Not last night but the night before I was woken up by something that has never happened before. Apparently I had spontaneously vomited in my sleep, just a little, but enough to start me gagging and choking. I woke up disoriented and a little shock-y because I couldn’t breathe and my throat was burning. I felt like I was drowning in fire. It was the middle of the night. I kept sucking in air. I thought this is what it’s like for your throat to fill with blood and drown you.
Grateful that Matthew was still up, I finally calmed my body down and went back to bed, confused, still a little ramped up, but fine. I woke up the next morning not giving a second thought to the incident. I purposefully spent the early time reading, praying and being thankful for all these beautiful plants that had come into my life for my garden.
I prayed that I was up for what they had to teach me.
It wasn’t until Sky had gotten up and much playing had occurred that I turned on my computer. As soon as I saw a friend’s post PRAY FOR ORLANDO on a rainbow flag, my breath sucked in and tears started pouring down my face. I didn’t know details yet, but I knew.
Later when I woke up Matthew and told him the horrific news his response was, what happened last night? And I began to repeat the news again. No, he said. What happened to you last night? And then I remembered. The tears that had not stopped got stronger. I realized that I woke up gagging at the same time this was happening across the country to queers. Many queer latinx!
En lak’ech Ala k’in.
Tú eres mi otro yo.
I shook all morning. I cried on and off all day. I watched Sky play and laugh and I planted plants, food and medicine, in my window. That’s all I could do. I was haunted by the mother who shared that her son was hiding in the bathroom texting her until he texted, he’s in here now. Heartbroken, I thought about all the queers who go dancing with their mom or like me and Matthew with his dads.
I thought about Michael and Joe and how I texted them that morning to be safe and sound while they celebrated Pride in Philadelphia.
I want Sky’s grandpops safe and sound.
It’s JUNE. It’s PRIDE month!
Our season to celebrate, but last night Matthew, Sky and I stood with thousands of other queers in the Castro and mourned for those lost in Orlando. It reminded me of how we dance to survive, to stave off the fear, the threat, the judgment, the constant potential for loss, the very real grief in this current society. We dance.
Orlando survivors say that at first the gun shots mixed with the beat of the music until there were so many shots they filled the air, unmistakably off beat.
The veil is thinnest when we dance. It is a space we can open up to communicate with our deepest selves, with our spirit, with each other, even with death. Dancing is not just about moving your body to the beat. It is about embodiment of sound and flow, surrendering to the nonverbal, feeling one with nature and the creative force within all things. Dancing keeps the doors open between dimensions. And between us.
It’s no wonder that we dance so!
Let us not forget who danced for us last night. The beautiful bodies who spun away, who took death by the hand and tipped their head just enough and were gone. Queers of color. QUEER LATINX. I see gorgeous hips that know the beat, feet touching mamiearth with bodywisdom, hands stretching toward the sky limitless and swaying like a flower on the wind. I see who we once were when I see who we are when we are together, when we think we are safe and sound. QUEER LATINX. We dance. We have continued dancing for 500 years no matter how much they have tried to throw us offbeat. And we will dance through this.
I turn back toward the tiny garden I planted in my window yesterday. I prayed the entire time, my hands dark with dirt and grief both current and ancestral. Now Lavender and Sage are dancing in the cool San Francisco morning.
Hola darlings! I see you, sweet ones.
And suddenly with those words my window is not my window and my garden is not my garden, but the nightclub where the shootings took place.
Everyone is dancing and I join in. Some of us are Earthside, some of us are Spiritside. Some of us are both.The beat is strong and steady. We are not divided but whole. Linked together one to the other, like a chain through time. One eternal queer dance. We are flowers. We are everywhere. Free.
I remember. I remember.
I didn’t know it to begin, but I have planted a memorial garden. The plants came to remember me and all of us who dance like this. All of us forever dancing together.
Orlando I am still dancing with you. My garden tells me so. xoxomaya