The past couple of weeks have run by in a blur for me for a variety of reasons. Real life, Second life, a lot of various influences all combining to at times make me feel like I am not sure if I am coming or going.
Sometimes I share these things, little journeying moments that I go through, in fact I sometimes overshare and I suppose this might be one of those times but it feels appropriate.
The shooting that happened in Orlando.
Someone asked me recently if I’d share my thoughts on some of my realizations after the shooting because I had mentioned that I had been emotional over it, and it got me to want to write about it. So here it is.
It has been weighing heavily on my mind and within me ever since I heard the first few news pieces on it. The horror of it, the idea of it, the magnitude of the whole situation really all taking up my thoughts, one person inflicting so much fear and agony so quickly… just one person, I almost couldn’t make sense of it. That part really floored me and at first I felt almost numb while I read or saw or conversed about it. Since I am really not used to feeling this way I quietly tried to figure out what was going on even within me.
I don’t think I talked about it at first because I felt awkward doing so. I sincerely wasn’t looking to be the band wagon jumping sort considering most of the time I am rather soft spoken and very private about my real life or things going on in it. It isn’t for any real reason except that I have been online for a very very long time. Twenty years. In those twenty years I have encountered more than enough reasons to keep my thoughts or feelings or real life details to myself. Sharing some things with very few friends or acquaintances and over the years it is very easy to become very silent. When you start out wearing your heart on your sleeve or believing a lot of the things that happen on the internet you come away very bruised, battered and burned. You learn to pick and choose your battles, and you learn to also quietly observe so you can protect those scarred parts of you.
So now it is very hard for most people to really see the inner workings of the person that I am, and I think that goes for everyone.
I have always known I wasn’t straight, I knew for a long time I was at least bisexual and if you really want to be nit picky you could classify me as pansexual. I can very literally have feelings for, deep relationships with and whatever else you like to imagine with just about anyone. It hasn’t always been easy, being in relationships with someone other than a man… getting those looks, odd sneers and judging comments about it. Even from my mother, I remember listening to her once tell me a story as she looked me in the eye about how disgusted she was when she visited NYC and saw two women holding hands. Just holding hands… the sneer, the revulsion, her look really burned into my memory because I hadn’t come out or told her anything and at that point I felt a deep deep rejection, and fear to ever really be honest with her about myself. For a long time I’ve been in a relationship with a man so I’ve been fairly safe from all of that because it appears ‘normal’ as far as relationships go.
Unless you get to know us… then you know we’re far from normal but I don’t think that is where I’m going with this. I never went through a thing where I felt like something was wrong with me but I did have a hard time coming to terms with my feelings and how I could be. I was told once I was blessed; it was a gift to be able to love freely, without constraints or judgment. That I could understand people and relationships differently than most could, that I see things differently, that I shouldn’t take that for granted or to feel like something was wrong with me because of it. Sometimes it feels like a curse, not only can I be rejected or hurt by one group of people, I can be by just about everyone.
I felt fear but I really didn’t know fear until my son.
My son is gay. Very much so, no really mistaking it, he has a rather strong feminine streak as well. He tried to fit in, tried to appear straight… at one point he told us he was bi-sexual… we let him go through his journey and what he needed to do. He dated one girl, that was the only one and then he somehow came to terms with who he was and said yes… I’m gay. He was part of groups, and had a large group of friends all very accepting, welcoming, and supportive. I am so thankful he had that because he also has the most golden of hearts that you can imagine. I adore my son; he is a well-mannered, loving, giving, saint of a soul that has always tried so hard. Not always conventionally or where you could see it but just is. He grew up to be a really good man. One that I am proud of.
The first time I felt fear, real fear when it came to my son and his sexuality was when he was in high school. As part of a group activity they were having a Christmas party. Some of them were going to dress in drag and some were going to dress up for this pageant they were doing after school. Unbeknownst to me my son had decided to change at school into a woman’s outfit to wear all day on a dare from some of his friends. He was dressing up as a naughty Mrs. Claus type thing. So yea, it was a short skirt, fishnets… whole nine yards, blonde wig, make up, heels… hey kid had some guts because he actually did it but seriously if I had a daughter who wanted to dress that way for school I would have told her to march her ass back to her room right this instant too… so he changed at school and didn’t let mom or dad know what he was doing. He ruffled some feathers looking like this; some of the guys had a real issue with it. Since technically my son wasn’t breaking dress code the school hadn’t made him change during the day. He took some flak for it but what he didn’t know was that some of them were planning on following him after school since he was a walker and…. Well…. hurt him.
Someone, a student, heard the guys talking about it. Heard them planning and alerted school authorities about it, I don’t know who that student was but I am thankful that they did and not just look the other way or not get involved. They pulled my son into the offices, told him what was going on which shocked and scared him, got a hold of us and my husband came home early while the school made sure he was transported home by one of the teachers after the event so he wouldn’t be walking.
Since it was right before school vacation and there was only a day left before they broke it was decided he wouldn’t go to school on Friday so that things could simmer down over the span of the vacation. I don’t know if those boys were ever talked to or had to deal with anything because they didn’t actually get to do anything but it sucked. It just plain sucked and when my son went back to school I was terrified for weeks every time he walked out the door to go back and forth to school. I still get scared, knowing there are some very insecure people that hurt other people for no real reason except for who they can love or how they dress. I am always afraid of that day where I could get a phone call because my son is who he is and can’t really hide that. He shouldn’t have to either, no one should have to.
The shooting at Pulse hit home for me for those very personal reasons. I read about the mother who got a text from her son as he huddled in the bathroom telling her to call 911, that the shooter was coming and one of the last ones he said he was going to die. I placed myself in that moment realizing that it could have been my son in that bathroom and what it would be like to have my phone, powerless, receiving those texts as he tells me he loves me, knowing his fear and my own if I had been in that position.
Looking over the victims list many of them the same age as my son or even younger.
I read this: https://storify.com/fuzzlaw/this-was-never-supposed-to-happen-to-you
Realizing that I could identify with a lot of it as a parent, as a woman, as someone who had been through some of these things throughout my life and having hoped or wished nothing like this would ever really happen and feeling a lot of what she was feeling.
And I cried.
These things shouldn’t happen. But they do.
As much as I wish I could take away all the pain that these people feel or have felt or the things that I’ve had to experience I will always hope for a better way even though there is that part of me deep down that is afraid that it will never really change, that we should hide. There will be a level of acceptance and I guess we have to keep going forward, to not let those doubts or fears keep us from who we are or supporting those we love or letting ourselves love who we love.
I wish there was more that I could do, I don’t like feeling powerless so I do what I can…
There is a fund for those families and people affected by the shooting, and in world this week there is an event where the proceeds are going directly to it.
I got involved not just because it is the right thing to do but because I had to… for that mother who received those texts, for the people who huddled in the bathroom or at the club trying to hide or escape, for the family of the mom and son who were there celebrating together and died, for everyone effected. But I also got involved for me… I realized that I was affected by this and had more at stake here than I had at first realized or given much thought to prior to this. Just pause a moment please… our lives go by so quickly, they really do and as you get older it goes by faster and faster.
And so ends my sharing, I feel at a loss as how to end this…
To not pollute this post too awful much with business I’m going to do what I did with the opening of my store, this more personal post will stand alone… the one describing the event to raise money and the item(s) that are there will be in another.
If you’ve read this far, thank you I think…. Does it make sense to write all this out and leave it for whoever passes by? I don’t know. Self serving? Perhaps… does it have much to do with my business, absolutely not but I have always found some level of healing by sharing this sort of thing so I suppose I have written this so I can heal and maybe not let that part deep down inside of me that believes nothing will really ever change win.