I couldn’t put my thoughts together yesterday. The heartache I felt over yet another senseless act of domestic terrorism dwarfed the nausea-inducing headache I struggled with for most of the day.
Sometimes there are just no words.
I’m tired of being afraid and disheartened by what is happening in our country.
Last year, my ex-husband shared with me that he identified as transgender. As you can imagine, I have gone through many emotions in processing this. The strongest emotion I have had, by far, and the one that has brought me more than once to tears, is fear.
I know his gender identity is not a choice. Living life authentically within that identity is, and he is bravely doing that. I marvel at him for being true to himself, because I can only imagine how hard it must be…and…
I am also afraid. I am afraid because people are cruel in heartbreaking and terrifying ways.
A few weeks after he came out to me as transgender, I spent a weekend in New York City. There is so much diversity in the city, and I remember walking the streets being grateful for all of the people who, like my ex, dare to be authentic, when that means being different. (One doesn’t see a lot of men wearing women’s clothing in Newport, Rhode Island.)
As I waited in Penn Station for my train home, I looked up in horror at the television screens as the news covered the mass murder of forty-nine members of the LGBTQ community…a community of which my ex had just become a member.
My head and my heart ached…and raced.
I am ashamed to say I felt angry toward him for putting himself, the father of our children, at risk in order to satisfy his own desire (need) to live authentically.
I thought…we are living in a world in which being different is just not safe.
This has continued to be a real and frequent concern of mine.
Then, something like Las Vegas happens and we are all cruelly reminded –
We don’t have to be doing anything particularly brave, bold or different to be the victims of hate. We can just be children going to school, or people enjoying a concert on a beautiful autumn evening.
We can be anyone, anywhere, doing anything, and our lives can end because deadly weapons are easy to acquire, and hate is a rampant disease.
Where do we go from here?
It is so hard not to feel hopeless.
I want to say that the answer is love…and it is…but that feels trite.
Imagine, something as BIG as LOVE doesn’t seem like enough during times like these.
Times like these.
It happens enough that that statement is plural.
For now, I will grieve along with the victims’ families…so many families. I will hold my own loved ones closer…I will tell them, and show them, how much they are loved.
I will strive to be worthy of my children’s admiration and imitation…for they are always listening, watching and feeling.
ALL of our children are, ALL of the time.
I will be brave and encourage my children, my ex, myself – ALL OF US – to be who we are…to wear what we want to wear, to love who we want to love, to follow our passions…because we never know what’s around the corner, but we can’t live our lives in fear of it.
We can’t let hate win.
Rather than losing heart…rather than hardening our hearts…we must keep offering them to each other…over and over and over again…even (and perhaps especially) when they are aching and broken.