Not About Me

When the Supreme Court ruled in favor of same-sex marriage on Friday, many of my Facebook friends turned their Facebook profiles “rainbow” in celebration and solidarity. I did not immediately change my profile picture, because it was my daughter’s 19th birthday and I had posted a picture of the two of us that I intended to leave up for all of June 26.

Early Saturday morning, I “rainbow’d” myself. Shortly afterwards, I posted a status that wished Tallahassee runners good luck in a 5K being held that day and commented that I was glad the race supported high school cross country, which was a great cause. It was my first “post-rainbow” post. An acquaintance immediately commented, “Oh great so YOU’RE on that bandwagon now too. Weren’t enough people already?” I responded “I am proudly and unapologetically ‘on that bandwagon’.” Then another acquaintance chimed in with a commentary about the confederate flag. The two of them exchanged barbs that had nothing to do with running. After once asking that the thread be kept to support of runners, I decided to take back my own Facebook page. I deleted the entire comment thread and stated that I was rebooting the thread to “support 101” so that the focus could be kept on running. The phrase “on the bandwagon,” though, had gotten me thinking …

About the road to “that bandwagon”:

When I was in high school, I loved someone. This relationship was one of the first intense loves of my life. I seeded the short-term, unseasoned reality of this teenage relationship with unrealistic hopes and expectations that it would last a long time; this relationship was central to who I thought I was.

When he told me, somewhere in our first couple of years of college, that he was gay, I was crushed and disbelieving. A close adult friend consoled me by sympathetically saying “you’re not strong enough for that” (as if a “stronger” person could overcome this particular reason for a relationship ending). More than one person empathized, “you don’t even get to use femininity to overcome this.”

In an attempt to gain some semblance of hope for the future, I went to a PFLAG (Parents and Friends of Lesbians and Gays) meeting here in Tallahassee. This was before “B, “Q,” and “T” (for bisexual, queer, and transgender), among other letters, were part of acronyms for groups like this. What the facilitator said was not what I wanted to hear:

“THIS IS NOT ABOUT YOU”

One of the facilitator’s central points was “he has his own work to do, figuring out this part of his identity, and he could use your support as opposed to your misguided anger.” Although it took me decades of life experience after being told “this is not about you” to fully comprehend what that meant, I got there.

I got there when my volunteer responsibilities (and subsequent paid on call supervisor responsibilities) made me one of the first counselors on the Florida AIDS Hotline (since our crisis counseling service held the contract for the AIDS Hotline).

I got there when I became more involved in the FSU Film School community and was witness over and over to acceptance among people representing ALL the letters of the alphabet: L, G, B, Q, T, S – whatever.

I got there when I had the opportunity to be involved in making this:

I got there when time moved on and I realized the person who I thought had broken my heart in the early 80s had actually been fate’s way of squeezing a wedge in a closed door of my heart and beliefs. This wedge let the light in and created a spectrum of color where previously only black and white had existed.

Not About Me

 

 

The Five W’s of My March 2013 (A Mama Kat Writing Prompt)

For this week’s Mama Kat Prompt, let’s go with “March Favorites.” Since I can’t think of any other creative way to structure it, let’s go with the tried and true Who, What, When, Where, and Why.

WHO

My favorite people in March were Pink, who consoled a distraught toddler mid-concert (start watching around 0:40) and President Obama, who consoled a distraught toddler mid Easter egg roll. Having had many parent-of-a-distraught-toddler moments (ten years ago….), moments like this get a “mom’s gold star.”

WHAT

What about March distinguished itself?

Okay, I know this is so very “first world problem” ish but I was so happy to have a new dress to wear to church on Easter. With Wayne’s protracted job hunt and the related family budget strains, the ability to buy new stuff has been slim. I got this dress for about $18, and spent another $18 to get it altered (almost everything I buy has to be altered) but I love the color and it just felt incredible to be wearing something brand new to my big work meeting on March 21 and to Easter Service on March 31. It’s the little things.

new dress

On Alterations Day

WHEN

The “when” of March has to have been early morning, pre-sunrise, and sunrise for sure. I so enjoyed doing boot camp at our Capitol twice in March, and so many early morning runs. It’s the most energizing time of my day. My fellow Capitol boot campers and I were even featured in the Tampa Bay Times (read about it here).

(That's me in the long-sleeved gray shirt.)

(That’s me in the long-sleeved gray shirt.)

WHERE

The “where” was on bridges — specifically the two bridges I crossed when running in the Gate River Run 15K race in Jacksonville, Florida, on March 9, 2013. I blogged about it here.

Gate

WHY

The “why’s” of my March would be considered by some to be diametrically opposed to one another, and I am grateful that *most* of my social media friends (and IRL friends) and I respected each others’ viewpoints even when we disagreed. But March was signified to me by my decision to make this my profile picture for two days in March, representing my support of Same Sex Marriage:

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March was, finally, topped off by my celebration of the Holy Day of Easter, and my depth of gratitude for a loving God and the freedom to worship as I wish:

cross

Mama’s Losin’ It