Breathe in the Love

8 02 2014

I was fortunate to have pretty easy labor and deliveries of all three of my kids. Don’t get me wrong, it was still the worse pain that I have ever gone through, but fortunately for me it was a short duration. Of the three deliveries of my most precious children, my son was by far the easiest. I wouldn’t even say there was a lot of pain. I had my first child twenty eight minutes after arriving at the hospital. To say that I was paranoid my son, my second child, would be born at home or in the car, would be an understatement. One morning I felt a sharp pain and then some contractions. We jumped into the car and headed to the hospital. You can probably guess that I was not really in labor.

It was ten days before my due date and since my sonograms showed that I was having a girl, apparently girls do better if born early than boys, my OB/GYN decided to induce labor that morning. They started the drugs. Then an hour after that they broke my water. Fifteen minutes later I was holding a screaming red-faced little boy. We were told the screams of “It’s a boy!” were heard all over the hospital. We were thrilled to have a boy in the family.

If I close my eyes, I can still faintly remember the smell of that brand new baby. There is something about love that involves all of our senses. I remember the smell of my Grandma’s house. It always smelled like love to me. During those years, when my children were small, I would come in from work so excited to see them. I would burst through the front door and they would run to greet me. I remember the feeling of their arms around my neck and I would just breathe them in as we hugged. It was like no matter what had transpired while we were apart, we were now back together and all was well with the world.

I often say that I did not know my son was queer. That is not entirely true. I can remember glimpses, as he was growing up, when a question would pop into my mind. I can still remember that paralyzing fear that would follow the thought. It was too much. The fear of the possibility that my precious son would be something that I had been taught and also believed myself to be perverted, bad, wrong, and broken, that fear was too much. Those words could not possibly be associated with my precious son. My boy was not perverted, he was innocent and pure. My son was not broken, he was fearfully and wonderfully made. At this point in my life, I had no idea that someone could be queer and love God. I thought those were two islands that could never merge. I thought God was just as disgusted by same-sex attraction as I was. I thought my disgust was actually God’s disgust, I falsely believed this based on the bible.

The day came when I had to face my fear. My son is queer. I don’t believe it is in God’s plan for a parent to reject their child. God would never ask that of me. Unfortunately, man asks that of me, the church sometimes asks that of me, but never God. Sometimes we humans mix God all up in misinterpretations of the bible, and legalistic teachings from our churches. As unfortunate as this is, it doesn’t change God. If we stop and step back from all of the opinions out there, take a moment to just wrap our arms around God’s neck and just breathe God in, we will smell love. Pure, unconditional love that is not mixed up with misconceptions or opinions. It is just love, healing accepting pure love, and all is well with the world.



20 01 2014

I had an odd experience recently. I have tossed around whether to talk about it here or not. I decided to blog here, and anyone who follows my blog will see it, but I won’t share it on Facebook.

A friend added me to a secret Facebook group. It was for moms of LGBT kids. At first it seemed like a good group to be in. Although I do a lot of LGBT work, I don’t have a lot of friends who are moms of LGBT kids, and there is certainly a special bond there. I began to enjoy the group, and over a few weeks became quite comfortable being myself there. There were some things that rubbed me a bit wrong. For instance, there were moms whose kids had been out many years and they said they still cried over it. Oh – forgot to mention this was an exclusively Christian group. I just found a lot of it sad. People still in bondage over legalism and worried about their LGBT kid’s salvation. Anyway, I had some weird vibes at times, but the group is open to people of all acceptance levels, so I didn’t think too much about it.

So, I had been in the group maybe three weeks and I received a Facebook message that was, well, to be honest, just downright weird and rude all mixed together. This person claimed that I had offended several people in the group. She went on to say that I obviously had the gift of prophesy, and some other really confusing things that I had no idea to what she was referring and ended with a story of a friend recently reprimanding her and so she knew I would take this in love. It is probably the oddest letter that I have ever received.

I was mortified, embarrassed, and just felt terrible. I can be a bit dingy, so I was unsure of what I could have possibly said that was offensive, but figured I must have said something in a wrong way. This also brought up my personal baggage of not being good enough and rejection. Since the letter had not been kind, I didn’t feel this woman was trustworthy to respond kindly to questions. It took me a few days, but I finally replied and asked her to tell me exactly what I had said that was offensive, and to please leave out all drama, just tell me the specifics. OH – I should mention that I wrote an apology post to the group for anyone that I had offended, and told whoever was thinking of leaving because of me, to please stay, that I would leave instead. And I had left the group. I will say, I had no less than 50 messages from members of the group begging me to come back.

So, my “drama-free” response was very long and well, full of drama and guilt tripping. Basically, it boiled down to a post that had been removed where I supposedly told someone to “get over it” – which I can not even imagine myself saying. I will never know since she didn’t post the comment, but whatever I said, I am certain it was misinterpreted. But my BIG offense was when a woman said a “well-meaning” friend had given them a book to give to their daughter on reparative therapy. She was asking what she should do. I told her “do NOT give that book to your daughter…” and went on to explain what happened not too long after my son came out and a “well-meaning” friend sent him a video on “praying away the gay”. He spent the next 2 weeks suicidal and sleeping on my bedroom floor at night. And you know what? If that was my big offense – I am not sorry. I would give her that same advise again. It is good advise and the truth. I am sorry if she didn’t want to hear it, that doesn’t change the fact that reparative therapy is shaming and damaging.

I still get messages from women asking me to join that group again. I never will. Oh – I forgot to mention that when I wrote this woman back, and I admit I was a bit sharp in my reply the last time, I was pissed when I found out what I had done that was “offensive”. Here I had wasted two weeks crying and feeling awful because I had done something terrible, and found out I did nothing terrible at all!! I know that she has a very different opinion, but she can carry on in La La Land if she would like – I know that there is no cure for homosexuality, because you can’t fix something that is not broken. Anyway, her response was that she was glad I had shown my “true colors” and that I am obviously not safe for the group. That is right lady – if you want to live in your La La Land and not grow or change, then do not hang around me, because I will challenge your back woods thinking every time. I used to live in those back woods too, and I know how freeing it is when you get chased out of there!! As far as showing my “true colors”? Well, you bet I did and will just keep flying them high and loud and strong. Just try to get me to set down this rainbow flag, it isn’t going to happen anytime soon, I assure you!

Deja Vu

19 12 2013

Oh how I remember the days of the Chic-fil-a controversy with a heavy heart. Weeks and weeks of Facebook posts and media attention. What I remember the most is the pain in my heart, just like a knife, when I would see a family member or friend, one I particularly feel great affection for, like or share a post supporting Chic-fil-a. Last night and today feel like deja vu, only it isn’t about Chic-fil-a, it is about Phil and Duck Dynasty.

Close your eyes and imagine the person you love the very most in this world. The person that you love so much that you would die for. I am not trying to be dramatic here, I am being literal. If it came right down to you or them, you would give up just about anything to see them live a joyful, long life. Not that anyone will probably ever ask it of you, unless you are involved in some freak train accident where you push them out-of-the-way but you don’t have time to save yourself, but the person you would literally risk your life for. Now think of someone saying vile, untrue, hurtful things about that person you love with your whole being. It would just seem so wrong, wouldn’t it?

As if that pain wasn’t enough, now think of people who you hold dear. People in your life that you think very highly of, and have great respect for. Imagine if these people you love  begin to stand up and speak out. But it isn’t in defense of this person that you would give your life for, it is in defense of the one who spoke up and said the untrue hurtful statements. Your friends and family begin to defend his freedom of speech to say these things. They tell you that he has every right to say whatever he feels just as we all do.

Now, you have a small glimpse of what it feels like to be the mother of a LGBT kid. A kid who is pure and good and loving and kind and just happened to be born queer. Yes, my heart is heavy today.

Three Things to Know When Someone You Love tells you they are Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, or Transgender

11 12 2013

I recently realized I write to process my pain. I have not been blogging much the past 6 months, which means my life is going pretty well. That is a good thing. A lot has changed since those early days of my son coming out. It no longer feels like a crisis or even like a negative thing in any way. I am so grateful for the people in my world who have helped me along the way to get to this place of complete peace with my son being bisexual. So many mentors and teachers and just friends, who held my hand through the past few years. I hope these three simple things might help other people in their early days of this discovery.

1)Stop thinking about sex. This was one of the 1st pieces of advise I received. When we hear someone is gay, lesbian, bisexual, or transgender, as human beings, our first thought is about them in the bedroom. I personally believe this comes from our culture and how we have been conditioned to believe LGBT people are all just about sleeping around. Regardless of why our mind goes there – tell yours to stop. Sex is a small part of who your LGBT loved one is, just like your sex life is a small part of who you are. So, get your mind out of the gutter, or in this case, their bedroom.

2)Take some time to just breath. As shocking as this news can be, and even though you may feel like the rug has been swept from under your feet. Life really hasn’t changed that much. Your loved one is the same person they were before. They have not changed, they were already LGBT, you just didn’t know about it. Take a moment to think about parents sitting by their child’s side watching them take their last breath. This may be shocking, but it isn’t the end of the world and there are much worse things to have to live through – so gain some perspective. It will be a journey and it will not be easy, but it is definitely not the worst thing that could happen in your family.

3)Your LGBT loved one has shown great courage in sharing themselves with you. They need to know that even if you don’t understand it all, you still love them unconditionally. They need to know you have their back. Because not everyone will, some people they love dearly will turn their back on them in the coming days and months. They will need extra love and acceptance from you. Be intentional about letting them know you are there for them, today, next week, and next year. That is really all that they need to know, that this new information doesn’t change your love for them.

So breath and take one moment at a time. This journey can be an amazing one of discovery. Discovery about yourself and your own fears, discovery about how strong family bonds can be, and discovery of ways to live without fear or judgment. Chin up, Buttercup, life goes on.

Crisis of Faith

4 11 2013

I have veered off of my usual LGBT blog topics in the last blog and now in the one I am about to write. It is not my intention, yet, I need to write. Writing helps me organize my thoughts and feelings and I usually come away with a new perspective that didn’t seem to come together prior to writing it all down, so to speak. To my LGBT friends and Allies, thank you for your patience.

I truly have been in a crisis of faith the past few months. I think this actually all really started a few years back. When I realized that what I had been taught about gay people all of my life was false. I became angry. I think I have been angry until just a few months ago. Life is a process and I think anger was the beginning of this crisis of faith. I think it was easy to just blame those who taught me those things rather than to get really reflective about myself. Over the past year I have begun to realize that I can’t just blame them. Sure, they taught me incorrect things, but I chose to just walk blindly and not question what I was taught. Of course then the argument comes up that in certain types of churches we are told our faith is not strong enough if we question things. The definition of faith is walking without knowing what is ahead after all. So, be faithful and blindly march on. I was told that, but I am smart. I could have cared enough to think more for myself, but I guess maybe I was too lazy. It was easy when I was surrounded by others who thought exactly as I did. That confirmed that we were doing the right thing after all, right? Actually, I think this is the very example of the blind leading the blind. And at this point in my life I want no more of it.

So, back to my crisis of faith. I began to wonder, if what I was taught about gay people was so far from the mark of truth, what else do I believe that could possibly be off the mark? I began to question EVERYthing – I even began to wonder if there is a God and does He even hear me when I talk to Him? So, I began to do exactly what I was told would send me straight to hell as a kid – I began to test God. I really could not care less if you judge me for this. This is MY journey and quite frankly it is between God and I and has nothing to do with you or your opinions. What I found was time after time after time, in little and a few large things, God came through. I can now say without a doubt in my mind that my God hears me when I talk to Him/Her. I now realize that God isn’t wrapped up in all the silly rules that people create by picking one bible verse out to support their legalities. Test God – go ahead – I dare you – He is big enough to handle it. I promise.

I recently began reading a book that my daughter recommended to me. “How to get the love that you want”. I am about to start chapter 2. It is about how we chose our partners based on our parents. I have been about to start chapter 2 for 2 weeks. I just haven’t been able to make myself read it. I sometimes revert back to that blind drone who thinks it would be easier just to walk blindly than to find out what I thought was true actually isn’t. Over the past two weeks I had actually convinced myself somehow that reading that chapter will change how I feel about my husband. You should probably know that after 27 years of being together, I am madly, passionately, deeply in love with that man. This is how silly I can be about knowledge. I somehow had started to believe that I would read that chapter and things would change. I would find out that I am not in love with him at all, that somehow  I would discover that I am just a co-dependent nut case. I finally got brave enough to talk to my hubby about it last night. He laughed and said, “Michele, you know that knowledge is power. It can only make things better if you do discover some things about yourself.” He is a smart man. I will start chapter 2 today.

I have also found lots of other things I took for granted and thought to be true that were not. I don’t know if it is because I was in Texas or because I was in a very conservative evangelical church, or both, or neither, but I thought  Democrats were evil and Republicans had a straight shot to God’s throne. I now know that God is not a Democrat or a Republican. I have learned that there are Christians who are Pro life and also Christians who are Pro choice and it is not my job to worry about it. I only have to answer for myself. I can also be a Christian and believe in science!!! I was taught that scientist spent all of their time trying to prove how God is insignificant. Good grief, it makes me laugh now. I think this is the one thing that makes me feel the silliest, that I argued against actual scientific truths as if it lessened my God. God is certainly bigger than that. I just have to look at all of the things in nature that work that shouldn’t work to realize science is God’s middle name.

Finally, I have so much regret for my twisted love. Yes, I really and truly believed that it was my job to correct and coerce those I loved to my way of thinking. I thought I was “saving their souls” with my opinions and judgment. Oh how I wish I could go to each of them and beg forgiveness. You have no idea how many nights I cried about people I loved and their souls because they accepted someone who was gay, or because they believed in evolution, or chose not to attend church. Who the hell did I think I was? I will tell you – I thought was a direct messenger from God almighty and I might be the only person capable of reaching their poor lost soul. How prideful and arrogant I was. I can not go to each of them, but I will be writing a letter today to someone. I also need to say here, publicly, that I am sorry to my sister-in-law for throwing her into that youth sunday school class when she was 15  years old and walking away. I know I have apologized several times, but I really am truly sorry. Such an embarrassing age anyway. Geez I was an idiot. On the flip side, I do hope that Sunday we sat in church and that guest preacher said, “The devil is a dildo” right from the pulpit in some way lessened that blow. I really wish you could have been at church with us the Easter Sunday the preacher was talking about a car wreck. He was talking about a Volvo that was in an accident, only he didn’t say Volvo, he said Vulva. “and the Vulva just continued to get rammed over and over from the rear.” Yes – that was one of my favorite moments in all the years I have attended church. Who says that preachers are infallible and that God doesn’t have a sense of humor? I bet He was laughing too.

Weird Place…

17 10 2013

I am in a weird place. I doubt I am the first human to be in this space, but it is a first for me. My faith is not diminishing, but my faith in organized religion is. I have felt for a long time that it is hard to be associated with a group that brings so much judgment and discourse to the world. This is not new. A visit through history will confirm this. For a religion based on “Love God with your whole heart” and “Love your neighbor as yourself”, there has not been a whole heck of a lot of loving going on. We have killed and hurt a lot of folks in the name of “saving” them. Look at the Crusades – war in the name of Jesus. Or what people did to Native Americans in the name of salvation, refusing to let them speak their own language, taking kids away from their parents and putting them into Children’s homes to help them become “civilized”. What were those people thinking?! I guess they thought they were actually on a mission from God.

This is where my problem comes in, the God I know and love isn’t hurting people, He is loving them. Right now my church is doing LGBT education in preparation for a vote in November on performing Same-Sex blessings. That should be exciting! But for some reason, which I can’t explain, it is not sitting well with me. I can not even pin down the reason why. Is it the naysayers? Is it the fact that we are presenting “both” sides of the argument? As far as “both” sides of the argument, I guess I feel like the “traditional” side has had plenty of years to shove what they think down everyone’s throats. After all, the “traditional” side has been the only side we have heard until about 40 years ago. Is It just me, or does it seem odd that people were categorized as mentally ill all based on what was written in an ancient religious book?

Ah – I think I just found my source of discourse! Writing is such good therapy! I always discover something about myself when I write. I am angry that the bible is used as a weapon against people. I think people don’t really read the bible to find God so much as to find excuses to behave they way they want to behave. I mean that book is full of weird stories – a person could probably justify just about anything using that book. I am pretty sure that is not how God intended it to be used.

Bottom line, I don’t know what is right for anyone, except for myself. I do not know if I can continue to be associated with Christianity, yet I love Christ. It is a very unsettling place to be. I wish Jesus would show up and have a cup of coffee this morning and tell me what to do. I guess that would require no faith, so what would be the point? I want the mystery of my faith, I want my relationship with my God. It is like that saying: “I love God, but his followers are driving me crazy”. That is exactly how I feel. Yet, maybe that is what challenges me to love more, show more compassion, and be more like Jesus? Maybe I am being called to love even when I don’t feel like it. If I extend love to the ones I see as unlovable, I would be doing what I want them to do. I guess I will just start with me for today. I am the only person I can control anyway.

PFLAG Odessa, TX

27 08 2013

My mom recently invited me to go on a trip with her. She will be attending her 48th High School Reunion. It is in New Mexico. We will also spend a few days in my hometown, Odessa, TX. I was born and raised there and spent the first 30 years of my life in Odessa. I am excited to go see a few folks and to eat some great food. I am especially excited to be a guest at PFLAG Odessa. I can not believe I have been gone for over 10 years, will be in town for 3 days and it worked out to coincide with their monthly meeting.

When I contacted the president of PFLAG to check on the meeting, everything just fell together. Through a series of emails she asked me to speak that night and of course I said yes. Then as emails progressed she eventually had all of my info for a short introduction on their website including my maiden name in case anyone would recognize it. Then she casually mentioned that she was going to run an announcement in the local papers for the meeting.

I would be lying if I didn’t say that scared me a bit. Not for myself, per say, but I have some other family members whom I share that name with who are not really as supportive of equality as I am. I was a little concerned about how they would feel having their name associated with this controversial subject. The next day I mentioned it to my mom. She paused for a moment and I thought for sure she was going to say something like: “I am not so sure that is a good idea.”

But she did not. She paused and then in her thick southern accent said, “well, honey, this is how I see it. If someone wants to get upset or not be our friend over this, they were never really our friend anyway.”

You go Mom!!! She is of course 100% correct. I love my bisexual son, always have, always will. Just like I love my straight daughter and will love my youngest no matter who she turns out to love. If someone has a problem with that, it is exactly that – THEIR problem – no mine. And I refuse to let it be.

I believe that it was God that coincided my short visit exactly at the same time as PFLAG Odessa’s meeting. I have always prayed daily – “Lord, send me.” So, who am I to not go when He calls. I will go and share my story. I will laugh and cry with new friends as we join together across this nation to increase knowledge and spread love – one town at a time, one meeting at a time. one person at a time. It is my honor to be a part of that!!!!