"Stop watching," Tim told me the other night. He's concerned about my anxiety. My anxiety in general is worse as I get older. He gets worried that I will not stop worrying after watching the news about Orlando.
He's right, about a couple things...I will not stop worrying and I should stop watching.
I want to turn my worry into action. I want to stop watching and start doing. But what do I do? What do we do?
Like a lot of other people I've been scrolling through my social media accounts the past few days and reading story after story of heartache. I've also seen really interesting posts from people who are processing all of it.
Like my friend who has a daughter with Down syndrome who posted this message on Facebook:
"It's not about being gay....we need to be sad because they were people!" Agree about the being sad part. Any loss of life, at the hands of someone else, is horrible. So many lives...even worse.
But ya know what? I had a strange vision for a moment of a building filled with people with Down syndrome...
It IS about being gay, and that should make us even more upset. It can be hard to see that if it's not "your" group of people."
It is about being gay.
It is about hate.
It is about terror.
It is about gun laws having loopholes.
It is about so many things. So many things that make me horrified and anxious and want to stop watching.
I want to stop watching and start doing.
Here's my to-do list:
Reach out to my LGBTQ friends and make sure they know that they are loved and supported.
Listen to those friends and learn what ways they feel most supported and respected.
Call my Senators and tell them I want changes in gun laws. (I called yesterday, and will call again and again and again.)
Teach my children about love and acceptance and encourage them to love and accept and be kind to EVERYONE.
Get angry, but not hate.
Speak up. I will not be silent. I will not pretend to not care or not be horrified by all of the hate and terror and loopholes.
Post my opinions on Facebook, opinions that are respectful and proactive.
Vote. Vote in local elections and national elections like I've done since 1992.
Support my Muslim friends. I will listen to them and learn what ways they feel safer and most respected.
Hug my kids and my friends and my family more.
Strive to be more forgiving and more grateful.
Fight the good fight for freedom and safety and peace and love and civil rights. I don't want to get in a hate-filled debate with everyone. I want to talk about ideas and progress and listen to other sides and other ideas. I will not stoop to levels of some of our politicians, I will not call people names, I will not discriminate or hate. I will not get stuck in my own fear and anxiety. I will stop watching and do something to create change.
What will you do?
Here are some places to get information about what we can all do:
Ways to Help Victims of Orlando-click here