Two days ago I wrote what was perhaps my most difficult blog entry. I take that back. It was unequivocally the hardest thing I have ever written and published. Though I was desperately terrified, I hit the post button, closed my eyes, gritted my teeth and waiting for the inevitable feedback.
I was ready for anger, outrange, condemnation, a lack of understanding, and some support.
What I recieved was an amazing outpouring of love, support, understanding, compassion, and connection. The truth I spoke allowed so many others to send me private emails sharing that yes, they too had gone through something similar. People that I have known for a short time and others I have known for years came out as positive and shared pieces of their stories. Straight friends, queer friends, childhood friends, new friends, old friends, anonymous readers, and many others shared how I have touched their lives, how my stories have touched them, and how, though they may not have experienced what I have it still resonated with them.
I have to tell you a story about a woman I know named Marge.
Marge and I worked together during the time I described in my last blog posting. Marge and I were always friendly to one another, but though we worked in the same department our jobs did not overlap and it was rare that we had much interaction (even though we sat with only one cubicle in between us). Marge is a good woman that came from corporate America. I knew she was a Republican (there was running joke that Marge and our boss were the only two Republicans on a staff of almost 100 people). She was always polite, but I never really got to know her. What I did know was surface. Last night, she reached out to me via Facebook and said some very moving and beautiful things about my writing. She said that she was happy that I had found love and a way to express my gift. She was deeply compassionate and very caring, and after our conversation I went to my partner and said that I hadn't realized until speaking with Marge last night that I had deep preconceived notions of who would be touched by my story and how.
I misjudged Marge, which means I have misjudged so many people. If a white, straight, suburban corporate woman...about as opposite demographically from my own identity as one can get can connect with what I write and how I write it, then I have to seriously examn further my own assumptions and prejudices. Marge, you taught me a deeply valuable and welcome lesson last night. I thank you for your compassion, your honesty, and the support you demonstrated. Thank you, I hope I can return the favor sometime.
When I write these blog entries and tell my stories, I always hope that by sharing them I can visit them more closely, look at the experiences more deeply, and take away something from them that I may have missed while in the moment of the events. Last night, through Marge, and through so many others that shared their thoughts, hopes, sadnesses, and joys, I have been able to do that. It is an honor to have readers as wonderful and engaged as all of you are. You are a gift to me, and I value you greatly. You sustain me with your honesty and with the stories that you reflect back to me, and I appreciate you for it.
You humble me again and again. Thank you.