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Orlando – An Open Letter

Note:  At the bottom of this article is a list of places and information for donating blood in Orlando.

As a rule, I try to keep my political feelings completely out of my work on this site.  I don’t like to take sides on Social Media because at the end of the day, the self I present to my readers is a version of myself and I like to think that it is the best version of myself.  It is the most positive, receptive, accepting version.  But today, I am simply too heartbroken to not put my feelings out into the world.  Today, above all other days, I feel two pieces of myself tugging at each other.  I feel shame and I feel pride.

I feel shame that I live in a country where mass shootings and gun violence happen regularly and nothing ever seems to change.  I feel shame that I live in a country where many people believe that they are entitled to own a gun, a tool which has only one purpose, to kill, yet we fight over weather or not we are entitled to healthcare, or even whether we are allowed to make decisions about our own bodies.  I feel shame that many of my own family members will probably be angry at me for calling out the fact that guns are out of control and that the violence is out of hand.  Of course people do the killing, not the guns, but guns make that killing so much easier.

I feel shame that right now people are desperately in need of blood and many of those people needing the blood have been turned away from donating because of their sexuality.  I feel shame that this country has lost its way so much that many think that electing a man who yells and screams and tells others to hurt each other is the answer.  I am ashamed of the hundreds of congressmen and women who are right now offering their prayers for this crisis but are where they are because of money that came from the NRA.  I am ashamed to know that if this were an ISIS attack, it would be dealt with in a much different way.  I am ashamed.  I am so ashamed.

But…

I am also proud.  I am proud of those who have fought to allow my partner Carl and I to have the rights and freedoms that we have.  Though the fight is long from over, I am proud of the battles we have won so far.  I am proud to be part of some amazing communities that work to spread love and kindness every day.  Not only the lgbtq community, but also my family of Disney friends.  I am proud to know so many absolutely amazing people who share their love and positivity with the world just by living in it.

I am proud of the people in Orlando that, right now, are working to help those in need.

I don’t have a solution.  I always say that one should not complain unless one has a solution.  I stand firmly on that point.  But, I really don’t know what to do here.  All I can say is that my thoughts and love and all the hope I can give go out to the friends and families of those lost last night.  I know this won’t be the end.  More shootings just like this one will continue to happen.  Hopefully someone with much more power and brain power than I can find a solution.  Until then, I’m left trying to figure out what to do.  There is,however, a third feeling that I think deserves to be mentioned.

Love.

Despite my differences with my family members, I love them.  They grew up in a different time and while I don’t agree or think they are right on the issue of gun control, I do still love them.  I love my partner Carl with all my heart.  He gives me, someone who easily becomes bitter when things like this happen, a reason to keep going and believing.  And I love all of you.  Not because you come to my blog and read my articles and click on things.  I love you because you have the power to make the world a better place.  Last night I released my article on Wall-E and I talked about how he affects the world simply by allowing every decision he makes to be decided with love.  If I can love you, and then you can go out and love the people around you and so on and so forth, that ripple will only spread.

I was in a meeting today where a statistic was shared.  Someone who goes into a store and has a bad experience will tell 10 of their friends about it.  Someone who has a great experience will only tell 2 of their friends.  We thrive on the bad.  We love to talk about how much we hate or dislike or were unpleased or didn’t get enough.  We love to blame and talk about who’s fault it is.  Is it the guns? Is it the people?  Is it the voters?  Is it Congress?  I am here to tell you that it is EVERYTHING.  All of it.  As was said in Zootopia, change starts with you.  Sit with your friends and tell them about something wonderful that happened today.  Tell the stories that spread smiles.  Give more than you have to give and stop taking just because you can.  We have got to do something.  Because when we live in a world where a family member of mine can say “The best way to fix this country is to build a wall at the border,” I can only feel fear for what we have become.

I can’t change the world, at least not right now at this second.  But I CAN make it a better place.  I CAN be the best part of someone else’s day.

I’ve rambled a lot here.  I’ve gone off topic and unedited a bit too long.  Let me end with this.  To the families in Orlando and the friends and family of those who are there, I am so so sorry this happened.  I am so so sorry you have to go through this.  I am ashamed that we live in a country and in a world where this sort of thing has happened but I am proud of you for facing this day and doing everything you can to take care of each other.

I am proud of all of you and I love you.  Now pass that love and pride forward.  Please.  Before it’s too late.

Below is a List of Everywhere in Orlando where you can go to Donate Blood

–Orlando West Michigan Donor Center, 345 W Michigan Street, Ste. 106, Orlando, FL 32806

–Orlando Main Donor Center, 8669 Commodity Circle, Orlando, FL 32819

–Oviedo Donor Center, 1954 W. State Road 426, Oviedo, FL 32765

–Asbury United Methodist Church – Bloodmobile 220, West Horatio Avenue, Maitland, FL 32751

–St. Luke’s United Methodist Church – Bloodmobile, 4851 S. Apopka Vineland Road, Orlando, FL 32819

–Metro Church – Bloodmobile, 1491 East State Road 434, Winter Springs, FL 32708

To find a donation center or Big Red Bus near you visit www.oneblood.org or call 1.888.9Donate. As of midmorning, the site had crashed.

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4 replies »

  1. Thank you, Jaysen! I agree, it is sad, but also take pride in how far we as a country have come. I live 5 minutes from the club, and the dad one of the kids I was on Scouts with managed the club for a while. It was so scary waiting to hear from friends to make sure they were ok.

    Anyway, thanks for writing this.

    💜

  2. There is also a donation center called OneBlood that is allowing anyone of any sexual orientation to donate. They will thoroughly screen all of the donations, but they will not turn away donors due to sexual orientation.

  3. Yeah, we in Orlando are still trying to wrap our heads around what’s happened, especially we Orlando Muslims.

    Great job for listing the blood donation centers! Our prayers are with the family and friends of those affected.

  4. My only wish is that those of us in the UK could do something to help other than offering our prayers and thoughts – which we do willingly! It’s times like these we remember that although an ocean separates us, we are all close and rely on each other for support. Thank you for writing what the majority of us are thinking

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