If you know about the Pulse tragedy that occurred two years ago, June 13, 2016, the word pulse may mean something different to you now.
It could represent a heartbeat, beating or ceased. It could represent a past place, once thumping with jubilant and alive electricity. It could represent a current place of empty space and quiet handmade alters with wilted flowers.
It could represent a feeling; one of anger and confusion. Or it could be one of strength sprouted and flourished from the concrete actions of a misled soul.
It could represent a tattoo, if you had one inked on you to show your support. It could represent a community you’ve been a part of, that slowed its pace in the peak of the horror. It could represent friends gone, family lost and those forever scarred physically and mentally by an act of hatred.
The word pulse could bring back memories put away, either of good days or not. It could conjure up questions of how and when and why and what could I have done? It could be a word that numbs the senses.
The word pulse means something very dynamic and shrewd to me. It carries a terrifying spectrum of reality and hopefulness along with it now.
To me, pulse is not just a word or picture or a memory or song or sadness. Pulse is a number.
49 times does the word Pulse ring in my ears.
49 times does the word echo on the ground, when I stroll the cobblestone streets of my neighborhood.
49 times does the word stop my thought process and slow my pace, 2 years later.
49 times do I say to myself,
“Don’t you dare complain about any type of tiresome or trying time, when you know there are souls who will never get the same chance.”
49 times do I wonder, what if it happens again? What if something worse happens? What if I’m in the wrong place at the wrong time? Should I hide my sexuality? Should I remove myself from my community?
And twice as many times do I say no.
I say not one bit. I say never.
I will never shrink, or shadow my personality. I will never hide my being or sugarcoat my life. I will never slink out of a room that makes me uncomfortable.
I will never sit down because my stance is too tall for a short girl with individuality. I will never cower from or ignore the crude reality of the world we live in.
There is hate, and I cannot change it all at once.
There are people who spread that hate, like black mold.
Hate is quiet. It is easy. And most of all, deadly.
How can I fight a quiet and sly killer?
Hate can live in us all, if we let it. It holds potential to grow in the darkest corners of our minds.
But the thing is, love holds that same potential. It is the yin and yang of life. The darkness is equally met with the light. The scale that teeters and totters during our years of existence is weighted by whatever we pile onto it.
Because each and every one of us holds potential for both hate and love, we can fight the hate equally with just as much love.
You don’t fight fire with gasoline.
You don’t hide from fire either, because the smoke will eventually seep into your lungs.
You face the fire, and you saturate it until the water has washed away the char.
You listen to opposing views. You listen to the groups of people that preach hate. You listen to the anger and the sadness. You don’t spew venom. You just listen.
And once they feel heard, you can share your love. Everyone wants to be heard. Everyone wants to be loved. It is instinctual, deeply rooted and almost primal. It acknowledges the other as equal, and that paves the way in the right direction.
That is the first step to stopping another shortcoming; the first step to saving the next life.
It has to start with us. We have to think about it consistently; be it 2 years later or 200 years later. 49 lives are gone from this world, but they are not gone for nothing.
This time has built the Orlando community tighter and stronger than ever before. There is a steady backing that says “I’ve got you, I’m here for you.”
We have to share that with each person we encounter. It won’t be easy, it won’t happen quickly. But we have to show courage and patience, and we have to show how much love our community holds for those with us and against us.
If you take away anything from this article, it is this:
Nobody is born hating the world, but holds an equal potential for hate and for love. What they are shown they will mirror and mimic into their adult life. In our adult lives, we still hold that same potential for hate and for love. Regardless of any dispositions or disadvantages, the potential does not disappear. Will you choose hate or love?
Thanks for reading, much love.