I’ll start by saying it’s been nearly a year since I’ve written for this blog. I’ve come back in need of an outlet after the recent events in the city I love more than any other: Orlando.
Being from a town only 100 miles away, I’ve grown up visiting Orlando and never wanting to leave. I’ve visited Downtown and love every bit of it. I’ve spent days in the theme parks planted on its outskirts too many times to count. In fact, I was there just over a month ago, soaking in its magic and its artfully diverse community, regretting that I’d have to leave too soon.
Orlando in and of itself is an escape. It’s full of countless places that serve as refuge for different things and for people of all walks of life. It’s always been my go-to place to escape and have fun. It’s been the place I call my second home. I can only imagine how many others this applies to. I know for certain, it applied to those in Pulse late Saturday night and into Sunday morning, when hundreds of young souls were out for a night of fun in a place of love and acceptance.
It was also yesterday when hatred tried painting a different image of Orlando. One that is meant to rivet people into fear–into an oblivion so cold and dark and consuming–a place no one wants to be. And for a short time, I felt that darkness creeping through my veins like a virus; maybe this place I love will no longer be the same.
But then I remembered, hate does not define Orlando or its people. It does not stand in the way of the refuge, acceptance, and love Orlando and the World has to offer.
The darkest days do not define us, friends. It’s the days we find light and hold it in the face of Hate until it fades away.
See, hate will never win. It can cause pain and spread fear. But it will not win.
Love is love is love…
And love always wins.
It is with a heavy heart that I send my condolences to everyone involved. I do hope in this time of grief, we as a community and Americans, can come together and lift one another up. It’s time we set politics aside, and lean on our neighbor no matter their race, party affiliation, sexuality, or religious beliefs.