As I'm sure you have all heard by now, there have been two shootings in Orlando this past week. One of them being the deadliest shooting in US history. This impacts me more than I like to admit, partially because I live in the Orlando area. And partially on a more personal level.
I've never talked about this before, so I would like to now in the hopes that it can help others.
I am not a teenager anymore. But I am still confused.
When I was a teenager and before, I was bullied beyond reproach. It was to the point that I was mentally unstable and ended up in a mental hospital for trying to kill myself.
Yes, there were other factors. But if you think that many years of bullying didn't have anything to do with my depression, you're very wrong.
That said, it was always difficult for me in school. Not with school work, but with people. I've never gotten on with others because everyone was just so judgmental. And here I was, an awkward, overweight, teenage girl. I didn't know what I was. Hell, I still don't know.
One of my best friends in high school (who I've regrettably lost touch with) was a lesbian. She gave me two books to read. One of them was Ruby Fruit Jungle, a coming of age about a girl discovering who she is. The other, I honestly can't remember what it was called. It was a long time ago.
My mom looked through my backpack and discovered these and confronted me about them. I told her the truth. Lisa gave them to me to read. What I didn't tell her was that I was conflicted with my own feelings. Am I a lesbian? No. I'm not. But I didn't know what the hell I was at that point. And I still don't. Why should I have been ashamed to read these books?
I bring this up because one of my best friends frequents the Pulse nightclub in Orlando. And yet I didn't even think about him possibly being there, because he moved to South Florida a couple years ago. It didn't occur to me until 5pm that he comes to Orlando every so often to meet with friends and go to clubs. How did this not occur to me? By the time I had thought to text him I was near panicked and sitting there staring, waiting for him to text me back.
I don't know what I would have done if I had lost John. He's beautiful and hilarious and weird. And I couldn't love him more. Thank the stars that he's okay.
So while I've been seeing political rhetoric tossed back and forth (and believe me, we really need changes to the gun laws here in Florida), I don't wish to talk about any of that. I want to talk about something more related to this blog.
Yes. We need diverse books. We need them because people like me had nothing to relate to when we were younger. We were lost, and some of us still are.
We need books that give us the reality of our own lives, or help us to escape.
And most of all, we need books that help promote equality between everyone. Because homophobia is a sickness that should not be tolerated.