Or, “How I Survived Las Vegas.”
After surviving the Las Vegas massacre, witnessing blood-splattered people still in their country-western boots, jean shorts, tank tops, and cowboy boots, when only hours before they were all cute and thrilled to be going to the Route 91 concert.
I’d ridden with them on the plane on my way to Vegas. For 5 hours I sat next to a wonderful guy from Detroit who’d moved his blended family to Vegas and couldn’t wait to spend the weekend with his wife and friends at the concert. I still wonder if he survived.
I have photos that I took from my hotel room from the morning after. They’re of white body bags laid out in row upon row. At the time I couldn’t process what that meant, exactly.
Seeing the people everywhere in the Luxor lobby. They were endearing to me in their country-western clothes, so excited about this concert. I loved their energy and even wore my adorable boots with the Swarovski crystals on them that night because… well, it was FUN!
I didn’t realize that during the shut down, when gun rights activists were trolling me on my Twitter after I broke the tweet about the shooting going on within eyesight from my 23rd floor window facing the concert grounds and Mandalay Bay, when I abandoned all outside contact except talking to my youngest child all night long on the phone, comforting him by telling family stories and the exact nuance of every step I use when cooking stir fries, down to the smoke point of every available oil and it’s relationship to the process. He was only a few miles away.
I looked out to the stunningly serene, gorgeous full moon, taking comfort in the fact that it was still there, completely unphased by the violence and widespread chaos below, the Las Vegas strip turned into a never-ending crime scene as multiple reports flooded the channels, since nobody really knew what was going on. It seemed as if an alternate reality had taken hold.
But the moon stayed serene, bright, unperturbed.
We stayed in this surreal bubble until I knew for sure that the shooter was acting on his own and that he was, in fact, dead. It really was OVER.
But I didn’t realize that I’d shut down my own emotions in an attempt to deal with the situation. I’d become a lot like the moon that night: attempting serene, bright, imperturbability. I refused to let the shut down events beat me.
And here’s the today part:
I’m good in a crisis.
I used to help women in natural childbirth and they all called me the “Human Epidural.”
I stay so calm, so grounded, you’d think I could ground a galaxy with the way I get all deep and calm and focused.
People call me when their multi-million dollar businesses are suddenly facing a tumultuous close down because somebody’s targeting them with online vitriol.
And I stay calm.
I go to this outer space place where everything is objective, where there’s always an answer, and there’s all the time in the world to find an answer in seconds.
I’m good at this.
But I didn’t realize the extent to which it was still mattering to me, still haunting me, until I made one sarcastic comment on Twitter that drew over 11,000 impressions by the wrong sort of people.
My comment? I said “Bless.” That’s it.
Suddenly, a bunch of right wing enthusiasts targeted me. I could feel their attention, their impressions, their follows, their nasty, entitled, intimidating comments designed to shut this woman down.
And I took measures online to protect myself, while going silent about what really matters to me. And that’s not OK right now.
No matter what happens, I need to let myself really feel again. Even though it’s terrifying.
They don’t get to control my voice, though I will be respectful to all because that’s a value I hold dear and had wandered away from sometimes.
So I’m going to post what I think and how I feel sometimes, because it’s a form of connection. I will post because I don’t have to stay silent anymore while terrible things are happening. Because I’m saying things that other people are feeling and aren’t at liberty to express because of their situation.
I’m alive. I’m fully alive. And by doing this my heart opens a tiny bit further, letting in light. I end my own, personally imposed shut down.
Trusting life a tiny bit more. Being 100% honest in an age where telling the truth is as outrageous as seeing a two headed dog or a dancing ocelot.
Where are you with all this? Can you relate?
Hoping there’s something here for you. ❤️✨