Who Lives, Who Dies, Who Tells These Stories: Orlando and Narratives of Trauma

“There are no words.”

There’s also no counting how many times I’ve said that in response to various facets of the Orlando shooting: first, the burst of reports; then the rising death toll; then the slow unraveling of each victim’s biography; and then, the aftermath, the responses — in forms both heartwarmingly compassionate and shamelessly opportunistic.

The extent and range of those responses isn’t surprising. Forty-nine people died and 53 were injured at a mass shooting in Pulse, a gay nightclub in Orlando. This is the deadliest mass shooting in US history, and the shooter targeted the LGBT+ community, a group that — despite significant progress in recent years — remains a minority in every sense of the term. Many members of the community have already spoken about how jarring, how traumatic this attack has been; many more have continued to speak about how subsequent responses have been disrespectful, exploitative, damaging, or unhelpful at best.

I found myself unable, somehow, to join those engaged in the former. So far, the most I’ve been able to do is retweet messages of support and guidelines for volunteers, because secondhand sentiments are the only things I felt comfortable posting about the matter. Let me be clear: 140 characters, no matter how many sets I retweet, will never be enough to articulate the grief, anger, and despair I feel about this attack. However, shameful as it is to say so right now, 140 characters are more than enough to be a potential breach in the illusion of safety that stems from being a straight-passing, low-key member of the community.  (more…)

The Problem of Scale

I’ve been awfully quiet lately, and that’s due, for the most part, to the nature of my current line of work. I’m immersed in one of the many campaign teams working towards the upcoming 2016 national and local elections, and confidentiality is among the defining attributes of my particular position. Read more…

The drip, drip, drip of existence

I’ve recently started catching up to Season 3 of Elementary. The series remains great – brilliant, even, especially when we consider the self-assurance and deftness with which it ventures into topics and themes beyond the scope of the weekly procedural thread. The Eternity Injection, one of the episodes I watched yesterday, Read more…

Anxiety and Food

One of my personal anxiety “warning signs” is the urge to eat. Often, before the simmering pressure of building anxiety even makes itself known, I’ll be overcome by the overwhelming urge to snack — sometimes on healthy things, sometimes on junk food, sometimes on both. It manifests in many forms: a couple Read more…

Zottis Classic Low-Fat Yogurt

I opened up a tub of Zottis Classic Yogurt this morning, and as I savored that first cold, creamy spoonful, a thought popped into my head: “I miss Bulgarian yogurt.” And then, on the heels of that sentiment: “But I don’t even really remember what Bulgarian yogurt is like.” It Read more…