The Orlando shootings hit me really hard. I had already been in such a dark place before they happened. My bestie lost one of her trans students to suicide the day before and we were reeling from the loss of a girl who we had predicted was going to be the most fabulous queen to hit Edmonton in years. Hope was fading in my mind. For weeks I walked around like a zombie.
Living a life outside the mainstream never seemed harder or more grim. I had never felt so separated from the straight world who really didn't understand anything that was going on or why it was hitting the queer community so hard. I got tired of fighting off tears at work. Just so tired of everything.
As the names and faces of the victims streamed through, one of the first was of Edward Manuel Sotomayor Jr. He was my age, had a good career and a man he loved even his funeral was the kind I would prefer. He was an alternate universe me and he had been gunned down doing something I would likely be doing on a Saturday night. Then the other victims stories started to come out. Boyfriends being buried together. A man's last act to save his partner, a mother saving her gay son.
These people were all robbed of so much and we were robbed of them.
I have a list of names running around in my head. People I have lost because of suicide, societal inaction and violence. I think most people in minority groups have lists like this and now a new generation has to start making lists (something I always hoped they would not have to do).
All of this put things into sharp perspective for me. Like a telescope finally coming into focus I could see myself clearer than ever before. The fire was re-lit. I knew what I wanted to do. There is a scene in Sense 8 where Nomi a trans woman talks about herself not being just a "me" she is also a "we" connected to so much more than herself as her reason for marching in Pride. This is what the queer community is all about to me.
Greg and I will have been together for 9 years this September. We had always joked that we would wait until all of our straight friends to get married before we would even consider it. If the events of the last few months have shown me anything it is that life is so very very short and that love is a very precious commodity.
I knew I had to propose. We had waited too long and I know I want to spend every moment I have left with him in my life. So a plan was hatched. With the gay rodeo being cancelled we agreed to go on a road trip vacation to the mountains. I managed to find a seat sale to Vancouver however and so we switched it up and planned a quick getaway to lotus land.
After sneakily getting his ring size I ventured out and got a ring the day of the flight. No one knew about it but the girls at work and me.
Canada Day, July 1 we went on a hike in Stanley Park. I wanted to find the perfect spot with just the two of us to pop the question. For most of our lives we are surrounded by friends and family. For this moment I wanted it to be just the two of us.
I told Greg to keep a lookout for the biggest tree we could find because I wanted to take a picture hugging it. We walked for hours until we came to the perfect spot. It so happens this spot was in a cruisey area of the park and we bumped into a bear and his adorable dog. After chatting with him for a bit he went on his way and we had the forest to ourselves again.
He said yes!
Go live and make the most out of every moment.
Thank you for reading this and for following my adventures. We love you.