Monday, August 29, 2016

FIFTEEN: Shane Evan Tomlinson



Shane Evan Tomlinson, age 33, was among the 49 victims who lost their lives in the bloodshed that took place at the Pulse nightclub in Orlando, Florida on June 13. A gifted vocalist, the smooth crooner had a devoted fanbase as the frontman of the band Frequency. With Shane at the helm, the group was popular in Orlando for their high-octane take on hits from the 70's and 80's which could get any crowd going - from wedding parties to nightclub partiers. Shane was celebrating what would become his final earthly performance when he took his place in the heavenly choir. 

When I think about some of the greatest nights of my life, someone like Shane has always undoubtedly been behind them. Wedding DJs, folk singers, orchestra conductors and rock stars have been responsible for giving me some of the most transformative moments of my existence through music. These individuals have something beyond technical ability, a rare talent for creating unity by tapping into that frequency that runs through us all.

Admittedly, I am not a musician, my stubby fingers are far more attuned to plunking QWERTY than CDEFGABC, but I've been tentatively calling myself an artist, a writer, these days.  I've always known that I have a talent for words but I'd felt that talent was better used on the words of others. For all these years I've only called myself an editor. The distinction is likely minor to most, but to me, a person overcoming chronically low self esteem, it is everything. To allow myself to deem my own voice worthy of my own gifts means I've reached an unprecedented point of growth.

Kicker is, my voice has always been valid, I was just letting a lot of stupid things keep me unheard. All you people like me, who maybe felt like they've had to keep quiet your whole lives, you are valid, you deserve to be heard and your contribution is needed. Others can disagree, but disagreement does not beget silence. 

Today, in honor of Shane, I commit to use my voice to spread joy, peace, and comfort. It's time to speak up. It's time we all commit to use our voices for good. We have to let the world know it can't keep going on this way.

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