Convicted.

Hope you have some time…I’m on a roll…

Unless you have been under a rock the past few days, you know about the Supreme Court taking up the Prop 8 and DoMA decisions. Unless you have been living under said rock for the past ten years, you know that the two pieces of legislation can and have divided families and friends, they have caused hurt and anger and shame for countless many people.

In the name of love….

On Tuesday night, Facebook was ablaze in red….from allies, from the LGBT community, from mothers and fathers, brothers and sister, children and I even think I saw someone’s pet….all red, all in support of equal rights.  I posted to my page, to wear red on Wednesday to show your support.

My job is to keep things moving in a forward direction.  With 125 people at my office, 110 of which are men, it’s a lot like wrangling a bunch of toddlers at nap time…I love my job.

There is an HR dimension to my position, meaning I provide HR support to six locations.  I get emails about dress code, body odor, foul shit in the refrigerators, weird shit in bathrooms, someone got feelings hurt, someone didn’t show up for work and someone isn’t wanting to work…you get the drift, it’s never a dull moment.

So Wednesday starts like any other day, I’m late…as I “log in” and begin deciphering 156 NEW UNREAD emails, I come across this….

From: Thomas *******
Sent: Tuesday, March 26, 2013 9:14 AM
To: Stephanie *****I
Subject: I would like to file a formal complaint . . . .

grrrreeeeaaaaaat…..just how I wanna start the day….so I open, with both eyes closed, to find.this….

. . . . . next time you are at one of those meetings, or parades, or whatever it is you people have to keep yourself organized, I’d appreciate it if you’d tell the king of the Gays (actually, being “of the Gays”, that would make it a Queen, wouldn’t it? ) to give us a little more notice if we’re supposed to wear Red or whatever.

I only have 1 red LKQ shirt. My other red shirts consist of 2 – 49ers jerseys and a “Where’s Waldo” t-shirt. Being as that I wore my red LKQ shirt yesterday,  I don’t have any red pants (although, come to think of it, if I did have red pants, I would probably be much more passionate about this particular cause . . . ), and Jerseys are only allowed on Friday, I am now wearing a red T-shirt for an undershirt, and if I unbutton 1 button, you will find Waldo.  It’s mildly uncomfortable! Waldo is not supposed to be hiding under my shirt!

With a little more advanced notice, I could have waited until today to wear my red LKQ shirt, and this uncomfortableness could have been avoided. So yeah . .  . . . 

Thank You,

I am completely and utterly blown away.  This was AWESOME!  I love surprises and to be honest, I knew this guy was an “ally” of sorts, he had previously sent me a message on FB defending my right to marriage and put a sweet comment on my status for all my friends to see.  So I knew he appreciated “the Gay” but to say that he supported me, my marriage…and did so in front of 110 other guys by wear a red “Where’s Waldo?” shirt meant more than the words.  His actions spoke for him.  I was grateful.

I walk into my department and my several of my staff are wearing red shirts.  Not a word was said until late in the day, but all day, I was honored and amazed at these people, silently supporting me.

More of my staff wore red the next day, to support the second day of arguments.  Thinking about it now makes me smile.   I love my job.

During the first day, all day, I kept seeing more and more people changing their pictures to the HRC red equal sign.  It was like my Facebook was bleeding.  This is social media at its finest.  Spreading words, allowing people to unite, opening lines of dialogue that may or may not have ever been opened.  Yes, it is the Age of the Geek, the Technology Era and as much as we get it wrong, sometimes, it’s done right.

Wednesday afternoon, two things happened that have done two different things….(1)was a text message that lifted me up so high, I thought I would be able to grab a star and (2)a realization that the fight I have hits closer to home than I ever expected.

The daughter, in her infinite wisdom, sent me a text and I will only summarize it due to its to me, for me and will be only mine forever…she said she had been seeing and hearing hateful, negative things about gay marriage all day and was sick of it.  Instead of fighting with others about their ignorance, she decided to do what I had taught her and send a positive message to someone about love, honor and respect.  I was the recipient of said text.  I burst into happy tears, called her, thanked her and listened as she told me her story, her testimony to the power of love.

I don’t know when it happened, but I raised an incredible daughter.  I have read that text a million times.  I shared my tears with my staff and was buoyed by her love and support.  The strength she gave me in that moment was wonderful.

Later, when I had  chance to come home and start looking at Facebook and reading about the days arguments, I realized, while many had changed their profiles, some closer had not.  I was puzzled.  In particular, three that I was sure SHOULD have, due to their proximity to me and my life.  I questioned two…

One just hadn’t been around and was like “you know I don’t do that. I don’t get into that stuff…don’t get all mental on me.”  And it was true.  They don’t and I didn’t.

One didn’t feel like arguing and was spending the day boycotting Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and every other known social site they were on….

The last one, they got a phone call…it went sideways quickly.  I remained calm but my heart was and is still broken.  Three.  Close to me.  Three not supporting my rights.

And then, I got pissed.

And then, I got the laptop out.

Buckle.up.

Here’s my open letter to those who oppose gay marriage,

Shut the fuck up.  Seriously.  Don’t espouse to me that it’s a sin, or that it’s against God’s law.  Don’t tell me you love me, but you can’t support my right to marry.  What the fuck!?!?!?!?!  How the hell did we get here?

Let’s think for a minute about this marriage thing, half of the breeders out there aren’t in it to honor God, to honor each other or to even commit to a lifetime together.  Some are in it to gain citizenship, some are in it to gain health insurance, some are forced into it by circumstance.  In the age we live in, it’s not even a “permanent” commitment.  The divorce rate is 48%!!!!!

Still think my faggot marriage is going to ruin the sanctity of your marriage…turn on an episode of the Kardashians, or Bridezillas.  Tell me about the sanctity now.  Nah….stuff your sanctity.

I would never be one to question God.  Ever.  I will be judged by Him and Him alone when I get there.

Oh, you have convictions.  You have opinions.

Let me tell you this….your convictions broke my heart.  Hope it was worth it.  Your opinions ring in my mind.

Your convictions on gay marriage, that it should be between a man and woman only….are hurtful to those who have loved and lost.  I know gay people who have been together longer and are more committed than many of the hetero couples I know.

Your convictions cost me MY CIVIL RIGHTS!!!!  Your convictions allow a legislature to be passed that make me less than you.  Allow me to be second class.  Allow me to not be worth the same as you.

Your compassion, your support, your love…the things I need, weren’t and aren’t there.

Yet these same people, will ask for my support, my love, my compassion….hell, they will ask for my money, my vote and are shocked when I will give these, because unlike you, I don’t stand in judgement of anyone.  I understand that everyone has a right to their own beliefs.  I honor our differences.  Why must you try to force me into a box?

No, no one asked me to change.  No one said they didn’t love me.  I never put those words in anyone’s mouth.

However, 24 posts and not a single one supporting me…speaks volumes.  Folks speak of God’s love and His judgement.  And yet, to those closest, don’t practice it.  Perhaps if I was a stranger, needing something, it would be different and I would get that necessary support and prayer.

No, I’m not a stranger….and I need it more.

For one to boycott instead of taking a stand, that is an act of cowardice.  If you don’t stand now, when will you?

For one to not make the effort, no matter how small, shows that perhaps when you ask for that bigger effort for something that matters to you, you will be left standing alone.

For one, to post anything and everything but a momentary word of support for your friends to see…why should I support you in return?

I know the answers to all of this…

Because of my love for God, my love for myself, my love for my family and friends.  My faith has taught me to love through pain, to love through confusion and those that are lacking, will be shown to me and I should love them more.

I prayed last night, deeply as I went to sleep. I prayed that I could let go of the hurt, the confusion, the anger and focus on one thing….

My faith in God above.  That He will provide me what I need in life.

I have my children.  I have my wife.  I have my health, I have family – the mother, the sister, the niece….countless cousins and my aunts and uncles…more love than I can handle.

I have the unwavering support of so many of my friends – gay, straight, bi, whatever….they support me, us, because they know the time is now, it’s here and things need to and will change.

All of us deserve equal rights.  I am just like anyone else….I pay taxes, I obey traffic laws, I have bills, I digest food, I brush my teeth….I am no different.

If the problem at the bottom of this was because we were a religious society, all practicing ONE RELIGION, I get that the arguments about God’s law hold up differently.  But Christianity makes up only 20% of the worlds religions.  Is the other 80% bound for hell?

Just because my neighbor may be Jewish, is he not worthy of the same heaven as me?

No, this isn’t about religious convictions.  This is about keeping fear alive…keeping hipocracy burning…to keep hate in so many hearts.

What does it hurt to allow me to marry?  To file taxes, to be by her bedside in illness, to adopt, own property, to live as we love?

Is it going to make your marriage implode?  You may have bigger issues if that’s the case.

At the end of the day, I am a girl…I hurt when I get hit, I laugh when I’m happy and I love….just like you.  Only I love another girl.

Folks, sin is sin.  My sin is no greater than your sin.  My homosexuality isn’t a bigger sin than your bigotry.

Only my sin, doesn’t break your heart.  Your sin, wounds many.

In the end…take this lesson…love.is.love.

Taco Night.

I love to cook.  For friends, for family.  I love being in the kitchen, creating dishes that will nourish and bring us together.  How the room begins to take on energy and life…the laughter, the smiles, the conversation.  I have found when I am in the kitchen cooking, folks come there…to be in the room, some to snack, some to “help,” some to just visit.  The kitchen is truly the heartbeat of our home.

It’s been a rough, hard patch for me and I think because of that, I haven’t had a creative urge.  I have been so ruled by my emotions and my anger and irritation, that nothing has been enjoyable to me.  Not even cooking.

It hit home yesterday, at the Boy’s football game.  They didn’t do well.  In fact, they lost. Terribly.  And the wife and I inadvertently sat in the wrong section and were a few rows back from the opposing team families.  This is relevant only because they were cheering….loudly.  And beating my son’s team.

How DARE they?!?!?  Didn’t they know that these young men were going to be devastated when they got in the car, didn’t they realize that these young men were going to blame themselves, individually for their team loss.  How dare they sit in the stands being noisy, cheery and happy that their own young men were winning!!!!

I don’t mean I was unhappy.  I mean I was completely irritated and spoiling for a fight. Every time one of them clapped or said “Good job!” I got upset.   Loudly upset, daring one of them to turn around, say something  or even shoot me a dirty look.  I am telling you, it hit a low yesterday.

The wife had to point out to me that if it had been our team, our son, I would have been loudly cheering, loudly proclaiming  “Good job!” and clapping until my hands were numb.  She told me that I was way too irritated and it had been a becoming a more frequent occurrence.  That my moods had changed and I was less happy, more quick to anger.

It was sobering.  She has no idea how this hit me.  I have quietly sat and thought about this since yesterday.

I have gotten so cranky lately.  I don’t know why.  I have let so many other people rule my emotions and my thoughts.  For no good reason.

This week, we did something I never thought I would be able to do.  We bought a car for the Daughter.  It was more the wife than me, which means so much more, because she did out of love.  Not because she HAS to love the Daughter, but because she WANTS to love her.

I told the wife and the Daughter, we just realized that she needed that one small break…that one step that showed her that she could have faith.  That she could lean on family and that our love for her, our faith in her, would be enough to help carry  her.  She was completely shocked and I loved every tear she cried.  If ever a kid deserved the happy, the moment of good shock, it was the Daughter.  And the wife made this happen.

I can never have the ability to tell her how much this meant to me.  How much it meant to me that she worked for this deal.  I was, am, will always be in awe of the level of her compassion for others.  I can never tell her how grateful I am for her, how her love transforms me daily.

That is a lesson I need to always remember…I am transformed every day.

My New Year’s Commitment, not Resolution, was to allow my family, my home to center me.  To bring me back to my core and remind me that even in the smallest way, I matter, that I am part of something special.  I just have to remember to ALLOW my home to recharge my batteries.  To ALLOW my family to bring me back, to help me find my center.  I tend to forget this lesson.  I tend to push it aside, to bring the work, the outsiders, the negative into my core.

It took some obscene cheering and a wife making an innocent statement to snap me out of it.

I realized that I have an amazing family.  I got to spend some really great quality time with the Daughter on Thursday night, just learning about her as a young woman.  We’ve had many of these times since she’s moved out and I feel better about our relationship now, moreso that I ever have before.  We are closer than ever and I treasure the fact that this person, this beautiful woman is of me….that her values, her morals, her life experiences are of me.  It’s mind-blowing.

So on Thursday, it was decided that we would do “Taco Night” on Sunday.  Taco Night is the Daughter’s favorite meal…and the glee was un-containable.  I would almost think that she fasted for three days to prepare.

I have spent the day recharging….as I committed to at New Year’s.  I have changed from one set of jammies to another.  And did nothing.  I sat, watched TV, read, checked Facebook and just chillllllllled out.  I need this, so much.  This CTRL-ALT-DEL on my life.  It’s become imperative in my life.

I love my job.  I find that there are times, I tend to bring my work home.  I have to be careful, because I am the type of person that can let my job take over my life.  I try to leave it at work, or at the very least, let it go on the 40 minute drive home.  And lately, I haven’t done that.  I have seen my conversations revolve around my day, not around my family.

I needed today to remind me that my family is my everything.  My whole reason to get up, to breathe, to do what I do day in and day out.  I needed to honor the commitment to me.

So after sitting around all day, I began doing my do….I began creating a meal for my family.  In the heart of this home, the food, the smells, the energy….it surrounded me and reminded me that I have a family I have to nourish.  Not only with food, but with faith, with love and with peace.  It’s my job to feed them, to love them and I am good at this job.

So as the family gathered around a table overflowing with good food, we laughed, we shared, we spent cherished time together.  Who knew that guacamole and tortillas could pull me out of my funk.

As I watched the Daughter and the Boyfriend leave, with enough leftovers for a family of four, I knew that tomorrow will hold new promise.

Tomorrow, I will wake up to another day in my blessed life and I won’t take it for granted.

WIth the kitchen cleaned, the Boy tucked in and the house quiet again, I find my end of day…and it will end with me, next to my wife, centered and peaceful.

ahhhhhh…..

Quick Wit Dialogue.

Weekends are always packed with errands.  Every weekend and currently, we have to schedule the errands around the Boy’s football games, because yes, we are playing select football again…lucky for us…it was a bye week because of Spring Break, I thought, ah-ha! Errands away!!!!  yeah, it’s even better when the wife thinks she’s funny.

Saturday, I was on the hunt for a Wells Fargo.  It had to be a Wells Fargo…so I told the wife to keep on the lookout…I was “sorta” keeping an eye out, but I was busy with important things, you know, like Facebook…the wife keeps “reminding” me that she is in fact the only one looking for a Wells Fargo.  The rest goes.like.this.

the Wife:  “you aren’t looking.”

Me:  “yes I am!”

tW: “in Facebook?  I’m trying to drive! St Patty’s Day traffic is nuts, help me out!”

M: “Fine!”

{we are in the far right lane, when I look up, to the left.}

M: “LOOK!!!!  right there!!!!  There’s a Wells Fargo!!!  RIGHT there!!!”

tW: “it’s on the other side of the road.  I’ll stop and let you out!”

M: “wha-?  whatever shall I do, SPRINT across 6 LANES OF TRAFFIC on NW Hwy?!?!!??”

tW: “Sprint, really??  bwahahahahahahahaha!!!”

M:  “bwahahahahahaha!!!”

now, I find this funny, simply for the visual.  I don’t run.  I doubt I would run if I was being chased by someone homicidal or an ex….I just flat don’t run.  Not graceful enough…but to be a human version of Frogger didn’t appeal to me.

So the wife is driving through tears…I am all “it’s not THAT funny!” as I try to stop laughing.

I got to Wells Fargo.  As punishment…the wife bought a new chair for the den.  It’s not shoes, but that’s a whole ‘nother conversation…