respect

‘Differently Normal”

Terry Pratchett coined a phrase, “differently normal”. Has a phrase ever gotten stuck in your mind and resonated? This one did for me. I like the way it works. It changes the way I look at things. *grins*

I was talking to Aj and some of her friends last night. In that crowd, I’m the one that is different. They are all Pagans and I’m the token Christian. My normal and theirs are different.

I have some gay friends. To them, I’m the one who’s normal is different.

Most of my friends are women. Being female is normal for them. *grins* Being male is different.

Aj and Z are differently normal than I am.

I enjoy their differences. Not only do I not want them to be like me, I’d rather have friends that see things and do things differently. Being the “token Christian” in a group of Pagans is fun. They don’t hold my difference against me and I do not hold their’s against them. *editorial, I like teasing and being teased. When you are thick skinned and have a sense of humor about yourself, those folks can give as good as they get. grins*

I don’t care if your normal is loving the same gender or the opposite. Your normal doesn’t have to be the same as mine. It’s what’s normal for you that matters.

That’s kind of what my mind has been rolling around. It’s the idea that I don’t get to impose my normal on you. We are ALL differently normal. Each of us is unique. We have genetic and environmental differences that have shaped our thoughts and actions. That means that there are no carbon copy people. Difference is normal.

You can pick your friends from whatever groups you want. I want mine to be differently normal because similarly normal is boring and un-fun. All I ask is that they have a sense of humor and honor. I think those are the only normal I care that we share.

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Words

I like hammers. A hammer is a straightforward tool. It is, in its most basic form, a rock on a stick. It hits things. That’s it. You really can’t use it for anything else.

Words are not hammers. I LOVE words. They, too, are tools. They have a far different purpose. They communicate all the thoughts, emotions, and dreams of humans. They can be used to share love…and hate. They can be used to influence others in a way that a hammer can not.

I hope these words have had influence. I hope they’ve encouraged and taught. I really wish they never had to be used. That I feel like I need to write them is because of the words of others. I write of love and inclusion because of the words of exclusion and hate that others have written.

Words have given us Winnie the Pooh, The Constitution, and the Bible. Words have said, “I have a dream…” Words said, “will you marry me” and “I do.” Words tell us of our past and help shape our future.Words can inflame and encourage. Words can define us…

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For all of their uses, there are things words can not do. Words are not a hug. They are not the feeling of a warm summer’s day. They are not the smell and taste of a home cooked meal. Words will never describe the feeling I have, in the middle of the night, when I hear my wife sleeping next to me.

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Z said she likes it when I write about Aj. The words I use to describe her limit her. It is their function. *exhale* That’s the problem with words.

If you take the words that define, then you can use them, not to include but, to divide. The things I admire and respect about Aj, could also be used by someone else, not to. *editorial, sorry for the next bit, Z* The same could be said of Z. I respect their sarcasm. I respect their individuality. I love their independence. I truly enjoy that Aj is Pagan. I respect Z for coming out and taking the consequences of that. They are both strong willed and tough. Those things might not be traits others would want in friends but, those things are things I seek out. My wife is also the same way. Those Ladies march to the drummer that plays for them and leaves it up to you to decide if you want to go along.

I have said all those things about Aj and Z, yet they do not begin to communicate WHO they are. I have pictures in my mind of them. All the words in the world would not be adequate to communicate what I carry. If I were to be writing for the rest of my life, I would not come close to expressing the whole of my feelings for my wife or who she is. The individuals make the words pale in comparison.

Please, please, do not use words to divide. Do not think that “Christian” is a word that means that a “Pagan” can not be your best friend. Aj is my best friend. Period. Do not think that “Straight” is a word that means you must oppose “Gay”. I will be an advocate for Z as long as she wants me to be. Those words, that others would say should divide the three of us, are meaningless  in the context of humanity. They are just fragments of the individuals.

Humans are not words. Humans are living, breathing, caring and loved. Don’t use words to limit us. Don’t let one word divide us. Don’t let a sentence make us less than we are. Choose your words carefully but, don’t let them blind your heart.

I wish my words were clearer. I wish they were more organized. If I could, I would use better words to persuade and encourage. I’ll keep trying. Perhaps, someday, I’ll find the right words.

More Thoughts on Prejudice and Fear

Before I start, to clear things up about this post. I am not regretting writing these or wanting to quit because I have no desire to write these…

I wish I could quit writing this blog. I wish there was no need for it. I wish that I didn’t feel a need to convince people that fearing someone because of how they love or what faith they have was not needed. *editorial.I know that being Pagan and being gay are not the same.*

I wish there was one tool or magic dust I could sprinkle that would erase fear and prejudice.

I wish that I could convince people that who I was, a meth addict, did actual harm to society. That, where I get praise for being an “ex”, it is undeserved. Being praised for no longer being a criminal is ridiculous. Being Pagan or LBGT is neither criminal nor harmful, yet, those people are scorned and I am not. Why?

To be entirely honest, I do not like every member of those communities I have met. Not every person is designed to like every other person. Having said that, the reason for the dislike are not their faith or who they love.

I can not see myself becoming a member of either group. It isn’t the way I’m wired.  It won’t stop me from standing up for them just because I don’t understand. I mention my Pagan friend, Aj. I don’t understand how she came to her faith. I don’t really care. Being Pagan is part of who she is. That’s enough for me. The person she is has become my best friend. I don’t understand why Z is attracted to women. *editorial, as a straight male, I do understand liking women* That, too, doesn’t matter. If I didn’t already have a best friend, Z would be a good one to fill that spot. She’s a treasure. *other editorial, that is just a comment on her worth as a person. Z should be someone’s best friend. she’s great* I do know that being a Lesbian is a part of who Z is. That’s all I need to understand.

Prejudice puts us in the position of deciding that we, by accident of birth, are better than someone else. We are not. Fear of what we are prejudiced against makes us want to repress. We should not. To say that I have some innate value that is greater than yours just because I was born doesn’t make sense. If I have earned some value because of study, practice, or talent only gives me greater value in the areas those apply to, not as a human.

To deny Equal Protection because of some perceived self-worth is to deny humanity. If I were to allow myself to be prejudiced against everyone that is “different”, I would be prejudiced against every other human in the world. If I were to fear everything that doesn’t fit the mold I was created in, I would fear everything. I refuse to live my life that way. My wife, as much as I love her, is far from being a copy of me. She has different wants, needs, and likes. That doesn’t make my love for her any less. That, also, doesn’t lessen her value. It merely makes her different.

Please, try to find a way to reach out. No matter if you are Pagan or Christian, gay or straight, try to find the value in other humans. Respect that they have the same capacity for love as you. See that they, too, have the same rights as you. Look for the common ground and ignore the differences. Enjoy the uniqueness and variety inside of the humans around you. Set aside fear and prejudice. Life is far too short…

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I have slipped the past couple of weeks. I used to post something every day, sometimes more than once a day. I don’t really have any excuse. “I’m tired” isn’t really an excuse or a valid reason, still, that’s it.

I worry that these get repetitive. I know that this blog started out to be about my personal growth. I suppose that someday that will return. I’d write about the learning curve an ex-addict has except that I don’t really wear the label “ex-addict”. I have been an addict. If I use again, I will be an addict again. Now, I am just Miller.

The rest of the reason these are not about me, for this season, is that writing for Marriage Equality is more important. We are at a time, in American Society, where the last of the legalized prejudices are being broken down. *editorial, I do not presume that legal equality will change the views of those inclined to hate*

I know I came late to the issue. I, too, had to be educated. I had to overcome my own conditioning. More of my life than not, I would have agreed with the oppressors and not the oppressed. *sigh* I was taught otherwise. I learned from people that didn’t really even try to teach. They lived their lives and I opened my eyes. It happens.

I also had to reevaluate my religious views. I read and pondered the words in my Bible. I came to the conclusion that I could not use words of love to advocate hate. *other editorial, before you ask, “do you believe ALL of the Bible?” make sure you are not, also, selectively applying it. I freely admit that I ignore parts of it. Society has changed. * I call my personal faith “Heretic Christian” because I WILL NOT use my faith as an excuse to repress.

Here’s the bottom line…again. Marriage Equality is the right thing. If we use any excuse to deny non-criminals “equal protection” then we set ourselves up for the same. Just because someone does not conform to your world view or the strictures of your faith does not make them any less human or deserving. Just because they do not love in the manner that you want them to does not make their love any less valid than yours. Just because you think that they can not have faith does not mean that they do not have faith. It is not our place to repress someone because we are straight and they are LBGT. There is no excuse for treating humans as anything less than human.

Love…and Trolls

Welcome to the Internet. Here you will find every possible expression, or a copy, of every kind of idea possible. You can find love and hate. It is a place to find friendship, support, and trolls. What? Yes, that’s correct. You can find people that share the same views that will give you support. You can find people that have different views that also give you support. You can also find strangers that hide behind the anonymity of a screen and hate you just for existing.

My name is the real me. I make no attempt to hide who I am. The people I write for and about are also real. I call them by the names I use in the blog. Sure, this reads like a “Letters to the Editor” column sometimes but, we are who we say we are. We’ve been lucky to have not been trolled. It has been my good fortune to not have had hateful comments directed at me or my friends here.

Still, because of the blog and my attempts to stand up for my friends that I’ve been reading blogs and sites that I normally wouldn’t have. Those sites are frequently trolled. It’s funny, not ha ha, that some of the trolls are haters and some are supporters. Yeppers, some of the people that would support an issue disagree with the way other supporters go about expressing their support.

I can be outspokenly blunt and profane…in person. I am probably the person I work with most likely to tell a co-worker to “shut the fuck up”. *sigh* In fact, I KNOW I am. I’m not proud of that capability. Why it comes up is because, there is no hiding when it’s face to face. There’s no attempt to hide behind self-righteousness.

I guess I just don’t get it. If your attempt is to persuade, then use words of kindness. If your attempt is to convince someone to see your views, being a troll only causes a negative reaction. Hiding and then using words of cruelty and hate are the methods of a coward. Making unfounded accusations to pander to your audience may keep your audience happy but, do nothing to convince the outsiders. To paraphrase, “when you use the word ‘Nazi’, you’ve lost”.

I suppose this post is a rant. In 204 posts, counting this one, there have been a few. This one was probably due.

As a conclusion, I’ll not say what I’m against, I’ll say what I’m FOR…I’m for houses with yellow roses in front. I’m for humans being treated as humans. I’m for people of faith being given the room to believe as they wish. I’m for ANY couple that wants to marry being able to do that. I’m for stating what you believe and having the courage to put your real name on it. I’m for my wife, Aj, Z, Leanna, and Cassie. I’m for hugs. I’m for bacon…and rib-eyes.

Being a Parent

To start, I’m not one. I don’t have any kids. biological or otherwise. I have one person that, if I had kids, I wish mine were like. She’s also someone that, because we were co-workers, is really a peer even if the age difference, she’s 19 and I’m 51, would make her my kid.

We were talking. She made this comment…”Miller I wish my own parents share this type of love to the whole me being a lesbian I know they love me but they just don’t approve and I’ve had such a distant connection to them that the only family I have around me is people like you that can truly put aside the difference of my sexual preferences and see me for who I am.”

That’s where my “parenting” instinct, small as it is, kicks in. I read that and I’m saddened, for her and THEM. They have a great kid. They really do. They are just blinded to it and are missing out. When all you see is that they are a lesbian and you “just don’t approve”, then it’s your loss…and theirs.

I think that part of being a parent is telling your kid you “approve” of them. Sure, care and feeding are important but, as we grow older, we want our parents emotional support. We want someone to tell us that we’ve become good adults. We want the parent/child relationship to grow into friendship. We want to not be condemned for being ourselves.

Cassie, I’m not inviting you over to do laundry. *grins* I might invite you over for a meal. We don’t watch TV, so that’s out. I’d love you if you were my kid but, I’m not that. I don’t really want to be your parent because, I don’t want to have to criticize the other decisions that you make, like what car to drive or clothes, or music. I’ll be your friend, if you don’t mind. I’ll always be old enough to be your dad. That’s fine. I’ll catch your back and give you the emotional support I have, when I can. I’ll also be praying that your parents come to their senses and see the person I see.

To Cassie’s Parents, you raised a fine young human. She deserves your love and approval. That she’s a lesbian is not a failure on your part. That you are pushing her away because of it is. I hope you come to your senses and see the person the rest of us see. I hope you tell her that you have. In the mean time, I’ll try to cover for you. If she needs an adult to treat her with dignity and respect, I’ve got that covered. If she needs someone to tell her she’s a great human just the way she is, I’ll do that, too. If you can’t see your way to telling your child that she has worth, I’ll do it, even if it’s not my job. Being gay is a TINY part of her and, frankly, none of your business. Your child is an adult, now, and following her own path. I suppose you did notice that because she’s here and y’all are far away. *sigh*

Yet An Other Reason

There is a law in Wisconsin that allows “domestic partnerships” to have the same rights as marriage without using the “M-word”. That’s great. It’s not the same.

We’re moving. My wife is doing most of the work because I have to go to work. Yet, she knows that, if she asks for help, no matter how tired I am, I jump up and help. Why? Because she’s my wife. She knows she can count on me to the end. Period. I took an oath.

A “domestic partner” is not a spouse. If it doesn’t take a divorce to break it up, it didn’t have a commitment to begin with. I’m not saying that long term monogamous partners are not committed. They can be and are, particularly if that’s all the law allows. What I am saying is that the simple act of the ceremony makes a difference in mindset.

I don’t know if Z will ever find someone she wants to marry. I hope that she will be able to. I think she deserves more than a “domestic partnership”.

I’m Drawing a Blank or, This Is What You Get Today

My life isn’t that rough. This is the mentally hardest thing I’ll do today. It’s just that life is deciding to be complicated. I’m typing these words without a clue what I’ll write. It’s just that I gave my word and I’ll keep it.

This page is a protest and a support.

The protest is against homophobia and hate. It is a support for a dear friend, Z, and her right to love without being discriminated against.

This is what I have, today. The unreasoning hate of any person for an act that is unseen, legal, and, frankly, none of your business is stupid. It makes you a busybody and a hypocrite. Why a hypocrite? Because, I’m sure, that there are parts of your life that fit that list that you don’t want to be judged for either.

Why is it in support of Z? Because she earned it by being the trustworthy, sarcastic, loving person that she is. Who cares what gender she is attracted to? Better to support her right not to be judged for it, than to hate her because of it. She hasn’t earned hate. She’s an upstanding citizen that believes in this country and its form of government, even when it tries to repress her. She’s also a human. Not some type of animal that can be denied basic human rights because of your prejudice. Besides that, she’s a dear friend and I don’t let friends be persecuted without speaking out for them.

In the end, her rights aren’t “gay rights”, they’re human rights. Either you support the concept for “equal protection under the law” for all human citizens or none.

Maybe I’m Stupid

Maybe I’m just stupid.

I am not smart enough to be able to understand hate. I can not figure out why someone would fear an other person that means them no harm.

I can not figure out why someone would not love having Z in their world. I don’t get the idea that she is a threat to them. I don’t want to know why someone wouldn’t rather have her in their world than to exclude her and, by doing that, diminish themselves.

Why be exclusionary? Why reduce a complex human to a simplistic prejudice because of one aspect of their whole being?

What basis to call someone “perversion” or “abomination” without realizing that, to them, the same applies to US?

What basis for saying that my friend wants everyone to be like her? She doesn’t. She’s unique, as are all the humans in the world.

Why say there’s a “gay agenda” without also saying that they have a “straight agenda”?

It seems that the ones wanting to convert the world to their views and perspectives aren’t my gay friends but, my “militant straight” friends. Why assign that motive, without recognizing their own?

Maybe I’m stupid. If stupidity is taking my friends as they come and loving them for who they are and the “content of their character”, then I want to remain stupid.

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I said in the previous post I would talk to the homophobic guy at work. If it happens today, I’ll make a follow up post. If not, some chance will happen and I’ll update and post when it does. Work can sometimes be very hectic.