Sunday mornings are typically my favorite time of the week–I can sleep in as late as I want (or as late as I can, since at this point in my life since I’ve grown too old to sleep very late anymore; God remember those decadent college days of being able to sleep in until the early afternoon? I can’t even imagine), then get up to enjoy a cup of coffee while reading a book and eating fresh pastries. Today, however, my Sunday morning would not be easy and peaceful. Instead, I saw the news from Orlando and the horrific mass shooting that occurred in the early hours. At the time, 20 were confirmed dead, but the body count would grow to a staggering 50 deaths. 50 souls that would never again enjoy a quiet Sunday morning. And once again, just like after Newtown, Virginia Tech, Aurora, Paris, and so very many other incidents, my heart grew weary. I’m exhausted. I can’t process yet another one of these events. I don’t understand it. I feel helpless to do anything to make things better.
I emailed my senator, congressmen, and representatives urging them to do more to end gun violence. I turned to social media to share links about donating blood and talking to those in the LGBTQ community who need all the love and support they can get today. I ‘liked’ similar posts, leaving a trail of sad face and angry face emoji like breadcrumbs across the internet. I cried. I donated money to a GoFundMe account to help the surviving families. I went to my favorite workout class and sweated, smiled, and danced it out to songs by RuPaul, Lady Gaga, Madonna, Christina Aguilera–all icons vocally supportive of equality and each person’s right to love freely, openly, and happily. When the cooldown song came on, the Carpenters’ “Sing a Song,” I felt tears prick my eyes. The words were so simple and clear; we all have voices and the ability to put good into the world. Sometime I feel like mine gets lost, drowned out by all of the noise and arguments and rants. Every day I go on social media and feel my blood boil, especially during this heated election season, when all of these issues are so complicated and layered and people insist on oversimplifying into meme-on-meme warfare. I just can’t anymore. I’m so tired. I know most feel like me. And yet we keep circling the drain, doing nothing to make anything better. Oftentimes, I shut down to avoid more arguing. But maybe I am part of the problem. Maybe we all need to talk more, but I think what’s been missing the whole time is the other, crucial half: listening to each other, face to face.