Friday, November 26, 2010

Day 324

I've not really blogged in what feels like a long time now. Mostly, it's because everything feels so jumbled lately. There is the persistent family issue, feeling rejected for the simple act of being who I am, for acting according to what seems right to me. Being out as a bisexual was not initially a 'decision' with my mother but the result of answering the phone at a bad time, while melting down over heartbreak. That was over two years ago. From then until a few months ago, I kept my silence, thinking it was better to keep the peace and hide parts of myself from the people I'm tied to by blood. Then, an inadvertent slip on Facebook made me realize that I couldn't keep hiding. I was tired of monitoring everything in an attempt to avoid controversy only to have a hammer slammed down on me when I slipped up or something out of control revealed the truths they didn't want to hear. That was sometime in June. I sat my mother down and explained to her that, like it or not, it was time that she accept me as I am, love me for the real me and that I felt an apology for some of the labels she was pasting on me was in order. I realize that some of this is redundant for some reading this and new to others. Forgive me for repetitiveness. To jump up to more recent events, my sister and my mother have been working hard to bring me 'back in line' through a lot of emails and efforts to get other family members to cut me out of their lives. It's been hard. I miss Alex, Emma and Parker a lot. Luckily, I got to see Parker for a bit when I drove down for a birthday lunch with Amy and Kevin had Alex and Emma call me while Angie was out on the actual day.

Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday, possibly my favorite day of the year. It's always been a less stressful day and, to me, more about sharing time with those we love than gifts or religion or anything that divides people. Yesterday, I was with the people who have provided me more support and love in all this mess than I know what to do with some days. Lately, being treated with the kindness and understanding they give me makes me tear up (happy tears). I continue to try and focus on that, on what makes me smile. Like I said, there are days when it's difficult. At one point yesterday, I stood and watched the snow fall and wondered what the munchkins were doing. But, I remain thankful. It was a good day and I felt surrounded by love and light for much of it. I have to bastardize the video campaign promoted by Dan Savage and just keep telling myself that it will get better.


  1. I wonder if you ever go back and read your blogs because doing so reveals patterns that give insight to some things. Many times you start off writing about the negatives and then, as some sort of afterthought, you mention how great your friends are and how thankful you are to have the support that you do. You've also written that you don't know where you fit in life yet again you sometimes write about some really wonderful things.

    Where is the disconnect? Why are you placing so much focus on the things that aren't perfect? Who do you personally know who hasn't got something they deal with that isn't perfect?

    You wrote that your family is not in a place you'd like them to be in terms of your lifestyle, yet you have two family members who went out of their way to a)see you for a birthday lunch, and b)call you so you could talk to Alex and Emma. Where is the joy in that? These are family members who are on your side, at least in some way. Why can't you be happy about that?

    As for being bi-sexual, are you bi-sexual for you or for other people? It seems that being and enjoying who you are take a back seat to your need for everyone to be as happy about it as you are. You haven't said that your family has disowned you (which is what so many of us experience); you haven't said that your female lover was rejected by your family (again, something that most of us experience). Does it suck that a part of you is not accepted by some family members? Yes (and we all get that), but do you and your family agree on everything? I know many people who can't discuss politics and religion with their families, but that's just the way it goes. They aren't demanding that their parents ignore their own beliefs to put theirs first (which it seems like you are doing). How do you respond when someone demands that you change one of your beliefs? Do you give in or, because they are your beliefs, do you stand by them? Being human there are certainly some beliefs you have that are a little off, but is that what you want folks to focus on or do you want to be loved and included in spite of differences of opinion? Don't get me wrong, I'm not saying that your family is right, I just wonder why you feel the need to repeatedly push it on them.

    I apoligize for the harshness, but I've been waiting for someone to comment on here or for you to mention that one of your friends has set you straight, but it's just not happening. Not having the support of family sucks, and I'd venture to say that the greater majority of people have trouble with their families. The question for you is, are you going to continue using your unsatsifaction (with family, your job, not being in a relationship, not "fitting in") as an excuse to hold yourself back from the enjoyment of being you?

    It's goog to be honest about what you're feeling and experiencing, but use this blog as more than a sounding board. Use it as a learning tool to give you new insight to yourself. It would be really awesome to read some strong positive things on here.

  2. Wow, Don, what arrogant crap.

    You blame Anita for not calling out the joy of the two people in her family that have taken a risk to help her stay in contact with the kids. But, that's exactly what she did. She specifically called them out to say how lucky she was that they were there to help.

    "As for being bi-sexual, are you bi-sexual for you or for other people?" Do you think that a person's sexuality is some sort of affectation?!? It is not. Who are you to suggest that she is bisexual to somehow please others? She could have pleased plenty of people (including her family) by simply not accepting who she is attracted to. But that would have been to live a lie. She even states, "Being out as a bisexual was not initially a 'decision' with my mother but the result of answering the phone at a bad time, while melting down over heartbreak." Note the word "heartbreak", not the phrase "trouble with a friend." Are you assuming that the issue of bisexuality came up because this heartbreak was over a man? Of course not. Or are you assuming that she fell in love with a woman (hence the word "heartbreak") in order to please someone else? Who would she be pleasing? The woman she fell in love with? I know there are plenty of people who do things to please others, but that seems pretty far-fetched to me, also.

    As far as being disowned, her family has threatened to cut off ties with her, they have actively been encouraging other family members to do the same, and she did state that in the blog entry. But, even if that were not the case, who are you to say that this situation is somehow "less" just because she chose not to state that explicitly?

    And yes, they have stated that a female lover will never be welcomed. Again, who are you to say that the situation is somehow less just because she did not explicitly state that?

    Anita did not go into all the intricacies of the situation. (It's her blog, and she gets to decide what to say in it.) You don't have all the details. One thing that isn't stated is that her family is expecting her to literally renounce her beliefs and her sexual orientation and conform to their beliefs in order to be accepted back into the fold. It is the reverse of what you have described. From all the indications that I have seen, Anita has not "pushed it on them."

    As for the last paragraph, again, it is Anita's blog. People blog for many reasons. If she chooses to use an entry as a sounding board, then that is her prerogative.

  3. I in no way meant to offend anyone, I was simply sharing some thoughts after having read this blog for a while. I have my own trials with family, friends, etc. that I've been working with for the past 2 decades so I am coming from a place of experience and caring. Daddyfrogg, as you have pointed out there are details that Anita has not shared, so I did my best with the information that she HAS chosen to share. I work with LGBTQ teens and travel the county to fight hate and enact legislative change with the group I'm involved with. I was certainly not being insensitive to Anita's pain but was trying to suggest ways she can move past it. It seems that she allows the pain to take first place in her life as evidenced by her blogs. I did say that I don't blame her for feeling hurt, but every day we all choose how we will let that affect us. There are so many of us who have had to redefine who our families are after being abandoned by the ones we started out with. I don't deny for a moment that it hurts, but I do believe that ultimately we have to live our lives for ourselves and find ways to be satisfied with that. I don't live my life for anyone but myself. I do not ask anyone to accept every part of who I am. Anyone who can't accept me, family or not, is not welcome in my life, and in that I have great conviction.

    As for being bi-sexual for her family, my point was that, even in this blog entry, she wrote that she accidentally came out 2 years ago and then lept to last June when she asked her family to accept her. I've read on here that she has participated in family activities and have seen the pictures of her with her family so logically it seems that for most of this time she has been a part of the family (as opposed to being disowned). Anita clearly stated that last June she asked her mother for an apology and complete acceptance. As a reader of this public blog, I'm wondering why, if she was still an accepted member of the family (albeit not 100% accepted) she would allow the results of this to affect her so deeply? She is an intelligent person, she knows how certain family members feel, and after two years she hadn't let it go. She is obviously a very intelligent, creative and deep-thinking person, so she understood, better than you or I or anyone, the risk she was taking. She is not wrong for asking for acceptance, but she cannot be totally surprised at the outcome.

    Support is a necessity, most definitely, but if we don't help the ones we love to move beyond the I'm-so-upsets and we allow them to swim in their pain, we become guilty of enabling them in their sadness, and that says something about us (but that's another issue). If we really want our friends to feel good and happy, if we are not threatened by their joy but instead come to rely on and expect their sorrow, then we are doing a solid disservice.

  4. As I said, many, many of her posts start out very negatively with some nice thoughts at the end and that gives great insight to the bigger picture of how Anita handles her life, not just in this but in everything, and if this has never been pointed out to her then she could benefit from hearing an outside party who sees this characteristic. She's holding on to negativity, and many of the things she wants in life either won't happen (because she won't allow herself) or she won't fully allow herself to enjoy them when they do happen. When she finds love, is she going to get lost in the joy of it or will she allow her family's negativity to overshadow it?

    Obviously you are close to Anita in some way, so I ask you-has she embraced herself 100% or do you see her holding back part of who she is? It is not possible to completely embrace oneself and still be this down oneself.

    As for how she uses her blog, it was not a criticism but a simple suggestion, and I'm surprised that couldn't see that.

    Anita, I don't know you outside of what you've written of the past year or so, but I do know you. I see in you so much of what I see in many other people who go through the same things. It hurts, and I'm sorry that not everyone in this world will accept who you are. But thtat does not mean that YOU can't accept who you are. You have shared that you are unhappy for being single while friends are in relationships. You write about the activities you do with friends but then feel down for not "fitting in" (and you've written that more than once). No one, no matter how hard they try, can make you feel good about you, only you can do that. But, that goes for bad feelings too. No one can make you feel bad about you, only you can do that. Additionally, it is your choice, not your family's, not mine and not Daddyfrogg's, to let go of the negatives and focus on the joys in life. You obviously have many, many joyful things to celebrate (the fact that you ARE out and can experience love and passion in new ways), so why do you almost always focus on them only after you've focused on the negative (one thought is that you are punishing yourself for something(s) but you only you will know what that is). The last time I read a joyful post of yours was when you attended that camping trip last summer. Again, it says a lot.
    I do hope that you find your joy (here's a hint: it's already inside of you, just let it out).

  5. Don - If you are so involved with LGBTQ causes, why do you use terms like "lifestyle," and "bi-sexual" (with a hyphen)?

    "No one can make you feel bad about you, only you can do that."

    This is one of those trite pop psych victim-blaming half-truths that are often well-intentioned, but typically do more harm than good. The fact is, we are a social species, and if a person isn't affected by how others respond to them, there is something wrong with that person's brain. Anita's family is emotionally abusing her, so it is natural that she is suffering. If I punch you, is it your own fault that you feel pain? By your logic, it is. Trauma -- including emotional abuse -- changes the physiology of the brain. Emotional abuse is therefore just another form of assault.

    Anita's family is just now threatening to cut ties with her, so it is something very new to her that she should not be expected to be over. She has been true to herself by asking her family to respect and accept her for who she is, and their response was to threaten to cut her off, which would mean that she could no longer see her niece and nephews. She is in a Catch-22 situation with no good solutions. It is completely understandable that she is not feeling very positive about a horrible situation that, as you put it, "isn't perfect."

  6. I make it a habit, in writing this blog, to read the comments and refrain, usually, from responding to them. However, I think replying myself is important here.

    Don, Ella and DaddyFr0gg both raise points that I would reiterate. I would also say that you are highlighting the negative elements of my entries and valuing them more highly than the positive ones. Yes, both are present and, of late, I have had some experiences that have made the tone of my entries more negative. The fact that I'm currently struggling to deal with a harsh stance on the part of my family naturally shows up here.

    Also, I think it's important to note, as DaddyFr0gg did, that I'm writing what I'm comfortable sharing in a fairly public forum. I'm not recording each detail and interaction I have. I'm also someone who writes from a place of continuing progress. Some time ago, I wrote about the ending of my counseling with a therapist I'd been seeing for over two years. One of the major issues she and I tackled was my propensity to try to make things more pleasant than they are to protect others. I spent so many years acting like everything was fine when it wasn't and I try to tone it *down* in the blog *because* I don't want to just pour out all these hurt feelings and make it seem like I'm just rolling around in gloom all the time.

    For the record, I enjoy my life. I like the people in it and am happy with it the majority of the time. I continue to focus a lot of my energy on *not* letting all this out in my day to day life, even now, because I don't want it to color my whole world. But, working with Rachel for so long made me start trying to face the not so nice stuff. Being able to open up in this forum is a part of staying positive daily and I view the honesty I try to continue to work toward here as a healthy, positive thing. If you feel that I don't present a balanced picture, then, I think that is the result of the fact that, as you point out, you do not know me and only have the few entries you're choosing to focus on as a view into my character. I appreciate your thoughts but I would suggest that you're engaging in a slanted interpretation of the entries you've read.