Monthly Archives: April 2008

The Bravery, Chapter 2.

Wow. All I can say is- wow. I have stated before to people, when I conduct trainings on lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender identity, that every time that I come out as a lesbian, right before I say the words, I feel like I am jumping off of a cliff. My stomach churns, my hands shake, my voice trembles, and I am afraid. Then, I jump. And then, I let go of my fear on the way down, and always land ever so softly, like a big, feather pillow catching me.

The WOW is because last night, during a meeting of our worship committee at our Methodist church, where we have been members for almost four years, I came out. I didn’t come out and say, “I am a lesbian”, but I spoke on behalf of the congregation beginning a adult Sunday school class, to discuss the damage some churches have done to those with a homosexual orientation. I also showed them a copy of a movie I recently purchased, called “For the Bible Tells Me So”, which I want to show as part of the group. I said the words, and before I knew it, I was free falling through the air. Actually, the nerves begin in anticipation of the jump; but once I jump, once say the words, an overwhelming sense of calm and peace comes over me.

If this is not your life experience, that you have a gay, lesbian, bisexual, or transgender orientation, then it may be hard to understand the fear. It is fear of reaction, fear of rejection, fear of fear of others. Many persons, when they come out, and some even before they come out, are rejected by their families, friends, schools, and churches. And, I think that churches have the potential to do the most damage.

Why? Because, the church, or those in it, claim to know what God thinks about this issue, what the Bible factually says about this issue. Now, let me be clear. My partner and I joined this church as members, along with our daughter, four years ago. We had her baptized in this church one year later. We feel safe, secure, and loved there, by our pastor and our church family. However, I know that the Methodist church at large struggles a great deal with how welcoming it is willing to be to homosexual persons. So, there is work to be done. Even on our local level, conversations need to be had.

And I am ready for those conversations.

The response was overwhelming positive. People thanked me for speaking up with the idea, and agreed it is a great idea. My pastor agreed that we need to start talking about this important issue, that we all need the spiritual growth. And, I believe it is my calling. Not to be self-serving, not to have my own agenda. But, I firmly believe that God, Jesus, they are calling me to my congregation to bring this to light, educate and inform, and learn a lot myself in the process.

One more step in my journey of self-actualization. I am on the road to full self-love, the road to further spiritual awakening and connection.

I am ready.

The presence of arrogance.

I at times believe myself to be arrogant in my manner.

Bear with me here, just for a bit.

It is a strange thought pattern that I seem to go through. I believe myself to be very caring, loving, compassionate, knowledgable about many things.

Not all things.

However, there are times, times when I am encountering a person who I am giving new information to, when my knowledge seems to border on arrogance. At least, that is what I feel like. Even when I am not intending to be arrogant, I think I appear to be that way.

Confidence at times appears like arrogance to me. Why???

Maybe, it is a reflection of my own lack of confidence on some level; because I am not fully confident in the information which I share, I feel like I am giving an air of arrogance as if I “know it all”.

Maybe it is because self-confidence is so misrepresented at times by persons in our culture; to be self-confident is to be self-absorbed, self-righteous, self-serving.

I don’t believe myself to be any of those things. At least, I think I don’t believe it.

What I have come to understand about persons that I have surrounded myself with in the past, is that, it can be very intimidating for someone to be around a person who exudes an air of confidence. The air of feeling very sure of herself, carrying herself in an upright, determined way, setting her sights on horizons that she is interested in.

What could be wrong with that?

As with so many things, things that bug us about other people are those things, or aspects, that we most loathe in ourselves. I find it to be so true of human nature. I am a confident person, so that means that those that have confidence issues, struggle with who I am. So, either they decide they no longer can be around me (although won’t tell me that), or they treat me like total crap.

What a drag…….

And, if I state openly and assertively that I am confident, that I am working hard to achieve my goals, that I willingly go after things that I want, I appear to be bragging to others.

Tell me, isn’t it a good thing if a person feels their own self-worth? Besides serving others, isn’t that what this world is all about? Realizing the gem that we know as our true self??

It is one of those mysteries. One of those human conditions that still needs to be explored.

I am confident. I am on my true path. I feel great about those aspects of my self.

I think!!

COMFORT…….

I love to be comfortable, cozy, relaxed. For me, comfort looks like a nice, warm blankie on a cold rainy day. Wrapped up, cup of coffee, watching an old movie, snuggling with my favorite girls. The blankie, and it IS a blankie, not a blanket, is the softest of fleece, white with pink and red hearts all over it, a present from my girls for Valentine’s Day. I love the comfort that it brings to me.

We all need comfort, even if we don’t admit we need it. We all desire comfort, and I am talking a deeper form of comfort that having a house with all of the amenities, a car that has heated seats, or a job that pays a load of money. I am talking about comfort, comfort for the body, heart and soul. A deeper sort of comfort that sinks in deep. Can you picture it?

Take a moment, and think about a time when you have felt most vulnerable, most raw with pain and emotion? Maybe you were physically ill, maybe your heart was broken, maybe discouraged by the challenges of life. What did you envision as the thing, person, object, that would most make you feel better?

Before I resorted to a blankie and a cuddle, my comfort was always my mom. I had a comfort with my mother, when I was growing up, like nothing else in my life. I could tell her so much, in many words or very few. And she listened. And she hugged, when she could. And she was there for me. And she guided me, and she scolded me, too. But, to me, my mom was total comfort. When I was alone last year, and when I felt alone or sick or scared, I only wanted one person the most: my mom. Now, that is the comfort I am talking about here.

When I was growing up, we lived twenty miles from the town where I worked as a teen, and the town where my high school was located. So, when I needed to get somewhere, or get home from somewhere, my mom would drive me. And, we would talk, really talk, during those long car rides. About my day. About my friends. About my dreams, my fears. Comfort.

When I wasn’t ready to face the school day quite yet, I would crawl into my mom’s bed, after my dad had left for work, and just lay next to her. Comfort.

When I was sick last year, all alone in my apartment, my mom and dad were with me to help to take care of me. They brought me cool cloths for my head, made me soup, gave me my medicine. Comfort.

I still need my mom every now and again. And, when she is not with me, I have learned other ways of having comfort that feels as deep and as warm and as lovely. My blankie. My girls, honey one, and honey two (or, honey dew as she likes to say). An old movie.

As a mom, it is interesting how the cycle seems to repeat. Every day, I drive my daughter to school, because she doesn’t want to take the bus. So, this morning, it hit me like a bolt of lightning: I have been here before, except, back then, I was the one in the back seat with the book bag. She talks to me, she shares secrets, she opens up. It is indescribable.

And, she crawls into bed with me when she isn’t ready to face the day. She cuddles under her blankie next to me when she feels sad, lonely, or afraid. She comes up and stares into my eyes deeply.

Comfort.

What’s yours?

Get some today, and every day. Life is too short to deprive yourself for one more minute.

New life is here!!!!!

My nephew, the newest addition to our family, my sister’s first child, was born on Sunday morning at 3:45 AM. He is healthy, peaceful and perfect……..

I am sitting on the edge of the chair at my desk all day today, because tomorrow morning, I will be getting in my car and driving to Virginia to see him, to hold him, to smell him, to absolutely fall in love with him.

I sense the change in my sister, my sister who for the last 81/2 months has called me almost daily, with every shift and change in her body, moods going up and down, crises and challenges that occurred, and plans that had to be made.

But, I know, it is now a major change. She has begun her new life, as mom. Mom to a little being that needs her more than anyone right now. I am anxious to view her in this new role, and also nervous, because I know that her new role changes my role in her life as well. I think that sounds selfish, in a way, although I don’t mean to be selfish. I just know that I have a sense about what has changed for her, some changes she may not even realize yet, and the changes that are in store for us.

All of that aside, good or bad, tomorrow at this time I will be hours from viewing his beautiful face in person.

I love the smell of new babies…….

What are your intentions?

My belief about human behavior, is that almost everything that we say, do, think, and feel, we are in control. Behavior is holistic to me; so if we are thinking about something specific, which we do have control over our thoughts unless we have a severe mental health issue, those thoughts directly influence our emotions; hence, we have control over our emotions. I also believe that all behavior, all of the things that we do, say, think, and feel, are purposeful. There is a purpose and reason for everything that we do, even when what we do or think doesn’t seem to make sense. It serves some purpose for a lesson, either now or further down our life’s journey road.

Now, this does not mean that we always make the best choices; I am certain that many of us can identify with this; sometimes the choices that we make are harmful, destructive, or painful, yet the lessons come regardless, and at the time, it seems like the best decision that we can make. When I left my ten year relationship, and not only left it, moved out of our home, I was devastated, I was heartbroken, I was tired and drained, and I really believed that I was making the right choice. I still believe that was the right choice, it didn’t feel good at the time, but it did feel right. However, when I was alone, in an apartment, without the familiar, without my child at times, without a partner, sometimes even without a friend, I drank. Drank way too much. This, I know, and I knew at the time, was a destructive decision, but it was the best I could do at that time, and as far as purposeful, it got me through the pain. I firmly believe it kept me from checking out……..

So, I am going on and on here about what I believe the motivation of human behavior is; purposeful, in full control, lessons to be learned. Where does intention come in?

Our intentions are those things that we rely on as far as what we REALLY want. I am not talking here about the new car or the better house or the classy job; I am talking what in our hearts, we really want from something or someone, and also, what we are willing to do to get it. Intentions, on our part and on the part of others, are not always honorable. They are manipulative, needy, self-serving. They may be very subtle and go “under the radar”, so to speak; we may not see the manipulation. I understand that we all meet a need for one another; my friends are in my life, not only because I enjoy their companionship, but also because we meet some need for one another, which is good and honorable. If we are open and upfront with ourselves, and with others, about what our intentions are.

I have met many people with less than honorable intentions toward me. They wanted something from me, something that was unsaid, but brought it to my life under the guise of friendship, of honesty and being forthright. I cannot tell you how many persons that I called friends I have encountered like that in the last couple of years; it is disturbing. Persons whom i enjoyed their company, helped me through painful times, laughed with me, and who I connected with. However, when I returned to my relationship, they disappeared. They stopped calling, they dropped out of sight. Why? I will never know; all I can suspect is that they had intentions that were not met for them. So, when I returned to a life that I feel very connected to, that is right for me, that fills my soul with joy and peace, it no longer met what they needed from me.

Did I know honestly what that was that they needed from me? Nope. It was never honestly spoken about. Even worse, their intentions were misrepresented in some ways: no expectation, no judgment, no agenda hidden up their sleeves. However, once I made some choices to carry on my life in a direction that was different from when they entered, or reentered my life, they disappeared………..

I have wondered on and off about why; did they have feelings for me? Did my return to my own relationship give them doubts about their own relationships? Am I too out about my gayness that they just cannot handle it for themselves? Was I meeting some need that helped to further their career? Did I dispel their own loneliness??? I have stopped wondering recently, because frankly, if a person does not tell me in what way I am or am not meeting their needs, in an honest and upfront way, I am powerless. I cannot solve a problem that I don’t know exists…..

I also need to be clear in what my intentions are with others in my life. What purpose are they meeting for me? Is it emotionally healthy? Am I treating that person with respect? This is my own system of self-evaluation that I do in regard to my relationships, because I believe that everyone that I care about has a right to know where they stand in my life, as I have a right to know about where I stand in theirs. Intentions can be veiled, and when that happens, can be hurtful and manipulative.

And I am sooooooo not patient anymore for anything not up front and honest. I am way too old for that bullshit!!!