My weekend was spent in a happy bubble of sweetness and lust. My man friend and I hid from the world, wrapped up in one another in every way possible, only leaving my bed long enough to walk the dog and eat brunch. We don’t check our phones when we’re together so the world went on without us as we kissed and cuddled, totally unaware. So I was floored when we finally parted ways early Sunday afternoon and I checked social media. My lover probably wasn’t even down my street yet and everything changed. Gone was my brain full of happy chemicals, that warm flush of his touch on my skin, the dopey smile on my face. All gone as I read about the shooting in Orlando.
Guilt washed over me. While I was wrapped in my lover’s arms this had happened and I had no idea. We had gone on with life, giggling, and making out while so many people were mourning. I felt like a traitor, a terrible queer for not knowing sooner.
And it’s silly that this tragedy hits harder than a lot of the stupid senseless violence, partly because it was perpetrated against a community I’m a member of. Yeah I have the privilege of being straight presenting most of the time. But I know the particular fear of not wanting to risk holding the hand of my lady friend in public at night to not draw a certain kind of attention.
Or having been called dyke all through high school because I had a deep voice and short hair and no boyfriend. The absolute hatred in the voices of these small town kids, most of whom likely only knew the concept of gay people from TV. How I consider myself lucky that I only got shoved or ugly words tossed my way or my locker defiled weekly. It could have been so much worse.
And above all the hatred that flashed on my mother and grandmother’s face when I accidently came out over Thanksgiving dinner during college. I’ve seen hate and intolerance and fear, that’s not the surprising part.
Orlando is a reminder that no one is safe, not in a world filled with so much hate. Mix that in with toxic masculinity, a tragic tolerance for violence, ridiculous gun laws and this is never going to end. This is just one in a long line of ugly events. And it’s easy to feel helpless like there’s nothing we can do except mourn.
But there’s plenty to do. This is a good reminder to never shut up, to talk endlessly to anyone who will listen and write letters to politicians letting them know, 2nd amendment or no, assault rifles are not something anyone needs to be in possession of. We can stand up and correct people we hear saying hateful things rather than letting it pass. We can support one another and not ignore the pain or mental illness we see in people around us. And most of all we can remember the importance of love.
I’m so fortunate to have love in my life. And that luck never shines as clearly as when compared to the standard ugliness of life. I’ve found love and tenderness in my life and I’ll revel in it, not everyone is so fortunate. A man wants to me to curl up to against at night. I have so many lovely strong kick ass women that inspire me everyday that I call friends. A dog that is endlessly silly and giving of her endless love. And a handful of good men in my life that give me hope.
And all this means so much to me because I’ve been alone, I’ve been broken and felt hopeless and wanted nothing more than to be dead and gone. The only thing that kept me from falling into the abyss or doing something stupid was remembering the love and affection I’ve been gifted with and the knowledge that this too would pass and I’d be not alone again soon. Not everyone has that luxury.
But anything could happen at anytime and anyone could be gone in a flash. So fuck taking things slow or looking before I leap. I already know I won’t be on this earth all that long (thanks wonky metabolic disorder) so I’ll just keep on taking in the things I love in big gulps when the world keeps warning me to sip and savor. Fuck that.
I know I’ve only counted my lover as part of my life for less than a month, that he’s young and not as passionate about public kink as I am. My friends keep warning me to chill out and see him less, lest I get my heart broken. Or that I shouldn’t live with a man I used to bed down with in another life time. Because it’s strange I guess that we can hug and be friends and share a bathroom without becoming lovers again. Or that I should only tie up people I’m in love with because no one is going to want to date me if I’m giving myself casually to so many occasional partners.
That logic is trash. Why would I deny myself love? Just because the affection and situations I’ve chosen for myself are untraditional and not easy to understand, I should stop and be careful? Isn’t that the same logic that made the Orlando shooter think it was okay to shoot people he thought of as other? It’s weird, therefore be wary?
It’s simplistic but a part of me thinks that if everyone could just love and be loved the way they long to be that this sort of violence wouldn’t be necessary. Love is love. Queer love is just as beautiful as any other. And it’s a fucking indestructible community. We’ll endure, we’re not going away.
As a bisexual, switchy, kinky, non-monogamous woman I’m used to being the other, to being misunderstood. I embrace my otherness and am aggressively an activist for normalizing kink and alternative sexuality but as of late I’ve been pretty blasé about going to Pride or attending queer events. That’s all changed. I’m newly inspired to be active in my queerness so as to not forget my privilege in my passing in the daily world.
But this just me shouting into the darkness and writing through the pain and saying something many people have said better already but I couldn’t stay silent. Not when I’ve been watching my straight co-workers going with life as if nothing happened while I’m trying to not break down at my desk. Waiting for the day to be over so I can wrap my arms around my queer family later tonight. I’ll celebrate life and love the way I always do, by tying up someone I adore and giggling through the hurt.