After barely sleeping a wink last night, I got out of bed and found myself welling up with tears at every new detail I learned about the shooting yesterday. Unable to focus on work, I started typing this post without any real intention of ever pressing publish. In fact, I almost deleted it a few times, because I’ve heard what people say…
“What do you know?”
“You’re getting paid to play sports, I don’t care what you think.”
“I don’t want to hear your opinions, stick to the movies.”
And the one that directly applies to me:
“Don’t speak out, you could lose followers. It’s bad for your brand.”
I understand. You follow me to shop for new clothes, make a new recipe, learn about a new workout… you can hear about this bad stuff in other places, you don’t need to hear it from me.
And yet, I keep finding myself hearing, reading, watching stories on the news that weigh heavy on my heart. Because these issues MATTER. They affect REAL people and as a fellow human being, it affects me. And if it affects me, I can’t help but think that it affects you, too.
I know that I’m a very emotional person.
I’m aware – it’s one of my most favorite and least favorite qualities about myself. It’s honestly one of the reasons why I was a good actor back in the day! I’m always trying to figure out what other people are thinking. What do they want? How are they trying to get what they want? How does this experience make them feel? When we talk about women’s issues, I’m thinking about those women who have been wronged. When we talk about LGBT issues, I’m thinking about those people who deserve better. And when we talk about racial issues, I’m trying to imagine what it would be like to walk in someone else’s skin.
So when a shooting happens, my first thoughts immediately go to the victims and their families and how their lives are forever changed.
I’m giving you this context because I want you to know that I speak up about these issues from THIS place. I’m not trying to be political. I honestly don’t care if you are usually a Democrat or Republican. I am extremely close to people who associate with both parties. To be honest, I’m sick of that even being a part of these conversations. Why can’t we have discussions as fellow HUMANS instead of focusing on sticking up for our “team”? I promise, drawing a line in the sand is not the reason I share these things. I’m merely trying to understand, to help make lives better, to prevent these horrible things from continuing to happen. And that begins with awareness. That is where the conversation starts.
I count myself extremely lucky that I get to talk to you guys about the pleasures in life every day.
How lucky are we that we get to focus on things like pretty dresses, delicious food, and healthy living? I recognize that privilege, just as I am recognizing that I have a platform to reach people. But since being authentic with all of you is one of my main goals, I just don’t see how I can do that if I don’t acknowledge what’s going on around us. How can I inadvertently set the example that ignoring issues will make them go away? The thing is, I could… but I don’t want to. That’s not who I am.
So, now what?
Don’t worry, it is certainly not my goal to talk about these topics here on the blog. But I will continue to acknowledge what’s going on from time to time on my social media accounts – and I believe I have just as much right to do so as you. If you don’t want to see it, just tap thru that story or ignore that tweet and life will move on. No harm no foul.
But because this post is clearly a reaction to the shooting in Florida yesterday, I’ll leave you with some action items. Whether you think we need more gun laws or not, I have to believe that we all want these mass shootings to stop. I am personally researching ways to support common sense gun laws, specifically those against AR-15 rifles.
Right now, Every Town For Gun Safety has been the most helpful resource I’ve found.
And even if we disagree about the role that guns play in all of this, there are still ways that you can help beyond telling me that you think I’m wrong. You can donate to organizations like Sandy Hook Promise – dedicated to protecting children from gun violence by encouraging solutions that create safer, healthier homes, schools and communities. Their approach is heavily focused on mental health, gun safety and recognizing the warning signs of people at risk of hurting themselves and/or others.
You could also donate or volunteer your time to organizations that help foster children.
Adam volunteers every year at a camp through Royal Family Kids and sees firsthand how much it means to these kids. Love, compassion and attention can have a huge impact on those who feel isolated. They need to be reminded that they are not alone.
The only argument I won’t accept is that:
“bad people will find a way to kill if they want to, so there’s nothing we can do.”
I strongly and unapologetically refuse to believe that. This killer was expelled from school, accused of abusing his girlfriend, fetishized killing animals, was treated for mental illness, threatened teachers and posted pictures of himself with firearms on social media – and yet at just 19 years old, he was able to legally buy a semiautomatic rifle and bulk ammunition. Sure, all of those other things I listed are issues to address, but America gave him easy access to the kind of gun he needed to make this happen. PERIOD. I am done hearing that your “right” to easily get an AR-15 because “you want to” is more important than the 17 lives that were lost. Quite honestly, I’ve never heard anything so selfish in my life.
Above anything, this horrible event is an opportunity for each of us to look outside of ourselves. We can learn more, we can listen more, we can donate more, we can support more, and we can definitely put way more kindness into the world. It costs us absolutely nothing, and you never know who desperately needs it.
Thanks for reading,