12 May, 2009

Those things down there, those people over there...

(continued from OtisPTA post 5/16/09)
I had a friend whose mother found out she was gay, beat her with a hairbrush, and threw her out of the house. My mom took her in and she stayed with us for months at a time. I think my dad guessed - he went on a regular dinner-table rant about those awful homosexuals he saw downtown in SF when he was at work, and she would just sit there, quiet as a mouse, trying to disappear. I didn't know she was gay - only her succession of "roommates" did. When she finally told me, I didn't really understand what it meant; I didn't have the means to really support her; I wish now that I'd said "I love you and I'm proud of who you are and I'm glad your my friend" instead of "oh! That explains a lot" without having a clue what it explained. She went through a series of disastrous relationships trying to fit in. She bounced in and out of the military, mental hospitals, a bad marriage to a straight man, prescription drug abuse, and severe depression; eventually we fell out of contact. I wonder what her life would have been like if her mother had understood she was born that way and had a right to happiness. Several of my other friends have married people who came out of the closet after years of marriage based on a lie. Love might have been there, but it wasn't enough; and everyone suffered. Is it necessary to raise more generations of people who must lie to fit in, or even survive?

It's very important this curriculum is about relationships, not about the mechanics of sex. Thinking back to my own prurient (or at least precocious) little self, I was looking up the f-word in the dictionary at age 8 or 9. Unfortunately it was missing out of the Webster's New School Abridged 1962 edition in our school library. If my parents had just explained the basic plumbing and functions, it actually would have put the whole question to rest. It's sad they were able to explain how my nose worked, but taught me to mistrust and fear my own - um, things down there. So instead, I learned about "doing it" from another kid. Who had learned it from a friend at age 6... and his definition and vocabulary were not only lurid but inaccurate. This led to all sorts of confusion, embarrassment, and misapprehension.

This curriculum hardly touches on sex and doesn't need to go much further than in discussion about a conventional nuclear family; something along the lines of "when two people love each other very much, they choose to create a family." And when you go into the biomechanics of it - whether you approve of it or not, it's basically science and kids will only absorb what they are ready for. "Doctors combine genetic material to make a complete baby, which then grows safely in a mommy's uterus until it's ready to be born. "

As I told the City Council - I don't approve of the British Royal Family's doings. I don't believe in the Divine Right of Kings. I hate the idea of arranged and loveless marriages. I think the Prince of Wales dresses funny. But I acknowledge that they exist and are a cultural force to be aware of, and they are different but have their own quirky charm, funny hats and all. They may be one weird family, but they have a right to be themselves, and on a Social Studies level, my daughter needs to know about them.

She has been acquainted with, and been curious about, several gay couples and families; I remind her that love is a gift, and that people should be allowed to decide for themselves whom they will love, and whether they will start a family. She has occasionally noticed men in dresses or women in suits, and had friends who liked to dress a little differently; and I remind her how she'd feel if she were only allowed to wear dresses, or only pants, or only green, or never pink. Her world is a bigger, richer, and more interesting place with no harm done. God save the queens!

The Door is Open

I took this phrase from two sources:
the U2 song "Gloria", and my favorite Rumi poem:

"The Breeze at dawn has secrets to tell you
Don't go back to sleep
you must ask for what you really want
Don't go back to sleep
People are going back and forth
Across the doorway where the two worlds touch
The door is round, and open
Don't go back to sleep"

I have spent a fair amount of my life wide awake and dreaming, other times sleeping where my dreams were so vivid I wanted to go back and figure out how to make them real. How do I bring dreams into the waking world - dreams of creativity, of joy, of peace, of fun? How to take the shadow of my psyche and use it to heal myself and others instead of hurt?

I have eclectic taste - possibly insane taste - ranging from the sublime to the ridiculous. I like silly humor more than I like sarcasm. I have a lifelong interest in why the heck the world is the way it is... cause and effect? G/d/s? Quarks? Who knows. Even if I thought I knew, that would be faith. The intersection between faith and knowledge - a dangerous and blurry place.

As the Firesign Theater states ".... a force that can only be used for good... or evillllll..." but I don't remember what they were talking about, was it a time machine?

I'm blessed with brilliant and creative friends; you'll find links to their blogs, art and ideas here. I'll add my own art and interests as time permits. Daring to put ourselves out there is one of the greatest challenges many artists face. Creating is easy, sometimes it happens all by itself. Communicating... hard.