After Orlando, 1,439 Years Of Life Still Echo

After Orlando, 1,439 Years Of Life Still Echo

We can never let them go silent.
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When I was seventeen I held my girlfriends hand the way my grandmother holds her rosary beads- so close. Moments later, three men walked by screaming “faggots" so loud you could hear my shame echo off the hot summer tar. She punched six holes in the wall that night.

I stayed soft, numb. Quick retraction like a child who puts his hand on a stove or gets his mouth washed with soap. My mouth has tasted bitter ever since.

I think heaven is coming down in Orlando. It falls like sweet southern rain and sits on my skin. Candles shed light on dark crime scenes. Everything is quiet. Forty-nine people have died. Some of them look just like me. Each of them love just like me.

After my back became a cutting board for homophobia, my girlfriend’s hand turned sharper. My breath laid still in my chest- a graveyard of what I couldn't say. I closed my lips like a bible.

Held her hand tighter

Walked a bit closer

Watched a bit harder

Loved a bit softer-

so as not to be too heavy for the world’s broken knees.

When shots rained down on Sunday in Orlando, I felt my her hand again- this time around my neck, squeezing the words out.

My mouth became a dulled kitchen knife, afraid of chewing words that would condemn me. Afraid of holding hands that would condemn me. Not knowing that just living could condemn me.

Fear lives in the soles of my shoes. I walk off of high places, wishing to feel the crush of my bones. Wanting to see if I could still hold my heavy shame on top of a broken body- if the world could hold it’s heavy shame on top of a broken body.

I used to think words were a loaded gun until i realized I might actually face one.

The safety on the trigger has replaced actual safety. Warm bed and unpacked suitcase, safety. Don’t have to worry about being shot, safety. I worry my sexuality is sewn into my skin.

If you add the ages of each innocent person killed at the Pulse Night Club, you get 1,439 years. 1,439 years shot down with discrimination and fear-cased bullets.

1,439 years of words, of words, of words.

The tongue is the strongest muscle in the body. Built to break brick like bombs cannot. Cut skin like guns cannot. Words can’t be extinguished when the flame goes out- the oven in my throat still burns.

There are 1,439 years living under my tongue. My voice shakes, not from fear, but from gravity. The gravity of bullet wounds caused by words that couldn't heal quickly enough. I couldn't heal quickly enough.

My girlfriend told me to keep walking and not look fear in the eye. I think I have to look at it to know it was really there.

1,439 years of life were really there. They are still speaking to me.

They will never be silenced.

They live in the mouths of everyone who has ever kept quiet, ever made themselves soft, ever feared that their love was too heavy.

We all know how to hide behind who we are not. We hide each time we choose to be silent in the face of something so loud. Hate is something so loud.

We all know how to die and come back to life, we will always come back to life.

One day we will swell and not break. Bend and not buckle. One day the world will hold us up without making us feel small. One day we will sing songs with hope as the chorus.

1,439 years of life still echo the walls of my mouth, begging me to speak. When I scream they enter the world again. I will never stop screaming. We will never stop screaming.

Cover Image Credit: Cowgernation.com

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37 Things Growing Up in the South Taught You

Where the tea is sweet, but the people are sweeter.
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1. The art of small talking.
2. The importance of calling your momma.
3. The beauty of sweet tea.
4. How to use the term “ma'am” or “sir” (that is, use it as much as possible).
5. Real flowers are way better than fake flowers.
6. Sometimes you only have two seasons instead of four.
7. Fried chicken is the best kind of chicken.
8. When it comes to food, always go for seconds.
9. It is better to overdress for Church than underdress.
10. Word travels fast.
11. Lake days are better than beach days.
12. Handwritten letters never go out of style.
13. If a man doesn’t open the door for you on the first date, dump him.
14. If a man won’t meet your family after four dates, dump him.
15. If your family doesn’t like your boyfriend, dump him.
16. Your occupation doesn’t matter as long as you're happy.
17. But you should always make sure you can support your family.
18. Rocking chairs are by far the best kind of chairs.
19. Cracker Barrel is more than a restaurant, it's a lifestyle.
20. Just 'cause you are from Florida and it is in the south does not make you Southern.
21. High School football is a big deal.
22. If you have a hair dresser for more than three years, never change. Trust her and only her.
23. The kids in your Sunday school class in third grade are also in your graduating class.
24. Makeup doesn’t work in the summer.
25. Laying out is a hobby.
26. Moms get more into high school drama than high schoolers.
27. Sororities are a family affair.
28. You never know how many adults you know 'til its time to get recommendation letters for rush.
29. SEC is the best, no question.
30. You can't go wrong buying a girl Kendra Scotts.
31. People will refer to you by your last name.
32. Biscuits and gravy are bae.
33. Sadie Robertson is a role model.
34. If it is game day you should be dressed nice.
35. If you pass by a child's lemonade stand you better buy lemonade from her. You're supporting capitalism.
36. You are never too old to go home for just a weekend… or just a meal.
37. You can’t imagine living anywhere but the South.



































Cover Image Credit: Grace Valentine

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4 Tips For Introverted Millennials On Networking with smaller social circles

Shy and anti-social people need jobs, too.

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Keeping a small social circle is something that I've taken pride in nearly all of my life. But a few years ago, I realized that having a large social circle is essential for networking and job opportunities.

Initially, I was disturbed by this. Making shallow friendships for gained opportunities? It gave me an ill feeling in the pit of my stomach. This is coming from someone that enjoys genuine friendships.

Back then, I just kept thinking about how I would not want someone using me because of who I know or my position in a job or society in general.

As I'm making my way out of the collegiate sphere and into the real world, I'm realizing that these shallow connections and short bonds are the secrets to success for a lot of people in many industries.

As the saying goes, "It's not who you know but what you know."

So, for us introverted people who may be absolutely BAD at small talk, bad at using social media or dislike social interactions in general, we're maybe screwing ourselves out of opportunities.

Here are a few tips to use your natural behaviors in conversation as a skill for networking without feeling you're living a lie.


1. Be A Listener

https://pixabay.com/en/listen-informal-meeting-cha...

Prevent excessive energy drainage from your social interaction.

You may not be a talker to begin with. This is great because most people like to talk about themselves. Just be a listening ear for them, and they may take you.

2. Use Your Observational Skills

https://pixabay.com/en/binoculars-looking-man-disc...

If you notice something that they don't, don't be afraid to speak up. This will come in handy when you have to work in or with large groups of people.

3. Independent Thinking/Working Can Get You Ahead

https://www.everypixel.com/search?q=alone&stocks_t...

Outside of a working atmosphere, you may not see the opportunity to share your unique ideas. However, in a social setting, don't be afraid to share your thoughts--briefly, if need be.

4. Your Closest Friends May Be Your Biggest Resources

https://pixabay.com/en/hiking-hikers-backpacks-backpacking-691738/

If you're like me, you attract extroverted people. (I'm not sure why I do, but the relationships end up balanced). Use them as a connection. Their social circle is most likely a lot larger than yours.

If you are truly friends, ask them for a favor to further your career. They won't feel used because your relationship is genuine. If most of your friends are introverted as well, they may still be able to connect you to the others that they are close to.


Of course, getting out of your comfort zone is beneficial as well. But, not everyone is capable of that without feeling embarrassed or making others feel uncomfortable.

Practice makes perfect, so don't be afraid to get out there and make sure you get the same benefits as everyone else.

Cover Image Credit:

Pixabay

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