Yesterday I was lucky enough to convince my sweet friend Krissy to share a story of equality that hit her personally. If you haven’t already read it you should definitely go do that right this second.
Today the Supreme Court was/is reviewing DOMA the federal law that defines “marriage” as something between one man and one woman. I want to share my feelings on the subject but the entire thing makes me so furious. I just don’t understand. My logical brain cannot process someones need to give a shit about who another person marries. A person they will, most likely, never meet in their entire life. In fact, that is my counterargument to almost every single thing thrown at me about it. WHY DO YOU CARE???? Let’s break it down one at a time.
1. Joseph (Seems like a nice solid name. Let’s just pretend that Mr. “I think gays shouldn’t marry'”s name is Joseph): Gay Marriage is against the Bible.
Wendy: WHY DO YOU CARE? If that is how you interpret your bible then you live that way. What does it matter that someone else lives differently? If we are going to use your logic anyone who doesn’t believe in your bible shouldn’t be married. Why are you picking on the gays? I have a number of gay friends who are religious and go to church regularly. I’m an atheist. So by your logic doesn’t it make more sense that I can’t marry vs. my God-fearing gay friend?
Here is the problem with the Bible as an excuse. It is FULL of things that seem archaic now. It is almost like it was written ions ago to scare people into living a certain way … the way someone or a group of someone’s prefer. Doesn’t it? Hmmmmm … kinda like a big ol’ graphic book of fables with fire and stoning, lust and hate, love and forgiveness. Hmmmmm ….
Jodi Picoult did a lot of research before writing her book, Sing You Home. In this scene one of her brilliant characters is questioning a pastor on the stand. A pastor whose argument is that gay marriage is forbidden in the Bible. Let’s see what her research into the Bible says …
Even with EXACT Biblical quote being used in defense it doesn’t matter. The fictional Joseph won’t care. It’s like hitting your head against a brick wall. Do you know why? It really doesn’t matter what the Bible says. That is how Joseph was raised. In college I took a class called “The Literature of the Bible.” I remember debating people in class. Those who went to Sunday school as children and demanding, “Show me. SHOW ME IN THE BOOK I’M HOLDING UP WHERE IT SAYS THAT.” They couldn’t and they often disputed what I was saying even though I could read a quote straight from the text-book (aka the Bible). They have been told for years what that book says. You can’t teach an old dog …
2. Joseph: If Gay marriage is legal it will corrupt my children.
Wendy: Stop it. Stop pretending that you allow your children around anyone gay and/or anyone who is gay and is brave enough to live his/her life that way. Now tell me EXACTLY how it will corrupt your children. You do realize gay couples currently exist with or without “marriage” right? You do realize that your children can be currently going to school (I know I know your kids are home schooled. You got me on a technically. I didn’t see that coming.) with children being raised by loving parents that just happen to be the same-sex. For that matter your child may have friends being raised by their grandparents, or their aunts/uncles. It’s highly possible your child already knows someone who is being raised by just one parent. I don’t want to send your head spinning too fast but it is highly possible your child has a friend who is being raised by mixed race parents. Gasp … it’s already happening. I tell you what. If you can’t find it in yourself to be a parent who is able and willing to calmly discuss with his/her children that love comes in all shapes and should always be protected and respected then I’ll be happy to do it for you. Just let me know and I’ll give you my Skype name and we can jump on the computer and straighten this whole thing out.
3. Joseph: It’s unnatural.
Wendy: Sigh … Joseph. Please stop talking. You are making me not like you and I’m trying really really hard not to be horrifically mean and start cursing violently at an imaginary person. I want to like you. You have such fabulous fashion style. I mean that coat is to die for. Honestly it’s not gay at all. Don’t let anyone tell you differently.
4. Joseph: Two men kissing in public is icky.
Wendy: You kissing anyone is icky. Please don’t do it in front of me.
I have the right and the obligation as a human to live one person’s life. Mine. I’m lucky enough to be able to influence the minds and decisions of close friends and family. Other than that … I got nothing. There is no reason that I should believe that I have the right to tell you how to live. What would possible allow me to think that I do?
Knowing that WHY DO YOU CARE? Why do you care how someone else lives? Why do you care who someone else loves? Let’s just trample all over my beliefs as an atheist and assume that gays (and for other but equal damning reasons, myself and most of my friends) are pissing off God. So what? Imagine how happy you will be when you are standing next to the Almighty at the pearly gates with your arms crossed and your brow scrunched down in an “I told you so” look. You can gloat all you want as the fabulous gays and I do a perfect pivot-turn and sashay ala Fosse style right on down to the depths of Hell. If you believe in God. Why don’t we agree to just let him be the final judge?
To bring it back around to niceness let me share one more Jodi Picoult quote that I love from The Storyteller (based on the evidence in this blog post it seems Ms. Jodi is my literature spiritual leader. My Ayn Rand or L. Ron Hubbard.)
Most assume that the Supreme Court will do nothing about DOMA right now. That this older group of Americans just don’t understand why it’s even an issue. I do believe that Marriage Equality and Gay Rights is a generational problem. Much like women’s right to vote and mixed race marriages. One that we be “solved” soon. I just wish it was my generation that could make that change.
Today and tomorrow are both very important to many Americans, as these are the days the United States Supreme Court will be reviewing California’s Prop 8 and DOMA. My lack of political knowledge is unfortunate so let me have someone else explain:
“Beginning this morning, the Supreme Court will hear two cases that could recognize the right of everyone, straight or gay, to marry the person they love. The first concerns California’s anti-gay Proposition 8, and could potentially extend the right to marry to same-sex couples in all fifty states. The second challenges the federal Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), and could end the federal government’s practice of denying equal benefits to couples who are legally married under state law.” – Think Progress, Everything You Need to Know About the Marriage Equality Cases At The Supreme Court, by Ian Millhiser
I’m a theatre arts major who lives in Los Angeles. It’s a no brainer that I have gay friends, both men and women. It also makes sense that the majority of my friends are pro “marriage equality.” Today my Facebook feed blew up with love and support for all of our friends who are gay and, maybe more importantly, the need to support equality for everyone. My friend Krissy Cummins, you remember her as one of the St. Patrick’s
Day fairies, wrote a bit of an experience she had. I reached out to see if she would be willing to be a guest blogger for today and share more of her story. My original thought was that I’d weave in my comments with Krissy’s. After reading her very emotional and thought-provoking story I refuse to dilute it with my silliness. Below is Krissy’s story that she wrote up specifically for you on this very important day:
Equality and Me: I Didn’t Ask For This.
In 1993 I lost my best friend and man I thought I’d spend my life with to a nasty little disease called AIDS. That’s a whole other story in itself but let’s suffice it to say he contracted it during a dark moment of (non-sexual) carelessness and carried the shame and secrecy of it up until a month before he died. I got well acquainted with this disease at a time when fear and hysteria accompanied it- we had kissed!- was I doomed? An HIV test (and educated doctors) assured me that I was not.
This loss shattered my life and ultimately resulted in me finding the balls to move to Hollywood and pursue my dreams. I’ve never gotten over it, as people who suffer this kind of loss understand; you just tuck it away and soldier on. But it left me forever linked to a community that otherwise wouldn’t have been more than a blip on my radar- sure gays had rights!- but now I was linked to them whether I liked it or not. In my despair, I joined a support group at APLA for people who had lost someone to AIDS. The group was mostly gay men who could’ve easily resented the young blonde girl who had never experienced any kind of bigotry or hatred like they had. But they lovingly embraced me and my story and gave it all the compassion and acknowledgement that they gave their own.
I grew close to one of the young men in the group. Like many of the other men there, his partner had died of AIDS and he had nursed him until the end. Hearing his story, and the final months he spent feeding, bathing, consoling, and loving his partner was very powerful for me. I remember being so struck by the quiet and holy emotion in the room: LOVE. What he shared with his partner had nothing to do with sex. Like many (married) couples over the years, they’d stopped having sex. His partner was dying and suffering, sex wasn’t even in the equation anymore! Similar (actually IDENTICAL) to ‘regular’ relationships/marriages (if they’re lucky), it had all boiled down to love and commitment.
My friend shared with the group his experience once his partner ended up in the hospital, about to pass away. The family showed up for the first time in years, and immediately had my friend banned from his partner’s bedside. The hospital staff was helpless to support him, he had no legal rights. This was gut wrenching for him as well as his dying partner. Can you even imagine this happening to you? How insane you would go? Imagine if you were dying and your most loved one wasn’t holding your hand, instead you had to look into the faces of those who had only hurt and betrayed you? My friend didn’t even get to say good-bye!
The family then changed the locks on the home my friend had shared with his partner for years; someone packed up a few of his things and left them on the front lawn. What struck me was the shame and sadness my friend carried, when he had nothing to be ashamed of. The barbaric and inhumane assholes that did this to him deserved all the shame. I’m happy to say the support group did help him realize this, and he wept with knowing he had a true love in this life. He passed away himself a year or two afterwards. I will never forget him or the lessons he gave me.
It’s OK if we don’t all believe the same things. You’re allowed to be down on gay people (just don’t expect me to drink with you). At least open your mind to see what’s happening here, all they want is to be able to have a family and the rights (and benefits!) that come with it. How does that hurt you? You don’t get any less of anything! Quit obsessing on what they’re doing in their bedrooms, you snooty snoots! All kinds of (straight!) people do all kinds of wacky stuff in their bedrooms, who cares?! I could punch people’s lights out over this small-minded horrifically cruel and disrespectful bullshit!
But instead I will BREATHE- and remember my friend and the way he silenced the room with his story, the courage of it, the grace, the way I felt humbled to be in its presence- and I will keep the faith that somehow the holiness of that love- and the love so many similar to him share- straight, gay or otherwise (EQUALITY!)- will prevail amidst all this madness. And of course I remember my own love that I lost in 1993- and all the lessons that loss forced upon me- forgive me but I’d throw them all down the shitter if I could have him back just for a day- but- alas, these lessons are mine, and I know I’m a better person for having known- and lost him.
Krissy – Thank you for sharing your story. I’m so proud to be able to call you my friend!
Today is the day that I achieved my goal of 39 Acts of Kindness birthday celebration! Four days ahead of schedule. I’m excited to share with you so let’s get going.
#39 – Make A Wish. I know from experience and my focus group of 1 that kids love throwing pennies into fountains and making a wish. I also know as a fact from my focus group of 1 (me) that adults love doing it too. If it is good enough for Snow White it’s good enough for me!
Years ago while babysitting Gavin I had decided to take him to Build-a-Bear. I was trying to make the company a client and really needed a better perspective on what all the hubbub was about. Gavin seemed like a good enough guinea pig! Due to a colossal parking fail on my part we ended up in the mall parking garage but walking out onto the wrong street. I have very strict rules on where to park in all the malls in the Los Angeles area. I’m not a big fan of the mall experience so I always have to know the best parking space for easy access. This time I was coming to the mall from a different angle and threw cation to the wind parking in a non-Wendy approved designated spot. Due to this fail we had to walk through the Americana on Brand (a fancy outdoor mall) to go across the street to the Glendale Gallaria (the less fancy indoor mall). Yes … they build two malls right next to each other. Don’t ask me why. It’s Glendale. I doubt they know why.
The Americana on Brand has a huge water fountain in the middle of its main courtyard complete with dancing waters. It’s pretty fantastic. Gavin was drawn to it like a moth to a flame. I spent the next 20 minutes or so digging for change out of my purse so Gavin could make wish after wish. He is my kid focus group of 1.
I figured if Gavin and I enjoyed it so much others would as well. I printed up some “Make a Wish” signs and stopped at the bank to get 2 dollars worth of pennies before heading to the Americana. My goal was to get there as early as possible, before the shops opened, so I could limit the people who would see me. For some reason I was ridiculously fearful that the mall cop would catch me and scold me for screwing up their pristine fountain! Wouldn’t you know it, as I got of the elevator and looked toward the fountain I was walking side by side with a mall cop! I made a beeline in the opposite direction of him, around the mom’s with strollers going for their morning walk (Just as an FYI mom w/ stroller always has the right of way … don’t forget it.), past the odd couple sitting at the fountain and got in, what will be, the queue to see the Easter Bunny. There I put down my first sign and 100 pennies. Next I walked around to the opposite side to place my second sign and final 100 pennies. I then made a dash for the escalator. I hope the fancy Americana mall cops take the act of kindness as a positive thing and let the signs and pennies hang out there long enough for people to enjoy them.
Pinch to grow an inch – Free Happiness. After the Make a Wish Wendy Bomb of Kindness I made my way home to take Riggins for his morning walk. I had decided that my neighborhood could use a little happiness and compassion. I’m not saying it is a bad neighborhood but it did take me YEARS to get my neighbor to smile back at me when I waved as I passed him in my car. And there was that one time when I was running with Riggins and misjudged the height of the curb causing me to fall flat on the ground. We are talking straight down, pants torn, knees bloody, hands scrapped fall. Their were plenty of people around, there usually are. They all stopped and stared at me. Not ONE came to see if I was okay. The only person at my side was Riggins. Now it is possible they are afraid of Riggins. Scratch that, they are afraid of Riggins. If you want to scare the crap out of someone in my neighborhood tell them you are friends with the big black dog that blonde girl walks. It will have them shaking in their boots. Still, no one even called from a distance, “Are you okay? I’d come help you but your dog scares the crap out of me.” Sigh.
On our walk today Riggins and I put up free happiness flyers. Each had tabs that a person could take for him/herself or pass on to a friend including “happiness,” “love,” “a hug,” “confidence,” “patience,” “humor,” “strength,” and “peace.” I hope they bring a smile to someone’s face.
BTW while looking for Scatter Kindness pictures I came upon a few that are part of really great Etsy stores so I wanted to share them with you:
I’ve made a word document for you to use if you would like to post a few in your neighborhood. Download from here:
Done! Finished! Terminado! Finito! I’ll write-up a final roll call on my birthday Monday so we can review the 39 acts and the fun I have had.
Act of Kindness Roll-Call:
- 1-14 (note that 1-11 can be found in the links at the bottom of the post) – https://wendyandriggins.wordpress.com/2013/02/28/39-acts-of-kindness-12-13-and-14/
- 15 -25 (note 15-24 can be found in the links at the bottom of the post – https://wendyandriggins.wordpress.com/2013/03/08/good-deed-fail-25/
- 26-38 (note that 26-35 can be found in the links at the bottom of the post – https://wendyandriggins.com/2013/03/18/39-acts-of-kindness-36-37-and-38/
(I’ve posted before about Riggins successful attempts to sneak into my bed. To catch up you can read this original post – https://wendyandriggins.wordpress.com/2010/07/30/just-call-him-mr-sneaky/).
It’s commonly known that a dog will try to make his/her human feel better and will want to be next to him/her during unhappiness and sickness. A quick double click-through Yahoo! News will uncover a handful of stories of a dog refusing to leave the bed/grave/home of a sick master. Sniff. How much do you love dogs? With all your heart? I thought so.
As I’ve mentioned before 2012 was a tough year for me and therefore murder on Riggins sleeping behavior. First of all, I found myself stuck in a horrible depression (https://wendyandriggins.wordpress.com/2013/01/17/the-best-medicine/) and Riggins felt like he needed to comfort me whenever possible. Then I managed to give myself a concussion, and Riggins and I spent our day and nights laying together in my bed listening to podcasts (The way to get over a concussion is do nothing. No TV, no reading, no working, no computer. Can you imagine the boredom? Good thing my brain wasn’t working right and I had Riggins as a friend willing to take a life time-out with me! The only thing you are supposed to do is look for signs of a stroke. Since Riggins isn’t the best companion for this job every once in a while I’d smile and touch my face to make sure both sides of my mouth were curved up). During 2012 I had back to back mammograms that showed a mass so had to get a biopsy. A boob with a hole in it added to that scariness as we waited for the biopsy results. During this time I slept in a sports bra, for support, and Riggins HAD to lay up against me so I could feel his fur on my back, which both of us found comforting. At the end of last year/beginning of 2013 I managed to almost poison myself. Not on purpose. Turns out if your neck gets swollen and it’s hard to move, you have trouble breathing, get a rash all over your body, and every part of you aches it is because you are allergic to the antibiotic you are taking. Due to the holidays I didn’t get to the doctor to figure this out until I only had one pill left. Oops. Not only was I really sick I was very scared. Riggins cuddled closer. Finally, Riggins spent 1/2 of 2012 with his grandparents while I traveled. Just like any good grandchild he knows how to work it and managed to find himself sleeping face to face with my dad in the master bedroom as my mom was kicked out and forced to find slumber in the guest bedroom.
Riggins had a lot to deal with! His master was a mental and physical basket case and he had become even more spoiled! This had led him to be both super-duper needy and super-duper supportive.
Now as things slowly get back to normal he will fall asleep in whatever room I’m in. While I was working that was the bed in the office. Now it’s the living room sofa. I go to bed, read, and have a few hours to myself before there is a dog nose in my face. Wanting him, to be, and being used to him being, my emotional rock (and be a source of warmth — it’s been a cold winter) I’ll flip over to the other side of the bed and let him up. He demands that the covers be pulled back before he gets into bed. He takes his job as a security blanket very seriously and has upped his game during the year of trauma. Now he HAS to be touching me. His circle circle flop requires him to flop on top of me to make sure he is as close as possible. More than once he has caught me off guard and I’m awoken by a giant weight being dropped on me taking away my breath for a moment. Sometimes he decides that he needs to use the area between my hip bone and stomach as a pillow. I do not see how this is a comfortable spot at all but he is happy with it.
There use to be a really easy way to get him off the bed if you didn’t want him on it. All you had to do was tackle him with an all encompassing hug. He could lay on you but you weren’t allowed to smother him. It would lead to him huffing off and back to one of his original beds in another room. Not anymore! In fact he seems to want to be full body hugged. No matter how much you drap on him he just soaks it up and wants more.
I realize to get a good nights sleep you should keep all distractions away from your bedroom and bed. This includes animals. Still I’ve been so happy to have Riggin’s comfort and support this past year I can’t find it in myself to make him get down and out. Nor do I want to! I guess we are both spoiled.