The news makes me want to vomit. I’m demoralized by the American presidential election, disgusted with the global rejection of those displaced by war, confused by war period, angry at routine segregation and oppression, and the rampant injustice and violence makes my insides curdle.
But if recovery is getting back to normal and normal is slaughtering, ravaging, ridiculing and degrading our neighbors, then I don’t want it. I don’t want to go back to a normal where fear begets discrimination and pride births peonage.
I hate that we’ve almost forgotten about Emily Doe simply because another tragedy upstaged the atrocity. I hate it. I hate that we saunter from one sickening unnecessary evil to another. I hate the heartache. And somehow, this pain is so familiar to me.
I stand in solidarity with Emily Doe. One night I shared a taxi with a close friend. We agreed to drop me off first. And then he asked to use my bathroom. Of course. Why not. I told him to use it and let himself out. I was exhausted and going to bed. I said goodbye. And then I woke up to the sound of my bed knocking against the wall; my sweatpants waistband closer to my knees than my ribs. I’ll stop there. I won’t say I was raped. He did stop. But I haven’t had a good night’s sleep in months. I want to move. I want a new bed. I want to burn my sheets. Just like Emily wrote, “I wanted to take off my body like a jacket” and throw it out with the garbage. I still do. I get it, Emily. I ache with you.
And Orlando. God. The agony radiates through my soul. My stomach crawls up into my throat every time I try to read the details of the horrific night. I wish I didn’t know what it’s like to lose someone to violence, too. I wish I wasn’t familiar with getting middle-of-the-night calls that someone has been shot. Killed. I wish I didn’t know what it’s like to huddle on the floor in a corner and pray the bullets miss you. And your brother. And your mom. I wish I hadn’t been to more funerals than weddings – two of them children, murdered in the streets. I wish I hadn’t lost my dad without saying goodbye. I get it. To all the family and friends off the victims, I ache with you.
I don’t just empathize. I understand. I cry with you. And it sucks. And it doesn’t get better. It doesn’t get easier. And I hope to God we don’t recover.
As I – we – are surrounded by loss, I’ve realized two simple truths: 100% of people will die. 100% of people have faith (even if you believe in nothing, you must believe in that nothing with all of your soul). So it makes sense that 100% of people will experience grief at some point. Whether it is the loss of a life, the dissolution of a relationship, a stabbing violation of trust, the pain and betrayal is universal. You are not alone. 100% of people understand.
All of us have experienced a version of emotional trauma that leaves us with a gaping void in our spirit.
Most people will try to ignore the emptiness. It’s so much easier to remain where we are comfortable and unchallenged. We act like everything is fine. We try to recover. We try to go back to normal. But if recovery is getting back to normal and normal is slaughtering, ravaging, ridiculing and degrading our neighbors, then I don’t want it. I don’t want to go back to a normal where fear begets discrimination and pride births peonage.
I don’t want to make a recovery to that. I want a relovery. I want to adapt. I pray that we will adapt.
Adapt to lead with love.
Adapt to allow space to grieve.
Adapt to remember.
Adapt to be nonjudgmental of our neighbors. All of our neighbors.
Adapt to look within ourselves first.
Adapt to identify our prejudices and control our actions.
Adapt to own our emotions.
Adapt to respect others’ emotions.
Adapt to uplift others’ decisions.
Adapt to celebrate our differences.
Adapt to be a willing student.
Adapt to use I-phrases; not you-phrases.
Adapt to stop blaming.
Adapt to admit fault.
Adapt to apologize.
Adapt to be brave.
Adapt to let go.
Adapt to name our fears, insecurities, and silence them from the inside out.
Adapt to improve someone’s life, not take advantage of it.
Adapt to honor your neighbor as yourself.
Adapt to make unselfish decisions.
Adapt to protect and care for strangers.
Adapt to ask for help.
Adapt to constructively cope with dissonance.
Adapt to release control.
Adapt to include instead of condemn.
Adapt to be confident.
Adapt to know when to stop.
Adapt to speak up.
Adapt to accept.
Adapt to back off.
Adapt to listen.
Adapt to learn someone’s story.
Adapt to see people.
Adapt to be thoughtful. Curious. Caring. Gentle.
Adapt to be kind.
Adapt to heal.
Adapt to unite.
Adapt to forgive.
Adapt to understand.
Adapt to empathize.
Adapt to love.
This much I know is true: we will find a new normal. We’ll eventually stop crying every day. One day, we’ll stop thinking about it every day. One night, we won’t have nightmares, or cry ourselves to sleep. Or replay the instant over and over again. One day we won’t occupy that strange space of something that is ending. One day relief will come for longer than a handful of minutes a few times a day.
One day we won’t occupy that strange space of something that is ending.
But some days the sadness will feel fresh again. Real. Surface-level. Raw. It might be in a year. It might be in five years. It might be in two months. We might get dizzy when the wave hits us. When what’s left of that empty pit of loss peeks out from our core and tugs at our memories. It could be a smell. Or a song. Or a stranger’s voice in the distance that has an eerily familiar cadence. It won’t get easier. It won’t get better. But we will adapt.
#speakwoman #prayfororlando #peacefororlando #gaypride #orlandopride #weareorlando #adapt #recover #stoptheviolence #regrouprebootrebuild #emilydoe #rape #roadtorelovery