Archive for ‘school’

July 8, 2013

“I have the kids tonight, Elizabeth is in the ER”

The semester is over. It’s been over for quite some time – a couple of months now – and I have a couple of months before classes start up again. I had hoped that this chapter of my blog would be a quirky but poignant chronicle of my time in seminary, filled with revelations and tidbits I’d want to remember. I made fewer than ten posts and none of them exactly revelatory.

I joked on facebook that if I had to title my first year of seminary it would be, “I have the kids for the night, Elizabeth is in the ER.” Elizabeth, my housemate, was diagnosed with breast cancer last May and I continued to live with them and help out with the kids over the course of the year in exchange for a room. Not that anybody has a particularly good experience with cancer and I suppose her outcome, that is “not being dead,” means that in many ways she had a better outcome than most but she ended up in the hospital a lot with scary high fevers and things that just didn’t feel right. Many nights I ended up unexpectedly watching the kids while Elizabeth hung out at Mass General.

I attended Dorian’s preschool graduation, let the kids watch a little too much TV while I worked on assignments, taught them the difference between the Old Testament and the New Testament, tried to hide my exhausted crying from them, and gave them lots of hugs. Choosing to live with somebody going through fairly aggressive cancer treatment (including chemo, radiation, and more than one surgery) was not the most logical decision but, hey, the price was right and I love the kids. Housemate is in remission, I’m still living here, and I feel like things are very much at a standstill right now.

In a lot of ways I’m scared to leave. I have a routine here; it’s the only place I’ve called home in any real way in a ten years. Sunday mornings are the epitome of that for me. The other thing I did during seminary was attend church every Sunday. I only missed twice when I was in town, once because I was super sick and once because I decided that drinking coffee with some queer friends was what my spirit needed. There were a couple of Sundays when I was out of town with my now-ex and it always felt weird to not be in church. Church is my routine, my rock, and I love that stability.

The kids love that stability, too. They’ve been coming to church with me almost every Sunday that I attend for a couple of years now. We don’t actually attend church all that close to where we live; First Parish Cambridge is clear across town though, realistically, it’s only a 30 minute train ride. Even that train is part of our routine. We walk to the station, in snow and sun and wind. We comment on the trees and the flowers, we talk about what we did with our week.

I’ve watched them grow up on these walks. When I first started taking them to church V was still in her stroller, not talking much, and D was a very shy 4 year old who didn’t want to leave my side. There’s a small wall at the corner of our block that D would walk on, holding the handle of V’s stroller. Slowly we phased out the stroller, instead of clinging to my side D started leading the way and running ahead. V scraped her knees every other week in an effort to keep up with her older brother, and slowly started to balance on that small wall herself holding my hand. Then slowly she no longer needed to hold my hand, not even for the “super hero jump” at the end.

We get off the train at Harvard, after crossing the river and inspecting it carefully for any signs of boats. D doesn’t often sit on his knees to look out the windows any longer; he’s too busy reading comics. We hold hands to cross the street and go in the side door of the building.

When I’m the worship associate the kids help me set up the sanctuary since childcare doesn’t start until 45 minutes after I have to be there. We set out new candles, make sure the pulpit is set up and arrange hymnals in the right places. I lift up V to hang the hymn numbers and let D light the starter candles. They both scamper around the sanctuary like they own the place. I usually let V test to make sure the mics are working. And the kid who wouldn’t leave my side got up this year, with three of his classmates, and spoke into a microphone in front of the whole congregation.

One year ago I agreed to stay for an extra year. It’s been a year and I know I need to move on. But I can’t imagine my life without walking those two to church on Sunday mornings and watching them grow from the “big kids” they are now into even bigger kids. And I can’t imagine not having them to distract me from school when school is too much.

June 12, 2013

Human Ecological Religious Leadership

My “call”

In seminary the most common question after “Wait, that’s due TODAY?” is “so tell me about your call”; in other words, “when did you know you were called by God/god/the Holy Spirit/the Divine/some higher force to go into religious leadership?” I knew some folks who have a very definitive “call” story but for me it was a long series of revelations. What it boils down to is that I loved social justice work but I felt like there was something missing and, for me, that something was spirit of community.

Discernment

When I started seriously considering religious leadership as a career path I contacted the alumni office and asked for a list of any COA alums who had gone onto religious leadership. Recognizing that not everyone keeps in touch with their undergrad and still others may be highly active in religious communities without having attained a professional degree in the subject, it was still a disappointingly small list.

There were four names on it.

Now I know that College of the Atlantic is not a large school but even within that reality four is a small number of people. Organized religion is just not a huge part of the day to day life of students at College of the Atlantic; it wasn’t really a big part of my life when I started there in 2007. Over time, though, I found myself being pulled in that direction and grasping hold of the thought that ministry was not an incompatible goal within the context of human ecology. I even wrote my human ecology paper on the 7 principles of Unitarian Universalism as my personal definition of human ecology.

I took those names and happily one of the people, Paul, was a minister from my own denomination, Unitarian Universalism; we were able to talk on the phone and even meet up in person at our national denominational meeting the following June. Later, when I was accepted into the Master of Divinity program at Boston University School of Theology, Paul shared that news with his congregation during their sharing of joys and sorrows.

Religious Education

Boston University School of Theology isn’t like College of the Atlantic in almost any way. There are students, faculty, staff, and buildings but beyond that they are pretty dissimilar. I’m at one of the larger research universities in the country, sitting in lectures with nationally renowned theologians, and a member of the Boston Theological Institute which gives me access to all 10 divinity schools here in Boston and the surrounding areas. Martin Luther King Jr. went to seminary here as the school is so fond of reminding people.

When I walked in here on that first day of orientation I was met with the nervous energy of a bunch of adults acting like middle schoolers at that first dance where nobody wants to step into the middle and just go for it. If you’ll remember COA orientation it involves a scavenger hunt and jumping into the ocean. Seminary orientation involved prayer and a whole lot of Jesus.

Unitarian Universalism is unique in that it’s not a specifically Christian denomination that grew out of the merger of the Unitarians and the Universalists in 1961. We’re historically very liberal; both denominations have been ordaining women since the mid-1800s, openly gay people since the late 1970s, openly transgender people since the 1980s, and we’ve often been at the forefront of various social justice campaigns.

While at College of the Atlantic my identity as an openly transgender social justice activist was never a concern to almost anybody; in seminary I realized I had little in common with my classmates. There were a few gay and lesbian people, and a person here and there who clearly had some understanding of LGBTQ issues. I wasn’t suddenly thrown into school with a bunch of people who were going to try to save me from the sins of my homosexuality but I wasn’t with people who I felt like I could relax around.

Now THAT’S what I call Human Ecology

I have a therapist. I swear the first two things ministers tell you when you tell them you’re planning to go into ministry are 1) “don’t” and 2) “get a therapist.” So I have this therapist who said to try to treat school as an anthropological exploration. She wanted me to act as an outsider learning about this other culture without fully immersing myself in it if that was too painful. That’s not how I learned to learn in my time at College of the Atlantic. As human ecologists we don’t learn only by observing but by immersion and participation in community.

As a human ecologist I am asked to study how I and others interact with our natural and human-manufactured environments. Seminary is a human manufactured environment; we sit in rooms and learn how to read ancient texts, or how to talk to somebody about a crisis in their life, or how to evangelize (yes, that is an actual class and no, I don’t plan to put it into practice as it was taught). I cannot learn from the outside; I have to jump in and try to carve out a space for myself while respecting that others don’t see that space for me as valid.

So I’m here. Things have calmed down a little. People are used to seeing me around even if a number of them don’t really agree with my “lifestyle.” I know that my own denomination is fully supportive even if some of the people I’m in school with don’t understand how that could be. I am serving my denomination on a national level as the Young Adult worship coordinator and on a local level I help lead worship, work with children, and provide pastoral care for people going through difficult times.

The future

I’ve only just finished my first year so I don’t definitively know where I’m going in the future. If I could pick my ideal future career I’d serve as an associate minister with a focus on social justice. I’d be able to continue my social justice work through a ministerial context while still working within a congregational setting. I think the liberal faith voice is essential when “liberal” and “faith” are often pitted against one another in our national dialogues. My background as an activist is integral to my future as a minister and my education as a human ecologist is the lens through which I act in the world. College of the Atlantic has been a non-traditional but hugely beneficial platform from which to approach seminary.

February 7, 2013

“Love the new look.” Coming out to my middle school science teacher.

Last week I was working with a group of high school seniors and I made them brainstorm on a teacher, or teachers, who had made a positive impact on their lives prior to high school.  The “prior to high school” caveat was mainly because they were all still in high school and I wanted them to think back.  We talked about what makes a good teacher and eventually settled on the answer, “it’s the little things.”  Then I made them look up an email address or, if needed, a physical address of a teacher they remembered had made an impact on them though “the little things.”  We wrote letters, by hand and on computers, thanking those teachers for what they’d done, detailing that “little thing,” and updating them on where their former students were now and where they hoped to go in the future.

They told me I should do it, too, so I sat there contemplating the question.  I’d certainly had some great teachers and I’d had some really awful teachers.  Most of the good teachers were in high school and college and certainly not all of my “teachers” have been in schools.  But middle school had a dearth of teachers I felt like cared at all.

I got caught up in the rest of the day and didn’t really plan to follow through with sending off a letter and forgot about it until I got home and turned on my computer.  I had a Facebook friend request from somebody who had bullied me mercilessly in middle school.  I couldn’t figure out why she’d want to be friends; this was a girl who scribbled “fag” all over my backpack and was such a “nice girl” in front of the teachers that, when she told one of them I’d copied her test rather than the other way around, I failed and almost didn’t pass math.  And how had she found me?  I’d changed my name since middle school and there was no way she should have known to look me up.  I considered, strongly considered, sending her a nastily worded message about how bad she’d made my life.

It got me thinking again about those teachers who hadn’t done the right thing and played into the idea that bullies have low self-esteem and let them get away with murder.  Then I remembered an incident on the playground before school; this person was bullying me and my science teacher came up to us and completely diffused the situation.  I started thinking about that letter I hadn’t written.

I searched out my middle school’s website just to see if she happened to still work there.  She did.  I grabbed the letter format I’d made my high schoolers use and started to write.  Almost immediately I realized that I’d either have to come out as transgender to this teacher or use only my legal name and an old email address to avoid coming out.

I came out to her; I figured I lost nothing if she never responded, or thought it was spam, or didn’t care, or just never saw the email.  I explained why I was writing, thanked her for standing up to a bully for me that one morning (the little things!), let her know where I’d gone to undergrad and where I was in grad school, and signed off.

Less than fifteen minutes later she sent me a friend request on Facebook.

Okay, so much for her never seeing it, or not responding, or not remembering who I was.

So I did what I do.  Sent her a Facebook message.  “That was an awkwardly fast response to a completely random email.”  She responded that she’d been avoiding grading.  And we started chatting.  She had family in Maine and Boston, relatives associated with Unitarian Universalist Churches.

Then she said, “love the new look.”  I made some sarcastic comment about moving quickly from Dykesville to Tranny Town after high school but inside I was saying, “Oh, thank you, God.”  She was fine with it; it was a nonissue.

I don’t know why it mattered.  This wasn’t somebody I’d even really thought of since I left middle school and had she never responded to my email I wouldn’t have really thought about it.  And if there HAD been some issue with it then, hey, what did it matter?  She was my science teacher, for one year, thirteen years ago.  I’m pretty sure in the prioritized list of “people who need to accept my gender identity” that’s… pretty low.

I’m at the point in my life where I’m not closeted to anybody I’ve met in the past five years and anybody from before that who I’m friends with in any capacity online.  I’m out to my parents and my siblings and a couple high school teachers who I’ve stayed in contact with.  But because Facebook didn’t become public until after I left high school I never ended up friends with almost anybody I went to school with.  Anybody who tries to seek me out now won’t find me under my legal name.

Therefore anybody I contact from before I transitioned I have to make that choice with.

Should I come out to you?

Are you safe?

Does it matter?

Sometimes the conversation is great.  This teacher was wonderful about it.  Last time I came out to a former teacher she was… less okay with it.  She’s come around, and we’re fine now but her initial reaction hurt.  A few people never questioned me when I changed my name online while others asked about it and then never brought it up again.

But it will always be the little things that make the biggest impact.

“Love the new look.”

August 30, 2012

It begins

My minister has a framed picture on the wall of his office at church – it’s the Tichh Nhat Hanh meditation “I have arrived.  I am home.”  Since I’m in his office a fair bit, between meeting with him individually and for Pastoral Care Associate meetings and such I have stared at this picture a lot.  I love it.

 

I started seminary today.  I was a nervous wreck for the past few days and then… I got there.  And in all of its fluorescent lit, mediocre bagels and bad coffee glory I had arrived.  I took a seat and started talking to people.  People, mostly people close to my age, doing the same thing as me.  This thing none of my college friends understand even though they’re being really nice about it.  It felt so right.

We did all the normal orientation things.  It was explained what a venerable and esteemed institution we were at, the multifaceted, and I’m sure very unique, benefits were tossed around, and we mingled.  I met new people and old people and I laughed and I felt, well, blessed.  To be there.  To be able to be there.  I felt like I belonged.

After lunch four of us ended up outside playing Frisbee and already we have inside jokes (they involve me aiming at freshmen).  We went on a hideously long walking tour of Boston immediately after which we had to go to a fancy hotel to meet our professors.  We ate fancy-ish hors d’oeuvres and laughed at how underdressed almost everyone was.

It was good.  I returned home happy, and content, and thrilled, and all kinds of other adjectives.

And it was good, too, because when I posted a happy status about being in seminary over FIFTY of my friends “liked” the status on Facebook.  These friends who have been following me from when I first declared I may, possibly, be interested in seminary to today, when I started.  Friends from college and friends from church and minister after minister after minister saying “Good for you.  I’m glad.”  It was such a fun, good feeling.

Not everything was perfect.  Almost nobody got my pronouns right, and while my name was correct on my nametag it was incorrect on my folder and my advisor letter.  I am pretty sure there’s no gender neutral bathroom that’s easily accessible in the building.  I was too scared to correct people much.  I am incredibly dehydrated because, well, if you don’t think there’s a place to go to the bathroom you don’t drink enough water.

But I have arrived.  I am home.  It’s not perfect and there are going to be speed bumps and awful bits but, right now, in this moment, I’M THERE.  That’s what matters right now.  I am THERE.

March 12, 2012

The Foreign Country of “College”

I went to the nicest college I’ve ever heard about.  It’s not the fanciest, or the most expensive (it’s not the cheapest by a long shot!).  We’re not churning out folks in congress (we do have one, though).  My college isn’t well known, and it doesn’t earn the same amount of immediate “respect” upon mention as, say Harvard or Brown.  But it’s a wonderful place where you learn a lot in and out of class and where the people are genuinely nice.

There aren’t really bullies at College of the Atlantic, not in the traditional sense.  If you lined up all the students, which wouldn’t be that hard since there are only around 300, you probably couldn’t pick out who the most popular ones were, or the ones who led student governance, or the ones who spoke the most in class.  In some ways we’re a school of misfits and outcasts who have a lot of good ideas and found a place where we were told to speak up.  You’re in a class of MAYBE 10 other people; if you don’t make your opinions known it’s noticeable.  So you learn to be heard.  Not necessarily to speak, but to be heard.

I learned to speak up before College of the Atlantic; I was carefully groomed by some well-known LGBTQ organizations on how to speak loudly, proudly, and on topic.  I’ve been through more media trainings that I know what to do with, and I know how to pick three talking points and stick to them.  I know how to not get injured while protesting and I know how to deescalate confrontation if it needs to be deescalated.  I know how to make protest signs that cannot be misconstrued by media on the opposing side.

What College of the Atlantic taught me was to be intentional; that it’s actually okay to “sit one out” when something comes up and you’re just too exhausted for it.  It’s perfectly alright to let a chance at organizing, protesting, or giving a speech pass you by and assume that somebody else will take it up.  College of the Atlantic was homogenous enough that I was able to fit in and, therefore, relax.  I didn’t have to be on eggshells there because I was just another one of the quirks at the school.

There’s this thing about college though; it ends. I graduated in 2010, moved out of town then out of state and suddenly I was back in the real world.  The world where my haircut signifies something other than “owns a pair of clippers” and where I can’t expect to introduce myself as Andrew and not have folks question it.  The world where it wasn’t accepted that folks would engage in debate about an issue while sticking, somewhat, to accepted rules.  The world where you can’t point out privilege to somebody and expect them to know what you mean.  The world where people lock their doors at night.

College of the Atlantic, and I’m assuming lots of places like it, gave you enough comfort to fight for what you truly cared about rather than everything that came across your path.  I took a ton of interesting classes there but that lesson, of fighting for what I felt was truly right rather than what I felt I had to fight for, was far more necessary than many of the classes.  It’s not something you can learn in a weekend retreat or a week long class; it took three years to even start making sense to me, and I’m still sorting stuff out almost two years after graduation.

In short, College of the Atlantic taught me to say, “no” when I needed so that I could say, “yes” to life.

And then I left.

It was almost like having lived in a foreign country during your formative years and then being dropped right back off in your country of origin as soon as you hit your stride.

I’m still struggling a little bit; misspeaking here and there, and having some major flops at times.  I forget that it’s not totally acceptable for me to speak up when I feel something isn’t okay in the same way I have been.  That’s not necessarily a good thing, but there are existing power structures that I get to play in to as I move forward toward ministry.  There are some pretty gross examples of people using their power and privilege over me in ways that I hadn’t experienced before because in the past that stuff would have been called out and stopped immediately.  It’s hard for me to step back and say “there’s a power structure here that’s much bigger than me, and I don’t have the right to change it right now.”

This isn’t better than the system at my school.  This doesn’t make those existing and limiting power structures okay.  And this doesn’t make the people abusing their power and privilege over others right or responsible or okay.  And sometimes I’ll explode a little because somebody is being so monumentally ridiculous in private and the antithesis of who they claim to be in public.

But we will get there.  Heaven knows how we will get there.  But we know within.

Right?  Please tell me that’s right.  Please tell me we will get there.  We’ve gotta.

March 2, 2012

I got in!

I got accepted to Boston University School of Theology for their Master of Divinity Program!

January 9, 2011

Unitarian Universalism, Me, College, and Marriage Equality – A Love Story

At my alma mater every student has to write a human ecology essay, their own declaration of what Human Ecology means to them – an annoying but useful task, considering it is what we all get out degree in.

What follows is the essay I wrote last year.  Obviously a lot has changed since then, but the sentiment remains.  This post is long, so I am putting most of it behind the cut.

November 23, 2010

Being “Christlike” in college

I find colleges fascinating. State colleges with huge sports teams and hundreds of people in a lecture, tiny colleges in the middle of the desert where “butcher” is a work study job, colleges with strong family histories, colleges where virtue __ is said to be prized over all. Colleges are fascinating.

Right now I am completely obsessed with Fundamentalist Christian universities. This is not necessarily a recent development; I have found them fascinating for years. But it’s an interest that ebbs and flows and right now I’m reading all about various Christian universities and the rules they have. It is absolutely fascinating.

The two schools I have looked into the most are Bob Jones University and Pensacola Christian College, both unaccredited Fundamentalist Universities. They are fascinating. I can’t imagine learning in the environments that they purport to offer. There’s a strict dress-code, a complicated system of demerits, no physical contact allowed between male and female students, no headphones for music, bedtimes, graduated privileges, permission needed for everything. Mandatory prayer meetings, daily room inspections, no movies above a G rating, no video games above E10. No tattoos or body piercings, no long hair on men, no short hair on women. The people who attend these colleges have fewer privileges than your average sheltered middle schooler.

It’s unbelievable to me especially when I think about my own college experience. My college where, in essence, the only real rule is don’t be a Republican. As RAs we were specifically told not to look for people breaking rules. Most people drank on campus and many did drugs – it was just expected that you’d do it somewhat quietly. We’d run around at all hours of the day and night. Sometimes residents would inform their RA if they were leaving for awhile, but not always. We cuddled for hours watching movies during long winter nights, going to classes in our pajamas after staying up all night talking about the meaning of life and how our composting toilets worked. And we were not, under any circumstances, to automatically respect authority.

The point of all of the rules is to create a Christ-centric body and mind. I certainly would hesitate before labeling very many people at my college Christ-centric (though there were some) but by and large they are good people. It isn’t like we have no rules so all people do is drink and smoke and listen to foul music. You’re more likely to hear bagpipes or Gandalf Murphy and the Slambovian Circus of Dreams as you are anything hardcore. Usually there is at least somebody on campus dressed like a pirate, and sword fights happen pretty often in the spring. There’s an ongoing rivalry about a “yield” sign that was stolen a few years ago – it travels between houses, getting stolen in the middle of the night. A couple years ago a giant paper mache penis was constructed and left on the lawn of one of the dorms, after that dorm had filled the penis-constructing dorm’s bathroom with news paper. That is what you do at college. It is ridiculous and stupid and fun and you never get to do it after college so why the hell not?

But most of that stuff would never be allowed at these Christian colleges. With their bedtimes and their dress codes and their focus on submitting to authority. Those things could get you kicked out of school, while at my college they were laughed at by administration. Every spring an email is sent out reminding us that our bodies are beautiful but that the dock is not a clothing optional zone. Not that any of us pay attention do that, but the email is sent all the same. My college felt safe and welcoming and let people be whole. These schools… don’t sound that way. All the structure and rules they have put in place seem to form an environment of fear and domination not of respect. They don’t treat the adults who go to these schools like they are adults.

November 11, 2010

Am I embarrassed?

I graduated from college in the spring with my bachelor or arts degree. The logical thing that many of my friends are talking about, or that people are asking me when they find out that I graduated, is what is next. For many of us we are at least considering grad school.

So a lot of people ask me what I am doing next and I say “well, I’m looking at grad schools.” which is totally true. But then people say “oh, where?” which is a Totally. Reasonable. Question.

And then I mumble something mostly incoherent about maybe looking at seminary a little bit and then I try really hard to change the subject. Part of it is me not wanting to talk about it because I’m not sure. But I’m also considering social work and I’m happy to talk about that. Yet I feel embarrassed to tell people that I want to go into ministry.

Even my three best friends from my college who I have lived and cried and cooked and slept and watched horror movies with; I find it hard to talk about it with them. These are people who I have stood in front of and said “does my chest look any flatter in this?” and had them look at me, tell me to turn, and given me honest feedback. These are the very first people who got my pronouns right when I threw that at them a couple years ago. These are people who get me like nobody else gets me. And I just can’t figure out how to talk with them about it.

One thing that tells me is that I am SO not ready. But it also tells me a lot about myself and the microcosms I have placed myself in.

My college is basically the communities that I align myself with condensed. If my communities were juice my college would be super concentrated orange juice. As independent and free thinking as my communities claim to be there’s this whole problem once you step a little outside everything they are OK with. Here, I made a chart to explain:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Obviously I am somewhat joking with that, but it’s really how it starts to feel at times. In a lot of ways it is just as confining to identify along some alternative lines as it is to identify along conservative lines. If I told people at my school that I planned to go into marine studies, environmental activism, sustainable food production, or start up my own small business that somehow involved yarn, acoustic guitars, and wood pellet stoves? Nobody would bat an eye. Because those are acceptable things to do with a Bachelor’s degree in Human Ecology.

And if I (as in me, specifically) told people that I was going to go into social justice work, LGBTQ activism, run for some kind of political office, or start a non-profit those would be OK, because that is what people expect me to do. Those things make sense.

Ministry doesn’t make sense. It doesn’t make my peg fit in the hole that they’d like to place me in. When I first started considering ministry I sent our alumni director an email asking for any grads from my college who had gone into ministry or religious leadership. There were four. A fifth had gone to seminary but dropped out. It’s not what folks do in my circles. Even the people who go to church back home don’t go to church at school and, if they do, they certainly don’t tell people or, good heavens, invite them along. When I started going to church people gave me funny looks when I told them. “Oh, I can’t meet on Sunday morning… I have church… I’ll be back on the island around 12:30…” Even the people in bible study didn’t regularly go to church. These were people who, at a school with the demographics I have described, set up a bible study group. But they didn’t go to church.

So it is hard for me to talk about and to explain why I want to go into ministry, or why I might want to, or why I am considering it. I feel like I’m being judged just by throwing it out there as a possibility. I can’t explain my calling without feeling like people think I’ve just gone off the deep end.

Maybe embarrassed isn’t the right word. I think it is more along the lines of “fragile” right now. My feelings and aspirations are fragile right now. Did you ever have one of those crystal growing kids as a kid? Those very first “strands” of crystal that start to come together are fragile. Poke them and they will disintegrate, and then the crystal that forms will not have that solid base to grow from. Let them sit still and uninterrupted and they become solid and able to withstand pushing and poking. Let me sit with this. Let me sit with it and not be questioned and poked and prodded.

Don’t give me all the reasons why you think that I am a bad fit for ministry. I promise you, I have thought of all of those and a hundred more. I made two lists, reasons I should and should not go into ministry. The “should not” list is multiple times the length of the “should” list. If there is anything I do not need right now it is discouragement and reality checks.

I hope that people don’t take my unwillingness to talk about all of this as a way of saying that I am embarrased of what I want to do. It’s really just that I’m confused and fragile and I really don’t know if I can handle being shaken up and questioned right now.

June 16, 2010

…bullying

I did something stupid today.

Please forgive me.

I watched an episode of Dr. Phil.

I know, I know. I should know better. Stay with me.

somebody uploaded an episode of Dr. Phil about girl bullying. I decided to stick with it despite it being titled “Girl World.”

It wasn’t terrible. I mean, it was an episode of Dr. Phil. I have absolutely zero respect for the man and his opinions on childhood development. It wasn’t a good episode, but I only wanted to punch him four or five times, so it was better than most.

One of the things that bugged me a lot was the examples they had of all the people who were bulled in middle/high school. They are all tall, conventionally beautiful, seemingly-straight women.

I was bullied mercilessly in middle school. People called me gay and fat and ugly and stupid and poor. People threatened me. I was tied to a tether ball poll. I cried every day of middle school, and these girls loved that they had that power over me. And obviously I am still pissed off by it. Recently one of the “ring leaders” of the bullying friended me on facebook and I sent her a message saying, simply, “why the hell would you want to be my friend?” I guess I’m not over it.

But as I was watching this show I kept thinking… “who is there representing me?” All the people who were up there, on this supposed representation of America and the bullying problem we have, was standing there in all of their 5’10″ size 2 look-at-my-highlights glory. Where’s the trans guy, the butch lesbian, the gay boy, the straight girl who everyone still thinks is a lesbian? Where are they? Where am I? Why are you all assuring her that she’ll find a boyfriend who deserves her at some point? What if she doesn’t want a boyfriend? What if she doesn’t want to fit in?

LGBTQ bullying is hardly talked about outside of LGBTQ spaces. That needs to change if it’s actually going to stop.

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 59 other followers