I don’t know how to write about this. I don’t know where to begin. Ever since I heard about recent events in Orlando I’ve been shunting aside everything I’ve been feeling, telling myself I’ll deal with my own personal reaction later. Focus on work, focus on friends, Awareness, knowledge of what happened, that’s different. I internalize well; I can separate the emotions from the events. But I have to deal with both sides of the equation eventually. Solve for x, solve for y.

I’ve always wanted to go to Pride. Now, on some level, I am afraid to.

That is difficult to deal with.

My coming out story can probably be summed up as “easy,” at least in hindsight. I only ever directly said the words “I think I like girls” once, to my mom. In fact, I’m sitting here writing this in the very same place where I said that out loud for the first time. My friends all took it well. Nothing really changed. That doesn’t mean I was able to magically put an end to all of my confusion. Did I only like girls? Could I see myself ending up with someone of another gender? How does my own gender play into it all, anyway? These are questions I still haven’t answered. I still struggle to attach any definite labels to myself, although I absolutely support those who do.

But even if my coming out was that “easy,” god, sometimes it seems like just existing as the person I am is hard. I often feel like I try to convince myself that I have it easy in general, and maybe it’s true, that my situation is a good one. I have a roof over my head, and family and friends who love me. That doesn’t mean I’m immune to the fear. Not just for myself—for all LGBTQ people, especially Latinx and black people in Orlando, and Muslims affected by Islamophobia all over the country, and kids still “in the closet” who might see these events on the news and keep their mouths shut.

God, I don’t know how to keep going. To keep writing about this, that is.

I know how to keep going. A friend just texted me asking if I want to make a trip to a pride festival in the nearest big city with them in a couple of weeks. And I am still afraid. But maybe I will say yes. ♦