The Anxious Life Part Six: I’m Not Talking About Orlando

I don’t want to talk about it.

I put the rage and fear and hopelessness into a little box and tucked that into my heart in a little space that keeps it secure. I was very sad for very many days. I spent those hours asleep or numb which is what you feel when you tuck away your true emotions. You feel sad and numb.

I also felt anxious and that’s what I had to control – anxiety tapping into anger and horror. So I tucked it away and I got very quiet and small and fearful, protecting myself from perceived threats to this tenuous balance to preserve my mind while it was processing and (hopefully) healing.

I told some people with whom I was organizing a queer project that I felt afraid and wanted to tone things down to keep it feeling safe and authentic. They told me no, that even as a queer person with a measure of responsibility for the scores of stories of feeling unsafe people had shared, that I was not able to suggest something so radical as asking allies to give up their seats for queer and trans people.

And maybe it wasn’t a reasonable proposal, but my fear and anxiety and terror were and are reasonable. Only a looming deadline forced me to open up that conversation. It didn’t end well. No one seemed to notice that I had feelings involved, that I wasn’t just being a diva.

It was as if they didn’t want to stop and think that they – cis het allies – have an affinity with the gunman and the cultural forces that make us targets. I get that, it is a terrible thing to acknowledge. So focusing on my unreasonableness and my feeble attempt to negotiate a way to walk that path while I was not feeling anything was easier, I guess.

My friends shied away from me because I was unpleasant. You know who didn’t shy away? My creepy nice guy stalker who wasted no time making a donation to my blog project in the name of Orlando. How is that for some fucking balls? He knew I was vulnerable & he got his shot in while everyone else was giving me space. Fortunately, the good folks at my crowdfunding site were very responsive and took care of the situation. And I immediately told Ledcat that it happened. But since he lives in my neighborhood, I’m back to looking over my shoulder and wondering if he’ll escalate.

I spent the entire week not talking about it. Lots of things are happening about which I should blog – student policies on gender identity in the Pittsburgh Public Schools, Republican and Equality PA shenanigans to throw us some crumbs around non-discrimination, the lack of Latinx voices at a big Equality rally organized by the usual white cis guys, and more. But each post I draft is filled with rage. Rage. Rage.

What about Andre Gray? What about Andi Woodhouse? What about my friend whose retired cop neighbor is harassing them for being queer? What about the folks who have zero services, not even a bar or a meeting place, in their community? What about the half dozen youth who told me that they couldn’t afford to go to prom and won’t have access to their peers until school starts again? What about the Latinx voices here in this region – Kim, Viva, Alyssa, Nayck and more? What about the fear we all feel in those moments when we rapidly assess if its safe to be out?

So you’ll have to read about those things elsewhere.

Right now, I’m just an observer.

I don’t think allies understand and that’s sad given that they’ve been the targets of most of the other mass shootings. But we never frame things like that do we?

I don’t feel any obligation to help them do so. I’m just focused on walking through this experience step by step, moment by moment. Just keep my head down and keep amplifying stories.

 

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