I don't like guns.
Every time I post this statement or anything like it, people who I'm certain are well-meaning message me to tell me how wrong I am because I don't like guns. These messages do not change my mind. I do not like guns. I will never like guns.
If you like guns, fine. I don't. I also don't like sandwiches, cold meat, how flat my butt is, jeans that aren't long enough, misogyny in any form, thong underwear, and when people say things like, "I know this is a big ask" in emails. There are lots of things I don't like. I'm sure there are a lot of things you don't like. You messaging me and telling me in great detail how wrong I am about my feelings will not change my feelings. I'm forty-one and not only do I do what I want, I know myself well enough now to know what I like and don't like. I'm sure you do too, which is why I don't email you extolling the virtues of not eating carbs, how soft LuLaRoe leggings are, and how fun Zumba is. You get to make up your own mind about things. I do too.
I cannot see any conceivable reason I should ever buy a gun.
But should I decide to, I could.
I have no criminal record. I have money. I have to the ability to fill out all the required paperwork. I am pretty much an ideal candidate for a weapon. A gun could be mine very, very quickly.
I should not own a gun.
Not because I don't like guns. I should not own a gun because mentally I am not well enough to own a gun.
I'm not a "crazy" person (and oh, how I HATE that phrase). I have depression and anxiety. I manage to go to work every single day, keep my home reasonably clean, and keep everyone in my family fed, on time, and on track for success. There is no record, anywhere, of any of my misdeeds (other than the many years of blogging, but even then it's nothing criminal). I'm clean as a whistle. I've had a speeding ticket or two in the past twenty plus years, but that's it. I'm the straightest straight arrow you could imagine. I think Drag Queen Bingo is scandalous (I'll still go though, it's really fun). I go to church and I love Jesus and I'm hard-working and productive and I should. not. own. a. gun.
Not now and not ever.
I have very dark days. Dark days that I don't like to talk about or think about. Dark days that I cannot control. I take my medication and I talk through my issues in therapy and I still have these days because of the way my brain is wired. I cannot help it. I would give literally anything to be different, to be "okay" all the time, but it is what it is.
You would never know any of this if you looked at me. If I saw you in public I'd smile at you, no matter who are. I would say "hello" and if you were even remotely close to me, I'd hold the door open for you and tell you to have a nice day. It's very likely I would engage you in conversation. I have a nice house, I have a nice car. I dress nicely. I volunteer and I pay my bills. I'm not an addict, I'm not a gambler, I'm not a "nut-job", and I'm not a loner and I should never, ever own a gun.
My brain has been broken for as long as I can remember. It's pretty likely it was broken at birth. Who knows? I am lucky in that I am able now to recognize how broken my brain is. To take steps to mitigate the things my brain tells me. I have a job and insurance and I can pay for medication and therapy. I have extremely heightened anxiety and part of that makes me an overachiever (yay) so I will go to work even when I don't feel like it. I have perfected the art of keeping it together. Sometimes it's hard, but I still manage it, at least in public. I keep my world as calm and collected as humanly possible and Jesus Christ, I should not ever own a gun.
Listen, I don't have all the answers and I would never claim to. I just know I am so tired of so many people dying. The news reports always say, "We would have never thought" and "Oh, he was just a loner" and "We don't know why".
I have a good idea why.
I'm tired you guys. I'm tired of pretending like this is normal. Another day in America, another mass shooting. I'm tired of not talking about mental illness. I'm tired of pretending it's all okay. I'm tired of the stigma. I'm tired of people feeling ashamed or being told that prayer is the way to solve this. Pray. Pray every single day. I do. Prayer is not going to fix this though.
We need to talk about mental health in this country. We need to talk about it often. We need to stop being so ashamed of it. We need to stop acting like this is okay. THIS IS NOT OKAY.
If I ever killed myself people would be surprised. "I can't believe it" they'd say. "We never knew" they'd say. "She seemed fine" they'd say.
They'd say all of those things. If you just saw me somewhere you wouldn't think twice. I look and act completely normal. Just like anyone else.
I don't own a gun. I don't ever want to.