Posts Tagged ‘love’

Touching the Sacred

Posted: January 23, 2016 in Uncategorized
Tags: , , , , , , ,

I haven’t slept well lately. Maybe it’s because of the anticipation of what today meant, maybe it’s because of all the stress. Maybe it’s a combination of both. Whatever the reason, I’m tired more than usual and only want to crawl into bed until Monday (okay, let’s be honest, I’d stay in bed on Monday if I didn’t have to work). Last night was an especially sleepless night for a couple reasons- 1. I stayed at my parents’ and stayed up late to spend time with my mom and 2. all the noises that creep into their loft where I “slept” are magnified and strange to my ears, which are accustomed to less indoor noise and more muffled, distant city noises. I spent the night at my parents’ house, because a couple of the brotherhood from my church were meeting me there early this morning to move a bed frame across town to my place.

A bed frame. Heavy, solid wood, simple, beautiful. Four posts, light colored wood (I have no idea what kind of wood). It’s nothing like anything I would pick out for myself, yet here I sit with this bed frame set up in my bedroom, almost in tears, again. Over a bed frame.

The bed frame was my grandmother’s for the past 8 – 9 years (my mother corrected my intitial time of 17 – 18 years, because that’s what moms are for) and before this one, she owned a darker version of it that dates back before my childhood. Those two nearly identical frames – four posts, a shining, polished ball at the top of each post, high headboard, and heavy – are part of my grandmother. They’re part of every memory I have of her. Until a couple days ago, I didn’t know the frame of my memories was actually two, instead of one. So, for the sake of this post, it’s The Bed Frame. When my mom asked if I wanted it, I didn’t hesitate to say, “Yes.” Gramma had to move from her beautiful The Bed Frame to a hospital bed after a fall and it was going to sit unused in my parents’ garage. I said yes to a frame I hadn’t really ever consciously thought about, but has held me in a type of embrace the past 29 years I couldn’t explain until my mom and I talked last night. As we looked at The Bed Frame in the garage – the first time I’ve ever not seen it whole – I told her my longest kept secret. The tears flowed.

My earliest memory that doesn’t involve being terrified is sneaking into my Gramma’s bedroom, in her house just outside Detroit, while everyone was somewhere else, doing other things. It was the first time in my tiny life I hadn’t felt fear. Childhood was a living nightmare and we escaped. Somehow, by the grace of God Almighty, we escaped. I closed the door just enough to leave a ray of light glimpsing through the dark of her room. I didn’t want anyone to see me. And I stood at the foot of the bed and touched the left post. Hugged the post in my tiny, frail arms, reaching my hand to that shiny ball at the top of the post to caress it like someone would caress the cheek of someone deeply loved. My mom says I was four.

Throughout the years I would sneak into Gramma’s room and stand at the foot of the bed and touch that one post. Always the same post. As time passed and I grew, holding that post and running my fingers lightly over that ball became easier, but never less necessary. And it was necessary. As if I weren’t really there, safe, wanted, and belonging until I touched that post. Never with the light on, not unless I had been sent in there by Gramma herself to get something for her, and even those errands were a chance to delicately run my fingers over that post. Walking in there was like walking on hallowed ground. It was a peaceful place of comforting smells, quiet, darkness that didn’t hurt, and a bed that held my beloved Gramma who hugged me and laughed and played jokes on us with her false teeth and fed me salami, cheese, and mustard sandwiches and taught me to play Skip-Bo. In my little girl mind I didn’t know the word ‘sacred’. But I knew the feeling of peace and love and reverence and contentment and belonging. That post was a spot where I could stand and, for a moment, breathe deep of something pure. It was the spot where I touched the sacred for the first time. And I felt as if I belonged somewhere. I felt wanted. I felt sacred.

Tonight I will pull back the covers of my bed and slide into a piece of the sacred, a piece I now own.

And I think I may actually sleep.

bedframe

No one can make you feel inferior without your consent.

– Eleanor Roosevelt.

More and more those close to me are being made to feel inferior. These are intelligent, witty, funny, sarcastic, giving, helpful, loving, lively, beautiful- inside and out- people. Too often this quote is used to brush off an offense when someone hurts us. And it’s easy to walk away when the offender is a stranger or someone we deem inconsequential. Sometimes. It’s much less easy to embrace this thought when the person who demeans us is a person we love, or loved, opened our hearts to, embraced, and for whom we’ve become vulnerable. Eleanor was right, a person can only make us feel inferior if we’ve given them permission to do so. But the problem is, by default, those whose opinions of ourselves we value most are the ones with the permission to devalue us.

I fear I’m getting too cerebral or abstract to effectively make my point. When two people meet they have several options on how to proceed or not proceed with a relationship- friendship or romantic. If they choose to create a bond, the closer two people become, the more of themselves they share- the more of themselves they give as a gift to the other person. And the more one person gives of who they are, the more ammunition the other person has to destroy them, but the vulnerability is done with the understanding of trust and reciprocation. Many times this works out: marriage, family, life-long friends. Unfortunately, the majority of the people I love the most have been betrayed after giving, in faith, who they are- dreams, fears, passions, goals, weaknesses- to someone.

The betrayal hurts. It hurts them and it hurts me. It hurts those who are left to pick up the shattered remains of a vibrant life now dulled. And so often it seems the one who did the damage walks away unscathed. The imbalance leaves the injured party with more questions than they can fully express. It leaves a hole where they used to be whole. It leaves an ache sharp and deep that steals their breath and makes their emotions bleed out. The destruction left in the wake is physically unseen, fully felt, but barely expressible beyond paltry offerings of metaphors and similes.

So yes, a person can only make you feel inferior if you give them permission, but that permission is usually granted as a ‘Terms Of Service’ type of unspoken agreement when a person opens up and trusts another with the understanding that each person won’t breach the agreement. It is not permission in the sense of encouraging or condoning someone to tear you down and leave you in shambles; it’s a part of the trust you build with another to keep your weak parts protected, your vulnerable parts covered, your insecure parts shielded, and your precious parts loved. Those who have the means with which to make you feel inferior are the exact people you shouldn’t have to fear as the ones who would. In a perfect world.

I met Meredith (Mere- pronounced “mare”- to me) at a conference in Las Vegas in 2012. It seems like we’ve known each other much longer than that, but it’s only been two years. We’ve roomed together in three different states and logged countless hours on Skype, Google Hangouts, texts, and phone calls. We have internet friend dates where we watch Buffy The Vampire Slayer: Once More With Feeling together and sing along even if we have our copies out of sync. I adore my friend and want the best for her even when we vehemently disagree.

Mere’s story is installment two of Single Is The New Black. I’ve posted it in its entirety below but head over to All American Blogger and show my girl, Ce, some love. She’s the creator of the series and an amazing woman.

I have been single for that last two years. Before that I was single for nearly a year. Before that… well let’s just say there is a pattern.

Make no mistake, I’m not defined by who I date and I don’t need a relationship to complete my life. I have plenty of great friends that I would not trade for the world, but friends can’t fill in every gap left by being single.

I’m not talking about sex, get your mind out of the gutter. Y’all need Jesus.

There are so many ways that a romantic relationship is beneficial to a person, but for some people it’s really hard to find “the one” that we were promised by every Disney movie we grew up with.

I’m not single by choice, I would certainly like to have a long term relationship, but being a conservative has really killed my love life.

I guess the problem is that I am consistently looking for a long term relationship, rather than just part time dates to pass the time. If I want someone to take me to dinner and a movie, I have my best friend.

So I remain single while I keep looking for “the one.”

I’ve probably spent just as much time looking at dating profiles online in recent years as I have spent looking at houses in the last 6 months and I have found that there is a lot of similarity between looking for a healthy relationship and looking for the house you want. Both are long term investments (in either money or time) and both involve a certain amount of compromise.

If I had unlimited money or an unlimited pool of dating prospects, there would be no reason to compromise on anything. I could find the absolute perfect match for me and never have to worry again.

Unfortunately life does not work like that for most people.

singles

So here’s how I look for a house. I made a list of everything I wanted in a house and then I took a long hard look at it and cut away anything that was negotiable, which left me with a pretty short list of “absolutely must haves”. Which included a pool, at least a 9,000 square foot lot, at least 1900 square feet of house, and 3 bedrooms. Anything else I can work on and improve, but some things are just necessary for a home to be livable from the start or are just impossible to change later.

I have done the same thing with relationships. Though how much you want to listen to me is debatable…after all I am single.

My list is short and to the point.

  • intelligent
  • conservative or right leaning libertarian
  • doesn’t do drugs
  • attractive (in my opinion)
  • sense of humor
  • wants kids

Everything else is negotiable. I don’t care if we like all the same books or music or movies, as long as we can agree on a few things we enjoy doing together. I don’t need them to always agree with me or like the exact same food or tv shows. That stuff is negotiable. We will find things we have in common over the course of a relationship and find interests we both enjoy, even if I have to order anchovies on her half of the pizza or she can’t stand that I actually likeLove Actually.

I’m willing to compromise on just about anything, just not those 6 things, because without those 6 things a relationship could never be long term, unless I was prepared to be miserable.

You would think that my list, as short as it is, would be easy to find. I should have dinner invitations all the time, after all I am a fairly attractive woman. I’m smart, can hold a good conversation, and I clean up nice.

Unfortunately I am also a lesbian, which makes this list a little harder to fit to my small pool of dating applicants.

Less than 3 percent of the U.S. population identify themselves as gay, lesbian or bisexual, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported Tuesday in the first large-scale government survey measuring Americans’ sexual orientation.

http://www.washingtonpost.com/national/health-science/health-survey-gives-government-its-first-large-scale-data-on-gay-bisexual-population/2014/07/14/2db9f4b0-092f-11e4-bbf1-cc51275e7f8f_story.html

Let’s just think about that for a second and do a little math.*

The population of the United States is around 313.9 million.

3% of that is about 9.4 million.

Since around 51% of the United States population is female, that leaves about 4.8 million who are lesbians in the United States.

Now while the percentage of conservatives in the United States is pretty good, within the minority of the gay community the percentage seems to be pretty small. I’ll be generous and assume that 25% of my fellow gay women are also conservative.

That leaves me with 1.2 million gay, conservative women in the United States and the likelihood that I’m attracted to all of them is pretty low. I’m probably going to find around 50% of them attractive.**

600,000.

That’s what I’m left with. In truth the number is fairly low and given that I only get along with about 50% of the conservatives I meet and, while I consider myself attractive, that does not mean that every woman I’m attracted to will also find me attractive. For various reasons, the true number of women in my dating pool just gets smaller and smaller.

Meredith

What’s a gay conservative to do? Especially a gay conservative that is naturally introverted and politically outspoken.

Basically…I’m screwed.

Even at CPAC, a place that is almost literally crawling with conservatives (many of whom fit all 6 of my specifications), I’m dateless.

Gay conservatives, female or male, are basically Unicorns.

I was never the type to announce my sexuality when I was younger. I didn’t do the whole “I’m here, I’m queer” bit and I certainly didn’t have any pink triangles or rainbows in conspicuous places on my person, but now I feel like I need to wear a sign that says “lesbian, conservative, single, please apply here to date me”. It’s not about shoving my sexuality in anyone’s face, it’s just a slight tinge of desperation.

Maybe it would easier if I just didn’t care about the politics of who I dated, but I want to date someone who I can see a future with and there is no future with a liberal for me. I spend my free time mocking liberals and doing my best to prove how absolutely wrong they are and that does not sound like a healthy relationship to me.

The last time I made the mistake of dating a liberal, she told me that my political beliefs were “embarrassing” and this was before I was as far right as I am now.

I’ve had people say that I have unrealistic expectations and I should just lower my standards just a little, but why should I do that? I know what I want and respect myself enough to know that I’m worth the kind of person that I am looking for.

The thing about being a conservative, whether you are gay or straight or male or female, is that we know that lowering our standards is never the answer.

What is the answer then? I ask myself that same question every day and I’m beginning to think the answer may be cats…lots of cats.

_____

*This is highly unscientific, basically I’m just throwing numbers at a wall for effect. Whatever.

** Again, I’m being rather generous here.

* Meredith is a writer who is addicted to politics, legal jargon, and logic. When not frustrating others with her pragmatic, yet sometimes idealistic, approach to politics she loves British television, fantasy novels, and crime dramas.

You can find her online at The Snark Who Hunts Back, Elementary Politics, A Convenient Cook, or on Twitter.

You can find Meredith on twitter as @MeredithAncret, and read her personal political blog atwww.thesnarkwhohuntsback.wordpress.com* All American Blogger thanks her for her contribution to our blog.

My parents have been married 17 years today.

I’m 31. The math isn’t hard. The dad I’ve been exponentially blessed with isn’t biological and that is the most insignificant drop of fact in the world. Dad is the definitive example of a man. He’s shown me how to be a lady, how a man should treat a woman, how not to settle for less. I have his personality- his stubbornness, his tenacity, his sense of humor, his nerdiness, his awkwardness, his type of passion for things that strike my fancy, his argumentativeness. Dad taught me to cook, sans recipe. The level of frustration we send my mom to when he and I get in the kitchen together knows no limit- she always asks what we added/did. We shrug our shoulders; we don’t know. We just create. I am his daughter to my core.

My Marmie and I tend to butt heads. We don’t see eye-to-eye. But she lets me be me. She cheers me on when I doubt my path. She holds me on the couch when I need a hug. She lets me cry and rant when I don’t know why I’m crying or ranting. Mom taught me how to love music, not in lessons and books, but with melodies and singing. My beautiful mother has experienced the shackles of oppression and hardship and poverty to, in the end, stand. She may be battle-scarred by the fight, but she still stands. Marmie has taught me to endure. She’s taught me faith. She’s taught me to seek God, to praise Him no matter how low things get. I’m a better woman because of her.

We live in a society that throws in our faces romance is dead, yet I still see grand gestures by a quiet man. The world has become tone-deaf and children grow up not knowing good music, but my ears are filled with beautiful melodies. Our pop-culture once celebrated marriage, now fights against it, but my parents are an humble beacon and example.

Happy Anniversary, mom and dad.