The beginning of one mother’s journey as her son came out as transgender. My son is twenty-three this year. Five years ago, at the age of seventeen, he came out as transgender. It was on… More
And do I feel fine?
It’s the end of the world as we know it, and I feel fine. So goes the lyric from the alternative rock band, REM’s song by the same name.
This song hit the music charts in 1987 with it’s frenetic, fast-paced syncopated lyrics referencing everything from Soviet ruler Leonid Brezhnev to biblical rapture to comedic lines of Lenny Bruce. It sifted out everything strangely wrong with the world and weirdly juxtaposed. Is it any wonder it has become an anthem to our current situation during the coronavirus pandemic?
The feeling of loss for a life previously lived.
It is common to feel a loss and grieve after we lose someone from our lives, be it due to a death, a divorce, or maybe a moving away and losing touch. When this happens, we sometimes characterize our lives as life before, with that person, and life after. The void we feel can seem like the end of the world as we know it. And it kind of is.
It’s the end of the world as we know it, and I feel fine
What lies ahead of us, on the other side of our grief, is a new life. One without the person, activity, and things we were used to doing.
During this time of Covid-19 so many people have lost beloved spouses, parents, siblings, and friends. Their lives are certainly changed and their grieving real.
But what if we are grieving our way of life before Covid-19?
A look back at the inception of PRIDE to see the way forward
Right now, most of us concur we are living through times of uncertainty and civil unrest. A global pandemic with a rising death toll, riots, demonstrations, police brutality, the sinking economy, and the list goes on.
But it’s not the first time our society has felt this type of shakedown.
A similar situation brewed throughout the 1960s with one sector boiling over during the early morning hours of June 28, 1969. This boiling point became known as the Stonewall Riots, and it was here the inception of the gay rights movement began.
In 1969, I turned one year old. My family lived on the West Coast, far from Greenwich Village, Manhattan, or New York and an uprising later to be termed The Stonewall Riots. For obvious reasons, I was unaware of the growing unrest in our country during the late ’60s and early ’70s.
My parents did not openly protest to my knowledge. Preferring to use their voices at the ballot boxes or campaign on initiatives for reform. They saw their voices being heard through the political process and that is okay. It was also a different time.
There was always a news broadcast playing in my home, either on the radio or the evening news on the television. I do not recall my parents speaking on issues of the day such as racism, riots, or drag queens. Perhaps they spoke amongst themselves. Perhaps they felt a child’s childhood should be left to play kick-the-can and savor their wishes to Santa Claus. Perhaps they felt I was too young to be touched by the burdens of the world.
Whatever their reasons, it was those burdening events; the Vietnam war, the Civil Rights Movement, and the Stonewall Riots which would ultimately shape the world I grew up in.
In 1969 the Stonewall Riots became a tipping point for the LGBTQ movement. A banner for equality I would pick up a few decades later when my son came out to me as transgender.
Of course, I knew the word but up until that moment that is all it was for me, a word. At that moment, with my son, it became personal. I had no context for the breadth of its meaning. Contrary to my son’s belief that his liberal-minded, progressive mom knew everything, when in fact I did not.
Where did I begin? I began at what I knew to be the beginning.
How to move forward when your heart is not in it
Today I would rather pull the covers over my head and wait out my funk. I don’t know why I woke up feeling this way. There is no clear-cut reason to point at and say,
That, that is the cause of my gloom, my sadness, grief, despair, or what-have-you.
Perhaps it is the pandemic news, maybe it is menopause hormones, overall I feel overwhelmed.
I give myself some grace to ponder these questions as I lounge in bed. Yes, under the covers.
I give up on trying to decipher a reason for my melancholy. It is what it is.
Sliding my feet out from the tangle of covers, I plant them on the floor. I do not jump out of bed but allow myself to rise slowly, letting that be my pace for the day.
There are many hours ahead of me before I lay my head back down on my pillow and pull my covers up. Here is how I faced them.
One of the more accessible hikes and a favorite of mine is the Bowman Bay/Rosario Beach Trail. This is where we headed on a beautiful spring afternoon with water bottles in our backpacks and a picnic lunch packed for our return.
Heading west, we followed Hwy 20 until just before the Deception Pass bridge where there is a road going off to the right with signs directing you down Rosario Beach Road and to the park. This park is a popular spot with camping as well as hiking and has many day use features including picnic areas and public washrooms. It is here where the Maiden of Deception Pass (Ko-kwahl-alwoot) totem pole stands holding a salmon above her head, keeping watch over the Salish sea.
With camera and binoculars in hand we begin our trek heading south on the Rosario Beach trail. The path meanders through wooded areas providing some nice shade on warmer days, up some small inclines and around Bowman Bay. This leg of our day hike is just over 1 mile.
Two weeks back to work and how life is now.
A fair amount of my focus over the past two weeks has been spent on sending out new Covid-19 questionnaires to screen clients in my private practice and explaining the new protocols to them. There are temperature checks to take before they get on the table and both of us wear masks.
Three months ago, I shuttered my massage practice, pressing the pause button for what we thought would only be a few weeks. The world seemed as if it was coming to a screeching halt. My newsfeed lit up with the latest information, and many times misinformation, on the growing coronavirus pandemic.
I felt numb by it all. The uncertainty the world was experiencing exhausted me. In some ways, I welcomed a sabbatical from the frenzy of everyday life. My introverted self certainly did not mind staying home for a wee bit.
At that time, mid-March, there was much we did not understand about this novel virus……
A Northwest Getaway
Tiny droplets of ocean spray hit my face as I turn into the wind. I am bundled up
warmly from head to toe; knit hat, quilted jacket, gloves, and warm socks inside my
shiny red rubber boots.
The sun is at a quarter slant in the sky, for it has been up for hours. But we chose to rise leisurely before
venturing out on this late winter morning. My partner and I have come up to Semiahmoo Resort for
a long weekend and rejuvenation get-away.
A real-life Archie Bunker or was he?
For those of you old enough to remember Archie Bunker, the quintessential cantankerous character of the ‘70’s show All In The Family, then you will understand my father. Or at least a side of him.
But he was not all cantankerous, my dad. And like Archie, my dad was a man who saw the world around him rapidly changing from the one he grew up in.
Sometimes, neither man, the real or the fictitious character, knew how best to handle worldly topics such as; the women’s lib movement, racial diversity, or economic disparity. Sometimes, they wanted the world to stay the way it was, the way they knew it. But the times they were a-changing.
My dad, and Archie Bunker, were men of principle. They were hard-working, family men who grew up in an altogether different era.
My dad was born into a time just before the great depression hit. His childhood overshadowed by WWII. He was of the greatest generation. He grew up knowing sacrifice, not only for one’s country but also for one’s neighbor and fellowman. A quality which shaped him, becoming a thread of service throughout his life.
He watched Shirley Temple on the big screen and Dick Tracy was his favorite cartoon in the Sunday papers.
My personal protest in the wake of George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor, and too many to list
A few weeks ago, I walked 2.23 miles.
I did so without fanfare to honor the memory of a young, black man named Ahmaud Arbery. He went jogging one evening in his neighborhood in Georgia, much like the quiet, sleepy neighborhood I walk in every evening with my partner walking next to me. He and I hold hands. As we walk, we may talk about our days or maybe not at all, but just listen to our footsteps hit the pavement below our feet.
We do not fear walking in our neighborhood will cause suspicion or alert our neighbors to caution. These notions never enter our minds. Ahmaud Arbery was not afforded the same tolerance.
Instead, he was gunned down by three white men who felt he was “suspicious” yet all he was guilty of was jogging.
In the little town of Edison there is a place called Terramar…
A look at the pros and cons of corporate sponsorship
Reading the news online, I flipped by a story relaying the candy icon Skittles is removing the color from their candies in support of Pride month. They are going grey to celebrate the LGBTQIA community by giving up their rainbow colors to show that only one rainbow really matters. #OneRainbow.
This got me thinking.
Last year, I attended my first Pride parade in the five years since my son, then my daughter came out. I attended as an ally and as a mom. It truly was the largest street party ever! Everywhere I looked there were rainbows and flags and rainbow flags. Banners stretched across every building with slogans of inclusion from various corporations.
Yes, corporate America celebrated and marched in every Pride parade across the nation, some even internationally.
What began as a police raid at The Stonewall Inn located in New York’s Greenwich Village in 1969, has become the turning point of the gay liberation movement now is a month-long, shout-out to equality with businesses getting on the band-wagon. Jet Blue flies their slogan, “Love wings” while Starbucks partners with Lady Gaga’s foundation “Born this way”.