There are days that I look at myself in the mirror and wonder if I have become a shadow of the person I once was. Have I become a big lumbering bear, staggering from a food stupor after raiding a campsite? I watch myself sometimes wander from day to day tranquilized by life the way the dancing bear from the circus is, always muzzled and kept safely leashed so that I don’t hurt myself or anyone else.
I have watched myself, at work and at home, become so much more like that trained bear. A smile and a nod that everything is ok and that I am willing to do whatever it takes not to cause ripples in life. My job has become peacemaker, counsellor, problem solver….hmmm parent sometimes.
It seems that at work lately, the new work force has become more and more immature. I have found that coworkers now seem to need coercing and coddling instead of being supervised. Sometimes I feel as though they expect me to treat them the way I have watched mother cats behave with their kittens. They want me to clean them and preen them, make sure that they are well taken care of.
Don’t get me wrong, we all have to do our share of coddling and developing of other people, but I feel like nowadays we live in a society of Peter Pans. We have people around us constantly who don’t want to grow up. If I counted the times I have had to listen to “He did this, She said that….” I might pull out what little hair I have. I can only try to describe how many times in a day I use the phrase, “And why do you think it made you feel this way?” And trust me…I am A/R not Human Resources.
Now the funny thing about the Goddess is that she can teach us a lesson when we want it the least or don’t feel like we are emotionally strong enough to put it to practice. As I told you in the last post, we had been essentially waiting for my grandmother to pass into the summerlands. Well, she did that last weekend. I was bombarded with so many feelings that I had forgotten I had. So many memories overtook me at the strangest times.
You can say alot about my grandma, but pushover was never a word used to describe her. Never once did she cater to anyones whims or moods. She was a very matter of fact woman. She was always one of those women that lived by the philosophy “If it comes up, it comes out.” Don’t get me wrong, granny was never intentionally rude or crass when it came to dealing with people. She just met them where they were. I used to be that way. I remember her telling me many a time how much better she thought I would look with shorter hair and then when I cut it, she would tell me she liked it longer. She was a very honest individual. She would also insist that I sing on a regular basis because she didn’t feel I was honoring the universe by keeping it to myself.
The strength of my grandmother came to me alot over the past week. She had always taught me to be proud of myself, no matter what anyone else thought. She always told me that I was one of a kind and the minute I tried to become like someone else would take away my uniqueness. She knew I was gay. She embraced it because she loved me for who I was. Why did I think that I would be able to get through any funeral service for her without having to prove the strength she had embedded in me.
I was standing in the line for “visitation” as southerners call it—-it’s a “calling” for northerners and mid-westerners. As I am standing there next to my niece, I knew there was going to be trouble. One of our highly “religious” distant cousins is approaching us in line…..You know the type…..teased up and shellacked hair, painted on eyebrows, and round as a bale of cotton. I hear her just a few folks down from me lean in and whisper to her cohort and whispers really loudly, “That’s the girl that had the child out of wedlock.” I kept my cool….for a bit. She gets to me and looks me from horn to hoof and says, “Why do you have that sinful earring?” I answered simply, “Because I like it.” She retorts, “You know that’s not godly.” I could feel granny behind me, kicking off her shoes and rolling up her sleeves. I looked the woman eye to eye and said, “Neither is your teased up, hen-shit brown hair, your painted on eyebrows and your rather substantial ass. Now leave before I stick my foot up that fat ass of yours and parade you down Main Street.” After she swallowed all the air in the room, she left. My aunt leaned over and whispered, “Your grandma never did like that woman.”
My earring might not be your cup of tea, but it is mine. I like the way I look. I may not always feel that self confident with myself, but for the most part I really like me. It is the same with my homosexuality. I don’t ask for approval. It isn’t needed. I never asked you to enter my bedroom. I am, however, proud of myself, my partner, our lifestyle and our friends. I tried to be ‘not gay’ for a while. It didn’t work. That is what felt unnatural.
I am not here to preach gay rights or anything of that sort. What I am saying is be who you are. Don’t stifle yourself for the sake of a job or a group of people. If you roar when you talk….roar proudly. If you lisp….do it just as proudly.
This week with my grandma’s undying spirit reminded me of who I have become over the years. I am not a trained bear. I do not roll over on command. I do not coddle and tell you that it’s always going to be unicorn farts with rainbow sprinkles. I offer reality. I offer love. I offer strength. I refuse to blow smoke up your hoo-hah. That was who my grandma taught me to be….myself.
Sometimes it is not only necessary to cause ripples in life. It is very necessary to just do a big ole belly flop and cause a gigantic splash. It is good to shake things up every so often—-not for the sake of just causing friction….but because it is needed. Everything in balance.
I said earlier that we live in a society of Peter Pans. That isn’t a bad thing….but without Captain Hook, there was never any real purpose for Pan.
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