My brother and cousin wanted to go dancing this weekend; after complaining and backing out of the plans 18 times in one afternoon, I was finally guilt tripped into going. I wasn’t happy about it but I got outnumbered and called old for turning down the plan. I hate going to clubs, it’s never been my thing. People smell like ass, act out of pocket when they are drunk and most importantly I don’t dance. I think it’s weird for a complete stranger to walk up and ask for permission to basically grope me. I’m very uncomfortable in situations like that but find it very easy to say no when approached which gets me either cussed out for being a prude or they respectfully smile and walk away. Thank you polite fuckers for not making it weird. However my disinterest for going to the club has been heightened. Since the pulse shootings I do not like being in bars and clubs like that where there is little access to the point of entry and exit. What happened at Pulse hit way too close for comfort.

My little brother Joe used to go to Pulse every Friday and Saturday without fail. Having dragged me out there twice I too knew the insides of that club very well. On June 12, 2016 it was nerve wrecking for me to wake up to the news, my brother Joe called me in hysterics telling me that he wasn’t there. He wanted me to know he was okay. Thank god he called me because the uncertainty of not knowing would have destroyed me. He was on the way there when he decided he really wasn’t in the mood to go out and opted to stay home and watch a movie. That change of mind is what may have saved his life but I don’t think we’ve all fully recovered after that.

When that happened I was relieved and was okay externally but because of the recent and frequent shootings we had in Florida that year I grew afraid of being in crowded places. I don’t know what it was but my coworkers and I went as far as planning active shooter exits. I sized up every room I entered and figured out ways to get out. It got to the point where I wanted to pull Jonathan out of school. That’s when I decided I needed help, the friends I spoke to didn’t think I had a torch in the fight, my brother Joe lost friends that night so I didn’t want to burden him with my concerns. I tried blogging and nothing helped. I remember one night I was organizing my closet when my son asked me a question and I snapped for no reason whatsoever. I was overwhelmed. I was feeling the world all at once. So that same night I called the employee resource group and scheduled an appointment with a counselor. I went to a few sessions, which I found helpful and never went again. I can’t fix the inevitable or plan for every possible outcome, so I had to slowly but surely get back in the rhythm of things.

I’ve been fine the past few years since then but this weekend when I was sitting there in a place I didn’t want to be in, for more reasons than I can list, I sat against the wall with my drink in hand for what seemed like an eternity. I smiled and had fun singing along to songs with my cousin and brother but in between the distractions, the music went silent and I looked at every individual that walked through the door. The night felt like it was dragging in slow motion. I wanted to get out of there the moment I arrived. The anxiety of it all was not worth the night of “fun,” I hated it and felt anxious until the moment we got back into my car. I detest that feeling of helplessness and doubt I’ll ever step foot into another club again. It’s just not for me and not worth the panic for something I wouldn’t have done prior to the shootings. It’s different, we make sacrifices and shouldn’t let people or circumstances turn us cowardly when it comes to the things we love to do, this situation is not that.

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