We are born, every one of us with the proverbial “Clean Slate” or fresh start. We grow and we change in so many ways. We can argue Nature vs. Nuture as much as we like and we can all have our opinions on what qualities are which. However, I think we would be hard pressed to deny that every life is valuable and irreplaceable, at least to someone.
When it comes to the topic of sexual orientation there is often a very emotional debate. For me it hits home, hard. My baby sister is one of the most cherished parts of my existence. She is one of the most creative, funny, honest, faithful, talented and smartest people I know and oh yeah, she is a Lesbian.
It did not come as a shock when she shared that she loved other women when she came out as a teen. We were honestly just grateful she was able to trust us to share the truth. She says she knew from a very early age how she felt. Her story of a childhood crush on a girl is usually met with uncomfortable reactions. How ironic that when I tell how I had a preschool “crush” on a boy that saved me from a bully everyone giggles and finds it adorable.
I have never struggled to understand her feelings because to me there is no question. She is my sister and she is amazing. I question those who cannot be satisfied with just having their opinions and become driven to violence and hate. I have experienced heartbreak after heartbreak because to me they are more than just printed stories or movies. I live with the constant fear that one day someone’s difference of opinion or hate could take her from me forever. This fear manifested itself in the following poem I wrote a number of years back:
Time does not tell you that it can go away in less than a moment. You can be walking and smiling with your mind on other things, so happy. You can be thinking of your lover waiting at home and how lucky and happy you feel. You never even stop to wonder if someone could be walking down that same street with a very different soul, one that does not rest and only knows fear and hate. You stroll with your smile beaming you never stop to think if it is wrong to be what you were born to be because it is what you are and that is all. He walks down the street thinking how can they choose to be this way, don’t they know it is wrong? You stop for some flowers and grin to yourself when you think of how happy these will make her. You dream of her smile and are filled with love at the thought that such a small gesture will fill her with joy. He watches you as you go along so happy and free “what a waste she could be so pretty if she just grew her hair and wore a dress, what she needs is a man like me.” You think what a wonderful lady I have at home thank God I met her. He is thinking maybe if I just show her what she is missing she will change her mind. You are walking a bit faster because you can’t wait to get home. Then he catches up, you half smile and answer his hello. He asks for your number, you politely decline. He twitches and asks again to reconsider you say no again and try to pass him. This time he grabs your arm without flowers and you suddenly realize how the shortcut was not a good idea. You try to yell but the words are smacked from your lips as your gesture of love falls to the street. He calls you the names people usually think about you as you walk hand in hand with your pride and joy. He drags you to a place where no eyes can see and no one can help. You try to fight but he is so angry. You beg and you plead but he is filled with the wrong idea and he takes who you are personally. You scream and you cry as everything that is happening is just happening to you and you feel so out of control. Then the blood comes as your head meets the street and then it is all gone, it all slips away. She hears terrible news instead of “I love you” and the only flowers are the ones she gives you that you can never thank her for.
My personal experience has led me to work towards being an example of unconditional acceptance in my professional life. I strive to make my office a safe judgment free space for clients regardless of their story.
The joy we share, the contributions we make to the world and the peace we lend are all so much more powerful than the hate we have the ability to spread.
Nicole Michaud is a Counselor in training in Central Connecticut. She is also the voice behind the cooking Blog MyLoveForCooking.com