Tag Archives: love

Kids Come Out, Prayers Go Up

I think I’m gay.

I have to stop and count the number of times teenagers have said or typed these words for the first time when talking to me. Usually, their next statements involve some sort of plea not to tell anyone else and an explanation that they aren’t coming out to their families anytime soon but just needed to tell someone. It’s an urgent feeling, an immediate need. I understand it well.

They see my big queer life unfold on Facebook and seek me out, knowing I’m safe to talk to. Often, I’m the only queer person they’ve ever known.

When I was 16, I reached out to someone I loved and told her I thought I was gay in an email. Soon after, I walked into the Memphis Gay and Lesbian Community Center and came out in public for the first time. Coming out to family wasn’t a big deal to me because I didn’t really have much in the way of family. I told one cousin, and pretty soon, all the family members I was still in contact with back then knew. It came as no surprise when that went badly. But I was still glad they knew, even when some of them stopped talking to me because of it. It gave me a sense of freedom, and I knew that those people didn’t belong in my life if they didn’t want to be present and offer up real, unconditional love, regardless of the gender of my current and future partners.

But my life wasn’t typical. I raised myself. I was 16 and already driving, working and paying bills. And I really didn’t care what the people I share DNA with thought. Those last two are big deals in our community because so many youth get kicked out of their homes at young ages (too young to drive or work) because of their sexuality, or they are ostracized and hated by people they still expect to love them. I don’t have much experience with choosing the right time (safety-wise) to come out.

So earlier this week, I was a little lost when, for the first time, I think I’m gay was followed by Should I come out? What do you think? And I didn’t know what to say. I went with my first instinct. Because I know this kid’s uber conservative family and because he’s very young (too young to drive or work), I told him it would always be up to him, but I suggested he wait.

My concerns are for his physical and mental safety. I doubt they would kick him out, but I’m not entirely sure they wouldn’t send him to a conversion camp. Truthfully, I don’t know how they’d react, and I want him to have the ability to take care of himself if his coming out leads to one of these scenarios.

I told him that sometimes people just don’t get it. Sometimes they come around, and sometimes they never get it. I told him that, no matter what, he is beautiful and perfect the way God made him, and that I love him.

But I told him to wait. And I don’t know what he took away from that, but it occurred to me later that, to him, it could’ve felt like I was telling him he didn’t deserve that freedom I once felt because he’s too young. And that’s not true.

I want him to live his truth. I want him to live the most authentic life possible. I want him to love Jesus and feel how much Jesus loves him – straight or gay, because it doesn’t matter to the One who knit him together in a woman’s womb.

I want this beautiful boy to come out.

But I still worry. I fear for his precious heart, that he won’t be accepted, that he will begin to know the pain of rejection when there is nothing about him that should be rejected.

I’ve added his name to the long list of teenagers who share those words with me: I think I’m gay.

Every night I pray for them, for their hearts, for their spirits, for their families. I pray for our world, and I pray that one day a teenager will say those words to me and my emotional reaction will be excitement over this newly discovered piece of his or her personal journey, rather than fear for what’s to come. I pray that none of them become statistics. I pray that they all know how much God loves them, that they never listen to anyone who tells them any different, that they always remember they have a safe place to share their truth with me when the world feels unsafe.

I pray.

And I hope.

But I still worry and wonder.

Why must living an honest, authentic life be such a risk?

Why can our world not yet band together in love and choose that over hate?

If I ask, will my friends begin to pray for these kids too?

Will they let the youth around them know that they are safe harbors?

Consider this me asking.

Please pray for all of these beautiful children who identify as LGBTQ. Let the young people in your life know that you are a safe place for them in an often unsafe world. And just love them. Be the person who offers them so much love that it overflows and spills everywhere. They need us.

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Happy National Siblings Day!

I’ve been talking about this all day, I know, but I just LOVE this “holiday!”

As an adoptee, I’ve been on both sides of the sibling table. I went from none to four, and I just can’t get enough of them. I’m so glad we have an entire day dedicated to showing a little extra love to our brothers and sisters.

I have made it my mission to be the coolest big sister ever, and so far I think it’s working out okay. Being that half my sibling group can’t read yet (twins start kindergarten in the fall) and the other half still isn’t old enough for social networking, I figured my shout outs on facebook, twitter, and instagram wouldn’t mean much to them. They wouldn’t, after all, know they even existed. Instead, I decided to get some sweets for my sweets. SKITTLES! 

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I hooked them each up with their favorite color bag of skittles with a sweet note.

I’m so very glad God has blessed me with the funniest, craziest, most adorable brothers and sisters I could have ever imagined. I can’t picture my life without them, and I certainly wouldn’t ever want to.

Delis, Dutch, Darcie, and Daire: thank you for making me the proudest big sister on the planet. I love you with all my heart. Happy National Siblings Day!

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Mad love for these faces!

 

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Memorable Quotes

My siblings say the funniest things. Just to name a few:

As Mom and I are loading the twins into my car without booster seats (for about the thousandth time… oops!), Delis: “If you get pulled over, just lie and say they’re six.”

Daire: “My arm hurts ’cause I washed my hands.”

Dutch: “Daire, if you can’t hear the radio, you musta been born with peanut butter in your ears.”

Darcie: “I don’t wanna go camping! It’s too snakesy out there.”

Daire: “One time when I was a little boy and I was 18, I played basketball for the Grizzlies, and I was so good.”

 

Gotta love them.

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(Open) Letter to my little sisters

After not blogging for a while, I logged back onto wordpress and stumbled upon this adorable blog right here. The author, Lynn, uses her blog to write letters to and about her little sister, Josie. I LOVE this idea so much that I can’t even put it into words. I might think about doing a version of this for all four of my siblings in the future, but for today, I’m going to write a letter to my sweet little sisters. Maybe they’ll read it when they’re older. I hope y’all enjoy it. :)

Darcie and Daire,

Sometimes my words fail me when I try to describe just how much I love you. My chickpeas, you are just the cutest, spunkiest, funniest little girls.

Even though we’ve talked about how we don’t share blood, four days ago you chewed out another little girl you had just met when she made an innocent comment about our lack of shared genetics. You say that our mama is OUR mama, and you couldn’t care less that she didn’t give birth to me.

You beat up our brothers. You’re the same little girls who, when I took you to meet the entire Grizzlies basketball team, responded to a compliment from Zach Randolph about how cute you are by telling him you already knew. When you attended that party with me, we were videoed and recently got added to the Grizzlies’ new promo video reel. Also, just for the record, you’re obsessed with the Grizz Girls dance team.

When I try to leave the house, you try to persuade me to stay by crying. Sometimes it works. And even though I hate the idea of you being sad, it makes me feel so loved.

I love it when the two of you get into little spats because, Daire, you have a vivacious imagination, and, Darcie, it drives you nuts. One day we were in the car when Daire said, “I member when I was a liddle biddy baby and I was just borned in the hops-spital and you was holdin’ me.” I tried to remind you that I didn’t know you when you were first born, but you kept insisting that I had held you in the “hops-spital.” It was such a big deal that I finally just let it go.

Darcie, when you sing Hypnotize by Biggie, it makes my entire being fill up with giggly goodness. It’s ridiculously cute. And Daire, you’re so good at lip syncing that it’s scary. One of y’all’s favorite things is to yell, “Turn it UPPP!” from my backseat when we’re driving somewhere.

You’re crazy in the most wonderful of ways. I hope that as you get older and begin to grow and change you never lose sight of who you are inside. Those core personalities are what make each of you so very special.

Unfortunately, my loves, life is far from perfect, and no matter how hard any of us try to keep you from it, you’ll make a lot of mistakes. I hope that you can learn from at least a few of mine. You’ll eventually start dating, and I hope that your bossiness sticks with you through that. Be watchful, and don’t let boys distract you from living your lives or talk you into things you aren’t ready for. Your hearts will get broken, and you will cry on more occasions than I care to think about.

When things get rough, I will be there with you every step of the way – to bail you out, hand you a tissue, and tickle you until your tears turn into happy ones. And during those times when it feels as if the entire world is crumbling beneath you, don’t you ever give up even for a minute. One of my favorite quotes says, “You find the strength you need.” “And when you can’t?” “You hold on until you do.” Remember that, Chickpeas.

You’re this elegant mixture of sweet and spicy, and I find so much joy in sharing my life with you. I’m so proud to be your big sister. Your lives are going to be so incredible, and I just can’t wait to see it all.

I love you forever and like you for always. As long as I’m living, my sisters you’ll be.

Paula

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Sweet chickpeas at a Grizzlies game

P.S. You’re the greatest little sisters. Ever.

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