Nature, Parenting, and raising kids in a “different” lifestyle.

When someone asks me “Why would anyone want a child to live with gay parents? Is that the right thing for them to learn what family is about from?”, I don’t hesitate to say “I’d rather they live with a gay couple who love them wholeheartedly and teach them how to be good human beings than have them raised by a straight couple who beats them or left in a foster system that provides them with no stability for their adult lives.” But after answering that last night, I had a bizarre dream that led me to think that it’s more than that. I never want a child to live in a family where they are so incredibly afraid and ashamed of their natural genetic disposition, that they kill themselves, torture themselves, or harm themselves and others with them just because a -parent- can’t deem them worthy of living.

What is a parent? Really, let us delve into that core issue first. A parent. In the scientific sense, it’s a breeder, sure, but even science (particularly zoology) has also taught us that a parent is a nurturer who cares for its young without the prerequisite of having the exact same genetics. We’ve seen lions nurture gazelles, hippos raise pigs, pigs raise kittens, and so on. So, to base nature on the concept that being gay is not natural, and that a gay person does not deserve to exist among straight “normal” or “natural” people, is like saying “That lion is wrong for nurturing that gazelle.”. But what’s wrong with that statement? Here’s what is wrong with it. With that very statement, a human being has just asserted that the natural course to take is for that lion to eat that gazelle, and as that lion should eat that gazelle and eliminate it, it is therefore our responsibility as “straight humans” to eliminate gay humans. Pardon me, if I find that a tad animalistic, abhorrent, and ultimately inhumane in every sense. Human is to be humane, one would hope. So to eliminate other people because they just don’t fit with our “pack” is the exact opposite of being human. If it is the exact opposite of being human, then that would make us nothing more than animals inside. If it is to be believed that human beings are more advanced and skilled; intellectually and morally; than animals, then that would mean an animalist would not be natural. If a human being with an animalist disposition isn’t natural, we would be seen as having to eliminate it. And so it goes in this constant circle of who is more natural than who else, and ultimately we all end up dead because something, someone, who should have been a parent, a nurturer, chose to be an ‘unnatural’ animalist.

Oh but wait, you say it isn’t a choice, to view gay people as unnatural and reject your own child? It’s the will of God? Interesting. Thou shalt not kill. Thou shalt not judge. So many different commandments that point out it isn’t our place to do those things. Most importantly, if you are an animalist, you aren’t capable of making the conscious decision to believe in anything beyond what you can see right in front of you, because it wouldn’t be natural.

Are we sensing a theme here? I am. Stop using ‘NATURE’ as an excuse to alienate, reject, harm, or in any other way traumatize any other human being of any sort. Do not use nature as an excuse to keep a child from having a family. Do not use nature as an excuse to propagate your own fears and attach them to others. Do not use nature as the basis for any of your unnatural hatred.

No one is saying anything about changing your way of life so that it fits in accordance with someone of a different disposition. What IS being said is that if you’re uncomfortable, get up and leave. You should not expect other people who are perfectly okay in said circumstances to change everything around them to appease just you. No matter what you THINK nature is. Because let’s be honest, you aren’t nature. You don’t speak for the earth, the sun, the moon, the stars, and if you believe in God, I hate to break this to you, but you don’t speak for him either. Don’t bring a book written by other human beings into it. Use your brain, your humanity, and your empathy to figure out where you really stand. You’re human. You’re in a human situation. Deal with it.

parenting

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The Pause Button of Life

     Sythelie

A few years back, after I’d attempted suicide and survived, a friend bought me World of Warcraft and Burning Crusade. He told me that he wanted me to start playing the game because he didn’t want me to hurt myself again. I was so tired of fighting life and of always feeling victimized or used, that I figured playing a cartoon version of what my ideal self might be like would at least offer me some sort of escape. I could cope with daily life, and all the pressure I put on myself so long as I could escape into this game for a little while. Anime was awesome, but I couldn’t interact with it. Music only worked until the earpieces came out.  So I dove into this game and lo and behold, I loved it. I loved the colours, the stories, the powerfully shimmery and sparkly magical spells. It was a safe haven.

 Shortly after starting the game I met Chris and we enjoyed playing on various servers, with tons of different people. Our friendship became a relationship and I brightened up a bit. Then, as the game became more casual oriented, a lot of the hardcore WoW players started to get incredibly aggressive, some showed a lot of anger. They took it out on people who didn’t deserve it, and I started seeing this everywhere I went on just about any server I went to. I’m sure it isn’t a game issue. It never is. People with anger issues hardly ever target what’s genuinely causing the core anger. Nope, they were using this as a method to vent out their frustrations in real life, because something that once made them happy had changed and instead of adapting to change, they were going to do everything possible to ruin that change for everyone else. It happens. It’s sad but it happens. I didn’t let it totally turn me off of the game, but it did make the experience less enjoyable. I’m not a hardcore gamer but I’m not really a casual either. If I get invested in a character and in my groups progress enough, I take it seriously and work hard at what I’m doing. Just as with anything in life. I just didn’t like what I saw when it came to new people being treated like the enemy simply because the vintage generation of WoW decided they weren’t worthy.

Then I met someone who thought I wasn’t worthy of Chris. And that hurt. It hurt even more when that person, who happened to be a real life friend of his, started to play with us and would sometimes lash out at me. I didn’t realize at the time that it was deeper than just annoyance about a friend being taken by a girlfriend, so since there were also days where the guy was kind and helpful, I let it slide. But then I moved here to be with Chris, and it got worse. Much worse. The guy would sit at our dining table, and say stuff like “I’m going to stab you.” and because Chris was used to this guy sometimes making aggressive off the cuff comments like that, he didn’t see it as something scarier. I did. Because I’ve been on the other side of that wall before. I’ve had that heated anger and disdain thrown at me before, so I knew it was serious this time. I slowly stopped playing WoW. I didn’t know why, but I knew I wasn’t happy in Azeroth anymore. My depression sank to all new levels because I was so far from home and at the time hadn’t made any friends. How could I? Our time was ALWAYS being taken up by this other person. This person who would come to my home, eat my food, insult me, and stay until 4am sometimes. WoW slipped away, Chris and I fought a lot. It was scary, lonely, and I felt like I was just drowning. Then I met Yazmin, who spoke Spanish too and we bonded a bit and she invited me out, where I met Teresa. Teresa who is now my best friend. After that guy finally crossed the line by telling me he wanted to strangle me, kill me, Chris saw the seriousness of it and put his foot down. That guy is no longer in our lives.

I know some people who don’t know my husband would assume that he slacked off on the department of husband/protector. The reality is that this other dude was someone he’d known since childhood, and Chris gives people the benefit of the doubt. He is kind of an oxymoron like me. We think tons of people are stupid, but we also think a lot of people have good in them, and we don’t always think that people are going to go to an extreme. I always fear it, but I pray it stays far away. Whereas with Chris, he doubts their conviction and passion enough to think that they won’t go through with stuff they say. Two sides, same coin. It took a while, but what counts is that he finally took me out of that situation, and has never put me back in there again. Still, WoW was tainted and I couldn’t touch it. I couldn’t stomach watching him play. I resented the game because it had begun to represent all of those angry and hateful people, but worse, it represented someone who emotionally abused and terrorized me for months. It was a scar that just would not heal.

After a while, Chris got kind of bored with it too and we just stopped playing. A few weeks ago, his brother sent him a Resurrection scroll and he started to play. As I watched him play, I started to feel this pull. I didn’t understand why, especially since I had so hated and dreaded the thought of getting back into that world and facing angry hateful people again. I went to lay down when it finally hit me like some lightning bolt. I was envious. I was jealous that he could enjoy the game and I felt like I wasn’t -allowed- to. Then I asked myself why I wasn’t allowed to. I realized that the guy who had been so hateful towards me wouldn’t be on every single server, and even if he were on our server he wouldn’t actively be seeking us out. So… why was I holding myself back from something that a friend had gotten me in order to heal, in the first place?

We talked about it. I was worried about wasting our money in case it did turn out that I didn’t like going back. We tried a Resurrection scroll for me but since I’d used one in the past (when I’d attempted to go back) I couldn’t use it. By then, I knew I wanted back in for sure. Being told it wouldn’t work made me sure that I at least wanted to try. So we signed me back up and I’ve been playing with Chris. Twenty minutes into our leveling new characters, I realized “Holy… I’m actually having fun. I’m running around and not associating it with anything that made me feel bad.”

And that’s where I realized that pausing things sometimes isn’t a bad idea. Sometimes, we’ve got to take a step back from something we love but have begun to hate, instead of forcing it. Then it can become fresh and new again so that we can associate it with better things instead of negative things.

It’s a game. I know. It’s a game that kinda saved me from a very dark pit in life. We all have that in some way or another, or we can if we let ourselves, anyway. More importantly, we’ve all got a pause button. So before clicking the off button on your life, if it’s that scary and desperate, try the pause button first. Maybe in a bit of time it will be a heck of a lot better than you thought it could be. What have you got to lose? It’s on pause.

More than flesh and blood.

   I have been gone far too long. I realize that. Mainly, I realized it because of the effect it’s had on me. I go through bouts where I lose myself, lately. Then something amazing brings me back and I’m left in awe of the little things (and some big things) that can bring us back to life when we’ve begun to wither and lose our capability to move forward.

A few months ago, the ever awesome Wil Wheaton made a post on his blog that jarred me back to reality. At the time I was out to dinner with my husband and during a brief lull in our conversation, we checked up on the internet (to make sure it was behaving, obviously). I was stunned by the raw honesty in Wil’s post about his kids. The post can easily be found here

As I read it, my thoughts immediately jumped to my dad. My awesomely funny, abrasive, supportive dad. I immediately wanted to run home and write this post, but life and it’s many detours kept me away that night. As more days passed, I faced other obstacles which led to my feeling like, “why should I even post anything, really? I’m new at this. I’m not famous or anything. What on earth can anyone gain from anything I have to say? What right do I have to a soap box.” and I just sank. I stopped in mid-cycle and didn’t move forward for a while. So please forgive the tardiness but allow me to respond to Wil’s post with a post of my own.

Most people who see my parents walking down the street with me tend to assume that my dad is my birth father. They’re always shocked to find out he isn’t. My Aunt Pichy even found that he and I have identical “beauty marks” on the same exact spot of our right forearms. The truth is, though, my birth father is not my father. He never has been and never will be. I was fatherless until I was 5 years old. My mom struggled like crazy to provide me with shelter, safety, love, and food. My mom’s great. Flawed, like any human being, but so great. I honestly never thought I needed a dad. I had a ton of awesome aunts and grandparents, and this totally screwed up but sweet human being for a mother.

Then she met Luis, or Saso as everyone we know calls him. I can’t lie. To me, he was moms boyfriend so I can’t remember much about the time before he became “dad”. But I do remember a few things. This guy DID stuff. COOL stuff. He took me fishing, gave me piggy back rides, made donuts at home, and tucked me in. This guy came to school with my mom to enroll me. He walked me to the bus stop. And when my uber dumb cousin would pick on me, he’d say enough was enough. At the time, he was a total rockstar.

I still didn’t call him dad though. I think I didn’t know how to. I don’t even remember calling my birth father dad. What, between the constant belittling of my mother in front of me and the brilliant disregard he had for me as a little kid, it was amazing I even recognized the guy as a parent.

I don’t know what triggered it. I just remember the moment it happened. It was a slightly foggy day in Massachusetts and ‘Saso’ had walked me to the bus stop. I was wearing a yellow shirt and these blue jean overalls with flowers embroidered on the corner. As we waited for the bus to come and pick me up, he held my hand. Steady, firm, warm. He reminded me about my homework. He told me what he made for lunch for me that day. We got quiet. It was really early and the fog made for a pretty gloomy morning but as he held my hand, and as I looked at his hand holding my own, something stirred inside me and I very carefully, quietly, and with a shaky voice and tears in my eyes, I asked him: “Can I call you daddy?” and he looked at me at first with such worry, some sadness, and very kindly and quietly he squeezed my hand, and as his own eyes teared up he said “Yeah, you can call me that.”.

My dad is no saint. No one person really ever is. We all let someone down along the way. But he’s always been supportive and even when he was furious with me over something, I never once stopped being his kid.

Sadly, from the time I was 12 until I was around 23 or 24, I honestly felt like I had lost my place in my dads world. You see, I was sexually abused as a little girl by my cousins boyfriend (and later he became her husband). For years. When I finally spoke up about it, a lot of things were turned upside down and inside out in our lives. Suddenly, for whatever reason, I felt such a huge distance between my dad and I. I felt like I could do nothing right, except academia, and my anger, frustration, and depression was really screwing that up, too. I was desolate and desperate, angry, and hungry. I was so hungry for anyone to blame for so very many things that I think I pushed people away. Especially, because I felt like I could not speak up about how I felt. My family is awesome but for a long time we were a family full of silence. We didn’t discuss our pain or dialogue our needs, and it corroded us from the inside. My mom stopped doing creative projects. My dad started reaching outside of his family instead of within it. I wallowed and blamed. Everyone, including myself. I ripped my inner thighs to shreds with cuts. I burned myself with matches just to remember I existed.

After an explosive situation with my mom and dad, I realized that I was so exhausted from the sheer silence, that I spoke to my mom first. I explained that I needed to talk. I needed her to talk, too. I needed him to talk as well. Most of all, I needed them to remember I was there. She and I came to a serious understanding that night and now, even if she does get very excited or sometimes a little defensive, when I voice things, she does listen and she does reciprocate.

Dad took a little longer. I think, because of the fact that I’m not his blood-borne, I worried about disappointing him more so than I worried about disappointing my mom. After all, if the blood father could reject and throw me away, couldn’t he? Eventually, I overcame that worry. While Mom was over in Puerto Rico helping my grandmother out with my great grandmother, I took the chance to talk to Dad. We spoke of our regrets and our worries about how we’d handled our lives as a family. I stood in the doorway as he folded his uniforms for work, and I said, for the first time in my life since the abuse, “I thought you stopped hugging me because you thought I was dirty. I felt ashamed. I thought you didn’t think of me the same way anymore.” and he crumpled up his chefs shirt and held it close. He started to cry a little and said, “I never thought that. I was upset. No one told me anything specific, no one told me what was going on. I couldn’t do anything. I felt helpless.”.

After finally understanding some of my dads distance, I felt such a huge weight lifted off of my shoulders. Better yet, lifted off of my chest. I had been drowning for so long that this conversation reminded me of just how true my father was. It reminded me that I may not be his own flesh and blood but I am so much damned more than that. I am of his soul.

So when reading Wil’s post, my instinct was to want to hug him. To tell him that even if his kids aren’t all flesh and blood of his, that they are of his soul. And that Anne is one hell of a mom for taking them out of a hurtful situation.

Wil, if you ever do read this, they are so much more than blood. They are of your soul.

Just as I am of mine.

Thank you for reminding me of that.