You don’t know me, but I know you. See your shining face with hope already jaded in your eyes. I know of your struggles and your dreams. You are a fighter, dear child. A rainbow warrior ready to fight to be who you were always created to be. Ready to change the world so that others can find the same pride in themselves that shines out in you like a star. Sometimes it’s hard. This world is not always ready for a trailblazer such as you. I hear the words others would say to you, to your parents, to your sibling. I see the questions brewing in those who do not want to understand. Know this, they are afraid to understand because that means they might be wrong, and if they’re wrong about this they might be wrong about other bigger things. Human grownups are strange that way. They’ve forgotten what it’s like to learn. I see you, dear child, for all that you are. We need you so desperately in this world. Know this, when the road is hard, and people do or say hurtful things they are merely afraid and your fierce love will help them in this new world. Be who you are. Set the world free.
Dear young person,
I only know you a little, but already I love you for this shining handsome, lovely person you are in the process of becoming. You’re on the cusp of adulthood. There and not there at the same time. Learning you are free, but still held back. No person goes through this time unscathed. I’m here to tell you to have courage. You have the power to shape your future. There will be hard times, there will be people who don’t understand, but the same is true for everyone. Be who you were always meant to be. You can do it. Even as just one person, I stand behind you. Call your name out to the universe and let it be heard. You are more powerful than you know, and they fear the day you discover it.
Such love echoes though your soul. You would walk through the fire to give your children a fair and just world. You will not see the ripples you cause by walking this road with your child, letting them lead you on this quest. You cannot know how much it will impact the world when your rainbow warrior stands tall and leads us to our salvation. As a parent I know the fears. Both my children have chosen hard roads and walk them unafraid while I cower in the background swallowing my fear. I see the traps, I see the thorns, the snares. I see the places where the road ends and a leap of faith must be taken. No one can know, save those that love a child unconditionally, what it is like to have to watch them while they grow. Your courage is no small thing and it is not smaller than that of your rainbow warrior. It is your courage and faith and love that feeds them. Your joy in their being is what creates the fierce love they fight for their world with. Have faith. We all watch them galloping down the path on a steed of self actualization. I give you my love and faith. For you are a rainbow warrior too.
You are glorious in battle. Did you know that? Did you know how you shine when speaking out for others? I know you fight to fix this world because you’re fighting for your own right to exist. Don’t let those that fear you take away your joy. I know you’ve seen it all. The unspeakable atrocities our parents hide us from when we are young. The pain of seeing beautiful souls unloved for the petty excuse of changing their shell. Those things are real and speak to a society in distress. Fight. Break the dome of our existence in two. Show others a light they can’t even conceive of. You were gifted by knowing who you were from an early age. You are battle tested making yourself into that person. Now blaze through in justice and love, and carry us in your wake. You may not always see the ripples and tides you cause, but they will come back and lift you higher. Fear not loneliness or hate, for you are surrounded by love.
With gratefulness that you are all in my life, thank you.
Recently I had homophobia stare me in the face. It was a hard moment for me. I had a dear friend with whom I had been through many things, get offended near to the point of being irate because I said her adult, straight, happily married daughter was pretty enough to date. It was an innocent one off comment that meant very little. In retrospect, maybe it wasn’t the best comment to share with the world, but this was a friend; someone I trusted with my children. I trusted her so I didn’t edit myself. I thought that because she knew I was bisexual for years now and never judged me on it that she was one of the safe people in my life. A long friendship is now ended because of this.
I was so angry when this happened it prompted me to write the following FaceBook post: Dear world, I am bisexual. There is nothing wrong with being bisexual, heterosexual, or homosexual. We are all born to be one of the three or possibly more options. This is not something I can control. I will not hide myself because some people might be frightened of it. I will not refrain from thinking a girl is pretty especially when said girl reminds me of my girlfriend whom I miss. It does not mean I will chase after or proposition anyone. I have a lot of love in my life I am not going to 'turn' your daughter or sister. It doesn't work that way. Everyone now knows these things about me. Can we please move on peacefully and judge a little less?
While I was pleased with the overwhelming positive support I received, even from my family, I still morn for that friend.
Ironically, this post was also taken as my coming out of the closet speech, which is interesting to me. I never considered myself to be in the closet in the first place. I didn’t go to my parents house and talk about how there was this hot chic at store, but it was a pretty open secret if it was ever a secret at all. My husband knows. He even encourages my relationship with my girlfriend and the two of them are good friends. All of my co-workers and friends know about my girlfriend and my husband. My kids know. They wanted to know who the woman was Mommy was always talking to. So I told them she was my girlfriend and I love her like I love Daddy. They sort of shrugged and let that roll off. I’ve told my children for as long as they have been alive that I didn’t care if they liked boys or girls or both. I didn’t care who they loved or how they loved as long as they loved. They are 10 and almost 13 as I write this, so this is the time when their pituitary glands will begin to answer those questions for us.
I do have friends who are in the closet. I’m a braver person when I am fighting for loved ones. I think I tried very hard not to hide who I was so they would see it was okay, that even if the world did take a crap on them I was right there beside them. I know I stay public for my girlfriend so that she feels like our relationship is validated and hopefully has the strength to tell her family. I’m patient, but not a saint. I know the fear of people’s reactions and possibly losing those you care about. I understand it, even. I am pagan and remained in the broom closet where my family and certain friends were concerned for years. I rode my broom into the sunshine about two years ago. Funny how I found being bisexual more socially acceptable than being pagan.
In a way this was a coming out of the closet experience for me after all. Someone I cared about stopped editing herself and I was no longer seeing the world through the crack in the closet door. Now I was face to face with something I had hoped never to personally experience. The door was wide open and the light shone on my face along with the cold shadow.
Fear of me, of who I am, of how the All That Is created me from someone who should know better. What hurt the most was not that she had a moment of fear, but that it was fear of me. After all this time and all the things we had done for each other and our families, after all the hurt and pain and joy we shared, she found me fearful. I kept thinking there has to be something more to this. I don’t understand why this is a big deal. This couldn’t end like this. The reality is, something about me being bisexual frightens her.
Why is that? I know I will never get an answer to that, but I’m human. I’m drawn to ask. I’m drawn to rack my brain to understand why. I’d had conversations with her before and the logic of not choosing this and good people are good people was used. But when she was faced with the idea that her daughter was attractive to other women she had a knee jerk fear reaction. I knew fear existed. I’d seen it played out on social media sites and in the news all the time, but it never touched me. Not like that.
I will not mention your name because I know how you value your privacy, but I’m sure you will know this you by my words. I have seen you struggle; struggle with pain, struggle with family, and struggle with things too deep to share. I know you worry about making an impact in your children’s lives, and worry about making the best life for them. I’m here to tell you I have faith in you. I have faith in all the things you do and I know your children will grow up to be amazing human beings simply because of who you are.
You have impacted my life deeply and in more ways than I think you know. I’ve never been the popular person or the person to have very many friends. I spent a great deal of my life trying hard to fit in and not understanding why it never worked. The single biggest gift you gave me was acceptance. You never seemed to think I was weird, or if you did you accepted that as part of me. I needed that in my life so badly. There’s no way you could know just how much.
I remember when I first met you. I was a little too old to be at that summer camp but I was afraid to move on and the family friends that ran the camp humored me. You were there as a young counselor and something in your soul just shined. You made me feel like a person by doing nothing other than being yourself and treating me as you treated everyone around you. The world hadn’t given me much at that point. I remember thinking, ‘Wow! She’s cool!’
I didn’t see you again for a few years; maybe once or twice at Green Lake, but our circles of friends went different directions. Now as young adults we joined a group of other young adults to train for a year of service. My adventure never happened. Yours had already started and stopped and started again. I had gone through some terrible things that year and felt less than human. I really wasn’t ready to move on and deal, but I pretended to anyway. I remember sitting by myself, trying to cope with this new reality that I wasn’t ready to accept. I wasn’t prepared for how hard it would be to deal with other people after such an event. I won’t say what it was because that is information the world does not need. You came to me wondering why I was melting down into a puddle of goo. I confided because it had to come out somewhere. You told me you had been through the same thing and understood. No one had understood to that point. No one got it. I don’t remember what it is you said to me, but that was the time I really started to heal. I went home from that training program a different person. I never did do my year of service, but I think I needed to go to that training if only for the healing.
I have not always led a good life. I’ve made many mistakes and many bad choices, but that is the human condition. In essence I was young, dumb, and out of control, like many people my age. Another few years had passed. I moved to a different state, never knowing exactly where you lived. I started a life on my own but still too young and naïve to stay out of trouble. I had connected with a group of singers and made some dear friends. One of which would become your husband. I remember one of the leaders of our group on the phone with him when he was getting ready to ask you and I heard the name. I remember asking for a last name because somehow I knew. I was told it was no one I knew. But it was you! I was shocked and happy. Again you walked into my life on the fringes.
Around this time I got pregnant with my first child. As someone trying to be active in our faith community, this wasn’t necessarily a fun time for me. I felt I had disappointed everyone, my family, my faith community, my friends. I was so scared and felt again so alone. We were at an event for the choir just weeks before your wedding. Again I was a puddle of goo, and again you were the one to ask what was wrong. I told you I was pregnant, and you exclaimed, “Congratulations! That’s Amazing! You’re creating a life!” You were the first person to be happy about this impending life. You have no idea how much that meant to me. I think I cried at some point. Joy. Life is joy. To be alive is joy! We get so wrapped up in how we THINK we should live our lives and we forget that. You reminded me.
We lived closer for a time. In the same city at least until you left for more adventures. I remember my birthday the next year; you and your husband brought me roses. Such a small thing. Honestly in my entire life no one had ever brought me roses. Not a boyfriend, not even my child’s father. I was so touched I actually dried them. I’ve dried almost all the flowers ever given me. I think I might have one of those roses tucked away someplace still.
My trials and tribulations were far from over. I had to conquer much darker times. I had to leave my home for a time with an infant son. I lived with mutual friends for a month, and though I don’t speak with them often at this point as our lives go different directions, I will always be grateful to them. But this story is about you. You were even on the fringes of my life there. You visited these friends often and I saw your smiling face many times. I discovered our mutual love of a certain Mediterranean restaurant that was nearby. I returned to my home and another few years went by.
After some of the worst events in my life and being homeless for a time, pregnant with my second child I got a new apartment in an entirely different corner of the city. I found myself next door to these same friends I had lived with and a few streets from you. It was almost surreal. Our lives went different directions and we didn’t see much of each other, but after everything it was an interesting coincidence.
Our lives changed greatly. Your adventures took you around the world, through love and loss. You had a family of your own while mine grew up. Several years passed and I found you online of all places. Again you are back in my life, on the fringes, but always there, and this time when your adventures take you near and far I can still see this journey you are on.
I’ve watched some amazing bravery and truth. Without even knowing it you validate all the things I experience. We have different but no less all encompassing pain disorders. We both struggle with the same ideals to teach our children, many of the same fears, and many of the joys. Your words have affected me as deeply as always. The honesty about the things most of us try to hide and your willingness to fight for the causes you believe in.
I know not what all your struggles are, but I know you will conquer them. After all these years I know that much to be true. After all these years, I still think, ‘Wow! She is cool!’ And my dear friend, even though we have never been as close as family and our lives continue to take us in different directions, you are still dear to me and my life would never be the same without you in it. I cannot take away your pain or hold you while you cry, but know I will always be here for you. You have but to ask.
Susan is a plural writer and artist by day, a child and pet wrangler by night, and occasional crazy person on the weekends.