Looking Back … Moving Forward … Working It Out


“I read the news today, oh boy…”

The governor of South Dakota has signed a bill allowing state funded agencies to discriminate against LGBTQ families; the Texas senate has advanced an anti-LGBTQ so-called “bathroom bill”; in Tulsa, Oklahoma, the Equality Center has repeatedly been vandalized, including being shot at; the Justice Department — which now ought to be called Enforcer of Privilege and Extreme Right Rights for Straight White Men Department — has dropped its objection to the anti-LGBTQ North Carolinian so-called “bathroom” law; the Education Department — which now ought to be called the Ignorance and Bigotry Department — has undone its protections for LGBTQ students; I’ve been here before and I was not expecting this backward movement.

“I saw a film today, oh boy
The English army had just won the war
A crowd of people turned away
But I just had to look
Having read the book
I’d love to turn you on.”

When this retro-hate and fear became all too real in November, I went into denial, believing that before the January installation of the neo-fascists, the truth that we’d been punked would come out and our rightful president, Secretary Hillary Clinton, would take the office.

Alas, like so many of my fantasies based in denial, it was not to be. I fell apart. The victory of regressive fear-and-hate-based politicking and governing triggered many memories and emotions I thought I’d dealt with.

Long/short: I hadn’t. I visited a doctor who happened to be quite gifted and persuasive and for the first time in my life, began taking an anti-depressant. I was given such relief from the voices of sorrow which had long ruled my life, I was able to see clearly and face things I had long been unable to peek at.

As this administration has tried to move backwards, I have been able to look back on my life, on the world in which I’ve lived, helped to make, helped to change, and in so doing, have been able to breathe deeply of myself, to embrace the experience of me in ways I have not done since childhood.

There is always light; had this administration not triumphed at the polls — or stolen the election, either way — I’d not have collapsed in the way I did, as quickly as I did, and accepted chemical help. As a dear friend said to me; “No one can say you didn’t try to do it without chemicals: You tried religions, therapies, drinking, not drinking, meditating, being a hermit, being an extrovert, counseling others, writing, singing, on and on, every thing possible to make your life okay. You tried so hard.”

I did. In the face of some very huge odds and some very large setbacks and handicaps, I tried. And I was (and am) a hero. I survived. I was bashed. I was manipulated. I was hidden. I was denied. I was lied to. I was assaulted. I was raped. I was abused physically and emotionally. I was afraid to go out alone in public. I was stolen from. I was plagiarized. I was abandoned. I was slandered. I was used.

The thing is: I am now able to look back at that and instead of feeling shame or guilt, I feel such pride and wonder at how I have survived, mostly intact. And it fills me with such self-respect and awe that I — in looking back at where I’ve been and what I’ve been through, living now in poverty near the bottom rung on the economic scale, the state after me for taxes I can’t get anyone to explain to me or even tell me the amount of, about to deny me my license and registration because of them, threatening — again —  to render me a citizen unequal to others, denied rights, in danger, too, of losing my healthcare thanks to this administration I must thank for — ironically — getting me on medication which would be impossible for me to afford without the healthcare they want to deny me while they continue to increase entitlements they give to corporations and the wealthy — all of that, making me one of those poor, semi-rural, supposedly disaffected folk who are being excused for voting for these bigots; I have NEVER operated from that sort of fear or hate.

Still, even while I don’t want to hear the blather about how the disaffected lower-middle class and poor voted for these fascists out of fear and despair — what I call the Hillbilly Elegy justification syndrome — I am not as filled with anger at them as I was.

I am also not forgiving. Not because I can’t, but because I don’t think I’m entitled in the first place to judge. So, to think I’m entitled to forgive is hubris. And hypocrisy. If I want them to allow me to be me, I can’t very well tell them they can’t be them.

Please, I know it’s a false equivalency to say wanting to deny me my rights, as they do, is the same as me wanting them to leave me alone and allow me my life. I get that. And I’m not excusing or accepting hate. But . . .

People voted for him and this backward movement for reasons their own. I think my role in this life, my place in this world, is to be me. To live my truth and follow my heart; and for me, that means making the effort to see the Light and Love in everyone. I have always believed that, lived by that, even if I couldn’t always articulate it.

THE DIFFERENCE NOW is that, in the past, I thought other people (or the world) not loving me or being cruel or unkind or not seeing me was my failure for which I should feel guilt and anguish and sorrow and for which I should be punished.

People who think it’s acceptable to call me faggot, or to denigrate Muslims, or to deny reproductive choice and equal pay to women, or — on and on and on — are certainly a problem; but not one I can solve.

What is more disturbing to me, and so, more essential for me to deal with, is when people to whom I am close, in one of my circles, upset me. I walked away from Twitter at the end of February because my feelings got terribly hurt. My feelings were hurt because I was not accorded the kindness I would have given another, because someone saw me in a way NOT ME, and responded in a way I THOUGHT less than loving; BUT HERE IS THE THING — immediately as I was hurt, I realized that in being hurt I was responding to something OTHER THAN the Light and Love I knew to be at the center of that person, JUST AS THEY had done with me.

And that conundrum, and silliness of sadness, shone a light on how I was — with Twitter — again setting myself up to allow the words and behaviors of others toward me to define my worth. As I had, for my early decades, allowed people who called me fag or girly to make me feel less than, so, too, was I allowing some Twitter-ites to make me feel less than.

Which is silly. And, too, is not Love and Light — from either side. So, this morning, though I have not looked at anything on Twitter since the near-end of February other than my DMs, I opened it. I didn’t read my TL or check my notifications, I only went back to the Tweet that had caused my departure.

And, it still made me hurt. But, I think I can work it out. We can work it out. That’s what I’ve been doing these past two months: working out my stuff, seeing things from different directions, as many as I can, with family, friends, ex-friends, people.

“Life is very short, and there’s no time
For fussing and fighting, my friend
I have always thought that it’s a crime,
So I will ask you once again
Try to see it my way,
Only time will tell if I am right or I am wrong
While you see it your way
There’s a chance that we may fall apart before too long
We can work it out,
We can work it out”

I understand the impulse behind the Tweet that hurt me. I know— intellectually — that there was love and light inside it; but I have not evolved enough yet to accept its manner and method which still feel like an unnecessary unkindness.

So, I’m not going back to Twitter just yet. I have, however, learned a lesson from all of this, had my heart opened a bit more to those who didn’t vote for Secretary Clinton: if I can be hurt by and disappointed in Twitter, which I have long loved and in which I found solace, and the hurt and disappointment came from someone I trusted to know me, then surely I can understand those whose lives feel disappointing to them and in looking for something to blame, they choose someone and some behavior they believe will blow up the status-quo.

I don’t want to blow anything up. Not anymore. I want to work it out.

We look for answers. We look for solutions. Sometimes, we look back. I have. I do. I did today. And for me, moving backwards isn’t an answer. Looking back and understanding it — a good thing. Moving forward, moving on — an even better thing. No more fussing and fighting, my friends.

Love and Light dear ones.


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