Gratitude: Self-Discovery, Word by Word

October 15, 2010

This week I am grateful that I am loved and accepted exactly the way that I am. It has been my experience that this kind of love is revolutionary. It has the power to move mountains, and make miracles happen. This kind of love is dual fold – it is the love that you feel for yourself, when you accept your flaws and idiosyncrasies. Second it is the love that you generate when you share your authentic self with others and see it mirrored back in their faces when they look lovingly upon you.

Being loved like that is better than any job, amount of money, fancy play-thing, or tangible object.

Being loved like that has changed my life.

I was fortunate enough to grow up in a place where it was easy for me to be excepted. I’m lucky that even before I came out as queer at the age of fifteen, I had a myriad of positive gay role models to observe and interact with. I’m lucky that even before I came out, my parents instilled the importance of falling in love with a person and not a gender. I’m lucky that when I came out (which, despite all of this luck and love, was extremely difficult for me to do, and took a very long time) it was well received by my family who were not surprised.

I’m grateful that all of this luck allowed me to by-pass much of the bullying and shame associated with being queer in this country. I never had obscenities and derogatory names hurled in my direction. I have the privilege of passing. This means that when I walk around in the world, people assume that I am straight, with my long hair, dresses, and diamond engagement ring. People assume that they can put me safely within a recognizable box, and thus I have been spared much of the pain and hurt of so many of my queer counterparts.

And while I recognize this luck and privilege, I am not grateful for my easy passage through a world where so many are targeted, victimized, and brutally bullied. In light of many of the recent deaths around the country, where LGBT youth are taking their own lives – I have felt the need to discuss it here, because my heart is broken.

This harassment and inhuman treatment cannot continue.

We cannot stand by and allow our children, our most vulnerable, suffer in silence, and feel as though they have no alternatives but to take their own lives.

We cannot idly watch as the numbers stack up, becoming desensitized or allowing our response to be, “toughen up” or “it will get better.” Yes, it will get better, but that is not enough.

I want to honor these lost young lives publicly.

I want to offer myself as a resource to anyone who may be reading this who needs someone to understand them. I am here. I check my email five million times a day. I do not want you to feel as though you have to suffer in silence.

I am grateful that these incidents have forced this topic back into the forefront of our minds. I am grateful for the dialogue that it has spurned – for the public coming out stories, for the candle-light vigils where the best part of my community can be witnessed, for the love and empathy that spans so many different types of experience. I believe that we can only proceed with open minds and this kind of love in our hearts.

Self-discovery, Word by Word is a blogger series that has been kicked off by this month’s moderator, the ever lovely Ashley from Nourishing the Soul. Each month a blogger will choose a word to encourage self-reflection within the blog community. All of the posts will be included in a link round-up on Ashley’s blog at the end of the month.