grizzly and I were sleeping soundly. “Oh my God. The urge to go to Pride makes sense. There was a mass shooting at gay nightclub in Orlando.”

The effects were immediate. The articles already had so much information. Because his son witnessed two guys kissing. 

Huh. 49 people you knew nothing about died because of your ignorance and hate?

How did that make you feel? 

Fucking sad, angry and scared!

My friend and I ended our phone date. Grizzly woke up shortly after. We spent the day running errands. She hadn’t said anything about it until we got home. I honestly was really nervous about bringing it up. Denial, possibly.

I knew the feelings that would follow and they did. Then we were talking about them. I knew with those feelings the preparedness would ensue.

Some people don’t have to come out on a regular basis. My wife is one of those people. There is no passing or assuming she’s straight. Ugh. These are the reasons I wanted out of the South. In the South, if you step outside of a major city things get sketchy and you’re observing everything around you. 

I kept wondering what year is it? So much has changed and we’re here again. Remembering how to survive again. 

I had been, for the most part, sheltered living in the city of Houston, TX. Sheltered more so moving to the Northeast.

Here we were. Heartbroken over all these people we knew nothing about except that one connection. That we all live and love our lives exactly as we are. Freely. Unexpectedly, destroyed and ripped apart.

Scared because there are so many extremist out there just itching for that excuse to pop off. Planning and timing. 

Anger and fear. Anger causes an irrational sense of fear. It is common to experience the standard stages of loss. I struggled with an entire group of people because of one mans’ action. Knowing that’s incredibly unhealthy. Irrational. An entire religion I know nothing about. Just that all religions seem to hate homosexuality. Anger and fear.

How did you cope with these feelings?

We planned to go to the Memorial Service in Philadelphia. A little afraid of what might happen. We had to go. That urge. 

The experience was palpable. Heterosexuals, homosexuals, bisexuals, trans, blacks, whites… It was diversity at its most beautiful. Through all my sadness and fears and anger. The memorial service quickly destroyed!! Whew! I really hated feeling that way! My heart and soul exploded for this..this..Community. 

A group of Muslims were proudly present and hugging. Imagine that courage. To come before a group of people who, like myself, could’ve been angry. Courageous and beautiful. 

The irrational anger and fear dissipated. The urge, the need to go was important for so many reasons!!

We should always, always persevere! We must always find ways to get past the anger and fears that come with these situations. Without victims dying in vain.

A single person or a group of people dying from hate does not justify more hate!!

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Freedom to Sit 

I have to admit that I was slightly irritated at a football player sitting down for the national anthem. It’s that initial reaction. Before you really ponder on this silent protest in its entirety. It’s our national anthem! How dare he?

Of course, I didn’t make my feelings known because I had to understand why he chose to sit. I had to understand what he was risking to sit. Had to process his emotions and what he’s trying project. My initial reaction was shock. Not anger. As I had originally thought. Shock. And that is exactly what protests are supposed to do. They create shock, anger and finally conversation.

Here I was shocked by this act and at the same time reading articles about the North Dakota Pipeline through Native American territory and sacred grounds. I decided there are so many social injustices in this country that some people couldn’t possibly understand. Because they’re not or have never experienced. 

I’m not going to follow the crowd with the idea that police officers are out to get the black man. I’m a white woman and have been randomly approached by officers before. Nor am I going to agree that one’s verdict is based entirely on their race. I stress that it could very well be a factor but I’m not going to agree it is the sole factor. Let alone that it is our entire police. I’m not denying there is clearly a problem. However, for me to prejudice law enforcement is hypocritical to the argument at hand. 

Money talks. That’s where our entire justice system is flawed! 

But, I believe the media and our government like the country at odds with each other. A people focused on each other they’re distracted from what the government is doing.

Alas, you’re gonna think I’m crazy if I get on that tangent. Black people know deprivation, they have experienced discrimination. We can argue that all of that was in the past. Really? Is it? 

Sure nothing is labeled black potty and white potty. Nobody is forced to sit in the back of the bus anymore. Nor are people being auctioned off for slavery. That doesn’t mean racism is extinct.

I’m sorry folks. Take down your white picket fence and step into the street! 

The reason I made a conscious decision to agree with Colin Kaepernick is because while we’re a nation founded by minorities the people as a whole vehemently express their disdain for different. 

Yes. White male privilege fucking exist. You deny it because you’re living as such. As well as I’m ignorant to white privilege because I’ve never felt privileged to be white. I was the monority where I grew up. Therefore, I can empathize. 

This doesn’t make it right to claim every situation as a threat towards your race! I think the race card is thrown out too often that people are loosing it’s meaning.

 Yes. An officer tells you to stop. You stop. No matter the color of your skin. You don’t run, dig in your pockets or argue. That’s protocol regardless of race, gender or wealth! Take the officer’s discrimination to court. Make it to court.

But, it appears that’s a long shot now. Video after countless video.. My heart sinks. And the people taking sides against each other. You know it’s wrong. End argument and join hands.

I believe in ones right to protest. Regardless if I agree with their stance or not. People have fought and died for our freedom but lord you better jump when your government tells you to? Hmm? I’m sorry you fought for freedoms I’m not genuinely given?

Freedom. Ha! Sure. We don’t have it as bad as some countries but I can’t say that I’ve felt free in this country either. Every freedom that should be granted to a human being in this country is earned by a civilian fighting, marching, bloodshed. 

Native Americans

Irish American 

African American 

Chinese American 

Women 

Pagans 

Muslims

Homosexuals and trans

The list goes on..

This melting pot of a country would prefer you cook with a strainer. I sit with Colin for the injustices of all. 

I suggest people read and understand your constitutional rights. Freedom isn’t free. It’s at the cost of your Neighbor’s blood! 
Photo credit provided by: http://thegrio.com/2014/12/06/new-age-of-slavery-painting-patrick-campbell/

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I read somewhere that if you have to question if something is racist. It probably is. Hmm.

Because it is such a touchy subject. I’ll try to proceed with caution. If you’re reading be aware that I did mention that I’ll try to proceed with caution.

I’m human. You’re human. We’re all human and terribly flawed. Continue reading