Sunday, March 31, 2013

Freedom? That is the Question.

“Things which are equal to the same things are equal to each other. - We start with Equality.” Daniel Day Lewis Quoted in Lincoln.

It’s ironic isn’t it? As I sit on a plane somewhere across the Atlantic Ocean en route to England; I watch a film based on the abolition of slavery. It’s terrifying to think that in our very recent history… the history of America the great, home of the brave, men and women, brothers and sisters, children and more were beaten at the relentless hand of white powered heartless superior-stated Americans. We the people of the United States of America murdered… no… slaughtered innocent lives based on the color of their skin. It sickens me. The hatred that must have seeped through the veins of both parties is incomprehensible. The whites hating because of their self-initiated supremacy; believing that only they reigned over high. The anger emitted by African- Americans (please take note of that second word, for it is the MOST IMPORTANT), rightfully so for the way they were treated; the fear that was forced inside their souls for decades. I can’t even begin to imagine. I’ve never faced anything to that extreme.

Think forward to the days where women fought to be considered equal and to no longer be the property of their husbands and fathers. The days where women protested for their own rights, despite the ridicule and public defacing they experienced. Often I have asked myself what I would have done had I been alive during these times. I believe I would have fought. I believe that as a young woman in Tennessee I would have ran as quickly as my shaking legs would have taken me North across the Mason Dixon line, to join forces with the men in blue during the Civil War. I believe I would have picketed side by side with the women who longed for their own equality, fighting for the right to vote. I believe that as a young lesbian I would…

Oh. Wait.

That’s not the same is it? No one is beating me. No one owns me. I am free to come and go as I please. Yet as a racially equal, gender equal American Citizen I am denied the same rights of others of my same stature, because I am gay. 

Now, let’s talk about the elephant in the room here… or shall I say on the plane. Most people who are “homophobic” – a word I hate and I’ll explain why later – often feel that way because they fear the unknown. They’ve either not met anyone who is gay, have met someone and had a poor experience with it, or were taught to hate by their family or religion.

I’ve never met anyone with purple hair. Black, yes, red, of course, even pink. I’ve known quite a few people with pink hair. But never purple. You see, purple hair is unnatural. It is against what “God” intended. If he wanted us to have purple hair, he would have created us that way. Now some people will read this and nod their heads up and down thinking “exactly”. Those are also probably the people fore mentioned as homophobics. The truth is, according to the bible God made many miracles happen. Jesus Christ himself healed the blind. Who is to say that never in his water to wine days did Jesus ever turn someone’s hair color to neon purple? I didn’t write the bible so I wouldn’t know. Then again, let’s think about who did. The Bible – the number one selling book in the history of the world – was written by man. A few of them actually. While I believe in a higher power and the faith of love and kindness, I do not believe that disciples were consumed by God like Issac Mendez on Heroes, eyes glazed over decoding and reporting word for word his thoughts. Even if that were possible, the bible has been translated at least a dozen times. One of the most well known translations is the King James Version. This version, was taken from Hebrew to English, and picked apart by a King. It is widely known that the King even “left out” parts of the bible in js own interpretation. I’m sure when the “Word of God” reflects the way you want to rule, it is much easier to keep your country in check.

I’m not saying I’m a history buff. I’m a twenty-four year old woman who grew up in arguably the smallest town in Tennessee as a Southern Baptist. I also happen to be a lesbian. I don’t know how much you know about the bible belt, or how Southern Christianity views  the gay and lesbian community, but I wasn’t exactly accepted by the majority. In fact, standing in the middle of church one day I was called out by a speaker who considered himself a prophet and was told that I was going to hell. That me or one of my three closest friends would wind up in a pine box for our sins. Now, I’ve read the bible and I distinctly remember a part where it says that all sins are equal. If my being in love with a woman is a sin, then does that not make it equivalent to any lie told no matter how big or small, any adultery, or idolizing. Wouldn’t it be consider just as much of a sin as what a politician does every day? And how about any time that the church keeps secrets in order to protect it’s members. If you have ever coveted a person, thing, or idea then you too are sinning equally to how a gay person might be sinning.

You might not know me. You might not know anyone who is gay, but what you can believe is that they are people just like you. Being gay doesn’t make us monsters. It makes us the minority, who like many before us have suffered at the hand of ignorance and hatred. We are equal. Our love, our faith, our pride, our heart, our drive, our fear, even our sins are equal.

Now maybe you have met someone who is gay. It’s possible that person was a jerk and that your experience wasn’t so great. Guess what? There are straight people who suck too! People can be rude, obnoxious, inappropriate, inconsiderate, awkward, as well as down-right mean. That is a show of character, not their sexuality. They didn’t act out because they were gay. They acted out because they were cruel and had poor intentions. That has nothing to do with who they love. In fact it has more to do with whom they don’t love, and trust me - it’s mainly their own self. It’s difficult to go through life feeling unwanted, unaccepted and discarded. It is a tiresome fight to walk every day with your head high just struggling to be yourself – and be accepted for it.

Maybe neither of these are the case. In some instances people hate gays simply because they are gay. Because their family taught them to hate. Often Religion plays a strong part in this learned hatred. The mistranslation of the bible and God’s message has taught us to trust words and not our hearts. It’s taught us to believe in hatred and not kindness. To discriminate and not accept. No one has asked you to be gay. No one expects you to pick up, and rally at every event promoting Gay Marriage. All I ask is that for a moment you think back to the history of our nation.  At one point, there were strong political leaders who still believed that slavery was acceptable. One by one, people - AMERICANS  -stood up and fought this horrible misuse of power. Discrimination is the real abomination here. Not love. It doesn’t matter which genders it is between.

Homophobia isn't a disease. It is a mental state of mind. The only cure for it is understanding. That is often followed by love. I have hope for our country and for our future. I have hope that we will have the equality we wish, but that will take time. Just like it took time before to solve all of the other pressing issues of discriminatory nature. 

My heart is full of passion tonight. I might be on the other side of the world, but my heart is in America. My faith is in our country and in us.

I encourage everyone who reads this post to send it to five other people. You can print it, read it out loud, tweet it, post it on Facebook, etc. But if each person sends it to five other people, then maybe three of those five will send it to another five as well. Every step towards change is exactly that… a step. One foot at a time. One person at a time. It’s our time to stand up and change history. To fight for what we believe in. It is up to us to make the life we’ve always dreamed of. Free. Happy. Honest. Loved.

So… are you too embarrassed to stand up? Too scared? Or are you taking the motion to feel alive in the freedom of speech that we have so graciously – not without great pain – been blessed with? To stand up for your brothers and sisters; fellow Americans. To support equality for all…

Now, I’m off to enjoy England. I’ll de-board the plan in about three more hours; setting foot on another country’s soil. It will be interesting to see what our history could have held. I’m excited. I’ll be in touch!

Remember me,

I’m Tennessee

Monday, March 18, 2013

Hopes and Dreams

I’ve always been a dreamer. Since as long as I can remember they’ve been there to comfort me. My dreams. My thoughts. That was the purpose of writing. To put them all down. To remember them. I let my words fall across a page, but lately that has meant they’ve been leaving my heart. Writing has become more about what I’m doing than about what I believe.

See a part of me believes that the only reason I’ve gotten this far is because I was chasing after dreams. I got an idea in my head and I ran with it. When I got there I’d chase another one and low and behold… Eventually I looked down and my feet were on the sunny beaches of California.

I can’t say I ever dreamt I’d be here as a child. It was many years later after the dream evolved. Doors closed, others opened and the next thing I knew I was an intern in Los Angeles California… But there I go again. Talking about what I’m doing, Life isn’t about what you’re doing. What you’re doing is so minute. It’s so irrelevant to the bigger picture. What you’re doing is in this moment alone. Now I’m not saying this moment isn’t important, because it is. Many people say you should live in the moment. I agree. But you should dream in the future, and never the past. Dreams are for where we’re going. Not where we’ve been.

They’re funny things, dreams. They allow us to go places and imagine things that we never thought could be possible. Things that might never be real. What they also do is provide us with structure, as strange as that may seem.

After Graduation, I often found myself longing for the comfort of a syllabus. I ached for that structure and discipline needed to accomplish the tasks laid out before me. It took me a long time to realize that I can do that for myself.  By dreaming, I give myself boundaries. I identify my obstacles and mentally formulate ways to defeat them in order to achieve that dream. It’s a beautiful thing really. Having control over your own destiny. Even now I am lying in bed contemplating what to do next. Laundry? Watch my fourth episode of Nashville? Write more? Each of these decisions has a different outcome. Each option has a result that will then trigger other decisions, and before you know it you find yourself on the cusp of your dream. Either that or you will have dreamt so much, that that dream has evolved.

My dreams are evolving. In four days I will leave my internship. I am so grateful to have had the opportunity to work with such incredible people and learn so much.  It’s definitely not a task for the weak, but completing it has made me stronger. On the 28th I will leave for England. It will be my first time outside of the United States, and to be honest it still feels like a dream. I have accomplished so much. Even over the last few months.

My girlfriend’s sister is getting married, so we’re taking the trek overseas to greet her family and offer our congratulations. It will be an incredible experience. A wonderful moment that I am happy to share with my love.  When I return, I’ll be starting my new job. I’m going to be a production assistant for a reality show called Flipping Vegas. It’s one step in the right direction. I know it’s the right one, because I’ll be moving forward in my life.

A lot of people think that life is about change, but it’s not. You don’t have to be different. You don’t have to start over. In order to make the most out of life, you don’t begin again. YOU GROW.

You develop.

You take what you know, and add to it. You push yourself to learn from what you’ve done and adapt.  Each of us is capable of being the best version of ourselves that we can be. We don’t push to be someone else, or someone better. We give it everything we have, and come out happy and alive. A positive attitude is one of the best things you can have along this journey.

We are capable. We are strong. We are enough. Now, let’s be more than that.

Instead of being capable. Let’s follow through. Instead of being strong. Let’s apply that strength and commit to ourselves. Instead of being enough… Let’s be more than that. Let’s be enough, and then some. Then let’s be the support that it takes to help others achieve that same level of greatness. Let’s be an inspiration. Make a commitment with me to help yourself and others. Follow through with that commitment. Inspire those around you, and when you look back… No one will be behind you. They’ll be right there by your side. The best feeling you’ve ever had will be knowing that you’re on top of your life, and you’ve brought those you love along with you.

In the instance that you try to inspire someone, and they deny your help, you have to remember that you can only help those willing to help themselves.

So here’s where we are at. I’ve struggled with time lately. I’ve not gotten to write as much as I wanted. I’ve been tied up with work, and moving (again), as well as life in general. I’ll be documenting my trip to England on Twitter, Instagram, and The Graduates Guide. You can also see more of my trip by following my girlfriend @SaxonJOfficial. I’ll otuch base with you guys again before I leave on March 28th.

Follow along with our journey.

Come with me.