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Time

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I mentioned last post about how I’ve been trying to not use my phone when I’m doing social stuff, because I want to be a part of things. It’s harder than you’d think, because we’re so conditioned now to document every meal and moment, and to take and re-take photos to prove our spontaneity. There’s a place for this, yes, but for me? I’m trying to be more in the moment.

But sometimes, I really do not like the moment.

This morning was the icing on a particularly nasty cake I’ve been baking for a while now. I was running late for a cycle class, and I do not cope with being late. So I took what I thought was a shortcut, and found myself going straight past the gym. I turned around and promptly repeated the exact same sequence of turns, and again… going straight past the gym.

As I sat at the lights waiting to do a third u-turn, I heard myself say something. Actually, it was pretty loud. Chances are the person waiting at the lights next to me also heard it.

One thing I am good at doing is talking to myself in ways that I wouldn’t dare or even dream of talking to other people. And to prove a point, I have turned what I said into a beautiful meme:

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And looking at those words, I feel ashamed of myself. I would unleash total fury at anyone who dared to use those words towards someone I love. Even towards someone I don’t know. You don’t talk to people like that, not in my world.

Except… I do. To myself.

And I’m sitting here, writing this, and I just want to cry. Because I know I meant it, at the time.

Time.

When I eventually got to the gym, I pushed myself through a big cardio workout, because I’d totally and utterly missed the class I wanted to go to. I was stretching afterwards, and a woman who’s become a good friend plopped herself down opposite me to chat.

We talked about time. About how moments are so important, and without investing in the importance of time – instant, immediate, now time – life kind of loses meaning.

It reminded me of a conversation I had last night, where again time was the topic. Don’t rush time, don’t force yourself forwards into things you can’t possibly predict the best outcome. Don’t worry about things that you don’t have the information about yet. Just be now. Time.

Which reminded me of a conversation I had on Sunday. Time. Time doesn’t exist, you just have now as your guarantee. Don’t let anxiety mess with now.

Time.

I need to remember those words I said to myself. Not because they’re true. But because of the horrific cruelty behind them, that I directed to myself. And I need to remember how I spent that moment, that time. Because life is so fleeting. I cannot put more time into talking that way to myself. Because fuck.

I might hear me.

I thought about things that I have heard other people say about me.

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photo by @kimmi_joy

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There comes a point where you can make a choice.

And I choose moments. I choose now.

And as hard as it’s going to be to change the thought patterns of a lifetime, I choose to remember that I have done something amazing. That I am strong.

And that I am about to help other people set themselves free.

 

 

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They came to dance

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13428361_1084188311627816_6294657720373394192_n Like the rest of the world I’ve been totally horrified and dismayed by the tragic shooting at Pulse nightclub in Orlando.

Beloved and I both are reeling from this act of senseless violence. It’s been constantly on our minds and we’ve talked about it many times.

We’re in Australia, so geographically not close to Orlando. But the people who died, the people who had their life ripped from them: they’re members of our community. And as gay women, the sense of grief is strong.

Imagine.

Sexual orientation is such a deeply personal thing. People spend years in closets and unshared spaces, coming to terms with who they are. Some people never ever come out of those places, the sense of shame or guilt driving them to a life of pretence and half living. And then you find out about a place you can go to. A place where you won’t be stared at. Judged. Laughed at. Brutally beaten. Cruelly taunted. A safe place. A safe place for people just like you.

And so, you go. You meet people. You might dance with someone of the same sex for the first time ever. You might finally say those words – “Yes, I’m gay”. You feel the exhilaration of freedom; the weight lifting from your shoulders as you gaze around and see people who are like you but happy and open and themselves. And in that moment a life outside of the closet no longer seems so scary. You have a community. You have a people. You are part of something bigger and you are totally, utterly safe. And like everyone else there, you dance.

Then it changes.

1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6 7 8 9.

10.

11. 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22.

23.

24. 25. 26.

27 28.

293031323334353637383940. 41. 42.

43.

44.

45.

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48. 49.

50.

The dance floor slowly empties.

Joy turns to chaos.

Life turns to death.

Freedom turns to oppression.

The closet becomes the only safe place once again.

You hear tears. Worse than that, you hear phones ringing and going unanswered. Worse still, you hear sobs desperately trying to be stifled.

And worse still, you hear silence where there should be no silence, silence where silence is the devastating reality of no further noise.

This is not about religion. This is not about creed or colour. This is not about gun laws or lack thereof.

This is about people. About a community attacked. About the right to be yourself, being snatched away and scrunched up like some used piece of cling film and flung carelessly into the bin.

They came to dance. To dance.

But now, the steps have changed.

I don’t know what to do from here. From Australia the reality is that I don’t know a single person who was at Pulse, and it’s really unlikely that I will ever go there. But I’ve been to gay venues. There’s a pride festival coming up later this year that beloved and I are going to. But the question dangles.

Will we be safe?

We can’t live, constantly scared that our love might flick the switch for someone who has a problem with it. But maybe we’ve had a reminder that we also can’t assume that what is normal for us, for our loved ones, for our community – we can’t assume that everyone is as welcoming or inclusive as we are. Because ours is a community that was primarily forged through exclusion.

For someone to enter that community, to go to a place that is safe for that community, and to singe handedly destroy exactly what it stands for: maybe that is what’s at the heart of the way beloved and I are feeling. That the physical safeness of our safe spaces are so utterly vulnerable.

But our hearts are strong.

And as a community, we love fiercely.

Yes, we will be targeted. Yes, we will be discriminated against. We will be judged. Denied freedoms. Experience shame. We will forge connections and explore life and get to know that person we kept in the closet, and when we come out you can be sure that the Mardi Gras Parade will be storming proudly through our hearts and our heads as each footstep shows that we are not alone and we are not less than anyone else.

We still can’t get married.

But we can love.

And from what I can see, that’s the true safe space.

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The Granite Block

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This post is the result of much thought. And I know this could be a risky post. Not because of the content, but because I know I am writing to some people who might read it and decide I am having a go at them. I assure you, I am not. I’m really not.

I also want to say that I have friends who are Christians, whom I love. The very vast majority of them have continued to treat me exactly the same way as they did before I came out. And even though there are disagreements regarding marriage equality, we are adult enough to accept that people have different viewpoints. We remember in our hearts that we are human and that our history and the value we see in each other is reason enough to continue our friendship, regardless of differences.

And it’s because I know that you love me, that I want to bring this up:

Those posts you share, full of “buts” – they are doing a huge amount of damage.

I imagine that we all have this big block of granite, which represents our faith – in ourselves, in the god of our understanding, in people, in faith itself. When I was gathering up the courage to come out, I looked at my block of granite. I considered the people who I knew could be offended by what I had been puzzling about for years. I considered my understanding of the Bible, of the god I believed in. And in confidence in these things, I spoke those words: “I think I might be a little bit gay”.

For the most part, there was unending support. And when the US announced marriage equality this week, I loved the surprise of seeing Christian allies with their rainbow-tinted profile pictures. I was so proud of them, knowing all too well what they were risking in doing so.

Image by The Naughty Corner, and by that app thing that put a rainbow over your profile picture.

Image by The Naughty Corner, and by that app thing that put a rainbow over your profile picture.

But this announcement from the USA also saw an increase in those “but” posts.

Posts that share content that compares marriage equality to paedophilia, followed with a “but I am not judging you”. Posts that are prefaced with a “This is what I believe but I love everyone”.

That word.

But.

Now, back to that block of granite. I want you to consider what it is like, from this side of things. Having questioned your sexuality for most of your life. Knowing that being true to yourself risked rejection. Violence. Threats. Hatred. Having to consider and double consider what you say and where you say it and who you say it to. Usually, mental health issues, including anxiety, suicidal ideation, depression, self harm and so on. I’m not saying these are unique to the gay community – in fact, most Christians I know experience exactly the same thing with their faith.

This if nothing else should unite us.

When I first came out, trusting in my granite block, that first rejection was like a chisel rested on the granite and was hit by a mallet. And just like that, a chip was knocked away. I’ve been out for almost 5 years now. And that block of granite has changed shape significantly. In this last week, it has taken some almighty blows. But, but, but. Chip, chip, chip.

I could talk to the people who have shared this stuff individually. But I know that I can’t be the only one experiencing this. And also, perhaps stupidly, I don’t want to hurt them.

I could try to glue those chips back onto my granite block, and not let their well meaning daggers stab me too deeply. But I bet you’d still see the cracks on my granite block, wouldn’t you.

Source: freedomtomarry.org

Source: freedomtomarry.org

I expect that what is left is to either give up on my granite block, or write something that tries to explain what it is like, in the hopes that these words offer comfort to other people going through the same thing.

So here goes:

I love the Christian authors who publish articles, but I don’t love that you are flat out mean. I love the Christian artists that create pictures depicting their beliefs, but I don’t love that you are ignorant and cruel in your captions and assumptions. I love the Christian bloggers who are safe to share their faith without fear of persecution, but I really dislike being persecuted.

I love my Christian friends who share their “but” posts, but I wish you could understand the hurt it creates. Just like, I am sure, my rainbow picture hurts you. Just like my orientation hurts your faith. I get it. I really do. But please, before you hit “share”, consider the impact those words are going to have on all people.

Because really, what we are disagreeing on, is love.

And in the world we have in 2015, to disagree on love is a tragedy.

Hands

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I found this today:

Image by The Naughty Corner

Image by The Naughty Corner

It’s a little plastic hand. It’s kind of bluey green, and has weaponry built into it. I guess they shoot lasers or act to disembowel enemies, or maybe open tins or remove corks from bottles or pick two nostrils at once or take down jets – no not jets, PTERODACTYLS – as they swoop through imaginations and attack, attack, ATTACK!

Just the hand. No other part of this toy. Just the hand.

It was in the backyard and I picked it up, the hand not the backyard, and put it in my pocket so I could look at it closer later. I took a photo of it and looked closer and I noticed a few things.

I noticed that the shadow that the hand casts makes my thumb nail look slightly yellow.

I noticed that my skin on my index finger is almost finished healing. I’d accidentally stabbed myself with a knife while cooking dinner a couple of weeks ago, and then last week I thought the result scab was a splinter so I spent a solid ten minutes digging and squeezing until I popped out the splinter. It wasn’t until I saw the resulting hole that I remembered stabbing myself with the knife. It was lasagne that I was cooking, at my sister’s, and it was awesome.

I noticed that my fingers are really quite dirty, and dry. I’d been in the backyard when I found that hand. You see, I decided to test myself today. I was feeling OK. Our backyard is relatively small. I spoke to my beloved about it, and then I got behind the lawn mower and slowly pushed it back and forwards, over the grass and the sneaky dog poo that evaded the scooper, the random leaves and the carcasses of tennis balls long deceased. Back and forwards. Across the yard. Back again. It took me probably three times as long as it used to. But I did it.

It was when I was pulling out the longer weeds that I found the hand.

Which is why my hands were dirty.

And now the backyard is mowed and I’ve had a shower and been on the nebuliser and now I am sitting, completely buggered. The cold of the day is settling in, which draws out the whoop in my cough.

But there is life in my hands. And I am using it to tell you about the hand that I found:

I found a hand!

And I know this is a strange post. That I’ve not really said a lot, or changed the blogging world, or offered insight or used hindsight or longed for foresight. It’s just been about right now. This moment in this time in this world, in this body that I am in. And it’s an unwell body at the moment. And for today, I’ve accepted that.

No wanting to do. No wishing I could.

Just being here. In this skin.

Finding hands.