Time for a Cool Change

That’s a song.  I don’t remember who sings it.  I heard it some time in the 90’s and thought it was new.  I was staying in a little polygamist town and even tho the boys & girls weren’t supposed to hang out, we’d find time to sneak to the “sticks” and listen to music the kids brought.  I wonder, still, where they got it and even more … where they hid it.  But either way, that’s where I learned of this band and Styx.  If you don’t know it.  Look it up.  Or maybe, if you’re lucky, and my baby isn’t on m lap by the time I’m finished blogging, I’ll link it.  I still things it’s one of the most fantastic songs ever.

Anyway, whew!  That was a really long intro to talking about something that has absolutely nothing to do with that story.

So, incase you weren’t a reader of my last blog, I’m creepy when it comes to organization.  I’m creepy when to the order of things – routine.  As you know, my sweet family has been put through the ringer over the last year.  The 23rd of the month marks 1 full year since I’ve talked to my dad.  I think, with the marking of a year, I need to put some order around it all.

There’s no update from the last time I wrote about it.  I reached out – again.  He didn’t respond.  My mom is still waiting it out – hoping for the best.  My brother still doesn’t talk to my dad and he doesn’t see any of his grandkids, except Glory, when I (purposely) take her there every 2 weeks or so.

I’ve continued to take Glory there because I had hoped that their relationship would somehow link him back to his family.  It hasn’t.  & while Glory loves him, it’s become far too painful of a game.  Every time I drop her off, he goes to his bedroom.  I feel like my mom is rushing me in or out so it’s not so uncomfortable.  It feels bad and always leave crying.  Too much.

Time for a cool change.

No more purpose dates with him & my mom.  I’m sure she’ll still see him but it’s not going to be “just because”.  I’m also going to stop calling him dad.  That’s the hard one.  You can give me advice and tell me what you think but honestly, it hurts terribly to have this carved out place for him when he wants nothing to do with me.

Not long ago, I took my car to a place where he’s always taken our cars to be fixed.  I introduced myself as his daughter and I’m pretty sure she talked to him after I came in.  What did he way?  Did he tell her …”oh she WAS my daughter – for 40 years – but now she’s not”?  I don’t know.  It feels a bit dramatic but necessary.

So, RJ.  That’s what I’ll write when referring to him.

And if you want to hear this fantastic song, go here.  You’re welcome.

And today is their 42nd anniversary.

Enough is Enough

I remember, about a year and half ago, our community held a vigil to bring attention to all the many local suicides that occured in a short amount of time.  (3 within less than 3 months, I think)  I was aware of the problem far earlier than that but even now – all this time later – we’re still reminded just how often too much is too much.  I’ve written about this a lot and certainly express myself plenty on fb.  But really, when is enough enough?

When I was working, a lot of my focus was around support & education in the LGBT community. I learned quickly, when I would travel up north or down south, that the issues there were much different than in Salt Lake City.  Typically I spent my time talking about the laws we were trying to change and the rights we were trying to gain.  But when I’d meet with these kids from smaller towns, they needed to talk about how to not get kicked out of their homes or how not to get beat up after school.  They worried about name calling and not going to heaven and almost EVERY one of them had considered suicide as a way out of it all.

I took my mom to Logan with me once.  We were supposed to talk to a group of college students for an hour about the upcoming election.  Instead, we were there for almost 4 hours.  They wanted to know how my mom handled my coming out.  How did she keep loving me?  What could they say to their parents to let them know they were still the same person they loved?  When they were bullied at school or at church, how should they respond?  One boy, in particular, cried as my mom held his hand.

That one night changed me.  It changed the way I did my job and the way I think about what “rights” are really most important.  I never really grasped the desperation before.  When I came out – even though it was a million years ago – I didn’t worry about losing family or friends.  I didn’t worry about getting beat up and I certainly never worried about going to hell.  But when we did a “raise of hands” that night (honor code eyes closed, of course) and asked how many of them had considered or attempted suicide and only TWO didn’t raise their hand, I knew my situation was unique.

The idea that this pain only falls on the LGBT community is not true.  I think it’s a huge problem, certainly, but it’s just one of the dagger words bullies throw around.  Stupid, fat, ugly.  Those are words I not only remember hearing but also remember using.  I was a bully.  I say that, knowing I do my best now to never use those words.  But it’s true.  I also used the words gay & fag in ways that were meant to hurt others.

Did I hurt others?  I’m sure I did.  Was I hurting myself?  Of course.  But I wouldn’t have raised my hand in my class that day.  So what made it different for me?

We’ve all seen the Jonah video that’s been floating around fb.  And if you follow me, you’ve seen many other stories as well.  So what can we do?  We can talk gently.  We can appreciate the beauty of every person.  We can speak from love as often as possible and we can speak up when we hear differently.  We can teach our children what respect & love look like.  We can be grown ups – the kind that children count on.

I have enemies.  I know, you’re shocked.  (insert sarcasm)  It’s true though.  & some of them used to be my friends.  Sometimes my head is full of mean thoughts about them.  If Glory could read my mind, I’d be ashamed of what I say there.  And because I think it, my body feels it.  And when my body is feeling that kind of anger, it flows out as I’m driving and as I’m trying to park and that dumb girl steals my place!  See?  Just like that.

Let’s fix it.  Let’s be less angry and less mean.  Every day let’s show love to someone we don’t want to love.  Every day let’s be the grown up that protects another human being.  Because one day it could be you protecting my daughters.  And as a grown up, I would expect nothing less from you.

My sister says, “Say what you mean but don’t be mean when you say it.”  I think that’s a good place to start.