when i was in jr. high i was bullied. by two girls in my grade with whom i seemed to have an AWFUL lot of classes. for two years. every single day. and it sucked. and i think about that now with all the recent news of kids killing themselves because they were being bullied. for being gay. or being perceived as gay.
i wasn't bullied because i was gay. i was bullied because i was poor. and shy. and strange.
and the day i left 8th grade was the day it ended. even though i had high school for the next four years with those girls they never said one word to me ever again. i don't know if they found somebody else or what. but, it got better. i found friends, the best friends a girl could ask for, who knew me and accepted me. i was still poor. and shy (i know y'all balk at this one, but it's true. i still am shy. really. i promise you.) and strange. but it didn't matter.
because IT SHOULDN'T MATTER.
i will never understand why people think being gay is wrong. in my life i will never understand why people even give a rat's ass? it's not like it's some new invention or fad dreamed up just to bother the bigoted and unkind. it's not like it's not BEEN AROUND FOR FUCKING EVER. who are we to judge? nobody.
we are NOBODY to judge.
my 13 year old son has endured his fair share for the past year or two from teammates and others who 'suggest' that he is gay. and they like to shove this at him. and say things. and call him names. as he is home schooled it's not daily or all that intense. but really, at 12 and 13 how intense does it need to be to make an impact?
and my 13 year old son is sharp and strong. but that doesn't mean it doesn't hurt. and doesn't make an impact. now? it's pretty much a joke to him. he could not care less what those assholes think of him. but when it first started happening he did care. he's 13. an age when it can all turn on a dime. so we talked and talked and talked about it. talked about how he felt. talked about how it doesn't matter to bullies if something is true or not. talked about how people are miserable in their own lives so they pick on other people.
and not just weak people, but people they are afraid of. people who they can't figure out. the duke is an anomaly out here in the sticks to some of these boys who are raised in a whole different culture than he is. and of course if he dresses like he does and refuses to talk smack about girls' bodies with the rest of them then he's gay. clearly.
and we talked about what it meant to be gay and more importantly who in the hell cares? we don't. and i reminded him that kids can be assholes because they haven't been taught *not* to be. and that these boys won't be around forever. and that it sucks but you've just got to ignore it. and get through it.
then i reminded him that some of the adults he knows, people who he thinks are cool, were bullied. and how they had to get through it. and they did. that they made it. and how awesome they are. and how awesome THEY THINK HE IS. and that meant a LOT to him. it's impossible not to feel good about who you are when you know there are cool people who think YOU are cool. especially when you're 13.
and that helped. and boosted him.
and now he likes to say who cares? i don't. and he likes to remind people that in ancient greece they thought that the love between two men was the highest form of love. and in sparta they would strive to put male lovers in the same army regiment because it was thought that the men would fight harder to impress each other. (history is awesome.)
and he takes the comments in stride. and comes up with more outlandish fashion choices. partly to push the envelope, partly because he just plain likes the idea of wearing lavender skinny jeans. and a lot, i suspect, because he's figured out the chicks really dig a guy wearing something out of the norm. young mr. smooth. he is not stupid.
so my 13 year old son is getting through it. and it breaks my heart that there are mothers out there missing their own 13 year old sons. their 11 year old sons. 16, 18, 21 year old sons because they weren't so lucky. life is so very cruel sometimes.
people are entitled to their own opinions. i respect that. but that's what they are; opinions. they are not gospel and they are not the *only* truth. and in some cases they are hate disguised as personal belief. and that is tragic and shameful.
and i only wish everyone got to know that. before it's too late. because too late comes for some. and may they rest in peace. and may god or someone somewhere have mercy on the souls of the bigoted and the unkind. may something positive come of these tragedies.
when i was 12 and 13 i couldn't imagine life getting better. i was at the mercy of cruelty and circumstances beyond my control. but, it did get better. and continues to. and there was a moment the other evening when i was sitting with my two boys and the papa and we were all busting up in laughter at something and couldn't stop. and i remember seeing that moment so clearly even as it was happening. and i remember thinking life doesn't get any better than this moment.
and i wish that every child or teen or young adult who feels that life won't get better could have a glimpse of a future moment to convince them that it can. it gets better. and it is in that spirit i bring you this installment of your moment(s) of zen.