For the June Column of Witch Way Magazine, I decided to work on a pride themed spread. I have met many LGBTQ individuals of the pagan community, have worked with many and have heard their stories. As a writer, these are the things that matter the most to me. Their stories. While thinking about their stories, I took a second and thought about why this topic was so important to me. Battling the quirks I am learning about my body and its refusal to cooperate I challenged myself to a grandiose project and I hope that in 30 days I will complete it, successfully. This is my gift, a celebration of love through food.
Embarking on this article I went through many emotions. I, by no means, am an authority on the history, the journey or the struggle of the LGBTQ community but I am a human. I have loved, lost, and loved again. Had my share of “west side story” moments where cultures clash and leave no room for love to grow.
In high school, I dated a boy who was gay. It didn’t last for very long but we remained friends. I don’t believe that he really knew it at the time, but finally he came out, and when he told me I laughed heartily, hugged him and said “I know!” with the biggest smile a goth girl ever gave.
I told him later that I loved him, because I did. I loved him and I wanted him to be happy! It didn’t matter to me at all who he wanted to be with. I was glad to see that he felt comfortable. That a weight was lifted off of his shoulders and he was free. Coming out to me signals freedom. Our friendship remained the same, lighter even, as he was able to confide in me.
A few years later it happened again, in my own backyard and I saw it coming too. That was a tough one though. I know there were many tears that fell on pillow in the dark, which she never shared with me. That inner turmoil, the fight to please those around her, the inability to understand and so many “why me?” moments, alone. Later, I watched her heart swell with new love, a new outlook on life, then things had taken a sharp turn and there was nothing.
Coming out was easy, it was staying out that proved the hardest. She was far away. I know that made it difficult but I was still there. The lighthouse in the darkness. The beacon that tries to steer the ship to a safe shore. I remember many conversations that included me shouting “Fuck whoever doesn’t like it!” the teenage angst still coursed through my blood and I shook my fist angrily at the world because all I wanted was for her to be happy and destruction to befall those that wished otherwise. She knew all of my secrets, and finally, I told her about Shelly. I understood, better than she even knew it at that moment.
We all must learn in life and my lighthouse wasn’t enough. She tried to heal. Did her best, truly she did, but the rocks were too many to navigate around, and this lighthouse was just too far to see the destruction until it was too late. “Come Home!” I would say. She promised. After finals.
I got an unexpected call. That day was very strange, most of it, a blur now, but a few things remained. She was hollow. The blue, green and yellow were gone and all that was left was a void.The sun had been snuffed out.
She recoiled from everyone, including me.The first person to push me out of my comfort zone regarding human affection forced me to do it once more and hug her. I was mad, murderous even. I grabbed her before she left and hugged her tighter than I have ever hugged another human at that point in my life. She didn’t struggle but she didn’t hug me back. I wanted to cry. I wanted to slap her Cher and Nicolas Cage style and yell “Snap out of it!” but all I could say was “come back to me”… the pussiest thing I had ever said to her. At that moment she asked me to go with her. To face this with her, she didn’t want to be alone. There was never a second thought, I would walk through hell with her and I did.
I remember the car ride, holding her hand, the smooth jazz in the background and me insisting that all she had to do was say she was gay and this would all go away because this was her choice. I remember the all too familiar halls that spooked me at 14, the plastic bracelet and the last thing I said was “you are not like them”. I don’t remember anything else. Not even how I got home.
Im sure I have all the details confused, entangled in a lot of couldawouldashoulda moments. What I didn’t know at the time was that there was something else happening too, that knowledge served me later in life when yet again I experienced that helpless, searing pain.
I didn’t see her much or at all, I don’t think, outside of one more time that trip. She went home, and was better. Distance and time took us in different directions, the natural course of life. We were still there for each other, not in the same capacity but we remained true to our bond.
That closet door was still shut, covered in cobwebs boarded up with books, research papers and distractions. Once again she broke. The signs were there, I couldn’t see them. This time, she walked through hell alone.
I had no idea.
I was being reborn and the clam shell hadn’t opened all the way yet. When it finally did, the first thing I felt was lose. My heart broke, for different reasons, or so I thought, but it broke and so did hers. She too was reborn and we didn’t even talk about it.
It took a few years after that moment in time and as much I wish I could have been there or better yet, have taken her place, that dark time gave birth to a new person. It gave birth to freedom. The freedom to love and that Love has given her a sword and a shield.
Today she is different, a better human. Today she has taken a stand to accept her choices and accept that other’s may not share her views. Today she can overcome the pain and truly live. Today she is comfortable in the skin she is in. Today she has embraces her mission in life, spreads awareness and fights all injustices. Today she stands up to all the things that made her scared, promoted self-hate, self-doubt and toxic co-dependency. Today she is a lighthouse for so many young minds and the bell she tolls is not a warning but a call to battle. A call to war, for freedom, for happiness, for love.
I dedicate this month to all of the people who have shared this struggle and still do. I dedicate this to the people who had open and accepting friends and family on their journey to self awareness. I dedicate this to all the young people who defend their friends and loved ones. I dedicate this to the ignorant, I hope you learn to see that people are just people. I dedicate this to the activists diligently working to promote equality and inclusive. I dedicate this to all the folks like me, just trying to live and love in this mad world. I dedicate this to all the people who feel alone, the suicidal, the self harmers or self haters – There is a world full of people that you haven’t met yet who are just waiting to love you!
Lastly, I dedicate these #30DaysofPride to you, the Beija Flor of my life.
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