I have been off this past week. I haven’t been sleeping well. I woke up on the couch three days in a row after being too tired to go to bed and too exhausted to fall asleep. I haven’t been eating right. My appetite for cream cheese is MIA and last night at work I struggled to finish a spaghetti bolognese, which never happens. I am also drinking more than usual. Typically, I subscribe to the philosophy “a bottle of wine a day keeps the therapist away,” but it has been seven days and the recycling bin is overflowing.
This morning I woke up, poured a cup of coffee, and launched an official investigation to find out where my equilibrium went. Taking a seat at my writing desk, I turned on my reading lamp, opened up my journal and using a ballpoint pen, lined up the usual suspects. At first I pointed my finger at the full moon last Monday. In the past, whenever “shit gets cray,” usually I have to look no further than the night sky to find the crater-faced culprit. Except after the strawberry moon came and went with the longest day of the year, I felt no better.
Ruling out the moon, I shifted blame on to a bad case of gaymenses. I realize that I do not have ovaries, fallopian tubes or any of the necessary parts to menstruate; but at least once a month, my hormones are thrown into a complete tailspin for reasons I cannot explain. Overnight I will go from hospitable to intolerable. For days, my mood changes faster than the weather on the Coast, and for at least twelve hours I relapse into heterosexuality. Writing in my journal, I reasoned that surely a particularly heavy flow of gaymenses was the reason behind why my life suddenly became a hangover.
But then something happened. As I got up to brush my teeth and greet the day, I could hear the siren call of my bed signaling me to come back. Strange, I thought, it has been years since I last heard that voice. Ignoring the invitation, I walked into the kitchen, added another coffee mug to a growing pile of dirty dishes in the sink and turned back around. Then, stopping dead in my tracks, I shifted my gaze back to the unkempt mess, and before I could even hear the words “I don’t care” come out of my mouth, I knew an unwanted house guest had returned.
“Darnit,” I said to myself. “It is not the full moon or gaymenses, I am depressed.”
I am filled with grief over the devastating loss of life in Orlando last week. I, like so many of my friends, woke up to the news early Sunday morning June 12th when my alarm clock went off. “Mass shooting at a gay nightclub in Orlando,” announced CBC radio. “Twenty confirmed dead as the death toll continues to rise.” Shooting upright, I pinched myself desperately hoping this horror was all just a nightmare. People are not supposed to die in gay bars they are supposed to come to life in them. When I realized the terror was indeed real, I began praying to Meryl Streep.
Later that day, with so many people across the world, I attended the candlelight vigil held in memory of the victims. Mama Fox was in town and stayed at my side. In a soft and sombre glow at the Vancouver Art Gallery, I looked around at all the colourful and diverse faces shrouded in shock and disbelief. This cannot be happening. Returning my focus to the rainbow coloured flags waiving high at the top of the Gallery steps, I joined with everyone else to repeat back the names of all those who were known to be dead.
It has been nearly two weeks since the massacre occurred and I still do not know how to process it. I feel like if I think about it too much, I will get dragged underwater in a current of sadness and ripped out to sea. For now, I will continue to pray to Meryl Streep. I will pray for everyone and their families in Orlando and Veracruz, Mexico. I will pray for anyone who has been bullied, harassed, silenced, assaulted, attacked or killed for being themselves. I will also pray for hope and positivity. There is so much good in this world that sometimes it is easy to forget.
Even though the Pride flag hangs at half-mast this month, the rainbow colours are shining brighter than ever.