Monday, October 18, 2010

"I'm Gay"

Okay... not really. But here's the thing. Recently, I re-watched the Kevin Kline movie "In & Out". For those of you who don't know, it's a film about a man who is set to be married and the weekend before the wedding he realizes that he's gay. He comes out at his wedding. His wife-to-be is furious, his parents look confused and hurt and everyone seems like they're in shock. Along with that, he gets fired from his teaching job, something he obviously loves doing. There's a scene in this film where the school explains that he was fired because he came out and the community doesn't want a gay teacher. Then... the most amazing part of the film... everyone in the room, one at a time, start to stand up and say "I'm gay" including his parents. The acceptance and love that the entire community showed for him was incredibly touching... loving him for who he is not what he is.

In all honesty... it made me wonder. Why can't we all just stand up for our gay friends instead of treating them like they're so different? Why do we have to look at anyone who is different in any way and not accept them? Why is there this idea of what's normal or perfect that we're all supposed to live up to? That's too much pressure for any one of us to put on ourselves. So why do it? Why can't we all just look at each other and see the human being, the soul, the spirit that each of us has? To no longer see race, class, disability or sexual preference but to see the person who is inside. Why can't we just do that? What the hell is everyone so fearful of?

Easier said than done...I get that. But if standing up for my gay friends means that I have to say I'm gay even though I'm not.. then so be it. If that's the way to get ignorant people to open their eyes and stop trying to change someone because they don't agree with their lifestyle then so be it. And if that's the way to spread a message of loving each other as human beings then that's right... you guessed it.. so be it.

I've attached a video below about gay marriage that I recently put on my facebook account. It's pretty vulgar so beware... but the message is good. I'm tired of people saying what's right for another person when they don't understand what that person may be going through. I'm sick of hearing what people believe is right by God... ALL humans are loved and accepted by God... no matter what they represent.

To all my gay friends... this ones for you. Thanks for staying true to who you are and not being ashamed of it!

Class dismiss.

Monday, October 4, 2010

One comment... one moment

Picture this. 5th grade classroom... it's the last period in school for the day and you're stuck in math. ugh... math! Everyone is energetically waiting for the bell to ring including your friend who sits next to you sporting a pair of new eye glasses. He'd never worn eye glasses before so of course all day people have been making comments to him about it. Some out of malice and others for "fun". The teacher says something that we happened to miss because we simply weren't paying attention and this young man who for the moment didn't have his glasses on asks the children around him "what'd he say?". Without thinking I said "maybe you should put your glasses on so you can hear him".

Now I need to point something out. In my defense, this is something that my dad would say to my mom in order to pick on her. Though there is no excuse for my words to him, I should say that she never seemed very upset by it... so I think I figured that it wouldn't hurt his feelings. I was very wrong. The look on his face and the way his entire body just seemed to deplete of any positive energy he had was heartbreaking and it's a moment in my life I wish I could take back.

You may think that I should just get over it. But in all honesty, this is not something I can just get over. The truth is that from grade 4 and all through high school I was the victim of bullying. To know that I may have hurt someone in the same way I was hurt, even if it was one comment... one moment... it's enough to break my heart and wish it hadn't happened.

My bullying was... rough. That's probably an understatement. It got to the point where I would fake being sick in order to not go to school. I actually learned how to manipulate the thermometer to where it would show that I was just under the normal 98.6 degrees. This would make my mom feel that whatever I had was viral and she would allow me to stay home (sorry, Mom). Anything I could do to avoid being called ugly, stupid, a monster... or to have things thrown at me, to be spit at, to be called every name... basically to have ever action I did get judged in such a harsh manner by kids who were the same age as me... the same level of education... from the same areas of town and who knew the same people. All of these "sames" and we were so different. No matter how hard I tried I could never fit in. As a result, I learned to live alone... with in myself. This meant that all during high school when most of the really bad bullying had ceased... I was misunderstood because I was so quiet... and because I was so quiet I was picked on once again. Popularity definitely wasn't my thing in school and it wasn't until college that I was able to slowly come out of my shell. Even now though... retreating to that place I lived for so long alone is my defense mechanism and in times of stress, anger, sadness or loneliness... it's what provides me comfort simply because it's where I lived for so long.

It should come as no surprise that I write this on the brink of our 5th teen suicide since September over bullying, the last one being Tyler Clementi from Rutgers University. It might surprise some to learn that suicide was an option that I critically considered. I'm very glad I didn't. I would've missed out on so much! I would've missed out on falling in love, seeing my brothers get married and make beautiful babies, going to grad-school (twice), having amazing friends... and being there for my mom when she's needed me most. What every one is saying is all true. People change. It won't always be bad and you're life will absolutely get better as has mine and one day you'll even learn to love yourself which as someone whose been bullied can tell you... it's an uphill battle.

Words are significant. Take the time to think before you speak, plan before you act, and live every moment in love. It's with love that we overcome hardships and love can save those children who are being bullied and prevent these all too soon deaths. It only takes one person to care to make a difference.

Please watch these if you haven't seen them yet. The first is Ellen's message and the second is Kathy Griffin's message. Both are important.

Class dismissed. Be nice to each other.