The shooting in Las Vegas inspired a lot of thought within me: we all feel pain differently from each other. I can tell my friends how I feel, but they can't truly understand it. I can talk my friends through their pain, but I can't fully experience it. My purpose in writing this is to emphasize that we are all going through the same thing. Some will feel the pain stronger than others and some will feel it longer than others, but you deserve to know that you are not alone in all of the hurtings, and it is completely okay for you to surrender to your emotions. You don't need to feel selfish or self-absorbed for continuing to struggle with the aftermath.

Here's how I feel.

Every time I talk to someone from back home, I think about the last time we spoke before everything changed. It has been two weeks since the shooting in my hometown, and that is the honest truth. I am sane enough to fully understand the melodrama that I'm painting with, but I am also sane enough to know that every lingering ounce of pain we are all feeling is relevant. I am under no delusions that the magnitude of this tragedy will fade anytime soon. Everything I do brings me back to Vegas. That's how it has always been, but now the memories are just a little bit heavier. My friends will go to the grocery store land one minute we will be laughing and having fun and the next am hit with that now-familiar snap back to reality. Then I have to continue that outing in a daze because I can't just shut down and go home. That is how it is going to be for a lot of people for a long time because our family and our friends witnessed something unsparingly ugly. We can't forget that, and as much as it hurts, it would be a shame for us to wish it away.

Pain inspires beauty. Have you ever thought of it that way? We take our broken hearts and we write songs and in those three minutes, our pain is romanticized. We take our bitterness and rage and channel them into a competition and in our revenge-tainted success, our pain is glorified.

That's why we can't forget the pain we are feeling today, tomorrow, and maybe for the rest of our lives. This hurting is a call to action: it's time to take the pain we feel and turn it into something more beautiful than it is now. But what are we supposed to make? I can't answer that for you, but there is something to be said for following your heart, no matter how wretched it feels right now.

I hope this makes you feel more comfortable with your emotions. Feel them - don't ever deny them. In the end, our pain will be rewarded with equal amounts of love and joy, because relief is found when you go through your pain, not around it.