Wednesday, May 09, 2012

To Shane: A Two-Fold Response with A Personal Story

To Shane:  A Two-Fold Reponse (Forum Response from Huffington Post & YouTube)

1.  The so-called "Defense of Marriage Act" should be litigated to the U.S Supreme Court, where, hopefully, it can be negated, being found unconstitutional.

2.  Federal Anti-Discrimination Law:  This should be revised to include the rights of those living under the auspices of Domestic Partnerships, and language inserted to provide same-sex partners the same rights--all 1000 of the missing ones, as well--as opposite-sex partners.

3.  Same-sex couples--on an individual level--need to "get tough" with themselves, and not become emotionally bereaved if their families do not find favor with their orientation.  I think this sums it up best:  "One Must Be Strong Within One's Self!"

No one is ever 'looking out from behind another's eyes' at any given time.  The only eyes we have with which to see are the ones that we are looking out from behind at the present moment.

A Short Story of My Own


I once made a decision that has affected me for a long time, but I am better off for it.  It had to do with a stupid argument with my brother-in-law, on the eve of my father's funeral.  He had just passed away from a congenital brain disorder, and I had traveled 65 miles to my hometown, where my sister's family had been living--in the family house--and had been taking care of him up to the time he had to go to the convalescent home, where he eventually died.  I had made trips to see him in the home, and just had a bit of bad luck to be in my own locality when I got the bad news.

I had to make a trip to get some money--family money--and was on my way when I got the call that "you've got to go home right away."  This was from the family's estate manager who lived about two hours to the north of my then-locality; again, this was a prelude to inheritance funds, dispersed months after my father's passing.  This wasn't a 'grab for money,' but was an agreed-upon amount--$1000.00--that both my sister and myself were being allowed, prior to estate settlement.  This had been agreed upon weeks before.

Let me outline this:  I was living on an $800 a month stipend from my family's estate.  My rent was $600, all utilities paid.  I had $200 net per month to live on.  With gasoline, it went fast, let me tell you.  I was dependent on this money, being out of work at the time.  I had $20 in my pocket, and needed the $1,000.00.  I needed it to be able to secure a hotel in my hometown, and deal with the weekend's doings as eldest representative of my family's children, *away from my sister's family and friends* for the sake of my own sanity.

So I finished my journey to the town where the estate manager was, got the money, and then headed back along a back route--giving me time alone to think.  I had asked if the manager could drop it off in my hometown, but he had his own family and couldn't do it just then.  As it was a Friday, I had no choice but to go up there and get it.  The gas issue was the deciding factor, at any rate, as $20 wouldn't have lasted very long.  I asked him not to think less of me, but informed him about the criticality of my situation, and went ahead and got the money. He left it for me at a teller window, where I signed for it and picked it up.

So I drove.  I took a long time to get to my hometown.  My father had just died.  I wanted to think about that for a while.  I was emotionally numb, and just 'wanted to drive,' as that was how I often de-stressed back then when life threw it's various curveballs at me, and gas was cheaper.  When I finally arrived, it was late-afternoon, probably around four o'clock or so.

Now when I arrive at a family gathering, I expect to be treated civilly at the very least.  I don't tolerate teenager-level mentalities to be present in adults, unless I'm in their own home as a guest, where I am equally civil in being silent.  However, considering my own family, I expect a bit more alacrity in acceptance and consideration.  I don't care what anyone does with their own spare time, but our father had just passed on, and I expected, at least, a little decorum on the parts of my sister and brother-in-law.

Alas, this wasn't to be.  When I arrived, everyone was in a pissy-hissy fit of an attitude.  It was so thick, it was palpable; a veritable plethora of emotional detritus hung in the air!  I wondered to myself how long each adult in the house had been fuming over my 'monetary decision,' before they finally stopped fuming over it, and tried to get back to the business at hand, but keeping their anger "on the sidelines, ready to go," when I arrived.  I greeted everyone congenially, expressing my concern for our father and asking about the kids, etc., how they were taking it 'at the loss of Grandpa,' and such.   All the things one normally does in that kind of situation, at least, the ones I grew up with.  (Please understand that I am not so vain to think that they wasn't a lot on their minds, outside of my own situation.  It's just that I ended up being the brunt, as had happened in past years, so my assessment of the situation remains, as is, based on after-the-fact occurrences which will soon come to light.)

I could feel the tension the most in the kitchen--where one of my brother-in-law's friends--evidently visiting from his old hometown downstate-- was in attendance.  Imagine, if you will, a guy with greasy, stringly hair, dirty clothes, a somewhat offensive odor, and narrow eyes that seemed to glance sideways at you, then you'll have an idea of this guy.  A 'real winner,' as they say. (If had been my choice, he wouldn't have been allowed anywhere inside of the home where I grew up.  However, he was my sister's family's friend, an acquaintance of my brother-in-law, and was their guest, not mine.  So I behaved accordingly.  I'm just glad the guest had the common sense to stay out of the business that was to follow.)

When my parents entertained guests, my sister and I were expected to be courteous, gracious, and respectful to the visiting adults.  We usually were 'out in the neighborhood,' visiting with other friends, riding our bicycles, etc., when they had visitors, but we were there sometimes, especially during the evening, and definitely home on school nights.  We didn't throw tantrums, or threaten anyone.  I often served refreshments--or at least offered them if the get-together was informal.  This did not happen that day at my sister's and brother-in-law's.  (The genteel atmosphere that used to be my family home was no more, telling me that our parent's generation knew how, at least, to be polite and courteous to guests.

Now, I am not responsible for the way other people think.  So long as no one accosts me physically, or is overly vulgar--although I can forgive utterly any verbal 'indiscretion' at will--I don't care what a person thinks, believes, or advocates.  However, it becomes a problem when I am physically aggressed, which is what my brother-in-law proceeded to do, after I had opened the fridge and inquired about whether or not I might have a soft drink out of one of the two-liter bottles in the door.

As my sister has four boys, I didn't want to drink their pop (or soda, for those in southerly climes.)  Well, that one question was evidently enough to set my brother-in-law off the deep end!  He said "I've had enough!" and began to close distance with me, threatening to 'beat the crap out of me!'  I was forced to shut the fridge door and take up a defensive posture.

First, he cordoned me at the inside-garage entry door.  This is a narrow foyer just off the kitchen, and leads to the two-car garage.  I opened that door, shutting it, actually locking it before I shut it.  This gave me a few seconds time to press a wall button, opening the large door.  I was out on the driveway quickly, and stopped just outside the door perimeter, waiting to see if my brother-in-law had calmed down. 

Well, his anger wasn't curbed, and he began to close distance with me again.  The large door was open by now--I had ducked under it when it was only about 1/4 of the way up--and I was trying to let him know that I'm heading to a hotel, but he kept aggressing me, forcing me to--as I did not want to engage him in a fight--head back toward my truck, parked in a family-owned vacant lot across the street.  He'd advance, I'd retreat farther away.  It went on like that until I finally had to take some kind of stand or end up doing this stupid thing all night; at the very least, I needed to be able to get safely inside my truck cab to leave.

Well, he ended up chasing me around my truck, me keeping him always on the opposite side.  Finally, my sister--who had been at a neighbor's--came running out and positioned herself in the middle between us--There was at least six feet distance between her and me, and her and my brother-in-law, and I had been maintaining a healthy distance; she didn't really 'break anything up,' relative to coming to blows--the reason I was keeping my distance.  She hadn't seen anything, either, but had heard what was going on, and only ran outside of the neighbor's house when she saw us running around the truck.

I finally had to tell my sister:  "If this is the way your family's going to act, I'm 'not going to be here!'"  At All!!  She said "I guess so, then!" Or something similar.  So I left. Without a second thought or word.  Insulted.  Berated.  And assaulted by my brother-in-law.

****And Did Not Attend My Own Father's Funeral!****

I went back home, to my own locality, and stayed away during the time the funeral was going on.  I wasn't concerned at that point.  I had visited my father at his bedside, and expressed my love to him, hugged him, kissed him, then went home in previous days.  I knew he was dying--we all did!  I was more concerned when my cousin--who's family lived in the same town as I was then living in--pounded on my door the day after.

I have a deep respect for my cousin--although I and their family are not really "in sync" with each other.  They, as I like to say "do the Christian dance," and I don't.  Haven't for years.  I find it tough to deal with people who believe themselves to be morally superior 'just because they're Christians," and espouse fear when presented with something new that they just do not understand.  That day was one of those cases.

Now, normally me and my cousin do not talk about church and spirituality.  I was then, as now, a practitioner of neo-pagan spirituality/wicca/new age (etc.), they knew it, but didn't really understand it.  I finally just decided, as a rule, not to broach the subject when my cousin was around.  His wife had some surface interest--at least so far as...probably...wanting to understand it better--and we dicussed it occasionally when her husband wasn't at home and I was visiting for lunch or the like.

However, the day after my dad's services, he was in one of those 'morally superior moods.'  He was also bereaved, and angry that I did not confide in him, as well.  He made statements like "you could have called me," and "our family has always stood up for each other."  Etc.  He accused me of displaying, in his mind, "the ultimate act of conceit" and was, to a point, livid.  (He also had a valid point, but at that time I was beyond forgiving anyone at that juncture.)

Well, I was 'all that and a bag of chips' in my mind, as well.  I had just been physically assaulted by my sister's husband the previous day, basically was not in a frame of mind to do anything except tend to my own emotional wounds and mindset, and basically just wanted to be left alone.  I didn't ask him to come over.  If he had come with a little bit more concern for me, instead of displaying anger, I probably wouldn't have become so defensive.  If he had been of a mind to 'let me along for a few days' I might've been more receptive.

Nope.  No dice.


So, in the end, it's like this, as it is, as I see it, for anyone who is dealing with unfairness, ill-concern for feelings, and oppression and suppression, whatever the subject:  YOU HAVE TO BE TOUGH!  All the while maintaining the ability to "be vulnerable," "be considerate in the face of insult," and "do what's right."  (This last one is, of course, in league with Common Sense.)


Now, I didn't care what people thought about what I had to do for my family business.  I had visited my father a day before he died, and spent some time by his side.  If anyone knew, or didn't know, that was fine with me.  I've always been a private person, had been teased mercilessly all the way through my early school years--right up to my graduation date--and knew how to suppress overtly-emotional responses that could escalate a situation.

I had been forced to be a loner for my own protection, and also to keep me out of the trouble other kids my age were getting into.  I never smoked, 'did drugs,' or bullied others.  I have always enjoyed easy-listening music (Carpenters/Air Supply), when others enjoyed rock (Van Halen/Alice Cooper.)  My hobbies tend toward the individual, rather than the group or team variety.  I've also held what I've consider to be 'egalitarian' viewpoints, whilst others I've listened to have espoused doctrines of intolerance and hate, although not outwardly tending toward aggression.  The members of certain unnamed congregations--the least educated ones usually--usually 'followed up and did the rest.'  Ergo, they 'filled in their own blanks with the intolerance and hate expected of them.'  (By their preachers, etc.)

I tried to be as polite as I could, with both my peers and teachers, in school.  I have learning problems which still remain with me to this day.  If I had been a sports-achiever, or an academic-achiever, this probably wouldn't have been an issue.  However, I did horribly in school, graduating with an 'Honest "C"', but this didn't help when I was growing up and being bullied and teased by others.  I did play on the track team my Senior Year, but was out with my parents, visiting prospective colleges and schools when my meets occurred, so I was only able to attend a couple during the course of the entire season; in short, looking for ways to advance my education, for boon or bane.

So far, it's been for bane, overall, although I continue trying. That is, I have more educational failures than successes.  I haven't given up yet, and others tell me that's not failure, and that persistence will win out in the end.  Well, persistence has paid off in some ways.  Because I haven't given in to my emotions, I'm still alive.  I'm happily married to a wonderful woman, and this year we celebrated our Sixth Wedding Anniversary.  I'm able to walk outside, breath the air, and look ahead to my future.  Life can be difficult, at times, but I have my own Resolve, and I am, by golly, Resolved As Hell!



The following are some assumptions I'm making about you and your beloved partner:

Losing your partner of so many years is grueling, fate throwing you a curve-ball, in the worst-possible way.  He was egalitarian, like you.  Cosmopolitan, world-traveled.  His parents probably didn't get outside of that Indiana town, let alone overseas--like you and your partner.  You and he saw Machu Picchu and the Eiffel Tower.  I doubt his folks saw anything taller than the local oil refinery stacks!  You are Internet-savvy, as was your partner.  I doubt his parents even know how to use a computer, let alone use it for understanding better the people from around the world, making it a more tolerant, peaceful, and loving place for all mankind--like you and your partner did.

I'm estranged from the bulk of my relatives.  Still, at 46, I have to conclude that this is what was meant to happen.  I have not been contacted by my brother-in-law since that time, nor have we spoke to each other.  My sister and I have made contact via Facebook, and that's it.  We communicate in only the most cursory of fashions.  Her oldest is now out of high school.  I did not see my nephews growing up, and do not expect to see any of the younger ones do so, either.  I do not have any disregard for them, but I will absolutely not be threatened by their father ever again.  Period!

Your partner's parents are not loving people.  They are among the worst sort of bigots that exist.  To threaten you with an attack is criminal, and intolerable.  They are the reason for why sensitive people need to strengthen their resolve.  To suggest that homosexuality is a sin and that your partner needed medical help is outrageous; it's also bad psychological science!  Of the one's that are the most offending, mainstream religions refuse to acknowledge the majority view of mainstream psychology--that homsexuality is not deviant, is found in all of Nature, and is not something that one can be 'treated for.'

It's a legitimate lifestyle for some people who happen to be attracted to people of the same sex.  It can't 'be cured.'  As one poster put it, "...If you want to whip yourself and believe in the literal truth of an obscure bronze-age mythology, fine. But quit poisoning things for everybody else."

Instead of intolerance for their own son, they should have, instead, ispired Love, Kindness, Consideration, Vulnerability (for without the latter, how are we to learn Love?), and Understanding.

It's not fair, at times.  This wasn't fair to either you or your partner.  It wasn't fair to your family--who were egalitarian and accepting.  Midwest vs. West Coast.  Hmmm....Might have something there we in the middle states don't get, eh?  Well, I mean, I do, but I'm in the middle-south, where prejudice is rampant in most small towns.  Still living in that bronze age, they are!

Well, Shane, I leave you with my Heartfelt Condolences on your loss.  Please know that you and yours are in my thoughts and energies.  I bid you Love, Light, and Bright Blessings in your dimmest hour.  Please, though.  Let Your Own Light Shine!  Isn't that they way your partner would've wanted it?  Shining atop from Macchu Picchu?

In Loving Respect,