Last week I went to Orlando to visit a friend before he goes overseas for a year. Orlando was magical and healing and peaceful and vile and triggering and unsettling. It’s intense because Florida, especially Orlando, is the physical manifestation of the attempt to annihilate every bit of my existence. Florida is a place where people seek refuge, from work once are retirement age, from not so distance dictators, famines, poverty (often, which are the result of the US government meddling in nearby countries government, but that’s a different post).
The coast sickened by citrus and blood.
The omnipotent sun encourages people to shed their old skins, grow out of themselves, up to sky and thank the sun for it’s warmth and bathe in it’s nectar.
Disney World is the perfect symbol of Orlando. There’s mass consumerism and shopping center right outside of it, Disney Springs, where you can buy, buy, buy, your happiness at all the faux castles. While you’re in the midst of that hopefully you won’t remember how Walt Disney was racist, or wonder about if the workers are getting paid adequately, or how one must be white & thin, in order to be hired as the prince and princesses and continue to re-enforce the eurocentric fucked up standards of beauty, etc. I’m not saying that Disney, or places like it, aren’t important for a moment of joy and taking a break from the grind of everyday life, but there is definitely a Disney matrix. And it seems like all of Orlando is betwixt by it.
But I could not forgot.
Even the moments that I felt most free,
I dare not let myself forget
that Orlando is origami-ing,
makes you fold into yourself,
until you are small as you can make yourself,
with no trace of your humanity detectable
and if that’s not small enough to them,
Orlando will kill you.
And will get away with it.
I threw my baggy pants and hoodie on, and knew that without a doubt I could be mistaken for a boy, and walked about the development to the lake with my homie. we were a neighborhood over from where where Trayvon’s was murdered. we walked to the lake and I danced barefoot in the grass. a shooting star lit up our black faces. perhaps it was Trayvon.
the next day we went biking. there i am, biking around suburbia with the sun kissing my neck, feeling full, and present, and playing lots of Gucci + Migos, not purposely to piss off the white constituents of the neighborhood, but because I like it. Consequently, I took up space and a half. My space + the prayer of Trayvon the entire time. I rode through my best self, the stares falling like pillars of salt. taking up space. twerking on bikes in front of their fountains and shit.
Still, it was painfully freeing riding through a white neighborhood ten minutes away from where someone who looks like my cousin, a brother or friend was slain, and feeling joyous ingesting the the wind through my skin with palm trees framing my periphery.
Twangs of survivors guilt hopped on board and rode with me. Knowing, that at any moment that be my fate too. consciousness split in shards of self. life. death. blackness. gender. performance. shards of self come together to make a whole.
we walked around downtown, the dozens of latinx queer folks gunned down at PULSE on my mind. people walking around, turning up, getting drunk steps from where a massacre happened. life doesn’t stop, the work doesn’t stop, nor does my processing of it all. i still haven’t made sense of the mess of it all. don’t know if i ever will be able to as none of it violent acts make any sense.
I spent an entire day at the beach. I gave offerings and prayers to the sea for my all of them in breath, not allowing myself to sink into complacency. I vowed to remain vigilant, to always find sweetness because I deserve it, but also to not forgot, not even for one moment, everyone from my community murdered here, because in the sunshine is easier to let pain melt away, runny onto the sidewalk for someone else to step in. I drank white wine at the shore, cleansed myself in the mother, squinted at the sun and saw bittersweet.