Because I grew up different than most, I tended to flock with those whose ideologies were as open-minded as mine. I knew most of my true friends were different. First of all, they chose a chubby loud-mouthed, opinionated black girl as a friend. Ok, so that was the first sign, second, they were mostly people who didn't care about what other people thought. And that's where we really connected. We didn't look at race, hue, gender, sexual preference or really much of anything except the person. And, to be honest, most of us sang show tunes, were involved in performance and visual arts, and were that creative bunch, with some athletes and frisbee throwing nerdy types sprinkled in between.
While in high school, I remember our flock dealing with everything from divorce, depression, drugs, drinking, anorexia, and the dreaded SATs. But the one thing that we never faced was a culture of hate. It would be unfathomable to us to hate anyone because of who they are, or who they chose to love.
My 19-year old daughter who had just been in Orlando a week ago, was lying on my bedroom floor as we watched the reports of the tragic shooting. She said, "I just don't understand. I guess I won't be going out to anymore clubs." And suddenly my heart dropped even more. Wait, a 19-year old is telling me she won't be going to clubs?
Isn't going out what being 19ish is all about? Much like me, my daughter is a magnet for eclectic, free spirited people. We are both unafraid and open to experiencing life. But now, we are losing our freedoms to the fear of hate. We are living in what seems to be an uncontrollable state of uncertainty.
I am mourning the loss of innocent lives, and the loss of our freedom to live life fearlessly.