I keep trying to write a post about what happened in Orlando and no matter what I write, it isn’t right. I keep deleting and starting over. Only to see another flaw in what I’m saying or thinking, as in… my words just aren’t enough. Yet I’ve written about many violent crimes. Some I was a victim of, some others were a victim of, and I’ve never been afraid that what I feel or have to say isn’t enough. Not until today.
The problem is that this feels like an attack on love itself.
Lately, I’ve seen so much acceptance from people. Folks being open to the fact that I’m pansexual, kinky, and polyamorous. This wasn’t the case even a few years ago. But people grow. They evolve.
Some were nervous because they hadn’t seen or been around someone like me before, so they were open and learned and accepted. Others have been a bit more hate-filled and judgmental, whether it’s been misogyny, racism, or prejudice ways, and they too grew. Some of the worst offenders changed because they loved me. They didn’t want to see me hurting anymore because of their ways.
Love helped this shift.
Love from both ends.
Because these same ‘worst offenders’ were people I put my own time and energy into because I also love them. I would reason with them. Ask why they hated me or what they were afraid of. And I’d keep on it.
I too have grown and evolved. While my fear was centered around police officers, judges, and pastors, I didn’t trust these types of people. I hated them. Some because they took part in my abuse, others because I was taught to fear and hate them. But not all pastors are rapists. Not all want to terrify children by telling them there are demons in their toys and they must be burned. Many just believe in a higher power and want to do good in life. And officers too. I’ve had to call the police several times now in my adult life and each time, one of them is there and supportive. Six of them put their life on the line to find a shooter running crazily through my neighborhood. One stayed with my husband all the way to the hospital when he was in his horrible car accident.
While many things can make us grow and shift our judgmental ways, love is the most powerful. I know, because that’s what has helped my biggest growth of all. People loving me, putting time into me, being patient with me, encouraging me, and it’s not froofroo love. It’s real love. The kind that has accountability. Which helps with the whole growing side of things. Without this level of love in my life, I’d not be where I am right now.
Maybe you’re wondering why I’m droning on here. I’m going on because it’s so simple to look at this and label this last attack on gays at a gay bar. And it was on the surface. So the news isn’t wrong. But if you take a look at the root of that, what really happened was that these people were murdered because of who they love.
What that means–to me–is that this attack was on all of us.
We all love who we love. We can’t control that. We just love or we don’t. To attack a group of people simply because they love, is to attack everyone. And more than that, it’s attacking the one thing that can change us as a species.
For years, when I was shut down and didn’t understand emotions, I studied them. I read scientific papers, I read gurus and yogis, and I even read combinations of the two. I remember one such book called, Destructive Emotions: A Scientific Dialogue with the Dalai Lama, in which the scientists and the Dalai Lama had to find places to agree. What they found was at the root of hate, was fear. I’ve since found this again and again.
The root of hate is fear.
What this means is that the opposite of loving kindness and compassion is fear.
So this attack that happened in Orlando was a much larger attack to me. Because the biggest part of what’s helped me and those in my life grow is love. To murder someone(s) because of who and how they love is the lowest of low. It’s right there with murdering children. It’s an attack on purity.
I feel that’s why even these words aren’t enough. I’m more sad over this attack than a lot of the others because of what it’s really saying to me, that some people don’t deserve to live because they love. We can blame a terrorist group, a religion, a culture, but the real problem is fear and ignorance. It’s a lack of love. And I won’t jump on the terrorism bandwagon because of this. There’s too much of that already.
Instead, I will keep being vocal. Keep speaking my truth about these guns needing to be banned. I will continue to love my Muslim and Islamic friends who are just as horrified over this. I will continue to love my LGBTQ family. I will continue to love all those who seek this type of loving kindness and compassion over fear. I will show that growth and change are possible by continuing to be open and vulnerable on my blog and in public. I will continue to put energy into those that know only hate, because hatred is taught and can be overcome. And I will continue to help those that live in fear, because when I knew nothing but darkness, loving people dove into my shadows and helped me escape it.
In short, I will continue to love. To give REAL love. A love that includes time, accountability, energy, accountability, compassion, accountability, kindness, are you seeing the repeated word here? I will continue to hold others and myself, accountable for actions because that’s what real love does and it’s what helps us change and grow.
But this is why the news this morning affected me so much. It’s not that the people in this bar were any more important than all those kids gunned down at school or people at the mall or in the 9/11 attack, it’s that murdering because of who we love hits everyone. We can run from love, we can shut down and ignore it, but we can’t control who we love any more than we can control our need to breathe. This is a tragedy that affects us the same no matter our ethnicity, creed, gender, or social status.
Infants die if they aren’t given love. All humans need to love and be loved. We shouldn’t need to fear retaliation or death because we love.
I hope this situation breeds more acceptance and love than the opposite. I hope it brings growth to us all. Because love really is greater than fear.
*image by Ryan Watterson on freeimages.com*