The first call came moments after I let my small group of friends know what was going on with me. “Hey—are you okay?” The pause and uncertainty behind the ask told me that she was concerned.
“Yes,” I said with a sigh. “I’m not sad. I’m just disappointed.”
After 23 years of memories and conversations, I decided to end a very one-sided friendship. It was a relationship fractured with seeds of ignorance that I, unfortunately, let grow and take hold—a mirage of trust with no understanding. I asked for years for only one person, in particular, to show up, educate themselves, and do the work, and when I was reminded of my pleas for help last week, I was, again, met with nothing.
Friends from all walks of life reached out in support. They tirelessly talked to their friends and family about the issues thrust back into the media today. They all stood up for what was right on the correct side of history and ensured that I was safe and protected. The friendship that I ended—I realized that my friend wasn’t able to do that.
I had let it go for years, but the onslaught of deaths around me finally being publicized made me speak up to you, my friend. I know you will take your time reading this, but understand that this isn’t a message that comes from a place of bitterness and malice. I know that you are afraid, and I understand.
I was fearful too, but having fear doesn’t justify anything. Fear is just a lack of knowledge. The second you understand something is the second you stop fearing it. Through understanding, you find room to grow and begin to share love and kindness.
Once upon a time, before I knew what bisexuality was, I struggled with the thought of having to choose whether or not I would live my life as a lesbian or fake only like guys. It was silly. I had heard of the sexual orientation in high school, but I didn’t really believe it existed until I was forced to open up and discover more about myself in college.
I dove deep into the queer community, educated myself, and have since dedicated a lot of my time and experiences with writing towards activism. I looked at every side, spoke to other people with varying backgrounds, and then came to a more compassionate conclusion. It doesn’t change the fact that I was a complete ass in high school and that I was once very ignorant, but I can do my part now to help facilitate knowledge and introduce others to concepts that are new to them.
The man was wearing a peaked cap and looked like a college student. He swung himself onto the tailboard at the back and leaned in right over us.
‘Who is Malala’ he demanded.
No one said anything, but several of the girls looked at me. I was the only girl with my face not covered.
That’s when he lifted up a black pistol. I later learned it was a Colt 45. Some of the girls screamed. Moniba tells me I squeezed her hand.
My friends say he fired three shots, one after another. The first went through my left eye socket and out under my left shoulder. I slumped forward onto Moniba, blood coming from my left ear, so the other two bullets hit the girls next to me. One bullet went into Shazia’s left hand. The third went through her left shoulder and into the upper right arm of Kainat Riaz.
My friends later told me the gunman’s hand was shaking as he fired.
My sister sent me a text a few weeks ago about a talk Laverne Cox was giving at our university. She asked if I wanted to go, and then forwarded me a link to the university’s student government page where students with tickets to Laverne Cox’s talk could win a chance to meet the famed actress and activist by submitting a short writing response.
“Yeah, maybe I’ll do it,” I said to my sister. “I’m sure I wouldn’t win it, but I could always post it up on my blog.”
A couple of weeks went by before I thought about the writing submission again. I wonder when that short response is due?
I looked up the text on my phone that my sister had sent me and noticed the familiar date. I realized that I only had a few hours before the time would be up, and so I quickly grabbed my laptop and began writing on the day the writing submission was due. Continue reading “The Meet and Greet with Laverne Cox”→
The Ice Bucket Challenge goes like this: People are asked to make a video of themselves dumping a bucket of ice water on their heads, post it a social media site, and then challenge three friends to do the same within 24 hours or donate $100 to ALS.
The ALS Ice Bucket Challenge went viral in the hopes of raising awareness through social media, and although it has come to be a great way to inform people about ALS, it didn’t exactly start off that way. Continue reading “The Thing About Social Activism”→