(I had a busy day yesterday and wasn't able to finish this post in time to get it published on Spirit Day, but better late than never!)
I am a handful of episodes into season three of Glee. (Yes, I'm way behind. Don't judge me. I don't watch much TV and tend to wait for entire seasons of the shows I like to be available so I can watch them at my leisure, generally during brain injury setbacks, rather than die of anticipation each week.) In the episode I watched tonight, Kurt and Blaine consummated their relationship. I'll admit, I got teary eyed, not just because it was romantic and sweet, but because I'm filled with joy that gay kids across America (and possibly the world) got to see themselves represented in a sweet, romantic, normal way.
That's huge. And important. I love that Glee is representing LGBT teens, and even a bisexual Latina, just like me and just like my teenage daughter. Neither of us are quite as, um, mean as Santana, but I love her tough exterior contrasted with her vulnerability, and I admit to having a fiery Latina side that appears every now and again. I wish that kind of programming had been available when I was a kid, but I'm extremely grateful that it's there for my daughters (even though I'm not letting the little one watch it quite yet.) I want the media that they watch to be a reflection of real life, and the reality of life is that there are people of all races, religions, economic situations, and sexual orientations who benefit from seeing themselves represented as normal on the screen, because they are. And what IS normal, anyway?
I wore purple yesterday in order to stand with my own daughter (and I have an inkling the other one isn't going to fall all the way to the heterosexual side of the spectrum either) and for all the other LGBT daughters and sons whose parents and families may not support them. My message to all of you is:
Be yourself. Know yourself. Respect yourself. Love yourself. Know your darkness and your light, your strengths and your weaknesses, and understand that often they are one and the same. Know that you never have to separate out different parts of yourself and try to have them work independently of each other. Your intellectual, emotional, physical, spiritual, sexual selves are all one and the same, and every experience that you have doesn't affect just one part of you. What's intellectual might also be emotional; what's sexual can also be spiritual; both physical and emotional ecstasy and pain can be closely intertwined, sometimes hard to even separate. This is the beauty of life; the beauty of YOU. Live fully. Love wholly. Speak boldly, for both yourself and others.
And in the spirit of Spirit Day: Stand up. Be strong. Don't bully. Don't stand by when others are being bullied. Draw a line if and when you need to. I had to recently. I unfriended a bunch of people on Facebook because I have reached a point where I simply cannot tolerate intolerance. If you think that LGBT people are sinful or gross or don't deserve to marry whom they love, I don't want you in my life. Period. You may not even recognize your own bigotry, but I do, and I refuse to take it any longer. I love myself and my daughters for exactly who we are; not some version of ourselves that someone else or society at large thinks we should be, or just our physical and intellectual selves while we keep our emotional and sexual selves hidden. We are who we are, and I want to share my life and my daughters' lives with those who love us exactly as we are. Because you know, I think we're pretty great, and perfectly normal, whatever the hell that means.