Yesterday was a hard day for me.

So hard that I almost broke the promise I made to myself 2.5 years ago to stop using alcohol to to hide, escape, numb out, dull down…

My morning started with the news of the Orlando shooting and the escalating death count. The fact that I had partied many a night in a similar gay club in Miami, just a few hours drive from the scene of the deadliest mass shooting in recent US history, made the news hit even closer to home. I felt like I could imagine the faces of the people in the club that night.

Last week I shared parts of my story that I had never shared with you before… and in the first totally unplanned half of today’s email, you are going to learn even more!

I grew up in a small, working class town on West Coast of Canada. The scenery is incredibly beautiful and the town is now quite eclectic, but while I was growing up, it felt isolated and close minded.

My mom is a lesbian and my “mommy #2” moved in when I was 9 years old. I experienced homophobia from a young age when kids weren’t allowed to come play at our house, or when a school friend would ask about how long my auntie was going to be living with us (I was confused until I realized that’s what their parents told them to avoid a deeper conversation about the true nature of their relationships). Homophobic slurs were normal at school and needless to say, by the time I was discovering my own sexuality, I had a pretty deeply engrained feeling that it wasn’t okay to be gay.

Though I’ve never identified as gay, my sexuality was fluid and I was attracted to women. When I left my hometown immediately after high school, gay clubs welcomed me with open arms.

My first was in Vancouver at the Odyssey when I was 17. I loved the freedom of expression and of solidarity. In my early early 20s, I found community at Lick Club. It was there that become more comfortable with my fluid sexuality and where I met my first fiancé. The Lexington Club in San Francisco became like a second home when I was finishing college and living the Mission and it was there that I met my now ex-wife.

Over the years, wherever I traveled and lived, gay clubs always felt like home… Toronto, Winnipeg, Vienna, London, Bangkok, Phnom Penh, Sydney, Prague, Barcelona, Paris, Mexico City, Miami, to name but a few. It didn’t matter if we didn’t share the same language, we always would share smiles of recognition. Gay clubs were and are a refuge, a safe space, an escape from persecution, judgement and stress, a place for fun and celebration… What happened in Orlando shakes the foundation of this feeling of safety and celebration. Thousands, if not millions, are affected – confronted with the reality of violent hatred based on the most basic desire to love another human.

I’m giving you all of this as the backstory as to why, last night, I almost broke my promise to myself.

Yesterday while grocery shopping I bought a bottle of wine.

Luis even questioned it, saying, “Don’t we already have wine?” To which I responded: “Half a bottle of white in the fridge, but we don’t have any red.” That was the acceptable answer, and it was true.

Yet it wasn’t until I got home that I realized my true motivation.

It was because I wanted to numb the pain. The acute pain of a senseless tragedy that took 50 precious lives and forever changed hundreds more. To soothe the deeper ache of old wounds triggered. And, ironically, I wanted to drink to get rid of the vulnerability hangover I was feeling after the very raw email I sent to you last week.

I’m relieved to report that the wine sat unopened on the counter downstairs.

Though a powerful unconscious urge took over in the grocery story, I was able to use other tools for myself once I got home.

I made a cup of tea. I shared some of my feeling online, which helped me feel less powerless.

I stood on my patio with my arms outstretched and breathed deeply into the tightness in my chest. I imagined the space around my heart expanding with love instead of constricting with pain and fear. I cried. I prayed. I felt the feels.

I am grateful to say I kept that promise for another day. Last night, and today, and everyday, I try to choose LOVE. And that includes Self Love.

And to keep raising my vibrations so that I can be of better service to this wounded world.

Today’s email was going to be about ways you can work with me but it just didn’t feel like the email I wanted to send today. That being said, I’ve already opened up extra times in my calendar this week for us to connect. If you’re curious about working together, then set up a time to chat here.

Stay tuned for the real email I had planned to send, later today or early tomorrow.

Until then, be kind to yourself, to those around around, and try to always, always – choose love.