Log in

Prop. 8 / Will of the People

Will of the People

So it’s 10:26am on Tuesday May 26, 2009. I just heard about the California Supreme Court upholding Prop 8 and I’m a thoroughly sick.
It’s what was expected, but even so…

I called my friend Tiffany to discuss the decision but she wasn’t home. Her mother and step-father both got on the line to discuss the decision with me.
They were both upset and appalled as I am, however her step-father said, well, the people did vote on it, it was the will of the people.

Will of the people. Which people? Hardly anyone I talk to. Most people I know and associate with believe in civil equality for all peoples.

And as I told him, I don’t believe that 52 percent of the voting population telling 48 percent what they can and can’t do to be a fair representation of the “will of the people.”

Will of the people… since when has the will of the majority been in favor of the minority?  There was a time in this country where if the civil rights of Blacks, or Asians, or other minorities was put to a popular vote they would still be stuck as 2nd or 3rd class citizens.

Hell, within the lifetime of our current President, if his parents had tried living together or getting married in many US states they would have been denied, arrested, or even lynched.  And they would have been denied legally under laws that did not allow certain types of marriages. Laws that had been enacted by “the will of the people.”

When the US Supreme court struck down those laws, that was not a popular decision, just the right one.

Today when another American minority is being denied marriage rights the courts shuffle their legal feet.

I had so much pride in the California Supreme court when they legalized same-sex marriage in this state, recognizing that the California Constitution afforded legal rights and protections to all members of the state’s population, not just the straight majority.

Ignorant fear and hate mongers turned the tide. They began a battle that many claimed was to “protect the children.”
Protect them from what? Gay people? Love? Marriage?

The arguments about the ridiculousness of gay marriage doing anything harmful to children, to society, and to marriage in general have been made in abundance elsewhere so I’ll just let that stand on its own for now.

Again, I’m sure there are people who would have been crying “protect our children” from the menace of Black Americans being given their rights. Where would we be today if they had been allowed to force their views on everyone?

Our current President has said that although he supports equal civil rights for all Americans, he cannot support gay marriage himself because of his basic Christian values. And yet, if someone in the past hadn’t stood up and fought for equal civil rights for all Americans, including the right to marry whom they wish, Barack Obama would not be our President today. He might not even have been born.

I hope that all people who believe in equality will join in this fight. It’s not just about some gay people in California getting married; it’s about the right of every American to make fundamental choices about their life; it’s about recognizing that civil equality is a promise made to every American, not just those who get more signatures on a petition.

As I said at the beginning of this, I am sick. I am just sick to death of all the injustice in the world. I had hoped that we could start making the world a better place, right here at home.

Friday, February 27, 2009 
So, many of y'all are aware of my mom's current struggle with breast cancer.

Not too long ago it appeared that the cancer was winning. So much so that many of us seemed to feel we were counting the days we had left, uncertain of how many, but certain that they were numbered.

My sister was taken to crying at anything that might possibly make her think of Mom, and I wasn't too far behind her (although a little better off).

Things, currently, do not look so bleak. Whatever drug the oncologist stuck her on is apparently doing what it's supposed to do. She's looking healthier, able to walk more than a block without needing a rest from shortness of breath or pain, and in general more upbeat. Her "cancer markers" are down, which is a number that is monitored via blood work and apparently indicates how much cancer is in the entire body.

I am cautiously optimistic. I want to jump up and down and say "hurrah" it's a miracle, she's going to be fine. But I really don't know yet exactly what things will look like 5 months or 5 years from now.

As I understand it, the current course of treatment, even if it continues to be sucessful, is not an end to the situation, it's a break. If it cures all the cancer, it won't get rid of the underlying bad "cancer" cells, which will eventually regroup, form a union, and begin protesting for higher infection rates... or something like that. Basically, best case scenario, it still comes back in a few years. At that point, however, it's all small and easily managable again. Or so the theory goes as I understand it. Then they begin a different course of treatment focused on ridding the body of this new upsurge of cancer.


So, it's still a journey, but hopefully a journey to recovery, not a journey to the shroud.

Those of you who have been keeping us in your thoughts/prayers, please know that it is now and always appreciated.

Looking forward to making more one-on-one time with all the beautiful people in my life.



Wednesday, February 04, 2009 

Current mood:Reflective

Well I was looking around a bit online today and realized I hadn't posted anything here in quite a while.

So, for the benefit of anyone who cares to read it, here is another glimpse into the mind and life of Laurel.


Moving right along:

School starts again later this month and I am both overwhelmed and relieved. As stressed as I get when it's time to start studying 24/7 on top of everything else I do, I also don't do well with same-old same-old for long periods, and without school driving me nuts that's pretty much how things have been looking around here.

There's just enough time to be bored and not enough time to get everything done. Heh.

Get Savhannah and Mikey off to school and work respectively in the mornings, puttering around the house, picking up clutter, doing dishes, maybe some laundry or other housework, possibly tackle paperwork on my desk and/or do something online; go see Mike on his lunch break at work, run an errand or two such as grocery shopping, head home, more random productiveness, possibly plan dinner, realize time is getting away from me, head off to pick Mike and Savhannah up from their places of earning and learning, and start an evening of cooking, arguing with Savhannah about homework and whatever else needs to be squeezed in before grabbing my pillow.

Lately my friend Jeffrey has been our extended house-guest and he's been encouraging me, after watching me run myself ragged day after day, to take some time off for myself. Put my feet up. Be lazy.
I've taken his advice to a degree and have discovered that once I'm relaxed enough, I'm even more bored. Heh. But it has helped me unwind enough to feel like confronting my piling up past-due tasks with a renewed vigor.

So when school starts I'll have almost no time for friends, correspondence, or relaxing. But at least I won't be bored. Heh heh heh... be careful what you wish for...

Next week I will be 32. The numbers used to bother me a bit but honestly once I survived the whole "I'm no longer a 20-something* shock, they started to become just that, numbers.

I look back at the plans my 19 yr old self was making and laugh a bit. If she could see me now...

I think one of the most important things I've realized is how young 19, or 20, or even 25 can actually be. Were I to follow the schedule I'd set for myself back then I'd be married, with 2.5 kids, living somewhere with a yard and a dog or two, going to PTA meetings etc etc.

While there's nothing wrong with any of that scenario, I wanted it by the time I was 23-24. *Laughs heartily* I would not have known what to do with it if I'd had it. It wasn't real, it was the dream I was "supposed" to be dreaming.

Several years later I find myself divorced, living in an apartment with a boyfriend and my beautiful step-daughter, completely at a loss at times for how my life took the winding paths that it has, and probably will continue to do.
I've travelled a bit, lived on the other side of the country, lost old friends, made new ones, had some old ones come back into my life, loved, lost, and lived to love again, and lose again. I've known the death of a child and the birth of faith. Sometimes when I look at where my life has led me, and where I've gone quite willingly and with open arms I am amazed at my own strength but also grateful for those who were there to help hold me up.

Once again time has gotten away from me and I have to run.

I think I'll post this for now and probably edit it a bit later...

I have become uncomfortably numb

Is there anybody in there? 
Just nod if can hear me.
Is there anyone home?
Come on now
I hear you're feeling down
Well, I can ease your pain
Get you on your feet again

I told Mike this morning, lying in bed half awake after getting up to get the kid her cereal and then lying back down that this holiday season sucks.

Awww... baby, why does it suck? 

Just like a man. Find the answer. Find the cause. Find the solution. Fix it. Make it go away. Sweet but wrong.

Just tell me you're sorry it sucks and hold me.

He listens. He tells. He holds. 

How can he not know?

How can he be so far from understanding? 

My mother is lying in a hospital bed as she has been since last Monday. Pain, complications...  

I wait. 
I go through the motions of staying alive, getting homework done, driving where I need to be more or less when I need to be there. 
And I wait. 

I hear. News. I call for it. My step-dad, exhausted, always. I'm going back to the hospital after working, after hanging Christmas decorations... never after eating, never after sleeping. He doesn't do those things regularly. 

Yesterday was my parents annual Christmas caroling party. My mother's annual Christmas caroling party. It started with her, before they were married. Her love of songs, of music, of Christmas; infecting those around her and spreading into an actual willingness to hike along the street on a cold night singing songs of goodwill to people we didn't know. 

We got to know some of them over the years. Some neighbors seem to wait for the day now. That night where they see a large slightly disorganized group of cold but cheerful faces carrying flashlights and lyrics sheets and stopping for any home with a light on, or even a friendly stranger in the street to try and spread holiday cheer. Over the years people have offered us hospitality, hot drinks, boxes of candies, plates of cookies, and even money. The food we occasionally accepted. We've even been known to enter a home when invited and serenade out of the cold for a few minutes. The money we've always turned down, suggesting they donate it to a good charity. I would say it's become a neighborhood tradition.

They'll be waiting a long time this year.

My mother wouldn't allow being in the hospital to stop the party. Gather, she insisted. Be cheerful, she insisted, go caroling, she insisted. 
So we gathered. Some. Not too many. In years past, the house, decorated like the inside of a Christmas shoppe, would be bursting at the seams with guests sporting huge smiles, and perhaps a glass of my step-dad's spiked eggnog. There would be warm greetings and kisses under the mistletoe, and way too much eating... 

Somber this year. The decorations were there. I hardly saw them. Food was there. I must say I did enjoy my share of that. But cheer passed by this holiday party.  

We did not walk the street, no wassailing for this cheer-deficient group. 

There were attempts at faking it. Some practice group singing done inside the house. 

Some of us did go to the hospital and carol to my mom... Carolyn-ing we called it. Heh. The night was not devoid of humor thank goodness. When humor runs out... then I don't know. 

She anxiously asked if we had gone caroling down the streets yet and was assured, not *yet*.  We all knew "yet" wasn't coming, but who could tell her? 

There will be no huge pile under the tree this year. Everyone is feeling the pinch of tight times and my mom has instituted a "secret santa" game, wherein we all drew names and are only allowed to purchase one gift and only for the person whose name we drew. 

I don't need a lot of "stuff" but I know there won't be any of those magical moments where you open a gift, having no idea what it is, and suddenly find yourself face to face with something you really wanted but didn't dream you'd get. Or something you wouldn't have thought of that you feel is just perfect.
I think I may actually be known among my immediate family for my squeals of joy when opening even quite simple gifts that really fit me. Like a tape of Irish music, or a mug with a wolf painted on it. 
And of course those just as special reverse moments when someone opens your gift to them and just goes ape over what you got them. As you so smugly knew they would.
This year my sister drew my name.
She's it.
One gift.
And I know what it is.
And I don't want it.
And I cannot tell her that because she can't return it and I would hurt so many feelings. 

I could go on. My sister's deepening depression, my confusion about what I'm doing in life...  etc etc until you were sick of reading, if you're not already. 

So, this holiday season sucks. 

But I'm almost done with school for this semester, and I've got an appointment this afternoon to make Christmas cookies at Anna and Nathan's house and that will be lovely and cheer-filled. And I have great friends (including them), who love and support me. And my family is supporting one another as best we can. 
So... peace on earth, goodwill to mankind and cookies.
Cookies taste better over the holidays.
Proven fact.


I have seen the face of bigotry and it is… cute?

In my college Speech class this semester there is a young woman who I took close notice of from the first time she stood up to give the short introductory speech we all had to suffer through.
To put it bluntly my main thought was, I don’t care what you say as long as you keep standing there and saying it. She had big innocent brown eyes and… well, I won’t go into too much more detail. Suffice to say she “did it” for me.
I would never have pursued anything, even if I weren’t in a relationship myself. I don’t generally date women and she had “totally straight” hanging off her like a perfume. (Hmmm… “Totally Straight” a new fragrance by… ?)
I didn’t even go out of my way to make unnecessary small talk, although through the course of the class we did find occasions to chat a few times. She really liked one speech I gave, I complimented her shirt, we talked fashion (well, she talked, I listened and made polite comments. The same jeans I’ve worn for the past five years still work for me, thanks.) Anyhow, our interactions were basically meaningless but friendly.

This past Wednesday, however, we finally had a conversation of deep political and moral significance and it was not at all friendly.

The routine in our class during speech presentations is that when the speaker finishes, one classmate, who had been assigned to evaluate them, has to ask them a question about their speech. After this question the floor opens up to informal Q&A.

I presented a pro-same-sex marriage speech in class. My evaluator politely asked their question pertaining to a protest rally I had attended. Then Miss Brown eyes, sitting near the back of the class, raised her hand. Yes? “Well,” she said, “I’ve never really talked to anyone who was for gay marriage before. All the people I know voted yes on Prop. 8” I nodded and gave her an “ok”, encouraging her to continue. I was actually excited. Was this going to be the deep and meaningful conversation about same-sex marriage that I’ve never actually had with an opponent of the issue? Is this an opportunity to open a mind, broaden horizons, or at least have a meaningful exchange of ideas? I was enthused, I was hopeful, I was… naïve.

She continued on with a question regarding the idea that since the California voters had passed Prop. 8, didn’t I think it was wrong to push the idea of legally overturning their will? I commented on the legal state of Prop. 8, namely that the California Supreme Court will be deciding that one. Then I continued into my own question of whether she thought it was right for her beliefs to be legally forced onto others. She then spoke about how to her marriage is a sacred bond with religious meaning etc. I acknowledged her right to those beliefs and posed my question again, this time drawing an analogy between her strongly held beliefs and the people who strongly believe in opposing interracial marriage. They have their right to those beliefs as well, but in 1962 the U.S. Supreme court ruled that the bans on interracial marriage were unconstitutional… But by now my points were being drowned out by her raising her voice and launching into venomously spewed comments that I did not have an opportunity to make out. By the time I forcefully pointed out that I had not once started talking over her and I would like the opportunity to actually hear what she was saying, she had already decided to take her toys and go home.

She made some parting shots about having nothing else to say and that I could just “stop talking” (in the same tone in which you might say someone could “just shut up”). I made a final comment which I cannot recall but which was not a response in kind (I will occasionally turn into a tantrumy 2 yr old, but at that moment I was taking the higher ground). She told me I could “just sit down now”, with a tone and body language that indicated I was being dismissed. I stood my ground, said that yes, I could sit down, or I could continue standing if I so chose. Wasn’t it wonderful that I had that right? I gave it a couple extra beats, just to sit down in my own timing, not hers, then I did sit down, while listening to the teacher telling her that there was no need to be rude.
Hah. Yes, ok, I’m being overly smug about that, but dammit, it felt good.

I’ve been thinking a lot about that conversation, and the reactions of friends and fellow classmates (she’s just a bigoted bitch, she decided to act like a child, don’t take it personally etc.). I think the most amusing response has been a consensus among those I have trusted with the information that I should tell her of my attraction to her. (An attraction, which has, I must say, passed completely. Big brown eyes or not, bigotry and close-mindedness are ugly.) I have declined to follow up on this idea, amusing as it may be. After all, if I let her know of my attraction I have just outted myself to a hate-monger. What good does that do either of us? She can then categorize me as an evil godless lesbian (which is just not true, I’m a semi-neutral polytheistic bisexual by the gods), and further marginalize me and anything I have to say. And what do I get for my troubles? Perhaps about two to five seconds of an interesting expression on her face, an invitation to be verbally attacked, or, should she really decide to take it to an after-school-special level, harassed at school by herself and anyone she knows. No thanks. I’ve got enough problems, and despite what some people may think, more than enough drama. So I’ll let her go her way and I’ll go mine.
I hope she prays for my soul. I would find that amusing. Personally, I’m just hoping that life gives her the opportunities to realize that hate only divides and that really she’s depriving herself of a truly amazing life experience.
Going shopping with a gay male.
I mean, honestly girlfriend, how can you be sooo into fashion and not know the joys of a gay best friend? It’s so sad.