So much to say.

I am sitting on my couch, fighting back tears of I don’t even know exactly what, and I have a lot I want to write about. I have been wanting to write for a while, but I’ve been struggling with which words are worth documenting or sharing instead of locking them up in my treasure-box heart.

Let me begin with the very recent events that transpired within the past hour. I had been having a very busy day at the restaurant. For some reason, people decided to come and eat pizza at a very awkward time for me, right before I was supposed to clock out. As a result, I was running late for my second job and was getting antsy, and some customers were testing my patience! But I made it through with a smile on my face and I raced back to campus to be the resident assistant on-call for the night. As hectic as that whole transition was for a person who likes to be very punctual, I was still in a pleasantly good mood. I don’t know what it was, but I felt energized and excited for some unknown thing.

God knows how rough these past two weeks have been for me, so it felt really freaking great to be able to smile and genuinely feel happy despite all the hubbub and commotion.

Anyway, after picking up the RA backpack (the notorious trademark of being On-Call), I headed up to my room to do the whole routine: kicked off my shoes, jumped out of my smelly Red Boy attire and into comfy pajamas, hopped on the couch, and checked my phone (even though there isn’t much to check these days since I’ve deleted my social media apps). But I browse through my messenger apps anyway, and see that I’ve received a message from an old friend that I haven’t heard from in a long time…

My lovely friend, Denice, or Shorty, as we liked to call her. Shorty is a little older than me, and I met her when I started going to church again five years ago. She is a true woman of God who I’ve admired throughout all these years, and I still have this little rosary that she gave to me tucked away in my purse wherever I go. I really do not remember the last time that I spoke to her, much less saw her, so it was definitely a surprise to see her name in my inbox.

In a brief message, she reminisces about the time when I was a teen and would ride my scooter to St. John’s every Sunday, and how my current photos reveal how far I’ve come, with the world as my playground. She tells me how proud she is of me, saying she could not be more happy for the beautiful person that I’ve become.

I repeatedly read her message plenty of times, each word transporting me back to the past when things were worse and hurt so much more, when church was my place of solace and relief. When riding my scooter was my means of escape and being saved. When I met a few extraordinary people who changed my life forever.

…And suddenly, the problems that I face now seem meaningless. The sadness that I’ve been dealing with these past couple of weeks feel lifted off my shoulders, slowly wafting away to nothingness, irrelevant…

I have come so far. The only reason why I’ve been sad is that I forget about my blessings and want more and more out of life– too much more. It had come to a point where I wasn’t even able to appreciate the present because I was too wrapped up in the things that were stressing me out.

Luckily, God always puts people in my life at the right moments to give me little nudges as a reminder to smile and be thankful for this beautiful life. He always makes them cross my path at the most perfect timing. Today, He asked Shorty to keep me in her thoughts and reach out to me, at just the right time, when I’m feeling well enough to be able to process positive vibes and rationality.

And now, my head is clear. I am reminded of the breathtaking flowers that have grown in my garden of a life. I dismiss all negative thoughts, and I feel so free. So many people actually do care about me, whether I see it or not. I do impact the lives of others. I have the ability to make people feel at home and comfortable, and I will never stop making everyone feel valued and loved…

Valued and loved. We are all valued and loved. Whether we are gay or straight, belong to a religious group or not, rich or poor, man or woman, and everything and anything else in between, we all matter. I am not sure why somebody felt the need to kill and harm dozens of innocent people in a nightclub who were simply enjoying life as who they were, and still are. And I don’t understand why a rich, ignorant bigot congratulated himself and used this tragic event to put himself on a political pedestal.

What I do know is that I do not want him as my president, and it makes me want to cry out of anger to hear people supporting his racist, sexist, hateful cause (You all know that I’m talking about Trump, right?). I also know that too many people are incredibly arrogant with their beliefs, enough to shoot up people who were just trying to celebrate their identities, enough to totally disregard the issue at hand just because they want to say they were “right about radical Islamic terrorism.” And that there is not enough consideration for the lives of human beings in this world (nor animals… but I won’t even start with that. Not today). My heart is just completely broken for Orlando…

So I want to take this time to offer up all of my prayers for those who have passed away, those who are injured, and all of their family and friends. I can’t even fathom how it truly feels to be in Orlando right now, but all I can do is extend my wishes and pray for a quick social recovery. I pray that humanity will be strong enough to overcome this rattling tragedy. I pray for the strength of the LGBT community and for the support of everybody who can send good vibes and warm hugs their way. Nobody deserves this at all… and most of all, I pray that this will not spur on more hate. I hope that the world will not generalize all Muslims and target even more innocent lives. Violence is never the answer, especially during a time of so much pain… I pray for all of the wounds on our bodies and in our hearts.

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