16 June 2016
the city, no matter how small, is corrupt and unrepentant, while the sun shines brighter in the country, making people more wholesome.
-Lori Lansens, the Girls
Five years ago, if you had asked me where I saw myself at twenty three, I would tell you a glamorous tale of young marriage, teaching in the city while my husband climbed the business ladder. We would own a grand home with children laughing and running throughout the hallways. In short, I would have it all.
Today, I'm not married, not a mother and my dream of teaching young children in the city has become someone else's. No longer do I dream of the big, extravagant house in the suburbs of New York with a husband who arrives home at dinner time in his Ralph Lauren suit. Don't get me wrong, I still love fashion - maybe now more than ever - but it has taken me these five years to realize labels don't define success.
And where am I the happiest?
In the country.
If I could drink my morning coffee on the deck, staring out at acres of fields and forest,
I would be happy.
If I could spend my afternoons working by a window with the fresh air and sunshine streaming in,
I would be happy.
If my evenings were spent running through the yard, with my children falling asleep by the campfire.
I would be so happy.
I love the city. I love the busyness of the sidewalks, the beautiful buildings filled with designer products, I love the variety that the metropolis offers, but just for a while. For the city cannot offer me peace, it cannot offer me adventures of the imagination and for me, the city will never be home.
In my dreams I see that beautiful home on acres of land, welcoming to family and ready for kids. I can clearly see myself sitting in that little home office, my husband working outside, feeling that sunshine on my face - and being perfectly happy.
The country is my dream.
13 June 2016
At 2:02am on June 12 2016 shots were fired inside Pulse - a gay nightclub in Orlando, Florida. The result of this horrific event was 50 fatalities and 53 more injured. Thus making it the biggest mass shooting in U.S. history.
Over the past twenty four hours, I have heard these facts repeated over and over. I have read the headlines on Twitter and Facebook. I have even watched several videos covering the events. Yet, nothing shocked me more than a few simple text messages I received this morning.
My best friend is gay.
To me, who he loves has never defined him. Who he loves has never made him less intelligent, less of a friend or less worthy of success and love in this world. Yet, each and every day he deals with hate and labels that I will never encounter as a straight female. He never chose this path, but is treated as though it was a choice and according to many in society, he made the wrong one.
So, when he texted me this morning unable to get the massacre out of his mind, I realized that what happened at 2:02am on Sunday morning was more than just a mass shooting, it was a threat to the safety of someone I love very much. Each bullet that left the gun was a reminder that while we'd like to think we are close to equality, the hate in this world will never allow us to reach it. While I can walk down the street holding the hand of the man I love without fear of judgement, my best friend does not have the same luxury and my biggest fear is - he never will.
If you spent one hour with my best friend and his boyfriend, you would see a love that not many experience in this lifetime. You would witness a family who works together to grow and raise a well rounded and grounded child. Your heart would explode from the amount of happiness in their home and laughter that echoes through the hallways. Their love is one I can only hope to one day experience, yet it is a love discouraged of flourishing outside those four walls of safety.
It took one morning, only hours, for that gunman to fire hate from his rifle and end the lives of fifty people. Each one of those people had a story, just like my friend. A story filled with love and a home, unfulfilled dreams and people who loved them back, yet one man ended those fifty beautiful stories in one morning. All because of hate.
Tears fall from my eyes every time I let myself think about the fact that one of those fifty people could've been Freddie. He could have been enjoying himself on a night out and then never come home. The smile that makes my life brighter, the comfort and strength that his rare hugs give me could have been taken from this world, from my world, forever. In one moment.
While today I am incredibly thankful to still have my best friend, so many are suffering the loss of their loved ones. This unnecessary act of hate has left holes in the hearts of many and yet, there will never be a way for the gunman to pay for what he has taken. This is a story without a happy ending, but instead it is a story that has taken beautiful souls from our world and taken our society back in what we have been fighting to accomplish.
What happened on Sunday morning was horrific, unnecessary and will never be forgotten, but what happens from this point on is up to us. I look forward to the day when my friend does not have to feel labelled or judged for being in a relationship, when who he loves no longer defines who he is in society. When love and acceptance are not something you have to search for, but are given freely. This is a world I hope to see in my lifetime and this is a world that the people in the Orlando shooting deserved.