Mercedez Marisol Flores
Marisol, as she was known to her family, held a special place in their hearts as not only the baby of her family, but the only girl as well. She was gunned down in the Pulse nightclub shooting alongside her best friend, Amanda Alvear, on June 12, 2016. Known to be profoundly kind, studious and a bit soft-spoken, Marisol lived up to her namesake, Maria de la Soledad, a testimonial the Virgin Mary quietly contemplating the loss of her son. Marisol grew up in Queens, NY, but moved to Orlando to study Literature at Valencia College where she had a reputation for being profoundly insightful and endlessly friendly.
One of the first ways we tend to deal with tragedy is to relate some part of it to ourselves, if only to grasp the scope of such a thing. In the tsunami of news reports that came in the after-shock of the Orlando Massacre, I immediately saw not only myself, but perhaps my own children in Marisol. It shook me to the core to see my own virtues snuffed out in another person like they meant nothing. I've been meditating on the value of individual life ever since.
Today, in honor of Marisol, I'm focusing inward, contemplating my own values, morals and privilege and I encourage my friends to do the same. Take a moment, shut up, and just THINK. That's all. Contemplate, give in to what your mind think needs the most attention, map it out, go on a journey, prepare to end up at an unanticipated destination. The only way to figure our way out of this bigotry-filled-ALL-CAPS-chaos-bubble that has encompassed our society is to give it the thought it deserves.
We are smart enough to get ourselves out of this mess.