REFLECTIONS ON ORLANDO, 2.5 WEEKS LATER

This is the most personal list I've ever posted.
  1. I remember that it happened on a Sunday because my mom told us when we got home from church. She didn't tell us where the shooting was, just that it was the worst one.
  2. I went on the list app and I saw lists with rainbow hearts in the title. Sometimes the red one was broken. I knew.
  3. I remember thinking that we always say a prayer in church when there is a mass shooting, but we wouldn't be saying a prayer for this one.
  4. I was right.
  5. I remember scrolling through this app, through tumblr, through Facebook, seeing the long posts. I remember wondering what it would be like to express condolences, to mourn, and to move on; to not have to carry terror with you every day of your life. To view this as an attack on America and not an attack on people like yourself.
  6. I remember the crushing feeling in my chest all day as I tried to act as normal as possible.
  7. I remember waiting to my family was all asleep. I remember waiting an extra hour to be safe. And I remember collapsing into sobs, I remember shaking on my living room couch, I remember crying so hard I threw up. I remember keeping as quiet as I could so my dad wouldn't wake up, because I could never explain to him what was wrong.
  8. I put on CNN because I felt like I had to, and after an hour changing it to Friends reruns because I couldn't handle it.
  9. I had an essay due the next day but I didn't finish until five am because it's hard to type when your hands are shaking.
  10. Someone on the list app the next day posted about how gun control was not the answer and it took me a minute to realize it wasn't a joke. Took me a minute to realize that that was their actual reaction to Orlando, unabridged.
  11. The next night, I watched Anderson Cooper choke back tears as he read off their names. One by one.
  12. I remember thinking, this isn't fair. I have a math final tomorrow. They killed 50 people like me and I have a math final tomorrow.
  13. I watched as casual and blatant homophobes alike posted condolence posts.
  14. As if their ideals didn't kill each person in that club.
  15. As if how they felt about people like me wasn't the reason.
  16. And I thought about my own activism. I thought about my own contribution to the black lives matter movement.
  17. And I realized I had not even begun to understand the movement I was supporting. I had done my best to understand. I had done my best to understand power structures and systematic racism and microaggressions.
  18. But I had never understood the fear.
  19. When Michael Brown was shot my best friend told me she was afraid and I hugged her and I told her it would be okay.
  20. But I didn't understand what it was like to live in a world where you always had to be scared for your life.
  21. I'll never understand. I'll never understand what it is like to be black and afraid.
  22. But I am gay and afraid.
  23. And I'm realizing how impossible it feels to exist in a movement that says it supports you but doesn't acknowledge your reality.
  24. Rest in peace to the 49.
  25. To everyone out there, existing in the wake of tragedy, that feels scared and hated - I love you. I love you. I love you. I know it's not enough. But I love you.