…or you’ll fall for anything.
I don’t know where the original quote is from, and I’m feeling Google-lazy in this moment. I’m actually hearing the country song by Aaron Tippin play in my head. Oh how I thought he was amazing when I was young. I think I actually fangirled pretty hard when I met him. Youth…I miss it.
I was asked recently where I am showing up small in my life. I found it easier to answer where I am fully showing up. One of the areas I certainly show up small is in my writing. I am so afraid of offending anyone (and I realize there are many people on the internet who LIVE to express that they have been offended) that I don’t express myself. I recognize that I am not for everyone…and I actually like that because it means I’m authentic. Having typed all of that, I still haven’t found my niche in the world when it comes to giving/helping, which is something I am sensitive about.
At any rate, last week I attended the preview of the video they will be showing my son for his “Family Life” unit at school. There is no actual sex ed involved, but I went to the preview to make sure there were no negative statements made about masturbation or LGBTIQA identity. The video itself was almost 11 minutes long, and even with out any specific sex education, they still found a way to make a hetero-normative statement. After the preview, the teachers opened up the room for questions, and I bit my tongue. All I could think was “How many kids in the 5th grade and this school will see this and take it as a knock against who they are? Will they offer ANY education about LGBTIQA at all? What am I risking by bringing this up? Is it even relevant if the parents would kvetch anyway? Do I want to fight this right now?”
I did not. I did not say anything, and in my silence, I feel ashamed. I *did* have a conversation with my son when we left where I discussed that the video was all stuff he already knew (proper anatomical names, changes he’ll go through, etc) as well as the line that was hetero-normative. My son has two moms, a known donor/Papa, a step dad, and his mommy’s girlfriend. He has heard the term hetero-normative before, and he has been told all his life that it is perfectly fine if he has a boyfriend, a girlfriend, both, or neither. A few months ago we read the book George (if you have a late elementary/early middle school child, I cannot recommend this book highly enough, or even as an adult) and discussed what it means to identify as transgender. We discuss this stuff in our home because it is important.
When I was given the opportunity to discuss it in public I froze. I wasn’t in front of my kids and I choked. I was in a room with people I knew would disagree, and I didn’t feel like fighting. I say that because I recognize it, not to excuse my silence. In our home and in our lives as a family, we bring up real issues. We talk about race, privilege, socio-economics, sexual and gender identity, intersectionality, kindness, love, and compassion. We have to talk about these things if we want to change the world. As a mom, I believe parenting is Guerrilla Warfare on society. I change the world by putting conscious, compassionate, and contributing individuals in to it. Last week, I failed my own mission.
I can accept it, because I can learn from it. I can examine it and adjust. Like a sailor who has found themselves off course, I can realign myself to ensure arrival at my destination. I cannot have that moment back, and that makes me feel a little sad. As David Gibson says, “Daily gradual growth”, and that is what I’m committed to. So, here is to standing up, taking up some more space, and expanding my “offense” field. I will not apologize for who I am anymore, or for my beliefs, though I will say that I am 100% open to learning and hearing other opinions/beliefs/ways. I will not even say “no offense, but…” and have taught my children not to do so either.
When I express something, if it makes you want to talk, know that my “door” is open to respectful discourse. I welcome conversation. Comment, email me, engage with me. I will not tolerate disrespect, to me, my children, or of any one else, so make sure to keep any comments/emails on the up and up.