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Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Let's Give 'Em Somethin' To Talk About

And we REALLY need to talk about this...

Dear Squirrely Girl,
Before you read this long, boring, and sometimes sad note, I want to clarify that I am not gay.
And so we begin.
Somebody asked me politely this week the following question, “no offense, but are you gay?” Out of respect of the person who penetrated the awkwardness into my lunchtime, I lightened up the mood by stating, “If I were gay, don’t you think I would dress better?” Obviously that might be stereotypical because I know some gay people who dress just as bad as me, but I digress. I have heard that question, oh I would say, about a 7 times in my life. I actually don’t mind people asking because it does allow me to actually speak for myself as opposed to the whispering lips through the grape vine. It is a question that I have grown to hate and love over the years. I hate it because obviously I speak, act, or move a certain way that give people the impression that I am into men. I love that question because it shows that there are people left in this world who value honesty better than rumors; therefore, this long, boring, and sometimes sad note is not to bash the people who think or ask the question. This is a note that I feel God is calling me to write because there may be someone who is struggling with the same situation . . . or maybe I am writing it because I am bored and refuse to study . . . I think it is a combination of both.

This all started back in middle school. Picture it, January 2004, A small town high school. It’s lunch time and everybody is either eating, walking around outside, or lounging around the entranceway into the building next to the gym. I don’t remember the moments before this incident, all I remember is this tall guy (I would never give names) shoved me out of the way and said the following, “Move you f------g faggot”. Obviously, a chubby little twelve-year-old is not going to stand up to a strong 6’5 junior or senior. Thankfully, I saw a friend (who was a girl) standing nearby so I obviously gravitated toward her. (She was a little older than me so she had a few choice words to say to the foul mouth Neanderthal).

That whole ordeal of calling me a “faggot” is not what upsets me. What upset me so much about that day was a minor detail of that moment that I didn’t mention. See, during lunch we have what we like to call “chaperones” that usually consist of school personnel. On that day, two of them witnessed this little episode. After witnessing this little (and yes, in the grand scheme of worldwide bullying, I would consider a little bump and name calling to be ranked kinda low on the bully spectrum) incident, the words that stick with me to this day were spoken from the lips of one them, “if you’re going to have girls sticking up for you then you might as well be one [faggot].”

Again, this long, boring, and sometimes sad note is not to bash the outspoken school personnel or their silent companion. In my heart I have forgiven the harsh words, the bully, and the two in authority. But since that moment, I know that obviously there is a reason why God made me . . . well . . . not so John Wayne-ish.
You see, I see people constantly bash others who are different, and since we are on the subject of homosexuality I might as well use it for example. We have all seen news segments about teenagers committing suicide because they were bullied. I can hardly listen without my blood boiling and my heart breaking. I am ashamed to say that I have also bullied gay people. Whether it was by physical words or in my heart, I had judged and condemned homosexuals for no purpose other than to mask or somehow justify the sins and struggles I hide in my own closet so to speak. 
(I swear this long, boring, and sometimes sad note gets to a point) 

The point is (told you) WE ARE ALL DIFFERENT DAMMIT!!!!

Nobody is perfect! Nobody is cookie-cutter. Nobody without the grace and forgiveness of Christ is worthy to even clean the golden rimmed toilets of Heaven. 
I say all of that to say this. If any of you are going through Hell every day at school, work, or home . . . talk to me. I’m no Oprah, but I’ve been there. I’ve been there when grown, educated adults who not only fail to protect you, but push the thorn even deeper in your side. I’ve been through it all (ok not all, but sometimes you have to say that in order to make a point). . .but I didn’t do it alone. Thankfully, shortly after that incident I had the opportunity to have a quiet time with God for me to just vent.(and yes, I vented while sitting on a toilet seat. . . get over it). I didn’t know if I was going to move schools, rob a candy store, or sacrifice a puppy. I just knew that whatever I did, I needed to talk with Him first. Thankfully, in my heart He told me to push through and continue on, and so I did.

I finished school, I moved on, and BOOM! I run into this guy at Walmart. He didn’t even recognize me. (Go figure). I hate to mention karma or any Adele type scenario, but between you and me, he is not sporting the same body he had in high school. . . or hair . . . or teeth. And the school personnel.... I don’t hold anything against them. I can come up with a bunch of excuses and explanations for what they did. . . and at this point in my life I don’t care. I am glad that event occurred. Now when I am faced with the temptation to judge, condemn, or bully somebody, I can picture in my mind those two ladies and pray on the spot that I don’t repeat what happened in that school house.

Ok, maybe this long, boring, and sometimes sad note doesn’t really have a point, a plot, or a message. . . but it’s just what’s on my heart at the moment. 
To truthfully answer the girls question, no I am not gay. I don’t support homosexuality, but I also don’t support, adultery, fortification, lying, drinking, pride, or any of the 667 sins listed athttp://www.wogim.org/sinlist.htm 

But I do support the people behind each and every sin because in today’s world we cannot rely on teachers, adults, or even families sometimes for protection. We need God. And when someone doesn’t know God personally, that is where we come in. 
That is the end of today’s lesson. 

Squirrelly Girl, do with it what you like.

Dear Keaton,
Well the first thing I would like to do with this is go kick some adults’ ignorant beeeehinnnds..but since you are being so forgiving and insightful about the whole thing and have so much more maturity now than they will have when they are 103 years old, I will contain my need for violence and the satisfaction of making them feel as helpless as you did back then because you are right….we have to accept people where they are. Maybe they really were too immature, uneducated and untrained to be teachers and hopefully have learned some lessons since then.  
And what I learned also from your “long boring, and sometimes sad note” (which was not long, certainly not boring and really not sad…and I will tell you why later) is that the kid who bullied you probably grew up being bullied and more than likely from his own family and his only defense was to strike out at someone he considered weaker than him. He wanted someone else to feel what he was feeling. Sometimes when people feel the need to intentionally hurt and abuse someone else they are not just evil (there are plenty of those too I am sad to say) but they just want someone else to feel as bad as they do. And it worked didn’t it? You had a glimpse into a little bit of the pain that comes with not truly being loved. I am so thankful to know for a fact that you had enough unconditional love in your life to recover from that temporary pain. The saddest thing about your letter is that you and I both know there are so many who do not have that support and when they face being bullied every day, they do feel worthless and see no reason to continue.
Suicide is the third leading cause of death for young people and bullying victims are 2 to 9 times more likely to commit suicide. http://www.bullyingstatistics.org/content/bullying-and-suicide.html THAT IS UNACCEPTABLE!

I wish I knew the answer but I think you just made a very good start. I think people who have been bullied have to share what that feels like, they have to make themselves available to those going through a similar events so they do not feel so alone. Teachers and anyone else in a position of authority must be trained to deal with these situations and be easily approached without fear of being bullied further.
In plain language: If you are being bullied tell someone ANYONE. Feel free to message me and if you would like to talk with Keaton I will get you in contact with him. If you are a teacher or principle, any adult that deals with young people and you do not feel comfortable dealing with bullying or have never received proper training in how to deal with these situations and you never want to read this type of story about yourself. Please we beg you, let someone know.. seek out resources to assist you. Do not let your pride stand in the way of not knowing the best way to deal with a bully. Some child’s life may very well depend upon your actions.
Keaton, my precious nephew, as far as people asking you if you are gay…from now on just say something like this… “Can I ask you  about your sex life, like who, when and what and how many?  Oh, I can’t. Yeah that would be rude wouldn’t it?  Good, glad you agree… that means it shouldn’t really matter now should it?” Cause they are idiots and it doesn’t matter what they think.
So your note was not sad at all because it opens doors to the unspoken problems many young people find themselves in today and you have just proved that no matter what…they too can overcome the stupidity of others.
With Much Respect and Love and Gratitude to You
~Squirrely Girl

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