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My heart hurts. I am wrecked by what happened in Orlando this weekend. I am wrecked by the thought that these beautiful people went out to have a fun night – just like I did – and were gunned down by a monster full of hate. I am wrecked by how normal mass shootings are becoming in this country. I am wrecked by seeing these in my social media newsfeeds and feeling helpless because they are true:

Dan Hodges

gun control vs abortion

Jim Trumm

From my friend Michael:

as long as I'm not

And this article, that I feel like I see on a weekly basis because mass shootings are happening so frequently:

the onion

I was going to share an outfit post today, but that felt ridiculous. (I wrote that same sentence just a few months ago. When will it stop?) So I ate a bunch of donuts/my feelings, and worried about when gun violence is going to touch me directly. Is it going to be me? My family? A friend? Tony, my brother and I were at LAX the day of the shooting there a few years back. I was eating some breakfast when a woman came running down the terminal shouting, “He has a gun! He’s coming!” and I kept eating for a moment because it didn’t seem real. Tony calmly put my food down and said, “Come on, baby. We have to go.” I started to collect my bags and he said, “Leave them,” and I realized it was real. Everyone poured out onto the tarmac from the emergency exits and huddled close to buildings because the police were worried there might be more shooters, maybe on the roof. It was chaos. No one knew what was happening. I was sobbing uncontrollably because my brother was still inside, texting me that he was hiding in one of the news shops, and they had turned off all the lights and pulled the metal barrier down. Later, we were taken on buses to the international terminal. The Red Cross came with food and water. People were walking around without shoes on, who had been mid-security line when they had to run for their lives. Dogs were running around, because people who had been holding them before walking through the metal detector had to run. Over the loudspeaker, we kept hearing requests for baby formula, because parents were running too fast for the exit to carry their diaper bags.

We weren’t even in the terminal where it happened. But we didn’t know that for hours. All I knew was that he was in there, he had a gun and he was coming. I didn’t even see him. And I was scared out of my mind. I can’t fathom the terror everyone in that nightclub must have felt, when they just went there to dance.

Every time another shooting is in the news, it sickens me and frightens me. But this one felt especially personal. So many of my friends are gay and in the healthiest, most loving and committed relationships. And among these beautiful, inspiring relationships are Tony’s two moms, my Mothers-in-Law.

Nanny and Z

I feel so lucky and grateful that my (future) children will grow up with so many examples of love. I hope they know it’s okay to love anyone they want. I hope, by the time they’re grown, it won’t even be a debate or a question or something they worry about or fear makes them different, it will just be a given. We are all human. Love is love.

So what can we do today, to somehow make sense of something senseless? It all feels trite to me. But here are some of the things I’m doing:

Letting my voice be heard. Here’s a simple guide to contacting your elected representative about gun control.

Changing my profile picture to show support for the victims, and my gay friends and family. (You can too, here and here.)

Being inspired by Lin-Manuel Miranda’s acceptance speech at the Tony’s last night.

Following @everytown.

Doing something I’m passionate about. The victims of Orlando don’t get to live their dreams anymore. One way to honor them, to me at least, is to not take this precious gift of life for granted and put off my dreams for tomorrow. I’m going to spend the afternoon writing, because that is what I love.

Telling the people I love that I love them.

  • Heidi Hawk

    It’s so sad you have to write about such sad things, but this is so beautifully written Annie. You captured all the things that I feel about it. I work on a college campus and my school had a gun sighting on it a few months ago. No bullets were fired and I can’t even describe the terror and fear I had running through me as they closed down campus and had us go home. I was scared I was going to be shot in my car as I was driving away and kept my windows shut, to help save myself. Coming back to work the next couple days unnerved me. And that was just a threat. My heart aches, likes yours. But like that speech–love is love is love is love and love wins. Thanks for your beautiful words Annie.

    • Annie

      Thank you for these sweet words. And I can only imagine the terror you must have felt! Thank god nothing more happened. It’s insane that mass shootings have become the norm in our news. It is just CRUSHING. I am so devastated.

  • Carol Aceves

    Beautifully stated, dear Annie. In the words of Lin-Manuel Miranda, “Love, is love, is love, is love.”❤️ Love you and your beautiful family💕

    • Annie

      Thank you so much, sweet Carol! Sending love and light to you, too.


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