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!!