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 with the understanding that self-worth matters and is work. Growth is work.”

 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. People would step in to be a friend or to have a relationship with me and they would be pulled into the cycle until they could take no more. In my head I truly believed; If they saw the real 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 be in order to keep that boy.

After talking to a counselor concerning how to tell him and then doing so, I was scared. I remember telling him that people may say things about me and that I was gay. He stated, ” Really Mom, isn’t that just between you and God?” ~ Yes, it should be.

I thought, ok, I will be gay in private and straight in public because his safety was my focus. At the time I really thought it would work. As long as I am honest with him and myself I am doing the right thing. I looked like I had it together. He saw the reality. He saw me split myself open and try to find the parts that were really mine. It was not always pretty to watch. We spoke with different counselors, off and on, to make sure we stayed going in a healthy direction.

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 have family dinners, family insurance, go on vacations and pay taxes as a family. You know, the things that all gay people with children, at that time, had to hide or do without. Anyway, I had dated a couple of guys later in life as an adult. I tried, I did. We had fun but nothing on the inside felt real. So, the three of us are sitting there and I told her I was going out with an interesting woman. Mom said (this is as close to what she said as I can remember), “ I had just hoped 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 been straight for them… 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 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. She and I had come so far since the 90’s when I told her I was gay. She loved her God and her daughter; that was a long road to get to but worth the relationship we received. I had already been working for years on getting healthy and was proud of the growth. With her passing I needed real. I did not have the energy to do a fake representation of who I was at work or what I wanted in relationships. 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 in a healthy way.

I have been blessed with the powerful freedom of being responsible for my actions. I alone have to decide. Everyday. How will I respect others and myself today? The healthy love of my son, family and self was something I deserved and was willing to continue to work for.

This journey to self-worth was too long. I wasted years learning that sexuality does not decided if I am a worthwhile human. 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. Society is not responsible for which coat you wear; You are. I hope that being responsible for your actions makes 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 you know 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

http://www.MCPcounseling.com

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

The Secret or Life.

As you move through your day, where is your focus?

"LIFE"
“LIFE”

Working within the LGBT community, I sometimes find that the focus is on secrets instead of life. This allows for the secrets to have all the power.

What would happen if you allowed life to be the focus?

The LGBT community is learning how to interact socially instead of locked behind closed-door. This is difficult but healthy. It is also a new level of responsibility. Don’t push issues under the rug because no one wants to even know who those issues are with. Hurting alone about relationships that no one even saw as real can be dangerous. It leads to confusion and minimizes the importance of your connections and processing the emotions. How will you move forward with all that pain wrapped around you?

Instead of all your energy being used to keep a secret, allow yourself to move pass the secret. That does not mean you have to blurt out, “I”M GAY”  or “SHE STOLE MY TWINKIE” or MY PARTNER IS GONE” but if the moment arises and you need to. then do so. It will be comfortable something and uncomfortable others.

Living in away that is safe and respectful of self is key!

Find the pieces of your puzzle that make your outside self and inside self congruent. Stay away from non-responsible statement. The government, your mother, your dad, or your boss do not determine how you treat your partner and children. Unless your goal is to put the focus somewhere other than where the real work is. Self growth. Self respect.

Families, friends, and pets do not just disappear anymore in the LGBT relationship breakdown. They are more present and feel the pain of their gay loved ones. They may not know what to say and you may not know how to answer but allow them to help you see the relationship as real and important to process.

In giving “life” the power instead of the secrets; you develop self-worth and growth!

Much Respect,

Melinda Porter

817.733.7206

Transgender Children

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Do you know the gender or the assigned sex of this child? Is there a difference in those?

Years ago I thought babies were born male or female.  I’ve learned over my life time that this is not the case.  A group called, “Gender Infinity” is doing an excellence job of educating  therapists and parents about what gender really means. I visited one of their conferences this week and am overflowing with information.

Gender Diverse children can also be referred to as gender non-conforming. Gender non-conforming children are gifted with an innocence in their processing; to them they can only be who they sense they are. Some feel they are internally different then the external picture, expressing a cross-gender identity. Can it be that simple?  It is when we, as their support system, confirm with actions of rejection or acceptance  that they connect the meaning of right or wrong. We create the environment for them to explore life in.

It is common for transgender children to come out as Lesbian, gay, or bisexual first trying to find the fit that they need. Many times feeling that the hair and clothes change is good but not enough. Hormone blockers are sometime used in pre-puberty to allow the child time to process what gender they are and avoid some possible future surgeries. Most people at this point just loss their breathe; it is ok!

These are REVERSIBLE. It simply pauses the onset.

I have worked with children for years now and knowing that they have the possibility to be comfortable in their own skin from the beginning is incredible!

As I learn, I will pass on the information! If you have time, look up the Group Gender Infinity~They are crazy wonderful! I’m here to help if you need more information.

We stand in the moment of our potential to move forward and ability to understand~ 

Much Respect,

Melinda C. Porter

Picture This. LGBT Family.

What does your family look like? IMG_5663

Do you have beautiful frames but not sure what the pictures should look like inside them?

The spirit of the LGBT community has always made me smile. As the years have passed,  I see families and wonder what will their frame look like? How will they put the family together? What if you decide to frame the pictures you see, the family you want to have?    ~I think it is possible~

Create pictures that fill your world with joy! As you walk around your house / look at your FaceBook; do you  confirm or deny who you truly are? A division of self can have a ripple effect on your ability to connect with new people. If you are always one of many versions of yourself then you are never just you!

Over two decades ago I started seeing me, not the me that other saw but the me that I can smile at in the mirror. As I have found her she has saved me.

Building relationships based on honesty and truth; not always exciting stuff but very real.

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What part of your picture do you see as you?

* Start to build the family you want. Start with just seeing the picture in the frame.

* What are the possibilities for you today to add to or create part of the frame? Build your frame with courage, strength, understanding, and flexibility.

* Not everyone likes their picture taken, so be patience with those you love. Maybe let them have a frame of their own for a while that is on the same table! 😉

* Your picture is beautiful~ LGBT families are full of love that needs to be hung up for others to see. Years of joy and happiness that screams, “Your Future is possible” to the next generation.

Much Respect,

Melinda Porter

What Does a LGBT Person Look Like?

How do you see yourself?

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What pair of eyes do you use to determine who you are?

With all that is going on in the LGBT community, I ask, how do you see yourself. What does it mean to you that in some countries, even a tourist can be arrested for being openly gay or how do you deal with legal issue about marriage from state to state in the USA. Over the decades, the world ebbs and flows, looking at one thing and seeing something different. History shows, we as the human race are continually redefining the understanding of what freedom is. Questioning why color, sex, sexual orientation, or shade of your hair has so much power. At the end of the day, what does a LGBT person look like?

Horns, pink, blue, worthwhile, sweet, mean, fem, butch, ugly, beautiful? When you look in the mirror, who do you see?

There is a person in there, in that face that looks back at you in the mirror. A being that holds the power to personal understanding and growth.

Strength, flexibility, patience…that is what I see! How many years did you live knowing the secret but told no one? How many uncomfortable situations where you placed in because of your sexuality ? How long have you waited to fall in love?

Find your you. What do you want in your life? YOU get to decide what a LGBT person looks like! If you are tired of living in fear of not fitting in, know that everyone does not fit somewhere~ so find your fit.

Some Thoughts to move you forward~

* Enjoy the places that work for you.

* Create your ‘self’ not as one single dimension but as you, wonderful from the inside out, not just a person that has a different sexual orientation.

* Start seeing the peace within yourself, there is enough to worry about in other systems that will be effecting you. Make seeking out peace for the inside a priority.

Much Respect,

Melinda Porter

Stepping "OUT" LGBTQ

IMG_0229When you step out~

Off with the ‘self’ people think they see and into the you!

What are some healthy ways that have worked to find the YOU that fits?

We have friends in the LGBTQ community that struggle to find their true self; a self that deserves to be loved. Many times the thought of being gay is seen as ‘wrong’ so ‘poor actions’ can be attached to it. Here are some healthy thoughts about coming out!

* Know that you know yourself best! If you are not attracted to the opposite sex then wait until you met the person that does put a tingle in your toes.

* Decide how you want to tell people; start with trusted family or friends.

* Respect yourself by giving yourself time to sort your thoughts and talk to someone. You don’t have to know all the answers.

* If you tell someone and the response is not going well; step back and give them room to think. You are not responsible for taking on their issues but you told them because on some level they were important to you. Giving them time to process may allow you time to reevaluate and modify the conversation. Hurting them is not the goal. Hurting you is not the goal. Starting a line of communication is.

* Talk to someone before having the really hard conversations! Walk through possible terms and statement that might be better for you.

Your path will look different from others and that is ok! Try to stay focused on the goal of connecting with people who you want as a part of your future; close, distant, periodically, or as a memory.

Stepping “OUT” as you ~

Much Respect,

Melinda Porter  817.733.7206

Best Hopes for Today? LGBT Couples

Simply stated and incredibly breathtaking what that question can evoke.

I have seen it invite 50 minutes of couples falling back in love. I strive to offer my clients this empowering starting point!

As they sit in apprehension of changing something that looks so broken; I see the POSSIBILITIES. In a LGBT relationship the support might look different from heterosexual friends. I see one of the most difficult challenges of the LGBT community as having problems. Many times when a problem arises family members, work connections, or others who might not see the relationship as real are quick to only see one best hope. Letting it go.  Over coming issues  as a couple is hard enough, add same-sex and you have to be extra diligent about nurturing the connection between partners.

What are you willing to see as possible?

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~ When I ask this, the responsibility is placed with the client. WHAT? They are responsible. Yes. As a counselor, I can not make you want to be willing. I can help you find the strengths and solutions that you ALREADY possess and build on them.

~ LGBT clients have already overcome so much. Learning to love the true person they are! A willingness to see the impossible as possible. I see this as strength and building blocks to help structure your relationship’s foundation.

~ Same-Sex relationships, many times, have to provide their own stability in the middle of an issue. They have to depend on their own commitment to the relationship when the outside world does not recognize them as a couple. This can keep them in the problem instead of moving into the solution. Find healthy support!

~ When couples are isolated, as often will happen with the LGBT community; seeing ‘possible’ can be clouded and frustrating. I work to pull the solutions from the past into the present and future!

What are your best hopes for today?

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Much Respect,

Melinda Porter MA

Do the kids know? Coming out to Your Children~

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My Son, My Gift, My Joy…My Life Time of Lessons…

“Children are likely to live up to what you believe of them.”

                                                                           Lady Bird Johnson, former U.S. first lady

Oh, the gift of being a parent. I think I learn the most when dealing with my son. He is now a marine about to be married, but still, I learn. I have learned that honesty connects us and dishonesty places a wedge between us. I know that as a parent it is my job to handle stress in a way that models how he can do it or not… later in his life. My goal is to let him see me work through struggles but yet not be responsible for them as the child.

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Telling your children that you are LGBT is not an easy conversation, accepting that will allow you to move pass the fear of doing it wrong. There is no ‘right or wrong’ way. The ‘talk’ can be awkward, uncomfortable, difficult or damaging. So~ PLAN!

* It is not the child’s job to make you comfortable or to make it easier.
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* You are the parent, make sure the conversation is age appropriate, using understandable terms and statements.

* Go over the conversation with a counselor or trusted adult friend. These are your children, they are worth the energy of planning a healthy conversation.

* Do not share more than asked~Your children are NOT your best friends. Sharing too much can be damaging, so respect yourself and them!

* Let them know you will be happy to answer appropriate question or let them talk to someone (i.e. counselor) if they want.IMG_5432

* Understand that they have a right to grieve the loss of what they thought to be true and what they now know…respect their space but stay present.

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You do not have to be perfect…my son would have fired me years ago if so! You have to be the loving parent you were before the conversation~that is your job! To love them…and don’t be afraid to ask for help. If the conversation did not produce what was needed for your family to work, talk to someone, then try it again.

Much Respect,

Melinda Porter MA