Now that I’m Gay Married… 4 Things Changed

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Well, we all know that gay marriage is significantly different than “traditional” marriage, so from about a month into this arrangement that threatens the family, I thought I would share a few things I’ve learned now that I’m Gay Married.

1. Being gay married changed the way I sleep.

Every night before we go to bed, we have this gay ritual of thanking the gay fairies for their bountiful blessings upon our gay marriage. It’s a little over the top, but whatever. It’s all part of tearing apart the fabric of humanity.

2. Being gay married changed the way I breathe.

I had no idea that between every blissful breath, I would be required by the Gay Bylaws of Ruining Traditional Marriage, to state, “I’m here I’m queer, I’m married, now!” every time we go out in public. Again, it’s a bit excessive and perhaps somewhat annoying, but I guess this is Gay Marriage. I have to adjust. I still feel bad for my local coffee shop barista. I mean, it’s just an iced tall chai, but now it is an Iced Tall I’M GAY MARRIED chai. Yeesh.

3. Being gay married changed the way I think.

Being conscious of all the gay things I have to do as a part of this agenda can be very exhausting. When I started to write thank-you cards for the wedding gifts, I was really distracted by the importance of tossing in political and super gay words into all those cards. Duh Gail, you’re gay married… be sure to mention Stonewall, Pride Parades, and how it feels to pave a rainbow path to eternal damnation when you’re thinking of your wedding day and all those beautiful friends/family members who shared those moments with you.

4. Being gay married changed the way I eat.

All this gay food is really different in gay marriage. At every meal, to keep it balanced, we make sure we have a food from every level of the gay food pyramid. We have something organic, something local, something pink and something purple, etc. I never thought the Gay Marriage Dietary laws would be so complicated but again, I’m Gay Married now… life is different.

And satire – well, satire is long gone. I mean, the honeymoon period couldn’t be more annoying. The way we look into each other’s gay married eyes and say things like, “Our gay married life is so fun and I gay love you so much,” would really frustrate most people. But we can handle it. We are gay brave. Our gay married bliss is really just a burden we are willing to bear…

Seriously now, folks.

This piece is in response to a very unexpected encounter I’ve recently had with the 1996-1999 version of myself and an oppressed personal history in Cincinnati, Ohio. I look back at it and sometimes I hope to divorce myself from it. But, if being gay married has taught me anything so far, it’s that I don’t want to divorce myself from my self-hating, spiritually suffocated past…

I want to move towards it with sarcasm and gentility… today, sarcasm, clearly.

But soon, I will have to integrate the fact that every silly thing I have long renounced about the religiously-based prejudice towards gay people was in fact, a fire that used to fuel my own warped beliefs…

I always hated the phrase, “There but by the grace of God go I,” but looking back on a tainted history of faith experiences, lost community, and broken friendships, combined with a limited worldview and laced with self-hate, I do wonder how I got here…

Anyway, I jest at how “gay marriage” changed me when the truth is, it didn’t change me.

It has done nothing but allow me to BE me.

I’m a month into this marriage “thing” and there’s nothing “gay” about it – it’s a sacred union of two people who are still in a honeymoon phase of long gazes, endless inside jokes, stomach butterflies of joyful overwhelm, and tearful conversations of gratitude.

gay_marriage_groundbreakingI can only say one more thing about it all right now: Share this post not because sarcasm feels good (and it does ;) )  but also because you can remember a time when sarcasm was the only tool you had in admitting your own shortcomings. Sometimes we need to laugh… sometimes grief taps most gently on the doors of our hearts through snarky reflections and eye rolls…

And then comes another layer of forgiveness… brace for it.

It’s coming…

Namaste, yo.

And many thanks to Over the Rhine, for being a mirror of music, art, community, marriage, and faith – unbeknownst to them, my journey from 1996-present has their music as a personal soundtrack… And in true honeymoon bliss, I say that until next blog…

I’m wide awake
And the world can wait
” – OTR, The World Can Wait

~~

DSC_0354Gail is an author, poet, blogger and activist whose new book, Enlightened-ish chronicles her spiritual awakening experience after witnessing a suicide, grieving her father’s unexpected death and leaving a spiritual community. Her first book, “Coming Out of the Closet without Coming Apart at the Seams” was published in 2004. Gail has appeared in FOX DC News, SkyNews and Our America with Lisa Ling as an advocate for ex-gay survivors and young people. Her freelance work has appeared in God Allows U-Turns, Encounter Magazine and Outlook Weekly. “For Gail So Loved the World” is her blog, where she discusses spirituality, politics and social and emotional intelligence from a global perspective. Her spoken word pieces and drumming meditations are available on YouTube and she schedules private speaking engagements where these performances are shared. Gail is the only lesbian known to hold a Bachelor’s Degree from Cincinnati Christian University. Currently, Gail resides in the Washington, DC Area and serves her local community as the Executive Director of a nature-based early learning center.

When She Says She Loves Me… Why Equality Matters

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1621773_510262802411101_8063516498862622385_nThe other day, my fiancee and I had a brief, yet looming encounter with a man who felt it necessary to speak loudly about his disapproval of what he called “gay marriage.” As we tried to disengage and stay focused on our own coffee and conversation, it was apparent that unless she said otherwise, I was going to address this man, for aggressively stating his unsolicited opinion over us, from 7 feet away. “If they can marry, it will be a disaster. God made man and woman…” he continued.

I asked my fiancee if she would mind giving me a kiss, as we got up to walk away. She agreed and after we shared an affectionate peck, I turned to him and said, “We are not a disaster,” and we walked away. Before walking away, we both heard him say in a slimy perverted tone, “Well I like that.”

Of course you do, you double-minded, broken old man,” I wanted to say.

Instead, we walked away and I felt this piece welling up in my heart… some words I have never said about marriage equality… some words I’ve never said about the woman who wants to marry me… some words that I hope will mirror what many of us are saying, when we say that equality matters.

Equality matters because when she says she loves me…

She is saying that of all the people who have crossed her path, the day she met me, something changed for the better.

She is saying that of all the outcomes she could have for her life, none of them would be as meaningful without me in the picture.

She is saying that when she seeks comfort, wisdom, rest, joy, or a sense of hope, she considers me a source.

She is saying that if there is a God, this love is the kind upon which God smiles. 

She is saying that feeling safe and loved now includes knowing if I am feeling safe and loved.

She is saying her future and my future now interconnect in ways that make the past a story to cherish and an influence to honor.

Equality matters because love matters… because her words matter more to me than any other woman who whispered, “I love you,” into my ear.

Equality matters… because eventually for some of us, there is one person who comes along and says these things in a way that changes everything for the better…

And what reasonable society would call this a disaster or a departure from what is good about humanity?

This is all we are saying, when we say equality matters. This… nothing more and nothing less.

This post is dedicated to all who have been on the receiving end of an “I love you,” that put an end to all your doubts about why those words matter… and to my fiancee, for being brave enough to say them until I could believe in them again.

~~

DSC_0354Gail is an author, poet, blogger and activist whose new book, Enlightened-ish chronicles her spiritual awakening experience after witnessing a suicide, grieving her father’s unexpected death and leaving a spiritual community. Her first book, “Coming Out of the Closet without Coming Apart at the Seams” was published in 2004. Gail has appeared in FOX DC News,SkyNews and Our America with Lisa Ling as an advocate for ex-gay survivors and young people. Her freelance work has appeared in God Allows U-Turns, Encounter Magazine and Outlook Weekly. “For Gail So Loved the World” is her blog, where she discusses spirituality, politics and social and emotional intelligence from a global perspective. Her spoken word pieces and drumming meditations are available on YouTube and she schedules private speaking engagements where these performances are shared. Gail is the only lesbian known to hold a Bachelor’s Degree from Cincinnati Christian University. Currently, Gail resides in the Washington, DC Area and serves her local community as the Executive Director of a nature-based early learning center.

Why I’m Crushing on Nick Jonas… and Taking a Facebook Break. Yes, it’s Related.

I spend so much of my time being serious.

I have survived too much oppression not to take my life seriously. I am too aware of all that can undermine one’s freedom, psychologically, physically, mentally, spiritually, and energetically – so life is serious. I get it.

But then I heard Nick Jonas’ new song, “Jealous,” and it all started to make sense. Yes… really ;)

“You’re too sexy beautiful and everyone wants a taste… that’s why… I still get jealous.”

The depth of lyric is overwhelming, right?

Okay, I’ll stop. It’s not that deep, but it is fun, dammit! He’s fun! He’s this former Jonas Brother heartthrob who just happens to actually do some interesting things in the world and is also making over his image by showing that he’s a grown man now and isn’t afraid of a gay fan base. It’s kind of cool to see an otherwise goofy religious kid evolve into a more purposed adult, even if it is designed by producers and entertainment gurus.

There’s something about this guilty pleasure that sparked me to follow my heart and take a break from my other guilty pleasure – Facebook. I have a deep sense of community in the advocacy, self-healing, and sharing that goes on with the people I call “friends” in the Facebook world. It’s beyond the dog-sharing, selfie-posting, political rants of most Facebook pages. I’ve written about it before – my audience is not an “audience” at all. It’s an active and loving community of people that engage mindfully and with great compassion.

So why take a break?

Why step back?

Why de-activate access to the deepened path on an otherwise surface-level social media site?

It’s about jealousy, folks.

Jealousy is often looked upon as a sign of weakness or perhaps a sign that someone is insecure, right?

But what about when it’s just our right to look at something so beautiful and say, “I don’t want anyone else to have that?”

What about getting married and waking up every morning and thinking, “I don’t want to miss a moment of being a newlywed…?”

What about working really hard in your career and thinking, “I don’t want anything to stop this progress?”

jealousy_memeIs there a such thing as healthy jealousy?

I think there is – I look at the direction my life is taking, professionally and feel the exact same way. I want to protect it, cherish it, keep it from harm, allow only positive influences, surround it with light and hope.

Perhaps it’s reverence and not jealousy.

Perhaps this is a feeling that happens with boundaries and solid appreciation for the moment that is happening…

jealous_memeBut I think I’m almost jealous of my own path right now – After being told I was full of sin, for so long… it’s almost as if I have come through a reincarnation, fresh and new, open to all things and anticipating amazing transitions and exploring every single cell of my being.

Do I have the “right” to protect it?

Is it healthy or does it show insecurity?

I think it shows I am limited – there are only so many things I can focus on each day.

I don’t want to miss this… this newlywed stage. I don’t want to have to pause every time it feels amazing to make sure I upload it.

I don’t want to have to interrupt the flow of peace to make sure that everyone knows I have peace…

Get it?

Have you ever looked at your life and thought, “Damn, I made it?”

I highly recommend this practice, even though I’m only a few days into it.

I miss my Facebook community… extremely, because for an introvert, those friends are often my social life! Alas, I do have friends in real life too though and I can do this…

More though, I can jam out to Nick Jonas (and Melissa Etheridge’s new CD and David Guetta, proving how gay I really am…), and enjoy my own company again too!

After all the years of being told just how wrong I am, I am taking it all in – jealous even, of how right I am… how right this love is, how right this career is…

And yes, how wrong they all were about me!

Exes, former church leaders, former coworkers, former cultural environment, former path…

Allow yourselves to have that “look at me now, yo,” kind of moment. You don’t need me there on Facebook reminding you how amazing you are… you don’t need my random posts telling you that I survived yet another run-in with an emotionally unstable religious person. You don’t need my commentary on racial tensions, spiritual teachings, political games, or the deterioration of education, healthcare, and leadership principles.

You just need to be a little jealous of yourselves…

Pass it on.

Nick Jonas is right.

It’s your right to be hellish. You can still get jealous. :)

Until next blog… I do miss you all… But I’m not gonna miss my life right now. Something amazing is happening and I want to make sure I FEEL it not just Facebook it.

Hugs, love and light, and badassery, yo.

P.S. To my wife… turn the cheek, music up baby, I don’t have to post it all. Saved some of it for you ;)

~~

1621773_510262802411101_8063516498862622385_nGail is an author, poet, blogger and activist whose latest book, Enlightened-ish chronicles her spiritual awakening experience after witnessing a suicide, grieving her father’s unexpected death and leaving a spiritual community. Her first book, “Coming Out of the Closet without Coming Apart at the Seams” was published in 2004. Gail has appeared in FOX DC News, SkyNews and Our America with Lisa Ling as an advocate for ex-gay survivors and young people. Her freelance work has appeared in God Allows U-Turns, Encounter Magazine and Outlook Weekly. “For Gail So Loved the World” is her blog, where she discusses spirituality, politics and social and emotional intelligence from a global perspective. Her spoken word pieces and drumming meditations are available on YouTube and she schedules private speaking engagements where these performances are shared. Gail is the only lesbian known to hold a Bachelor’s Degree from Cincinnati Christian University. Currently, Gail resides in the Washington, DC Area and serves her local community as the Executive Director of a nature-based early learning center.

An Open Letter to Daniel Goleman – Because Ferguson Needs a Leader

Goleman_QuoteMany of my readers know me for commentary on social/emotional intelligence and how it relates to pre-schoolers. You may also know my writing as commentary on grief, spirituality, religious fundamentalism, or political issues, and how it relates to the social/emotional intelligence of adults

What you do not know is that I aim to be a key contributor to the global conversation on social/emotional intelligence in conflict resolution and leadership development. You don’t know this because I am just announcing it. (And I expect to invest another two decades in this topic!) The events in Ferguson are the final straw for me. In response to the events, I’m writing an open letter to one of the most educated and internationally known psychologists and researchers in the field of Emotional Intelligence.

This letter is to Daniel Goleman. His wisdom is needed now more than ever and so I write this not only as a Call and Response to Daniel Goleman and his colleagues, but also as a necessary spotlight on the topic of Social/Emotional Intelligence and how it relates to…

Racism… because not only does Ferguson need a leader… we all do.

Dear Daniel Goleman,

I am the Executive Director of a non-profit pre-school where empathy and social/emotional intelligence is taught through an ongoing connection with the natural world. We focus on models of discipline based in brain science and the awareness that our emotional intelligence determines the direction of our decisions and in our case, our abilities to work together as educators to empower children to, in fact, enjoy the process of learning, within a social society.

Mr. Goleman, today I call attention to your work, and our shared passion, in efforts to draw out what this country and perhaps, this globe, needs – A leader who can speak to the social/emotional dynamic that occurs between a social minority and a social majority, particularly in regards to economics and justice. There are so few personalities in our current media structure whose opinions are based in anything other than politics or projections. Worse yet, the wisdom that is quoted in regards to non-violent action or peaceful processes are the voices of the dead: From Martin Luther King, Jr, to Rosa Parks; Gandhi to JFK; John Lennon to Mandela. These voices are nothing but echoes.

Echoes… that saddens me not only because their messages are buried deep, but because almost no one is coming forward with the same social awareness and emotional fortitude, to speak wholeheartedly, yet cognitively, about the hope for humanity.

Even our current President, who I respect deeply, speaks like a man whose soul is lacking a fire on this topic. Can no one educate, inspire, and speak clearly to the social masses in order to usher in a hope for equality, when it comes to racial injustices?

No one can speak to racism, group think, or the emotional hold that exists surrounding the charge of injustice better than an expert in the field of Social and Emotional Intelligence.

So I am asking for you to make yourself available on this topic – turn your attention briefly, if only for a day, to interviews, workshops, allegiances, networks and social media outreach on the topic of racial injustice and how an awareness of social/emotional intelligence could guide us to a more self-regulated, inspired, purposed, and clear-thinking/clear-feeling society.

Mr. Goleman, I’ve been your student of this topic, but also experience it in practice for years, both professionally and personally. In conjunction with my teachers, families, and children, I witness daily how “mob mentalities” work. I observe how a community can turn inward and forget itself when leadership lacks transparency. I see how one teacher’s sense of being under-appreciated can deteriorate an entire teaching team within minutes. I see how one child’s sense of being treated unfairly, can spiral into aggression over the course of a few hours. I see how one minority student can see a child of another color and for the first time, consider the child “different.” We welcome these social tensions, at this crucial age because with an emotionally sound platform, we can address conflict and move through it peacefully and clearly.

Personally, as a woman who has recovered from oppressive religious environments, I’ve channeled social/emotional intelligence in my own healing and ability to seek justice for the oppressed, as we find hope when communities and their leaders have triggered a sense of betrayal and failure. 

For now, my current audience is “the future,” and I learn so much from healing my own childhood as well as clearing a socially and emotionally intelligent path for tomorrow’s adults… But what is happening in real time, in the national sandbox is a raging child without a safe place to express its anger. 

We need a socially and emotionally intelligent leader. (A resonant leader).

We need a leader who can do more than simply acknowledge both sides of the racial tensions, but empathize and facilitate understanding.

We need a leader who can do more than speak about keeping peace, but embody peace through self-regulation.

We need a leader who can do more than announce the need for change, but be the change through raising the tone of conversations to a place where people feel cared for, not catered to in the media’s spotlight.

I call upon you and your network to change the conversations from political to scientific, from isolation to global understanding, and from our fight/flight response to our ability to soar so we can LEARN how to change behaviors that repeat these tragic patterns of self-destruction.

Now is the time.

Our truest leaders have died.

We owe them this moment.

We owe it to ourselves and to… our children, not to merely be an echo for future generations. We can be the voice in THIS generation.

Right now.

With Much Gratitude and Respect for your Research and your Voice,

Gail Dickert

P.S. I am young… decades from now when your torch begins to fade, many of us, whom you have never met, will march on… 

 ~~
DSC_0354Gail is an author, poet, blogger and activist whose new book, Enlightened-ish chronicles her spiritual awakening experience after witnessing a suicide, grieving her father’s unexpected death and leaving a spiritual community. Her first book, “Coming Out of the Closet without Coming Apart at the Seams” was published in 2004. Gail has appeared in FOX DC News,SkyNews and Our America with Lisa Ling as an advocate for ex-gay survivors and young people. Her freelance work has appeared in God Allows U-Turns, Encounter Magazine and Outlook Weekly. “For Gail So Loved the World” is her blog, where she discusses spirituality, politics and social and emotional intelligence from a global perspective. Her spoken word pieces and drumming meditations are available on YouTube and she schedules private speaking engagements where these performances are shared. Gail is the only lesbian known to hold a Bachelor’s Degree from Cincinnati Christian University. Currently, Gail resides in the Washington, DC Area and serves her local community as the Executive Director of a nature-based early learning center.

10 Things to Know about Ex-Gay Survivors

freedom_meme

I step back often, from my role as an advocate for survivors, because no matter how much time has passed, I am still a survivor myself, which means I need time to simply “be” and not be enmeshed in the gross social and religious assumptions and obsessions that are tied to my experience.

Survivors of most hate crimes can relate.

Plus, I’m getting married in 23 days! Who has time to reflect on their drama when there is so much joy and celebration ahead?

When I came across the quote, “She had not known the weight until she felt the freedom,” this post began to form. It is because of the freedom that I have - to love, and be loved, that I am able to recognize the old weight of putting myself and my own needs second to an institution, a relationship, a career – a faith. I will delve into my story again soon, after I enjoy some wedding bliss and my wife may also share her perspectives with my story, as we write together… but until then, I offer you…

10 Things to Know about Ex-Gay Survivors

When you hear about conversion therapy or “ex-gay survivors,” please consider this list as a means of relating to our stories and perhaps removing the stigma associated with our former efforts to divorce ourselves from our sexuality.

1. The ex-gay survivor is a person who stepped into a place of sacred trust with people who projected and idolized profane theology and psychology… but lived to tell about it.

2. The ex-gay survivor is a person who may not want to discuss the obstacles that he still faces when it comes to sexuality because the cult-like logic used to shame him still travels sensitive neuropathways in his brain. Be aware what you can trigger for him.

3. The ex-gay survivor is a person who may not be able to form any kind of positive belief system around religion and should not be pressured to do so… ever. If there is a God, that God will understand. You should too.

4. The ex-gay survivor may not be outspoken about her experience. She may feel that the best path to recovery is showing her freedom by quietly living a life out of the limelight.bxg_Losing_Religion

5. The ex-gay survivor may not have been abused by anyone or anything in their homes, but instead, be a victim of the societal and religious rhetoric and homophobia.

6. The ex-gay survivor may not have known that he had choices to walk away from what an outsider may call a “crazy” or “clearly impossible” goal of changing his sexuality. He didn’t know he had choices because even the word “choice” was a weapon.

7. The ex-gay survivor is a person who knows more about her own identity development that the average person because she has been placing it under a microscope since a very young age. Self-awareness and self-deception are sometimes intertwined and require patience from anyone who would seek to unravel it with her.

8. The ex-gay survivor may not hate the leaders involved in conversion therapy. On the contrary, we may have compassion for leaders or people we went to groups with because we learned so much about them… they were our friends. We may have complicated grief about losing them… even though it was toxic.

9. The ex-gay survivor is a person who spends most of her day learning how to be comfortable in her own skin. She is not “introverted” or “extroverted,” easily compartmentalized into words/phrases you can understand. She is a survivor of emotional/religious/psychological and sometimes physical trauma. She needs space to be.

10. The ex-gay survivor was born perfect… and is learning that… every day.

jung_choose_jpgI look forward to sharing the next evolution of my recovery, as the wife of an amazing woman, who has learned more about me in a day than anyone has ever known. In short, like any other survivor, any other HUMAN, what truly heals and changes us is the ability to find intimacy in a world that has often closed us down… and then… choose to become loved!

The ex-gay survivor is not any different than anyone who has been betrayed – genuine, consistent, and no-nonsense affection and companionship is the recipe for healing.

Much love, my dear readers, friends, and survivors… you are loved, just as you are.

Namaste, yo.

~~

DSC_0354Gail is an author, poet, blogger and activist whose latest book, Enlightened-ish chronicles her spiritual awakening experience after witnessing a suicide, grieving her father’s unexpected death and leaving a spiritual community. Her first book, “Coming Out of the Closet without Coming Apart at the Seams” was published in 2004. Gail has appeared in FOX DC News, SkyNews and Our America with Lisa Ling as an advocate for ex-gay survivors and young people. Her freelance work has appeared in God Allows U-Turns, Encounter Magazine and Outlook Weekly. “For Gail So Loved the World” is her blog, where she discusses spirituality, politics and social and emotional intelligence from a global perspective. Gail is the only lesbian known to hold a Bachelor’s Degree from Cincinnati Christian University. Currently, Gail resides in the Washington, DC Area and serves her local community as the Executive Director of a nature-based early learning center.

Silencing the External Critics

truetoherselfThis post is for the survivors – those who survived bullying, be it religious or social, medical or psychological… Are we done being told to amputate ourselves from ourselves? This post is for you…

For those who are weary, from being told that their hearts are corrupt, because they love someone of the same gender.

For those who are grief-stricken, from being told that their faith is useless, because it doesn’t fit inside the four walls of the Church.

For those who are overwhelmed, from being told that the body has failed, because it won’t comply with each medical procedure that keeps it sick.

For those who are angry, from being told that their minds are too wild, because the brain is supposed to behave and yours refuses.

For those who are frustrated, from being told that gender is either right or wrong, because we live in a binary world and you have to be “normal.”

For those who are lonely, from being told that their dreams are weird, because they think too big.

For those who scream in the woods, hoping the trees will hear them, wishing for a god who responds, longing for a friend who can feel their anguish, or seeking a creature that will stir…

I see that you have fallen.

I hear that you feel broken.

I have crawled there too and I am here to say this:

They thought I needed to repair my sexuality, and so I studied, I prayed, I counseled, I wept, I surrendered, and I amputated myself, from myself – they were wrong. We silence them in our minds today. There is no echo. They are gone.

They thought I needed to repair my brain, and so I took the medications, I changed my routines, I let go of my dreams, I surrendered, and I amputated myself, from myself – they were wrong. We silence them in our minds today. There is no echo. They are gone.

They thought I needed to repair my body, and so I was going to give in to their surgeries, their pills, and their injections…

But that is where I drew a line. For once, I trusted the pain, I trusted the process, I trusted my body and my heart…

And I did not surrender!

I did not amputate myself, from myself.

And for once… I was right, with me.

And that is the voice within each of us, that we open ourselves up to today, in order to do more than echo within our own heads, but to reverberate and ripple throughout the Universe.

The critics, the bullies, the fundamentalists – they are gone.

And we are here.

Our collective voice is strong and like the oak trees, maple leaves, and bushes that litter the wild, we turn what they call chaos into cycles of growth, acceptance, loss, and rebirth.

We will not be trimmed and amputated, but we are refined by this acceptance: We are who we are.

And we are whole, not because the external critics say so…

But because within, there is a still small voice that plainly says, “Enough is enough.”

Listen to it…

It is your truth.

Namaste, yo.

~~

Disclaimer: I have been undergoing a variety of medical, psychological, spiritual, and energetic treatments for so-called disorders of the body, mind, and soul for the last 15 years. In the course of being misdiagnosed, over-medicated, judged, isolated, and minimized, I learned that more than anything, I was misunderstood. This post does not claim that all conditions are invalid, but that people, relationships, and the power to rise above will always trump labels, judgments, doctor interference, psychological conjecture, and religious assumption – always. Relationships with the self and others… win out.

~~

DSC_0354Gail is an author, poet, blogger and activist whose new book, Enlightened-ish chronicles her spiritual awakening experience after witnessing a suicide, grieving her father’s unexpected death and leaving a spiritual community. Her first book, “Coming Out of the Closet without Coming Apart at the Seams” was published in 2004. Gail has appeared in FOX DC News,SkyNews and Our America with Lisa Ling as an advocate for ex-gay survivors and young people. Her freelance work has appeared in God Allows U-Turns, Encounter Magazine and Outlook Weekly. “For Gail So Loved the World” is her blog, where she discusses spirituality, politics and social and emotional intelligence from a global perspective. Her spoken word pieces and drumming meditations are available on YouTube and she schedules private speaking engagements where these performances are shared. Gail is the only lesbian known to hold a Bachelor’s Degree from Cincinnati Christian University. Currently, Gail resides in the Washington, DC Area and serves her local community as the Executive Director of a nature-based early learning center.

 

Evolution of Friends: An Ode to Facebook

Facebook_EvolutionFor as much as I am an open critic of how social media can interfere with “real life” relationships and general social/emotional intelligence of one’s local community, it also remains one of my greatest tools for a sense of companionship and connection to my readers.

My readers are, in short, my friends. Many of my blog and status readers have not become “purchasers” of my two books, “Enlightened-ish” or “Coming Out of the Closet without Coming Apart at the Seams.” On the contrary, they are an extension of the artistic process behind those books, each blog, and the many books I have yet to bring forth from inside my soul. I have books I will write about spirituality, early childhood education, how physical pain affects relationships, and various other topics along the way… many of my “books readers” will not be the people on my Facebook page.

My Facebook friends showed empathy when I was grieving my dog’s death.

My Facebook friends listen to me vent about how it feels to run a small non-profit.

My Facebook friends offer their stories about recovering from religious fundamentalism or bullying.

My Facebook friends share memes that inspire, links that spark my interest, and anecdotes that keep me focused on what is pleasant and inspiring in the world.

My Facebook friends send me messages to check in on me when my fiancee is on travel for work.

My Facebook friends provide links about my books or my school, when they themselves cannot afford to support a self-published author or a non-profit pre-school.

My Facebook friends tolerate my introversion! ;)

My Facebook friends were there for me when my heart was broken, my career was uncertain, my body was deteriorating, my father died, my mother was recovering from surgery, and my sense of purpose as a writer was shaken. They never assume I’m okay. They ask. They never assume I’m figuring it out… they check in… and I do the same for them, as much as I can…

I know it’s “only” Facebook to many people and because of the “politics” of it, I too get frustrated by the group think or privacy issues that arise from this cyber-connection. However, there are friends here… there are atheists with whom I find common ground, Christians who inspire, Buddhists who challenge, agnostics who exemplify peace, elderly people who strengthen my heart, and young people whose joy for life keeps me going… and funny people – you can all make me laugh!

As I get older, I’m sure that my writing career will evolve into the full-time gig that I hope it will become… I’m sure that my career in early childhood education will evolve into an influence far greater than I realize…

But the evolution of what it means to have a “friend” in the world, is the greatest gift for me.

All of you… are a gift.

I invite you to share this post and tag the friends you’ve met because of Facebook… for all that irks us, may we be also filled with a fascination for the synchronicity of our relationships…

My Facebook Friends have been there when my real life friends could not… and this is the kind of evolution that takes us to a global appreciation.

We are One, yo.

A song… for my Facebook Friends… 

~~

 

I Love. Help Me Understand… What’s Wrong with That?

engagement_photoComing out wasn’t easy. Having it be assumed that I’m engaged to a man, also makes coming out a “repeat as necessary,” kind of event. “Will they smirk? Will they show acceptance? Will they be kind?” – These are all questions I ask myself before I mention my fiancee by name, use the “she” pronoun, and prepare myself up for whatever reply comes…

For over a decade, no matter what relationship I have been in, I have stood firm for equality and allowed my personal life to be a part of my advocacy world. However, in this marriage-to-be, I finally see why it has mattered all along. It matters because love is love, but it also matters because I don’t think I can stomach having our beautiful relationship obliterated by selfish opinions or judged so harshly. I’m not saying my previous relationships weren’t valid – they were in their own seasonal way… but this is a lifetime commitment to a woman who deserves everything I have to offer, as a partner, friend, and lover. The closer we get to our wedding day, the more I recognize that I simply do not understand any resistance to our love. Why do I live in a state and/or society where love is viewed as wrong? Please tell me because I do not understand…

I love the way she tells a story about her day, with animation and zest for communication.

I love the way she cares for her younger sisters and is one of the best examples of a big sister that I’ve ever seen.

I love the way she stays true to her passions for financial inclusion to those who don’t have resources to fulfill their dreams, support their own families, and have hope within reach.

DSC_0463I love the way she can make me smile, by barely trying.

I love that she finds my graying curly hair attractive and even sexy.

I love the way she makes me want to believe in a God again, because the kind of magic we share seems impossible without divine intervention.

I love the way she shows up for me, when I feel like people can be unjust, misleading or exclusive.

I love the way she thinks of her elders and cherishes the mentors in her life.

I love the way she enters a room with a light in her eye.

I love the way she takes the dog outside on weekend mornings, to give me a few extra moments in bed. Looking_Same_Serj

I love the way we suggest we eat breakfast together sometimes so we have at least a moment untouched by the hectic day ahead.

I love the way we are planning our wedding like it’s a party where all our friends/family can come and be themselves.

I love the way we create silly moments and simple pleasures that are forever ours.

I love the way we are learning to be our better selves, in this marriage-to-be.

I love the way we recognize and honor all we went through to find each other…

I love… the way we love…

Help me understand…

What’s wrong with that?

Mi amor, you have my heart… and I love knowing you are the one who made me believe again, in finding “the one.” ;)

~~

1621773_510262802411101_8063516498862622385_nGail is an author, poet, blogger and activist whose new book, Enlightened-ish chronicles her spiritual awakening experience after witnessing a suicide, grieving her father’s unexpected death and leaving a spiritual community. Her first book, “Coming Out of the Closet without Coming Apart at the Seams” was published in 2004. Gail has appeared in FOX DC News,SkyNews and Our America with Lisa Ling as an advocate for ex-gay survivors and young people. Her freelance work has appeared in God Allows U-Turns, Encounter Magazine and Outlook Weekly. “For Gail So Loved the World” is her blog, where she discusses spirituality, politics and social and emotional intelligence from a global perspective. Her spoken word pieces and drumming meditations are available on YouTube and she schedules private speaking engagements where these performances are shared. Gail is the only lesbian known to hold a Bachelor’s Degree from Cincinnati Christian University. Currently, Gail resides in the Washington, DC Area and serves her local community as the Executive Director of a nature-based early learning center.

Good Cop, Bad Cop, White Cop, Black Cop: Don’t Forget THIS!

In the middle of all the injustices in the world, I saw something today that I doubt will go viral.

It won’t go viral because in today’s climate where we discuss racism and overly aggressive police actions/brutality, we are not likely to “see” the good in our police forces, or in each other. Just hang out on Facebook long enough and you can’t tell if you should be dumping ice on your head, donating to a charity of your own choice, or hell-raising for reproductive rights, equality, or and end to racism. #Ferguson is one of many much needed conversations…

But this one is also needed: #goodinhumanity

Today, as I approached a familiar intersection, I was on the phone with my mom and I said, “Wait. Mom… I need to go. There are cops all around and I need to see this.”

This is what I noticed first…

photo 4The cop with the external bullet proof vest, was black.

I did notice that.

Then I noticed how the van was stopped… two other police cruisers were there in a moment’s notice and zipped through the bystanders, until we were all stopped, bearing witness to the scene as it unfolded…

In a matter of a few flashes of my camera phone, I captured a very intense police action.

The armed black cop ran away from the white cop, flagged down a passerby…

photo 5

And he must have said, “Sir, please stay in the car!”

Because then the other two cops, got out of their vehicles and ran over to the van as this happened…

photo 2Two white cops pushed the van backwards… until the driver could get it out of the middle of the road…

photo 1And this… is all they did. The van had broken down… the driver, probably frustrated, sad, scared, annoyed – and the whole group of officers, provided aid to the driver.

This… is the thankless world of police officers, every day.

Black, white, whatever – lest we forget – they are in fact here to protect and serve… And there is still good in humanity.

I urge you all to remind yourselves of this very fact. Yes, we need justice… and will continue to seek it!

But we sound like we are singing silly nursery rhymes if all we know to ask is, “Good cop, bad cop, black cop, white cop.

There. is. good. in. humanity.

Please #goodinhumanity and make that viral. We all could use it.

Namaste, yo. (Yes, btw, the hashtag is purposefully punny… we see what we want to see in it…)

~~

DSC_0354Gail is an author, poet, blogger and activist whose new book, Enlightened-ish chronicles her spiritual awakening experience after witnessing a suicide, grieving her father’s unexpected death and leaving a spiritual community. Her first book, “Coming Out of the Closet without Coming Apart at the Seams” was published in 2004. Gail has appeared in FOX DC News,SkyNews and Our America with Lisa Ling as an advocate for ex-gay survivors and young people. Her freelance work has appeared in God Allows U-Turns, Encounter Magazine and Outlook Weekly. “For Gail So Loved the World” is her blog, where she discusses spirituality, politics and social and emotional intelligence from a global perspective. Her spoken word pieces and drumming meditations are available on YouTube and she schedules private speaking engagements where these performances are shared. Gail is the only lesbian known to hold a Bachelor’s Degree from Cincinnati Christian University. Currently, Gail resides in the Washington, DC Area and serves her local community as the Executive Director of a nature-based early learning center.

Will You Gay Marry Me?

marry_loveFor months, my readers have been asking me to share my engagement story with the world so I decided that as our wedding day approaches in Virginia (hopefully legal, even), it was time I share the big gay details of what makes for a gay marriage story…

~~

Once upon a time, not too long ago, on a local dating site, I clicked “find matches,” and the rest is history. Well, actually, the rest is a long and complicated saga of strange encounters and near misses of U-Haul lesbian maneuvers. However, in the midst of those profile faces, was the woman who I knew I would want to gay marry someday…

Now, of course you may be wondering why I keep calling it “gay marry.” I mean, why not just call it “marriage?” I would, but I think it’s time we gays come clean about our whole intention behind this “equality” phase we seem to be in. All this talk about “equal rights” or “spousal benefits” is really just a smoke screen. We have wanted to gay marry since we were kids…

I’m personally looking forward to gay marrying my fiancee because I know what it is really about – making straight people uncomfortable. Since I was a young girl, all I ever wanted was a white picket fence and a few children I could use as leverage in the suburbs of America, where desperate housewives and sex-starved husbands wait for hot lesbian neighbors to move in and serve as a distraction from their unsatisfying lives. I’m finally living that dream out and I have to say – Virginia is close to lifting the ban on same-sex marriages and it couldn’t come at a better time! My dream of gay marrying is hopefully only a few court judges and lawyers away from becoming a reality.

What you probably didn’t know about gay marrying is that we actually propose that way too. When I got down on one gay knee, looked up passionately at my beautiful partner, and thought about our gay life together, I actually blurted out, “Gay!” before I even asked her to marry me. She started her reply, as instructed in the Gay Agenda Manual: “Rainbows, parades, and equal rights! Hell yeah, I will gay marry you.”

It was so romantic.

I never knew that getting gay married would lead to so many opportunities to make some straight people uncomfortable! I guess that’s why I was gay engaged before… it’s something I just knew I would eventually get right. Finding someone who will gay marry me because of all of our common gay interests, our gay affection, and our gay respect for one another - I’m so gay lucky! Gay marrying – the only thing I will probably enjoy more is gay parenting! It will be the perfect addendum to all that gay walking I do, gay eating, and of course, gay breathing.

So, I guess the story is out there now…

You know a bit more about our en-GAY-gement story. ;)

It’s really just another match made in gay heaven, my friends.

~~

Truth be told, my fiancee and I aim to write a book about our experiences and believe me… there is nothing about intimacy, commitment, sexuality, sensuality, spirituality, and companionship that really has to do with being gay. It’s time we all grow up – marriage is marriage. Love is love.

And satire is satire… it aims to amplify a more socially and emotionally intelligent perspective.

It’s not gay marriage.

It’s marriage.

And I want it… with her.

Get out of our way, Virginia. We promise we won’t gay grocery shop, gay dog walk, gay pump our gas, gay coffee drink, gay… insert fading gay voice…

Feel free to gay comment, gay share, and gay “like…”

~~

Gail Author PhotoGail is an author, poet, blogger and activist whose new book, Enlightened-ish chronicles her spiritual awakening experience after witnessing a suicide, grieving her father’s unexpected death and leaving a spiritual community. Her first book, “Coming Out of the Closet without Coming Apart at the Seams” was published in 2004. Gail has appeared in FOX DC News,SkyNews and Our America with Lisa Ling as an advocate for ex-gay survivors and young people. Her freelance work has appeared in God Allows U-Turns, Encounter Magazine and Outlook Weekly. “For Gail So Loved the World” is her blog, where she discusses spirituality, politics and social and emotional intelligence from a global perspective. Her spoken word pieces and drumming meditations are available on YouTube and she schedules private speaking engagements where these performances are shared. Gail is the only lesbian known to hold a Bachelor’s Degree from Cincinnati Christian University. Currently, Gail resides in the Washington, DC Area and serves her local community as the Executive Director of a nature-based early learning center.