on the 2nd anniversary of pulse


(Content Note for discussion of mass shootings, homophobia, and suicide)

June 12, 2018. the 2 year anniversary of the Pulse nightclub shooting. This morning, I woke up feeling like there was just this heavy weight sitting on my chest. Much like when I woke up at an unusually early hour two years ago on Sunday, June 12, 2016 to check twitter.

It still feels surreal. Sometimes it still feels like it happened yesterday. Two years ago, I was only out to a few close friends and on Twitter. And I actually remember thinking to myself, “if other people want me dead, why don’t I just end things myself before they get the chance to kill me.” Which, SEEMS excessive but in reality, the amount of people on the LGBTQ community who have been suicidal, have attempted to end their own lives, or have actually died by suicide is so high.

Thankfully, I haven’t felt that way for two years, but it still hurts. It’s still scary to live in this world realizing people think either you don’t exist, or shouldn’t exist. It’s been two whole fucking years, y’all. And we’re still out here fighting, dying, living, celebrating, and resisting.

“for your sake we face death all day long; we are considered as sheep to be slaughtered.” (Romans 8:36)

I know we don’t usually like the apostle Paul because he was kind of the worst, but when Paul reflects on this verse from Psalm 44, I felt that. And yet, he also wrote that nothing separates us from the love of God in the same passage. Not even homophobia, or mass shootings. Not self-loathing, or self-harm.

So, let’s contrast all that hate and grief and loss with love. Love that keeps us going. The kind of love that’s community, belonging, checking in on friends after a national tragedy to make sure they’re ok. It’s hellos and goodbyes from friends you met on the internet when they show up to support you at your wedding. It’s your best friend welcoming you into her home when parents go on homophobic rants that make you fearful for your safety.

It’s people respecting your pronouns and making you feel like you can be yourself when you’ve never been able to be yourself.

It’s seeing the love of your life in her wedding dress for the first time and realizing you get to marry such an amazing, good person. And just getting to do life with her knowing you’re finally safe and loved for who you are.

God is love…and you are so very loved.

You are loved and your love is not wrong. It’s beautiful, and brilliant. And all the colors of the rainbow.chelseamehalekphotography-160

“When senseless acts of tragedy remind us
That nothing here is promised, not one day.
This show is proof that history remembers
We lived through times when hate and fear seemed stronger;
We rise and fall and light from dying embers, remembrances that hope and love last longer
And love is love is love is love is love is love is love is love cannot be killed or swept aside.” ~ Lin-Manuel Miranda, part of the sonnet he used during his acceptance speech at the Tony’s in 2016

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