Wrestling With Reality

I've been having an oddly hard time just concentrating lately. Some of it is because the allergy, dry eye, and simple eye infection stuff has come back, but equal in both eyes now, not just the right like last year.

Some of it is that yesterday I went to see Out in the Silence, at our church, with the documentary's creators right there to talk to us, along with a brand-new (2 week old) state-wide initiative to make sure that all the school districts in the state follow through with the new anti-bullying legislation that was passed in the Colorado State legislature this last year. All good things... but some of the real stories just floored me.

If you have a chance, see the movie. It's not unrelentingly depressing, there's funny spots and uplifting bits, too. It's up on Hulu, it's on their site. It's free for anyone to watch that wants to see it. But they like it when you also do the public screening thing, as the main point is to allow regular people a voice to stop the abuse.

There were nearly a dozen local teens there for the whole thing, and they really got a charge out of it.

But one of the guys was from Greeley, which isn't that far from Longmont, just a little further East. He came out when he was like 13, but in high school, he was beaten nearly unconscious, his ankles placed on a curb, and the idiots dropped cinderblocks on his knees, breaking his knee caps. It took him a year to be able to walk again.

He's... amazingly upbeat for all that. I was... amazed and impressed, and he has surprisingly little rage, and a whole lot of 'all right, what can I do about it now' attitude that just filled me with awe. He wants help to do what he knows has to be done. He wants to help with the whole process, and the state-wide guy was there to be helped. So that was really cool.

I was also stopped in the hallway by a friend of mine, who was a counselor in the St. Vrain District, and she gave me a story of a kid that just needed someone to *hear* their story. And she said that if I was going to go help the Safe Schools Coalition, that she was going to turn all of her part of that over to me.

Wow. So.. yeah. I'm joining the coalition. Mostly 'cause of Jet and the other kids in the church. Any school that has tolerance for diversity is just going to be a very place for learning. And because it doesn't hurt to not be silent anymore about it all, and to just say something.

And... I can't bear the thought of not being there if some kid just wanted to talk in a safe place or with a safe person.

And some of it was that I was liturgist today for our new associate pastor, who is openly out and the first in Longmont to be an openly gay pastor. They've set up the schedule now so that I'm *always* going to be his supporting liturgist. So that should be interesting. I also got an really huge number of compliments on my reading today, including an "I just love you!" from Luke himself. *laughs* Funny thing was that I was just shaking by the time I'd finished reading. Something about power and words.

I'm reading Robert McKee's Story, and am getting floored by nearly every other chapter of it and how to think about story. What it is that I really want to do with it, and what it is that I am actually figuring out I'm *good* at and what it is that I really want to do with stories and the telling of them. It's a little bit like understanding the principles of string theory and *why* it unifies the understanding of what underlies the universe. *laughs* But for stories and the emotional underpinnings of why storytelling is so important and what makes it so powerful to human understanding of how life works and what to do.

It's hard stopping my mind when I'm going after those kinds of things. So I've been losing some sleep over it all, but in good ways.

The other thing is that I'll be visiting Oakland for a Minicon at Gamescape with Carl from the 19th to the 25th of October. So I'm planning the visit now. It's already looking pretty full, with a wild escape to Santa Cruz. But it should be fun, but yes, is taking brain to plan. *laughs*

[And after kicking LJ a few times, I've finally *paid* for my dreamwidth account (where this posted just fine) and we'll see if this even posts...]
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Good luck, and make sure that you have your own support network if you start getting your reserves drained.
*hugs you solidly* yeah... I'm going to have to look out for that with this especially I'm afraid. Thank you!!
Like Beth says. Good luck! But make sure that you're being supported too.
What they all said -- it's amazing work, but be ready to step back and recharge when you need to. It's hard work, too.
You always amaze me with the fullness of your plate. Just don't run yourself into the ground, okay?

And I just wanted to let you know that it is now official that I will be in Colorado from the 22-29 of October. Seeing as how you're going to Oakland until the 25th, let me know if you'd still like to meet up between the 26-28.
Yes! I may even be able to go south one of those days to meet up with you, too! I know how you're situated those days, too.

As to the first, I make no promises, but I'll try.
I'm sure the other people in the group will provide a lot of support for you, and based on my experience working with AIDS groups, it's pretty much a given in such work that you give your all to it for as long as you can, and when and if the time comes where you find you are burning out, you quietly step away, and no one thinks any less of you for doing so.

My daughter and daughter-in-law (both transgender) work with GLBT youth groups in our area, and find it very rewarding. My DIL is much like that young man grom Greeley - she was terribly bullied and abused as a child and teen - even in the Navy she was sexually assaulted. Yet she is one of the sunniest, most giving and open people I have ever met. She has a few isolated things she is bitter about, but not many, and she has worked hard at healing her hurts and transcending them. She's a great role model for the kids she works with.

Your CA trip sounds wonderful - have a great time! If you ever come to the East Coast, keep Virginia in your sights, and I'll host you and squire you around this area!
That's always good to know, the first.

I'm always impressed by people who are like that. It's just a certain kind of faith and courage that I really admire. Wow.

Ooo! Virginia! I'll be sure and keep that in mind! Thank you! It's always good to have a local host.
Yes! I'm within striking distance of Norfolk, Virginia Beach, and Richmond, and very close to (and have connections in) the Williamsburg/Jamestown/Yorktown area and tourism "thang", if such Colonial and Rev War historical doings are your cup of tea. There also is Civil War stuff galore around here, naval history, etc.

We do have a guest room, fully kitted-out - I love offering it, since this is the first time in my adult life I have been able to do such a thing, and it seems long overdue, at my age! I'm really hoping some of my LJ friends will visit and I'll at least get to meet some of you that way, since I don't get to travel all that much or attend cons like everyone else seems to.
Robert McKee's book is excellent. So are his workshops.

It sounds like these people have a lot of confidence in you to place you in such a sensitive area. I think you will do a bang-up job! Well done. I don't know why I (a semi-stranger, really) feel so proud of you, but there is certainly something heartwarming going on.
Ooo! Did you go to his workshops? I am thinking about that, now... especially if it's in New York or some place I really want to visit anyway... it'll be intriguing.

It is intriguing to get seen that way. Yes. They do have confidence in me, and I think I want to live up to it. I hope it'll work out. *laughs* Have to try *something*.

Thank you, that's actually really cool to know, that you are proud of me trying. *grins*
I'm not sure if I want to watch it, because there are a lot of old scars there. Scars that are safely burried and have been nursed, dealt with and are now really just scars. I just don't want to go there again.

Just wanted to say... I don't know. I suppose I just wanted to say how much I appreciate people like you saying and doing the things that you do, and helping kids to not go through what so many of us did. So thank you. What you wrote hit home but in a good way, I suppose.
That sounds like a good reason NOT to see it! I know that I was really worried about seeing it, myself, and spent a lot of time crying. So, yes, don't watch it.

You're very welcome, and I figure that since I am where I am and *can* do something I should. Thanks for voicing the support and appreciation. That... oddly enough it helps a great deal when folks that would normally be silent speak up.
Ginnyvos reminded me of something I neglected to say in my comment - which is how much I personally appreciate your being willing to take on such a role, having raised a lesbian trans child myself, and having such strong ties to the LGBT community as I have always had.

I had lots and lots of gay friends from the age of 14 - sometimes more gay friends than straight ones - and I've always seen them walking a very hard road. In some ways it's a little easier now for GLBT folks than it was 30 years ago, but in some ways, I think it's harder. Attitudes in general now are going in the right direction, becoming slowly more tolerant, but while there was bullying then, of course, and lots of it, it seems like the bullying and pressure on the GLBT kids now is much more vicious and stringent. Maybe it's the omnipresence of the social media. Or maybe, in some ironic way, the fact that the GLBT community is so much more out and proud now, which of course is as it should be, is raising the profile of all the GLBT teens, making it harder for them to blend in, and go unnoticed or at least be ignored as they often were in my era. I don't know the answer. I know it was bad back then, but I don't remember there being the terrible suicide rate of GLBT kids like there is now - maybe there was, and it just all got shoved under the rug a lot better... God knows, lots of other things did (like child abuse, incest, teen pregnancy...)

At any rate, thank you so much for being willing to step up to the plate and help like this. And whenever you do find you need to step away, always remember that even if you're only there a few months for some reason and only touch a few lives, every single person you touch is someone that might not have been helped otherwise, and most of the ones you help are quite likely (like my daughter and her wife) to go on and help others in time, paying it forward. Every little bit helps more and means more than you can imagine. ♥
go you - that's a really powerful thing to be involved with.

and we'll be through SF/San Jose in late October (down to LA to fly home on the 23rd) - maybe our paths will cross again ;-)