JUNE 22 2016
I’m not very bright.
No, that’s wrong. It’s not that I think I’m stupid necessarily, but I am not well educated. I didn’t technically graduate high school and the idea of college was reserved for well off middle class and upscale people with built in filtered water in their refrigerator doors and carpeting on their stairs. People with cable TV and actual Tupperware, rather than the margarine tubs my amá used to store day old refried beans. I have some blind spots, and I’ve always been a tad self conscious about that. As a result, I will at times remain silent in many conversations pertaining to current events if I feel I have nothing to add that won’t sound stupid or misinformed.
I have remained silent about Orlando.
This is not okay.
Being on the cusp of Millennial and sort of addicted to the internet, the first thing I did that morning was check Facebook and Twitter. “The worse shooting in U.S. history” they said.
I felt nothing.
And that’s what really got me when I thought about it at work later, you know? I was more concerned about my impending brunch shift than the massacre of 49 human beings that had senselessly been committed just a few hours before. How fucked up is that? I’m so used to new media throwing tragedy around as click bait that I’ve become numb to it.
As the news sank in over the next few days I watched the internet spew out ill-cited statistics and rants about gun control, mental health, and terrorism. Just like the last time and the time before that. I’m skimming these posts as I scroll by, knowing the political outcry will die out in a couple weeks. That all the fear and anger will be reduced to memes and we’ll have moved on to the next tragedy and nothing will have changed.
I felt helpless.
The next Monday, I headed over to my favorite weeknight bar to see my favorite weeknight bartender and flies and it was - understandably - pretty dead. Half my friends are LGBTQ and I think a lot of folks probably stayed home to reflect and mourn. Or maybe they stayed home out of fear. Or maybe it was the weather. It was shaping up to be a pretty cool night regardless. After a while the booze and karaoke get to you and you can’t help but have a good time. I was feeling pretty groovy and ready to switch over to beer and the bartender says “Wanna see something funny?” He brings over a credit card slip. It was only a 4 dollar tab but the tip was $0 and rather than the total being written on the line below, someone had drunkenly scrawled out “FAG”.
So this is still a thing. Even here, in Seattle. A place that I had - perhaps foolishly- considered a liberal oasis of sorts. This is a thing that still happens.
I felt angry.
I guess I don’t know what I’m trying to accomplish by writing this all out. Maybe it’s that I’m confused and trying to gather my thoughts. Maybe it’s because I’m Latina and every once in awhile I bring a woman home and I’m sick of feeling weird about it. Maybe it’s because I love my queer and beautiful brothers and sisters, the ones that taught me to live fiercely, to love passionately, to exist unapologetically. The ones that have overcome fear and remorse and face every day as the amazing beings they were born to be. You have taught me so much about what it is to be human. I am beautiful, I am free, I am love and I am disaster and I know these things because of you. I love you, and I pledge never to be silent in the face of bigotry again, no matter who it is directed at. Thank you for enduring so much. I’m sorry that you still have a long road ahead of you. Remember that I am here for you, that I love you, and that you are not alone.