Archive for the ‘free’ Category

This is a personal essay I wrote for my Women’s Life Writing class based on the question “If you could change one thing about your life what would it be?”

Have you ever pleaded with The Universe to change something about your life, begged the all encompassing “creator” to please just make you normal? I have. I spent much of my life wanting to change my sexuality. Although I grew up in a house hold where I was exposed to homosexuality as a young age this exposure did not help me in my own accepting of who I was. My first memory of homosexuality was when I was seven years old while watching the sitcom Ellen. Ellen was my mom’s favorite show and I remember her becoming very angry when the show got cancelled. I recall my mom angrily stating “I don’t care if she’s gay, she’s funny and I want to laugh when I get home from work!” I don’t remember how I knew what gay meant at the time all I knew is that Ellen liked girls and therefore she couldn’t be on TV anymore. I still remember the episode in which Ellen came out. She was rushing to the airport before her soon to be love interest left on a plane, Ellen reached over to the PA system at the airport and proudly shouted “I’m gay” over the intercom, for some reason that always stuck with me. My next exposure to homosexuality was within my own family. My uncle came out when I was nine and I very vividly recall the moment my parents told my sister and I. My mom gathered us in the living room and sat us down on the couch, her and my dad sat on two chairs, directly facing us. Both of them had serious looks on their faces. At this point I was sure someone had died or at least was very sick. My mom continued to explain to us that my Uncle was gay. My parents asked us if we had any questions and neither of us did so my dad told us we could go back to playing. My uncle’s coming out didn’t change our family dynamic one bit, everything went on as normal. My parents never had anything bad to say about my uncle’s sexuality. They told my sister and I that he was the same uncle we had always had and that the only difference was that he may bring a boyfriend to family functions rather than a girlfriend. They told us not to be afraid to talk about him and that no matter what anyone said about him he was still a good person and being gay wouldn’t change that. I still find it shocking that I came from such an accepting family and yet I was so ashamed of my sexuality for so long.

I was about eleven years old when I became permanently confused about my sexuality. All the girls in my grade were getting “feelings” about the boys in our class. At recess they would write down who they wanted to marry and how many kids they wanted. “I’m definitely marrying Mark*, and we’ll have 3 beautiful children and we’ll live in the biggest house in town!” Laura* would say. Mark* was the hot commodity for most of the girls in my class. He had dark skin, green eyes and luscious pink lips, he drove all the girls crazy, except me. I played along with these recess games, but I had yet to feel anything about boys or girls for that matter. At twelve I was still more interested in winning the basketball game after school then who I wanted to date. By thirteen I still had yet to be interested in anyone, but I continued to gossip with my friends about the new boy in class because I thought that’s what I was supposed to do. At this point I began to think there was something wrong with me, why wasn’t I interested in dating boys? Instead of wanting to date boys I wanted to avoid them. I began to feel uncomfortable around boys; I didn’t know how to communicate with them. Was I supposed to be flirtatious like my best friend Zoe* or was I supposed to fit in with them like my friend Morgan* who was the “tom boy” in my class? I didn’t know, all I knew was that I’d rather hang out with Jessie*. Jessie* was a new student and had these beautiful, glacial blue eyes and short golden blonde hair. She was tall and towered over me but she had the most gentle smile I had ever seen. Jessie* and I became fast friends and we spent much of our time together, until Jessica started dating Mark* and then our friendship became more of an acquaintance relationship.

Fast forward a year, to the week before my fourteenth birthday. For an early birthday gift my aunt sent me to camp with my younger cousin. That week at camp changed my life forever. I met a girl. She had sparkling blue eyes, and her dirty blonde hair was always pulled back in a pony. She dressed in baggy pants, and I distinctly remember she wore a mustard yellow sweater almost everyday we were there. She had a boisterous personality, she was loud, funny and wasn’t afraid to make a fool of herself. Most of all, she was confident and I loved that about her. In many ways she reminded me of myself and I gravitated towards her. Luckily for me we were in the same activity group and spent everyday attached at the hip. She was a long time camper at camp and was very popular amongst the campers and staff, in turn, I too became popular.

On the last day of camp my parents had to pick me up early because we had a wedding to attend. That morning I watched as she got ready for the day. I remember myself laid out on her bed with tears streaming down my cheeks. She insisted I not cry and that we would stay in contact, after all we only lived a half hour from each other. My heart dropped the moment my camp counselor came to the door and told me my parents were there to pick me up. I didn’t understand why I was so upset about leaving, I would see her again and I would be back at camp next year. My parents came and carried my luggage to the truck, she took my hand and laced her fingers with mine. That moment, that feeling, of her fingers intertwined with mine was the moment, the feeling, I knew. I knew that I had fallen for a girl. I had never felt more content in my life then during that walk along that path with our hands in embrace. She refused to let go of my hand even once I was in the vehicle. As my parents drove away she ran along side the truck and our hands were eventually torn apart by my dad’s lead foot. That night as I laid in bed crying I said to myself “I’m gay” and then buried it deep down inside me. I buried those feelings because other then my uncle no one else in my town was gay and I certainly wasn’t going to be the only one. Soon after my realization I decided I would change, I would no longer be gay. I didn’t want to be different, I didn’t ask to be different and I wasn’t strong enough to be different, or so I thought. I went back to school and continued on my escapades of “fitting in” and gossiping about boys. I eventually went to high school and by the time I graduated I had buried my feelings so well that I almost never thought about my sexuality. I had decided I could live my life as a single woman and never have to tell people about how I really felt. I was wrong.

By the time I had turned twenty-three the denial of my sexuality was no longer as easy as it was in high school. I began to have anxiety attacks regularly, my personality changed from being a happy, bubbly, talkative person to being a more tense, reclusive person. A friend set me up on a date; I sat nervously and anxiously through it all the while knowing that this poor guy had no chance. At the end of the night when he leaned in for a kiss I simply put out my hand and said, “Thanks for dinner.” I began to be resentful of The Universe for making me this way. I would cry myself to sleep pleading with whatever power existed to make me straight. I didn’t want to be gay and I didn’t want my family to have to deal with having a gay daughter, sister, niece or friend. I would occasionally come across a television show discussing “coming out’ as if it was something that would make everything in my life better. What a lie! How could coming out as a gay individual make my life better? How would going from a normal, white, heterosexual woman become better if I gave people a reason to discriminate against me; and it wasn’t just me who would face discrimination. My parents would undoubtedly face the dreaded “coffee row” in town and hear whispers about their gay daughter. How would my niece and nephew be treated if they had a gay aunt? Would they be taunted at school, would they be ashamed of me? Would they wish I was normal just like I wished I was?

* * *

After ten years of forcing myself to live an inauthentic life I had finally given up. I had decided I could at least date women and keep it a secret rather than denying myself love forever. I dated a couple people but it never felt right, sneaking around, lying about who I was hanging out with. None of the relationships were healthy and this created further shame about who I was. However, everything changed in May 2013 when I met my now girlfriend on an unsuspecting, sunny, Saturday afternoon in the parking lot of Pet Smart. She and I started to date in December of last year and through her unwavering support I began to accept my sexuality. She said to me one day, “You know babe, before I came out I used to wish I could change my sexuality, but the moment I came out I felt whole, I felt happy, I felt content and I knew that being gay was not something that took away from my life, it enhanced it.” I wanted to feel content, I wanted to feel happy, I wanted to be whole. We dated for nine months before I got up the courage to come out to my family and friends. During that nine months we had many ups and downs. I still often felt guilty and ashamed about my sexuality but on August 23, 2014, the eve of my 26th birthday, my best friend, my sister and my parents received letters from me informing them of my sexuality. In the letters, I confessed that I still sometimes wished I wasn’t gay and that I tried for along time to change who I was but I could no longer fight it. Within minutes of receiving the letters I got phone calls and texts from my loved ones saying, “We don’t want you to change, we love you exactly as you are and if you were any different you would not be the Lindsay we love.” I could not believe the outpouring of support, acceptance, and love I received from the most important people in my life. That was the moment I stopped wishing I wasn’t gay. It all ended there, all the doubt, the pleading, the shame, the denial. All of it gone, permanently.

If you asked me 5 months ago if I could change one thing about my life what would it be? I would have said my sexuality but today I no longer feel the need to change that part of me. If I could change anything about my life today it would be the memories of the shame I felt about being gay. Now I wish I had never felt those things, I wish I had never wished to change who I am. I wish I could have had the courage to come out sooner however, I know when and how I came out was the way it was meant to be. Today I have got all the things I wanted, I’m happy, I’m content and I am whole. As for those episodes I saw on TV suggesting coming out would help my life, they were right. Coming out has been the most important moment in my life to date. I hope that in the future I can help other LGBTQ youth realize they don’t need to change or deny their sexuality. I realize now that the change I had to make was a change in mentality from denying who I was to accepting who I am. I know that if I can change the perceptions of myself after years of self repression and denial then others can change their perceptions too.

I’ve been in denial. As many of you may know I have been writing what I’ve been calling a “story” that I thought may develop into a short story or a novella. I have realized recently that I have been lying to myself about what this story is meant to be. The truth is I have been scared to call it a novel because I didn’t believe I had the right to say I was writing a novel. I have no education in the area of writing besides a University 100 level English so how could I be writing novel?

Today that changed, I had an epiphany, being an artist of any kind does not mean you have to be educated in the area, you have to live it, breath it, believe it. I thought about it and I do live it, I do breath it and thanks to the response I have been getting on the internet and from people closest to me I now believe it! I received some advice from a person on twitter recently, she suggested I start promoting my book now even though it isn’t finished, and my blog is the perfect place to do that, so here goes:

Hi my name is Lindsay, I’m a writer who is writing a novel, it’s called Gray Hayles and it’s an unclassical story of life, love and loss. I’m looking into self publishing and hoping to have it out within the next two years. I won’t rush it though because I know you can’t rush art! If you’re interested, I have 4 excerpts posted under Gray Hayles.

Ahhhh I feel much better now that it’s out in the open. 😉

Peace and Love and Writing

Lindsay 🙂

It’s a weird thing growing up. I’m on the verge of my 24th year and I never thought I would get this old. As a child part of me believed I would never grow up even though I desperately wanted to. Now I find myself wanting to be young again, free of responsibility and certain wisdom I have gained that comes with getting older.

It’s strange when you’re a teenager you think that what you know, the ideas, the opinions you have will always be that way. You think that you are who you are going to be, that you couldn’t be more you than you are at sixteen. How naive, at that age I think you are the farthest from who you truly are. Hormones and influences contribute too much to your being when you’re that age. I remember thinking I knew everything when I was a teen, and I remember my mom constantly arguing with me that I didn’t, but I would not step down. I was always irritated by people hating on teens, saying they were ignorant and reckless. I still believe people can be too hard on teens but it is not a lie that many are very ignorant and reckless, but in their defense they don’t know any better. I think the problems between most adults and teenagers is that adults forget what is was like being that age and teens have no concept of what it’s like to be an adult. In all honesty they are on complete opposites of the spectrum, resulting in many heads being butted.

About six years ago I remember a friend of mine getting upset at me for dabbling in some things she did not agree with. I had been out of high school for a year and had been thrust into this world of being able to make my own decisions without having the guilt of my parents looming over me head, which was freeing for me. I experimented while she was still in high school, still living under rule and she was not happy with my decisions. I recall her saying to me “You’ve changed,” I was so angry at her in that moment. I hadn’t changed, how dare she say that to me, I was still the same person. Needless to say our friendship went into hibernation and a year and a half later I got a message from her apologizing for overreacting saying that she too was now making some similar decisions and had a new perspective. I never really gave up on our friendship during that time, I knew she was younger and hadn’t yet the ability to understand. I knew she would come around and she did, I’m happy to report our friendship has been going strong for the last 5 years now.

Recently the topic of changing has come up again in my life and now I am not so negative about it. I have changed and I’m proud of it. I’m glad I am not like my 16yo self(aren’t we all?), we are not meant to be our teenaged selves. I don’t believe in the things I used to, I don’t have the opinions I used too. As I’ve gotten older I have become more open with my ideas, less judgmental of others and more accepting. However, even though many things have changed about me I still am fundamentally who I was as a 5 year old. I don’t like to let things define me but I have always been these three things:

Loud, I was born with a high decibel voice, I am destine for a life of my dad constantly telling me to lower my voice (which is not possible unless I whisper lol so get used to it dad!)

Talkative, Since I said my first word at 9months and haven’t stopped. I could talk about anything and everything all day long. Nothing makes me more happy than a good conversation (it’s they way to my heart).

Honest, My mom always says “Come on Lindsay, tell us how you really feel,” I have never been shy about what I am thinking, sometimes it gets me in trouble but I truly believe it’s the best policy.

I guess I’m supposed to call myself and adult now but I still have so much kid left in me (considering I work with 5yos all day). I feel like I am on the border of childhood and adulthood. I am gaining knowledge everyday but still trying to find the novelty in things. I hope to keep this quality as long as I can. Being an adult is no fun without a little novelty and childhood is enriched with a little knowledge. Cheers to growing up and growing young simultaneously.

Peace and Love

Lindsay the Rambler of Things

Am I an anomaly?

Standing up for what I believe.

Accepting that everything is a part of me

 –

Am I an aberration?

Living in my imagination.

Hoping for a free global nation

Reading a book series in which these words are used frequently, this sprung out of no where while I was reading a chapter yesterday. Thought I would share. I think I would rather be both an anomaly and an aberration than someone who goes along with the norm just to fit in and be safe. I’m an out-of-the-box kind of girl 🙂

(The series is Matched/Crossed/Reached by Ally Condie)

It’s Pride, my city, surrounding area and places across the world are flying the flag with what else Pride! This brings me to the topic of my entry today, Homosexuality(or as I like to call it sexuality!). I was born in the 20th century and maybe was I exposed to more open ideas than some born in other decades or other parts of the world, but I have always been unaffected by same-sex love. It has always been a part of my life and never bothered me. What does bother me is how much other people seem to be bothered by it.

My first memory of homosexuality is from the sitcom Ellen. I think I was about 7 when she came out on her show. For some reason I distinctly remember Ellen leaning over the microphone in an airport and saying “I’m Gay!” After that the show got cancelled and I remember my mom being disappointed because she loved the show and she didn’t seem to mind that Ellen was gay. I’m not even sure I knew what that really meant back then. When I was about 9 my parents sat my sister and I down and told us my Uncle had come out as gay I think my response to this news was something like “Okay, can I go back to playing now?” I knew at this time that being gay meant dating someone of the same sex, I don’t know how I knew this. I don’t remember my parents telling me what it meant to be homosexual, I wasn’t very sheltered as a child so I’m guessing I saw or heard about it from television. Having a family member who was gay didn’t really change anything for me personally. At some point I met a boyfriend of my Uncles and all I can remember thinking is they hug like my parents hug, they hold hands like my parents hold hands, they kiss like my parents kiss. In their entirety they loved like my parents loved, and I was content with that. My family seemed to continue on just like it had before, nothing changed. I don’t know if being exposed to the lifestyle as a child aided in my acceptance or it’s just who I am. I don’t care who you love as long as you treat them right. This seems logical to me. You dating a man or a woman has no affect on me personally so why would I care?

I know people who say “I accept homosexual people I just don’t want to see it,” What does that mean? You accept them but you don’t want to see them be affectionate? That is not acceptance. Some people say,  “I just wish they wouldn’t rub their sexuality in my face,” again to this I say what? Don’t heterosexual people flaunt their heterosexuality all the time, walking in public holding hands, kissing, touching? Heterosexual people don’t have to sit their family and friends down and say, “I have something to tell you, I’m straight!” So why should homosexuals. Why does homosexuality have to be something that has to be announced like it is automatic that you are supposed to be born straight and if you’re not you either have to hide or tell the whole world?

I don’t understand people who say that you choose to be gay. You choose to be gay as much as you choose to be straight, or as mush as you choose your hair, eye or skin color. My common argument to this topic is “Why would you choose to be ridiculed, taunted and bullied?” I also don’t get people who say there is no such thing as bisexuality, you must either like boys or girls, it’s impossible to like both. No one has the right to decide how you feel about any specific person except you.

Sexuality is on a spectrum, and any person can fall anywhere on that spectrum. People are so concerned about life being black and white, no grey, no in between. Here’s a fact people IT’S ALL IN BETWEEN. The truth is there is there no black and white, there is no right and wrong, there is no gay and straight, there just is.

In the end you are who you are and you love who you love and I’m okay with that. I wish more people would be okay with it too.

Some think I am weird

afraid to come to near

but I am not to be feared

 

He thinks I am a disease

expecting me to please

this is what he sees

 

She thinks I am poser

burning me with her smolder

wanting only for me to hold her

 

You think I am an inspiration

playing with your imagination

all of Me is a collaboration

 

They think I am insane

pushing to me to detain

but my spirit will not be slain

 

I think we can be free

if only we choose to see

each person selflessly

This is a Quote from a woman by the name of India who was on an episode of Oprah‘s LifeClass featuring Gloria Steinem. After the woman spoke Oprah’s response was I could just weep over that.                                                                                                                                                I did.

“People always ask can you have it all? And I think one of the questions we need to start asking ourselves is not can we have it all, and mean marriage, children, career, but do we have the power to do the things that will make us happy?”

Do we?

I am constantly surprised by how people I know and love think about the world and the people in it. I recently had a discussion with a friend about how much people generalize humans into specific groups, whether it be gender, sexual orientation, race, culture or career. Where I am from there is many misconceptions about First Nations/Native/Indian/Aboriginal people. Many people describe this race as being alcoholics/lazy/addicts/bums/dirty/homeless people. There is a terrible history between what you may classify settlers of Canada and the original people from the continent, the First Nations. I do not wish to get into the specifics but there was many wars and disagreements and conflicts that eventually ended in the signing of the Treaties. Sadly this did not end the hate and bigotry towards the race, in some ways it made the judgments and generalizations worse.

This brings me to a conversation I recently had with a friend. I was fighting my point that you just cannot generalize any group of people (on this day we were specifically talking about aboriginals) because not all people are the same not matter what “group” you may personally assign them to. This friend then gave me the example of two apple trees:

On one side you have an apple tree that produces mainly bright red, perfect apples, that appear to be the best apples out there however, this  tree produces a few apples that are misshapen, brown and mushy. On the other side you have the same kind of apple tree that appears to produce predominantly bad apples that aren’t as appealing as the others. But again on that same tree there is also bright red, crisp, perfect apples that look the same as the other attractive apples on the opposite tree. The friend then asked Which tree do you pick apples from, which tree to you water and keep alive? The tree with the abundance of “good” apples or the tree with mostly “bad” apples?

I answered honestly, in the fact that innately if it was for survival I would probably pick from the “good” apple tree and support its life. However, if I was being logical I would simply pick the “good” apples from both trees and support growth of both trees since neither tree was completely without flaw. I also implied that it was not realistic to use a metaphor about a plants and apply it to human behaviour.

This friend was not enthused by my answer and suggested that I, as well as everyone would choose the good tree because we live in a survival of the fittest world. I began to explain that I don’t believe we live in that kind of reality anymore (at least in the western world) I believe we don’t have to leave the sick/weak/suffering/struggling to die or rot in their own life just so we can keep on living. I believe (in this day) we have the power overcome what some may call our innate sense of selfishness, our ability to pick out peoples differences and avoid things that make us uncomfortable. I told this friend that I believed this because I live it. I work on breaking through my judgments and stereotypes because I meet people who break the ideals I or society have imposed upon them. This friend still believed that it was not possible for me to do what I am doing, and we ended the discussion at that.

The funny thing is if it wasn’t possible for me to break through my own misconceptions then I wouldn’t have been able to keep this person as a friend. Just because he/she had these stereotypes about these people I didn’t judge him/her. Everyone is entitled to their own opinion, that is my opinion. There is a reason that I did not use a name in this blog, because this blog is not about attacking someone for their beliefs its about understanding that not all people have or rather choose to have an open mind. Sometimes people find that living inside the box is safer, easier and more fruitful. Being on the outside I can only reach my hand in and offer a possible way out.

I enjoy to having these kinds of discussions with people. I like to talk about things that may cause them discomfort or anxiety in an attempt to make them think or see things differently. I don’t know if this friend ever thought of our discussion again, but I know I think about it often. It just makes me wonder what other things people believe, what other things people think they know about the world. It also worries me that still in this day people are so consumed in their own ideas and opinions. When will we stop thinking of the world as billions of individuals with certain characteristics trying to survive and start thinking of it as one solid system of life, love and happiness?

I was suggested this video by a fellow blogger who thought I might be intrigued by it. He was right! I am not a business person but what this guy is talking about makes sense. The only way to be successful and inspiring is to know WHY you do something. Not the end result of WHAT you want to accomplish. It is a tad long and may seem boring to some but the last 4 minutes of the video is worth everything. After all “Martin Luther King wrote the I have a Dream Speech not the I have a Plan speech.” The Golden Circle is something we all should look into applying in our lives. Hope you take some time to watch! 🙂

http://www.ted.com/talks/simon_sinek_how_great_leaders_inspire_action.html

http://liberatedself.wordpress.com/

This story has been haunting me, these characters are so real, honest and true to me. I cried when I wrote this part. I realized these people are so much a part of me and this is a story I need to tell and it is a story that will be told, my mind will accept nothing less. Here is another blurb from Gray Hayles: (I apologize for not including names but I would like to keep some things a secret so when I finish the story all of it isn’t known)

As we walked underneath the canopy of stars, I wrapped my arm around her waist. Holding her hand was not enough anymore, I had to have her closer, nearer, soaking in all the warmth of her love she so freely radiated. She was like my own personal sunshine, penetrating me with constant rays of love, compassion and kindness. I felt her slide her hand up my neck, she pulled me in close locking her chocolate gaze on mine. She gently pressed her velvet lips against mine, my hands began to tingle and my knees went weak. I squeezed her waist tighter, desperately trying to keep myself from falling into her body. Just then she pulled away and looked me deep in the eye. She drew in a deep breath, smiled that glorious smile and said, “Thank God I met you, ” she uttered the words with such conviction.

Suddenly I felt a sharp pain at the base of my skull, as I fell to the ground I heard her scream. Momentarily blinded I began to panic, my ears went silent and I was transported to a dark, warm place where I had an overt sense of happiness. I began to question am I dead? In an instant I was thrust back to reality. My eyes jolted open and my chest convulsed as I gulped air into my deprived lungs.

As things slowly came into focus I saw her face, she smiled, but as things became clearer I was struck. There was no words to describe the horror I felt in that moment. Her face was swollen and badly bruise, she had a large lump above her left cheek which was pressed awkwardly against the road. Her leather jacket was gone and her dress was torn exposing her skin which was now painted a beautiful shade of red. I examined her body for other afflictions but everything seemed intact. There was an unusual amount of blood pooling around her  head, it began to leak into the cracks in the pavement, every second rushing closer to me. She kept her brown marble eyes on me, her breathing became slower, her smile never left. I noticed my own river of blood escaping my body, creating its own streams, snaking through the road eventually merging into an ocean of blood dividing us. It was warm, like a liquid blanket protecting me from the brisk midnight air.

I tried to speak but nothing would come out, I tried to move but it was as if my muscles had left my body. My bones felt like metal rods grinding my flesh into the cement. My right arm was stretched out in front of me, I wished I could reach further and touch her face. She began to flinch and cough, then a small stream of blood fell from her mouth. Still looking at me she began to drag her arm from the side of her body. It seemed to take hours for her to reach my fingers, but she did. There we lay, our arms drowning in a cocktail of our blood. She began to cough more, choking on the flow pouring from her mouth.

I began to accept that this was it, this was how we would die. I was trying to make peace out of this knowing. I tried to be thankful for being able to share our last moments together, but I was resentful. I felt her squeeze what little of my hand she had grasped. Staring at her, I focussed all my energy on squeezing back. I must have succeeded because I saw her beautiful face display a broader smile. Within seconds of what I now know was our last embrace, she took her last breath and her lips released the crescent she had so stubbornly held. Her eyes never closed and her spirit did not abandon the earth, instead she hovered above my body raining down a gentle calm. My stare was locked on her once glistening eyes as rivers flowed from mine.

At first I began to ask for her back, begging the universe, promising my life, if only she would come back to her body, back to me. When my attempts failed I then began to ask to be taken with her, but my prayers were not answered. Instead I laid there labouring to breathe, my head throbbing in pain, my love laying there lifeless parallel to my body. I felt like I had been there for days but as I looked up I realized the canopy of stars still lit the night sky.