My ex-husband once said to me as we were having a conversation about some big life plan I had at the time and my anxiety surrounding it, “Tiffany, you always get everything you want.” And with the exception of a few boys I had crushes on who did not reciprocate my feelings or a college course or two that I couldn’t register for because they were full, at that point in time, he was right. Up until my mid-20’s I had received everything I wanted and my naiveté and healthy amount of confidence told me that absolutely nothing was unattainable, ever. Sure, it took tenacity, dedication, hard work, and an unwavering belief that I could; but up until then my track record proved that I had, in fact, always got what I wanted.
If only life had stayed that way.
In the subsequent years since that conversation I went through a divorce that I did not want, I lost my grandfather which I most certainly did not want, I struggled to live in an expensive city despite my best efforts and college degrees, which I did not want to do, and the list goes on… And while I never thought that life would be rainbows and eternal sunshine, free from any type of loss (I could accept that people would transition, would pass on) I did think that the rest of life’s challenges were just something to work hard toward overcoming, not impossible by any means. I didn’t think I was the exception to life’s struggles, I just thought I had a good enough work ethic and bad ass attitude to attain every goal, whatever that was no matter what that was.
Three days prior to deadline, on this Sunday June 12, 2016 that I write, I woke up to the heart breaking news footage of the worst mass shooting on our homeland (which says a lot given our recent history since Columbine 17 years ago); directed toward a group of people whom I am a fierce ally and who own a very large piece of my heart. And unlike the pastors who quickly took to YouTube posting videos of their gratitude that 50 “sodomites and pedophiles” (their words, most definitely not mine) were “taken care of” and our world was “rid of them”, I did not want this. (Side note: YouTube has since taken the videos down as they violate the sites rules and regulations regarding hate speech).
As we have cumulatively aged we have seen a frightening rise in gun violence, terrorism, both domestic and abroad, politicians who try to make sense of the madness and call for change through legislative reform, while other politicians and organizations thwart such attempts at every turn; and yet we are still surprised and appalled when an event such as the Pulse nightclub in Orlando, FL happens. It is clear to me that there is an allowance of the killing of our brothers and sisters based on the egos of those at the top, and the organizations (read: NRA) that hold the purse strings of said politicians to block any gun control that may save us. The National Rifle Association owns the Republican Party. It is rumored that the NRA gave $922K to U.S. Sen. Mitch McConnell’s re-election which he then, in turn, voted against stopping those on government terror lists (as well as felons and the mentally ill) from buying guns, in December 2015. Thanks, Mitch, you’re a real peach. Way to have our backs.
To be clear, I understand that those who wish to do harm will find a way, they always do, but why must we make it so damn easy for them to have access to weapons and ammunition that are capable of slaughtering an entire group of people in seconds? Why must we allow lay people to have access to military grade weapons? Am I the only one who thinks this is crazy? Frankly, I am pissed off.
So what do I want? I want this madness to stop. I want to feel as though all of our politicians are working together to keep us safe instead of creating inroads to accessibility for those who hate us (the cumulative “us”) for the almighty dollar. I want the ass hats who make hate their religion to just stop. Yes, friends, if I were running for Miss America I would be the girl who would use “world peace” as her platform.
But here’s the rub, unlike life through my mid- 20’s, I have since lost my super power to “get everything that I want”. It vanished with time, with circumstances outside of my control, with people who make decisions for “my best interest”, with the complications of life and, at times, because of bureaucratic bullshit. Poof. Just like that, vanished. I once thought that if I could make everything happen that I so wished that I would avoid the pain of defeat and heartbreak. If I just worked hard enough at anything I would be wildly successful and circumvent the looming feelings of defeat and failure that scared me so much. Turns out, I was setting myself up for defeat all along. I could never, would never, get everything that I ever wanted no matter how hard I tried; no matter how long I worked for it or believed that it could happen. And much like this morning’s reminder, I am no different than anyone else who is at the mercy of outside forces. I just got lucky today that I wasn’t at the Pulse nightclub last night.
Tiffany is a disability consultant, entrepreneur, inspirational speaker, and change agent. Find her at: www.TiffanysTake.com Instagram: Tiffanys_Take