Pride Month started out rough. It started with the massacre in Orlando.
Most of the country, and the world, came together to denounce the hate.
Some small minded people declared that the murder of gay people is a good thing.
I don't know what God they claim to follow, but the Higher Power that I and millions of others follow think they they are wrong. (these people also give Christian a bad name, am I right?)
I've been a strong supporter of the LGBT community for years and years.
But there has been some rather strange developments in this community that worry me.
1.) There are FAR too many in the community that refuse to acknowledge the "T" in LGBT. Transgender individuals are beening told that their time will come, but have been left hanging by Gays and Lesbians. But that's a story for another time.
2.) There are FAR too many people, both in the LGBT community and out that don't believe bisexuality exists.
But in this time of Pride, it's time to stand up for what you believe in. And this time I stand up for me. I acknowledge that I have privileges that gay and lesbian couples don't. But that doesn't make me any less queer.
Sunday we all woke to the news that 49 people were dead, 53 injured.
They were at a Gay Club in Orlando. Almost immediately, speculation, ugliness and wonderful generosity.
(All of the photos are pictures that I've shared on Facebook this week)
Senators mentioned the loss of life, blamed ISIS, and refused to mention that these people were gay...
Tweets started flying about how these people deserved it.
And people inundated Orlando area blood banks, looking to donate blood. So many that people were turned away.
What DO we know?
We know the guy was an American citizen.
He was a Muslim
He CLAIMED he was doing this for all sorts of terrorist groups.
We suspect those claims were false
he had some sort of gay dating app on his phone....
In all probability, this is a simple case of EXTREME homophobia, perpetrated by a man that was most likely gay and deeply denying it. Is any of this confirmed? No, but this is my best guess.
I've spent the week walking around just sad.
I'm really tired. I'm tired of all the ugliness of the world. I'm tired of politicians playing the blame game.
I'm tired of political candidates using tragedy to get votes.
I'm tired of a minority of a religious group being so awful that everything think they ALL are like that.
I'm tired of these "Christians" that were gloating over all the dead gay people... they are the most un-Christian-like Christians ever!
What am I going to do?
I'm going to donate if I can.
I'm going to take care of ME (selfish, I know...)
I'm going to go to Busch Gardens this weekend and get away from the TV news.
I might have a Harry Potter marathon... or watch some Disney movies.
What I'm NOT going to do:
Dwell on this.
Try to find answers when there are none.
Panic that it might happen here, to me or people I love.
I hope that at Pride this weekend, people can help each other heal.
I hope that all over the country, people can come together. I hope that people of different faiths, sexual orientations and ethnicities can come together to heal, and maybe prevent something like this from happening again.
But honestly, I think that Marching Band is an incredible activity, and the benefits stay with you.
1.) Time management
Saturday 9-12 + competition prep and the actual competition.
The ever famous band camp was always held during the hottest part of the year and it was Monday through Friday 9am-12pm and 6pm to 9pm
In all of that you had to make sure that your homework was done. Your dinner was consumed.
Also, you were expected to start at 6. That meant getting there at 5:45 to get your gear. At 6pm you formed up with your section and marched to your practice field. Being late simply wasn't an option.
And I did it. I managed to get everything done. No whining. No poking.
2.) Self Discipline
I know it's hard to believe, but we policed ourselves quite a bit back then.
You dropped your equipment, or messed up majorly. You did push ups. I don't think I was ever told to do them... it was just something we did. (Though I remember push ups being replaced by doing the move you messed up on 10 times in a row...)
On the buses to the competition, we always were silent once the bus pulled off the highway. That was a time to mentally go over your performance. Mentally get yourself in the zone. No adult ever told us to do that, it was something that the students started. That the students maintained.
I remember times when everyone was struggling to get what needed to be done... done! We'd call silent rehearsal. No talking while we were stopped and the instructors were trying to fix drill issues.
I also remember doing our last run through on our last practice of the season alone. No parents. No spectators. It was OUR time to get it right. It was up to us then.
I didn't write this, but I found it on Facebook.
It's so true. Every single person on that field is important. If someone is missing, it's painfully obvious. And as much as there were cliques (aren't there always?) we were a team.
During my years, someone started a tradition. Cool tape. Electrical tape is something that very literally holds a band together, so we all have rolls of the stuff. Someone, in some section, decided to rip off pieces and give them to people. You wore it on your undershirt, under your uniform. And it wasn't one section. It was the entire band. The people that handed it out made sure that every. single. person. had cool tape before we got on the buses to head to the competition.
In these days of helicopter parenting. Of kids getting everything immediately, or because the parents demanded it, Marching Band is an important activity to help teach kids the independence and skills that somehow are lacking. I work at a college. I see the lack of self discipline and time management every day! Hell, at times I need me own refresher course.
These lessons stick with you. As does the bond of this amazing shared experience.
I think one of the things that make West Genesee so great are the bonds that the band creates. Each generation builds upon the one that came before it. I spent the weekend with girls that had graduated in the late 90's and all the way until last year. We all had stories. Many of other people's stories were so familiar, I swear I could tell them myself.
We all have been part of something truly excellent. And that touches you and stays with you for a lifetime.