I have chosen to give vulnerability a shot again.
Three years ago, one of the worst attacks on the LGBTQ+ community – the shootings at Pulse Nightclub in Orlando – seriously fucked my shit up, to say the least.
With any traumatic event, it is important for us to reach out to people, find comfort in solidarity, seek refuge by opening up and allowing people to love us, and otherwise embracing our vulnerability. So says the venerable Brene Brown. So says the universe.
I’m not good at that. I never have been. I have my doubts that I ever will be.
I isolate in times of trauma and sorrow. I want to present my good face to the world.
I know it’s like adult make believe and that everybody can tell when I’m hurting because I am a terrible liar and wear my heart on my sleeve (or at least on my eyebrows).
But I try.
After the trauma, I cut myself off from the world. I was a single, lone person wandering the terrifying and painful world without anybody to comfort me, while everybody else seemed to be home with their families, their friends, their partners.
Three years later, I have more friends, a partner, and far more responsibility, but I still feel isolated.
So I decided to dance it out, doing a spinning flow with my new LED staff from Trick Concepts (yes, that’s an affiliate link).
I chose The Greatest by Sia because it is an incredibly emotional song with an even more emotional video, dedicated to the 49 victims from Pulse and the LGBTQ+ community in general. It is a powerful song. It makes me feel like I can carry on, despite the pain.
But something about dancing in the dark in my backyard alone still felt isolated.
For the video, I layered over an old performance from the world’s best drag queen, Kattastrophe Kyng DeLaurentes, to help me feel more of a connection to the community I was surrounding myself with in the aftermath – the comforting, dark dance floor of Sidewinders Bar in Albuquerque, the salty-yet-sweet drag performers, the feeling of hope from participating in fundraiser after fundraiser by acting as an informal videographer and social media promoter.
Sometimes art isn’t enough to heal, but it is enough to allow you to open yourself up for healing. I hadn’t been able to talk about this without feeling incredibly self-centered. Something about, “remember how those 49 people died? Well now I’m sad because I feel alone,” rings as missing a crucial point. That’s not a healthy mindset. I will never be able to help anybody with their own pain if I am unwilling to feel my own.
Creating let me express my pain, then pick up the phone to call my best friend to tell her what was going on and how I felt – and to ask for the comfort that I needed.
I don’t feel like our country has done much healing since June 12, 2016, but that’s okay. We will endure and we will keep working on it. In the meantime, I feel like I have started to do my own healing, and that may be all I can control, but for now, I need to give myself permission for that to be enough.