Walking on Super Glue

You can. #Claim2Day

Gracie's Thought Garden

The year is 3028.

“Grandma!” My granddaughter comes running up to my holographic knitting table. (It may be far in the future, but knitting will forever be a relevant old lady activity.)

“Oh,” my frail voice calls to the child, “yes dear?”

“Do you remember when you used to write blogs!”

I freeze at the remembrance of my old hobby. The rush of memories of creativity pouring from the pad of my fingers all comes back to me. I stare longingly out of the window, overlooking the flying buildings and floating land masses we all live on – again, in the future.

“Why ‘blogging’ – I haven’t heard of that in so, so long.”

•••

Wow, that was a super roundabout way to mention that I have been gone for a while. In all honesty, I could go on and on about how I had ‘finals’ and was trying to…

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Out and Staying.

I hope I can articulate this with the words needed. This is personal and my personal leads to the public person most see fighting for the improvement of mental health for the LGBTQ community. Feel free not to read. First, I must pause and thank all the individuals tunknownhat helped or hated me along the way.

Both were bumper pads that I bounced around on, creating who I am.

Each child /teen I help in the LGBTQ community I think, ‘that is one that might be able to do it different. With a healthy perspective they can move forward not with the narrow mindedness of ‘I’ but with that of ‘I am a part of….”

 I fell in love in the 80’s but instead of being able to just say to myself or others, “I am in love” or “this is who I am in love with” (mind you, they were straight and did not know) I started my spinning. Being a good person, people would step in to be a friend or to have a relationship with me and they to would be pulled into the spinning. In my head I truly believed; If they saw me they would never REALLY love me.

I hurt many people as I was trying to claw my way out of my own skin. I own that.

I was blessed with a son. Being a Mother, being his mother, was more important than anything else in life. He saved me on a daily basis. His smile. His giggle. His unconditional love. I had so much growing up still to do. Losing him was not an option. EVER. I would have become anything I needed to in order to keep that boy.

I thought, ok, I will be gay in private and straight is public. As long as I am honest with him and myself I am doing the right thing. I looked like I had it together. I gave my son the responsibility of loving me as me and had to hope that would be enough. He saw me split myself open and try to find the parts that were really mine.


I remember a conversation with him, my mom, and myself (this was years ago) when I was going to try to do it the RIGHT way. I just wanted peace and a life like others had. I wanted to pay taxes as a family, have insurance, go on vacations and have family dinners. You know the things that all gay people with children, at that time, had to hide. Anyway, I had dated a couple of guys as an adult. I tried, I did. We had fun but nothing on the inside was real. Anyway, the three of us are sitting there and she said (this is as close to what she said as I can remember), “ I had just hoped you know that you could keep trying to be straight.” Before I could say anything, because I did love my mother and my son and if I could; I would have, My son says (as close as I can remember) , “ She is gay Grandma. She tried. It is weird to ask her to be something else.”

I was choking on self-hatred and when I looked up my self-hatred had broken the hearts of people around me. I did this pattern over and over again until I was ready to just love myself as myself.

I dare to say when I came out of the closet no one really even had a reason to still be standing there. Some were however. Unconditional love is a crazy thing.

I had to do a lot of cleaning. My social skills were awful. I did not know how to interact with people honestly. Just like in an alcoholic life; I had spent years playing the role society told me to be in order to keep my son and I had mastered it, I thought.

When my mom died. I had already been working for years on getting healthy and was proud of the growth. When she died it was the moment I could not do fake. I could not do politically correct. I could not carry anything or anyone. I was raw and broken again. This time I realized it was not in a bad way. I have been blessed with the powerful and scary freedom of being responsible for my actions. Alone. I had to decide. Everyday. Will I try to respect that today? I let go and picked up the pieces of my life.

I work with teens in hopes that they don’t have to choke on self-hatred for being gay or live in a closet. I don’t want them to spend years clawing their way out.

Instead teens, I hope that you understand; this is who you are. Pick up the coat and get out of the closet. If you like wearing it, great, but if not then put it back and get another. Society is not responsible for which one you wear. You are. I hope that being responsible for your actions make you proud. I hope the actions that don’t make you proud, you work to correct. I hope that you want to be responsible because what you have been taught; to love yourselves and others as they are.

I am sharing this piece of my story because I can not stand quietly and pretend that there is not a real issue in front of us. I know what self shame, societal shame and bigotry feels and looks like. I don’t want that for our youth.

The wheels of hatred are in motion again towards the LGBTQ community. There will be losses and pain. I want to be standing anywhere but in the closet against it.

Much Respect,

Melinda Porter

http://www.melindaporter.com

Did I. “Mother’s Day Thoughts”

As we move through the days of the weeks in the months of the year that might be the most important year of ‘their’ lives, we stop and ask ourselves; DID I?

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Good Morning Moms,

On this Mother’s Day I wanted to say thank you for helping your children grow up mentally healthy.

Reaching this goal is like climbing a mountain that has moving rocks; you never know what will be the step that causes them to tumble and start over.

They still have to climb it; bumps, cuts and fear will be there, but so will you.

Teaching them how to be mentally healthy is a challenge because we sometimes question ourselves; so how do you pass it on?

DID I: Demonstrate, not just say, that my love is unconditional.

DID I: Teach them how to build or get their own tools/skills needed for life.

DID I: Pass on a skills set, one that enables them to deal with bumps, cuts and fear.

DID I: Provide a map, EVEN IF they never want to look at it, for them to take the least painful path. Regardless of their choice, you redirect continuously as they go on their way.

DID I: Allow them to build their own muscles for survival without dropping the parental role I feel honored, most days, to hold.

DID I: Remember to care for myself as I am the security of their tomorrow.

Does this sound exhausting ? Still, you do it everyday.

Thank you.

 

Can We ‘Fix Society’ Without More Death

The deaths of transgender teens are continuing to go in the wrong direction. I work with teens that are questioning their gender, wanting information about transitioning or needing direction on how to wait until they are old enough to transition. They battle social sets of fitting in; not just with clothes, personality, music, or age as most teens deal with but with GENDER.

 Which bathroom? Which outfit? Which team? Which dressing room?

 What if I fit into both genders or none????

 The desire to fit or to understand one’s self is what every teen deals with but we ask these kids to not explore that question. It is too weird or uncomfortable.  The messaging to these kids is you can think it and we can talk about it later but if you feel the need to say something or not wear what is fitting for your gender; we have a problem.

Transgender teens struggle with being able to do day-to-day activities because they can not get past the basics in their head.

8baf68e2ee56c2df1fc47f767219a225What am I???

 When parents and friends ask you to ignore who your head announces you are, it seems confusing. What are the guidelines to be who they want you to be? When a teen admits they do not know who they are in their own skin how are they to be someone they are SURE that they are not? Confused?

 Welcome to the world of gender questions.

 Tiptoeing around the question of gender is like tiptoeing around where people belonged on the bus. Maybe gender is becoming less of an issue in the younger generation. Years ago we decided that women could wear pants. Today we face can men wear a dress? Why is the reverse less important?

Healthy relationships are respectful and built on increased communications. It might not be the conversation you had hope to have with your child, but like sex, drugs, boyfriends, girlfriends, college, make-up, money or cars; gender is one we can not be afraid of. If you run from the conversation our teens suffer. Our teens make decision alone and from a place of understanding only at a cognitive ability of a teen.

 As adults, parents, or counselors we have to step just past our personal comfort zones.

 Much Respect,

Melinda C. Porter, LPC

817-733-7206

Melinda@MelindaPorter.com

Melinda@mcpcounseling.com

Thoughts in a day: Transgender Teens

df7c489bed150386371a0988ac458763Climbing out of her bed to dress, the thoughts of school and friends rush around on top of goals, workouts, chores and clothes. Moments after rising she moves past the mirror and freezes. Her body is not a “her” but a “him.” Her day will not be filled with thoughts of what to get done or how to dress to express who she is. Instead, she looks for the outfit that hides the most; covering all the imperfections that she cannot workout to fix and study harder to change. She cannot dig herself out of her gender as one whom from poverty. Stuck. She sits. Looking in a mirror that keeps changing into what she does understand. Being asked to live a life that does not fit what is under her skin.

A yell comes from down stairs and now a girl who got up before it was time excited about her day, stands as a boy frozen in confusion and fear. The ‘late to school’ conversation that happens everyday starts as HE hits the bottom stair. His head fills with all the things he will have to do today. His conversations with friends that might not be friends ‘if they knew’ about the her that he is not suppose to discuss. He starts to question all his relationships, wondering if any are real. Isolating in his head and fearing to truly care about others he learns that self is the only person to trust and worry about. Moving from one class to another where they ask the boys and girls to separate for seating, restrooms, activities, sports, and/or games. Where does the Transgender teen stand? Where does she/ he fit in?

Transgender teens are being asked to ‘sit at the back of the bus’ and do as you are told. Where does it stop? Conform to societies standards of male/female. If your genitals determine who you are, what do we do with the intersex person? When do they get to move to the front and claim they are worth being respected? I work with teens that smile when for a moment in time they are seen from the inside out. Peace and respect sits with them as they talk and joy fills their face when their correct pronoun is used.

Just one. Condemning. Reaffirming. Little. Big. Powerful. Painful. Joyful. Word. 

He returns home, head down and moving on to homework. Then SHE smiles. In her room, she is real. She fits just fine into the clothes only she ever sees. She studies in the hat that makes her hair look longer. The words, the math is all making sense with room in her head. She draws hearts and a smiley to remember the steps to complete the problems.

In her room she is comfortable and safe for now. She knows the sadness that will come tomorrow when HE must return to the breakfast table and to school.

Parents. Friends. Counselors.

Read and learn about the transgender teen in your life. If you have questions, ask them, together is when family is the most effective.

I work with the LGBTQIA community and would be happy to help with questions or a direction for you to go in.

Melinda C. Porter, LPC

Melinda@mcpcounseling.com

817-733-7206

www.mcpcounseling.com