Somehow I couldn't feel anything about Orlando. I think if it had been three people killed, I would have been shocked and upset. But the number ...
I just didn't want to believe it. It's human nature, I think, when something terrible happens, for our little brains to get busy figuring out how it couldn't possibly happen to US. But if I really took in the Orlando massacre, I a lesbian who often goes to public places and events focused on gay people -- I would feel VULNERABLE! My little brain would have a very hard time figuring out how this could never happen to ME. I don't WANT to feel VULNERABLE! I'm an American! I'm supposed to live forever in comfort and ease! I am NOT LIKE the people that bad things happen to!
Of course I KNOW the world is full of people (even Americans) who have never had the privilege of deluding themselves that they are safe. In my defense, I must say that I've been practicing Buddhism for a while in an effort to dismantle the walls I put up between myself and others.
But still, I heard about Orlando, the wall went up, and I was numb.
Also, I happened to be alone. Much easier to be numb when alone.
Then, in the course of doing my errands yesterday in my neighborhood, I came upon the altar at 18th St. and Castro. There are often memorials at the spot for gay men and lesbians who have died. I am always moved to read about these people who were loved. Small memorials. This was different.
I read the hand-written placards.
I absorbed the loving words chalked on the sidewalk.
I studied the photos of my dear brothers and sisters who had been murdered.
I remembered the night that Harvey Milk had been murdered.
And I wept.