Today is a day for contemplation, and for many it is filled with a deep sense of loss. Rightly so. And not just for the losses that occurred 11 years ago in the U.S. but for the losses 39 years ago in Chile.
Today I chose to focus on all the blessings we have. The love of family. The gift that is Lily-Ann. Our wonderful animal family members. The home we have had for nine years now. My husband, and all that he does for us. The fact that I am able to make my way through life as a photographer and advocate. That we live somewhere that anyone I love is free to love whom they love without persecution. The many friends, though some are far away, who care so deeply for us. Our many communities that we are a part of, both irl and online. And these are just the tip of the iceberg.
Things may not be perfect but we are so very, very blessed. No… we must not forget the travesties this world has faced, and not just on 9/11, as they have shaped our lives in so many ways. However, to dwell on all the horrible things man has done does nothing to honor all the good that has also been done. And I will always choose to focus on the love, the honor, the heroism, the bravery, and the many incredible things our species has done. I do so with hope, because I refuse to despair for our future while lamenting the past. I believe in our children, and I believe they will lead us to a life filled with love and promise.
Today is a day for contemplation. So I have, and will continue to think on our world and the world our children will find themselves in. But I will do so with hope. If nothing else, days like today, have taught us love.
One thing I know with assurance is that wishing doesn’t change things. But, those same wishes can inspire us to take action that does. Change happens slowly, gradually, with these sudden AHA moments of hope that cause things to leap forward. It’s not easy, it’s hard work, but it’s so worth doing.
I’ve said it many times before, but here it is again – just for clarity. I know I’m not the one who will change the world, but maybe I’ll inspire those who will. I know things can be better, heck, all I have to do is look at how far society has come just in the last twenty years.
The things members of the acronym community had to face when I was young, seem unspeakable and foreign to the youth of today. The physical punishment and torment, while so fresh in my memory, is a lifetime away for those who are currently discovering their sexual identities. Bullying is still alive and real – but it’s a very different type of attack. And I have hope that it too will fade into a distant memory.
My wish is one for my daughter. And it’s a wish that I hope will spur the action needed to see it come true. I wish that by the time she is old enough to be discovering her sexual identity that it will no longer matter how she identifies. She will be accepted as she is, for who she is, without question. It’s a big wish. But I know it can happen… after all, look how far we’ve come in the last decade, given one more, just imagine where we could be!
Today I have so many feelings coursing through… Life for me has rarely been easy. Seriously. But today, it kind of feels like perhaps karma may not be the bitch some folks make her out to be.
I am the new Camp Coordinator for the 2011 Camp fYrefly in Saskatchewan. For some, that probably doesn’t mean a darn thing. For others, I’m sure you’re jumping up and down with joy for me.
Camp fYrefly is an amazing thing. It’s a leadership retreat for LGBTTQ youth. Through the course of the “camp”, kids learn how to become agents for change, how to change attitudes, how to inspire others and themselves. At risk youth, go from the threat of becoming a statistic to becoming our future. A future of strong, healthy, empathetic, and driven people… the kinds of people who can change our world for the better.
So… am I excited? You bet your ass!
I never would have dreamed that I’d have the chance to become involved, especially in such an instrumental way, with something so incredible. Yet here I am. Maybe, sometimes, good things DO happen to good people. Sometimes years of struggle are rewarded.
This is going to be an amazing Summer.
Am I going to be busy? TOTALLY.
With my photography, dog show weekends, and Camp fYrefly… all in addition to being a mom and my commitments with the Green Party? I’ll probably be run off my feet. But it’s going to be amazing. Life changing. Sometimes finding joy is easy, and sometimes you have to shake things up a bit… sometimes you have go out and grab it. So I did. And I’m so excited to get started. Today, everything seems within the realm of possibilities.
I am good enough, and now I know others see that too.
For more information on Camp fYrefly visit:
The Lentil Ladies (our collective kitchen group) met today. We made all sorts of wonderful dishes: curry with cauliflower and sweet potatoes, tomato soup (from scratch), and wonderful organic filo pastry apple desserts. But something happened that made me stop and think…
Lily-Ann was wearing her baby doll (whom she calls “baby suzie” and who is sometimes male and sometimes female depending on the day you ask her) in a sling I made for her. When she plays with her doll she wears her constantly – like I wore her. One of the mom’s in our group commented to me that “She’ll be a good mom some day.” This filled me with great pride, because I understood what was behind her words, but also made me grieve a little too.
Lily-Ann will be a good mom, if that’s the path she chooses. And my friend’s compliment means the world to me, because she knows our children learn by example. But, the idea that someone would assume for my daughter the role of mother does bother me. What I hope for her is strength, compassion, love… And while these traits can be found in the best mothers, they can also be found in the best business people, the best artists, the best politicians, the best teachers, the best activists, the best of us.
Seeing a girl child holding her doll close to her heart brings about dreams of the future and what it holds… and for many all they see are stereotypical gender roles. Instead, I see a girl with endless possibilities. A person who is not afraid to love, openly, outwardly, fully. One who will hold children close, for they are precious – but that doesn’t mean she’s destined for motherhood.
With passion I see her building with blocks. With enthusiasm I see her painting. With zeal I see her “cooking” for anyone who’ll sit for even a moment. With joy I see her performing song after song for us, her captive audience. I see her doing all these things, taking on all these roles and so many others… and then I see her stripping down and declaring that she wants to be “nekkid” and doesn’t want to wear anything but a legwarmer and a bracelet. She is, after all, only two.
So… I implore you… next time you see a little girl playing with her doll, don’t assume she’ll grow up to become a mom. She may become a boxer. She may become a novelist. She may become a mechanic. She may become an architect. An engineer. A vocal coach. A custodian. A playwright. Just because she’s a girl, don’t box her in. She has enough on her shoulders just trying to grow up, without having to grow through your expectations.
And you know what? There’s no reason she couldn’t grow up to be ALL these things… AND a mom.
Okay. I’ll get down off my soap box. Here’s todays picture. Nothing special. Nothing inspired. Just a girl, taking a break from play, having a drink of water. Just a girl with endless possibilities.