Aug 30, 2011

Misplaced Disgust

I don't know if you've seen the movie Precious. It's a movie, based on the novel "Push" by Sapphire.  The novel, although technically fiction, is based on real life events. I had heard good things, so I put it on my Netflix queue and watched it.

To say it was hard to watch is an understatement.

The main character Precious, just a young girl in high school, lives in extreme poverty. Is morbidly obese. Is raped regularly by her father. Is beaten repeatedly by her mother (because her mother is jealous the dad is choosing Precious to have sex with). Gives birth to a child with down syndrome, by her father. Gets pregnant again by her father. Is kicked out of school, for being pregnant. And ultimately, finds out her father has given her HIV.

In all of this horror, one bright spot in her life is a teacher at an alternative school, Ms. Blu Rain. This woman helps young students who have no place left to turn. She inspires them to read and write, and learn how to write about their lives. At one point she even welcomes an abandoned, pregnant Precious into her home.

So, these friends of my parents were over. And some how the topic of this movie came up. This woman was talking about how she watched the movie, and was disturbed by something in it. To verify that the movie didn't deliberately exaggerate this, she read the book.

What, of all of these horrific things, was she in disbelief of?  That Ms. Blu Rain, this kind hearted, beautiful, intelligent, passionate teacher, was a lesbian.

THAT is what offended her in this film.  It wasn't even a major theme or anything in the movie, just a very minor thing.

*#&@!*#&@!!!

I was sitting there, ears burning, as I hear her imply to my mother that it is clearly not plausible for such a wonderful young woman to be gay.

It took everything I had not to say something to set her straight.  I think it's pretty clear here that Sapphire based this character on herself. There are so many beautiful, intelligent, compassionate gay women out there proving this woman's stereotype wrong every day.

Aug 25, 2011

Book Review: What God Has Joined Together?

I love reading. So I thought it'd be good to incorporate some relevant reading materials into the blog on occasion.  I read this book quite a few months ago, and afterwards bought 4 copies on Amazon because I thought it was very well done, and wanted to share it.

If you are at all interested in a christian case for gay marriage, this is a great book to start with.  Authors David G. Meyers & Letha Dawson Scanzoni (both Christian and straight), worked together and came up with a rational, genuine, and persuasive case for gay marriage.

If you come from conservative christianity, your first thought might be what mine was "they can't possibly have a legitimate biblical argument".  And while they don't go hugely in-depth of biblical interpretation (they would need more than 149 pages for that), they certainly don't shy away from tackling it head-on.  Their biblical research, along with marriage research and Myer's background in psychology combine for a well-rounded case for gay marriage.

More than anything, this book is pro-marriage. They emphasize the importance of this type of committed, recognized relationship/partnership both for the individual and for society.  It is the foundation of strong families. and generally helps people live happier, healthier lives. They make a compelling argument that allowing gay couples to marry will not only NOT "ruin" marriage for heterosexuals, it will strengthen the institution of marriage for our whole society. 

The book covers other related topics, such as what is the truth about sexual orientation? Are some people actually born that way? Or is it a choice?  They discuss if someone gay can be "reorientated".  They address and interpret specific passages in the Bible that are used "against" homosexuality.  Overall I found it to be very thorough and insightful.  They cover the counter-arguments, but in the end stick to their conclusion that God blesses committed gay relationships.

Like I said, it's a great book to start with if you're looking to understand how a Christian can genuinely support gay marriage. I would definitely recommend purchasing it!  I do have an extra copy, so if you'd like to borrow it just shoot an email to Ask Ruthie. Happy Reading!



Aug 24, 2011

To Sleep for Five Years

I just got some disappointing news. I was working toward something that I thought might be my ticket out of here. Not just that, but the start of something really wonderful in my life, filled with new people and opportunities. But I just found out it's not going to happen.

Mostly right now I just feel numb and tired. So, so tired.  I know everything will work out.  But right now, I just feel exhausted.  Sometimes I wish I could just go to sleep and wake up five years from now, when some things will be sorted out and my life will feel more...purposeful.

This is me five years ago.  I know I wished for the very same thing at times back then, but  if I would have gotten what I wished for, I would have missed pivotal moments of my life, and I wouldn't be who I am today.

This is a setback today, but as cheesy as it sounds, it's going to help me become the person I'll be five years from now.


Aug 22, 2011

Cuddle Envy

Last night me and K were skyping, and her kitten Buttercup kept hogging the screen. It was really cute...but I'll admit I was a little jealous that he was cuddling with her and I wasn't.  (Yes, Buttercup is a "he". Originally, it was Princess Buttercup, because K thought it was a she...now it's Prince Buttercup because other things became evident.)  I think maybe he was rubbing it in a little.  Still, these images just melt my heart. I love her so much. I can't wait til some day it's the three of us in one place.





Aug 18, 2011

Life, Liberty & the Pursuit of...Friendship

Sometimes I joke around with people that I don't have any friends. But I do, of course I do.  Yet, if I was going to have a party at my house this weekend...I would have no one to invite.

When you're a kid, going to school, doing your kid activities, friends are a given. When you're in college, with roommates and a dorm full of girls, and taking classes with lots of the same people, friends are a given.  When you're working full-time, living alone, and not part of any official social gatherings...

friends are not a given.

I kind of just assumed that friends I made in college, would be my friends for life. While this may be true in theory, the fact is they are not here.  My friends have moved away and moved on. They're getting married, they're making new friends, and before you know it, they'll be having kids.

Shane in a dress???

I wish I lived in the L Word sometimes.   They're this close-knit group of friends who are always there for each other.  Involved in one another's lives.  They get each other, because they're all gay...and beautiful.  Ok, it's obviously not very realistic.

Alright fine.

Well, if I can't live in the L Word, maybe I could at least live in Friends.  20-somethings living in New York City with exciting lives and careers and witty one-liners.  They're not gay...but they are beautiful.  And very funny!

Yeah, but I'm not in New York City, I'm in Indiana. Also, none of my friends live in Indiana.

I knew it was bad when I found myself last Friday night alone, sitting on my couch...crying.  Yes, pathetic, I know. But this is the point I've reached.  I have no one to call on a Friday night.  K lives 3 hours away. 

After my pity party was over, I decided, it's damn time to do something about this. I don't have friends, because I'm not putting myself out there, not because I'm not worth being friends with.  I was clinging so dearly to my distant friends, because I am scared to go out there and make new friends. But I've been out of school for over 2 years, and I don't think I'll be leaving Indiana for at least another 2...so I'm not just going to sit around all lonely playing doodle jump.
It's exciting. Since I'm not in school or somewhere where friends are a given, I get to create my own group of friends.

I think it's going to take some time and patience and some moving outside of my comfort zone.  But I'm hoping, just maybe, 6 months from now, I'll be hanging out with my very own friends on a Friday night. Or any night for that matter.

How'd you meet your closest friends?  Have you ever been in my boat?  Any tips for meeting friends? Or a good way to get to know people? 

Aug 11, 2011

HeartStrong

The other day I made my very first visit to my local GLBT Resource Center. It was a big step for me, but I'm really glad I went.  I saw there was a visit speaker coming to talk about being gay at a christian (or otherwise religious) university.

His name is Marc Adams, and his story is very moving.  He grew up in very extreme fundamentalist Christianity, his father was a pastor.  You can read more of his personal story here.  He ended up losing most of his family. They are still alive, but they refuse to have any relationship with him because he's gay.


Since then he has had to move on and surround himself with people who love him the way he is. And about 15 years ago he founded HeartStrong, an organization that reaches out to gay students at religious institutions.  They do this in a number of ways, getting information to students by distributing it on campus as well as reaching them online.  And they also send out information to counselors at universities, educating them how to help gay students who are struggling with self-hate because of religion.

Many GLBT young adults are extremely vulnerable at this age, because they've been taught their whole life something is wrong with them and that they have to change or else they will never be happy or accepted.  HeartStrong comes across many students contemplating suicide because they don't see any hope. Marc said he feels he is on a rescue mission, always racing to find that student before it's too late.  A matter of life and death.

This outreach shows them that they will get through this, that they are not alone, and that their future holds hope, love and peace living their lives as themselves.

I never knew something like this existed, but I'm so glad it does. I'm certainly not saying all religious institutions are evil.  I really appreciated the school I went to for many reasons,  but I do know how it feels to be alone.

Aug 10, 2011

Sometimes I Miss It.

I just finished watching Bill Maher's Religulous. For all the negative things about religion and "scars" that I have from Christianity, there are still things I miss about it.

I spent all of my life, except the past couple of years, immersed in the Christian faith. I ate, lived, slept & dreamt it. All of those times seem so, so far away.  And when I think about them, it's like I'm watching a different person from myself living my life. 

She's this girl--blind and mute and deaf to the world outside, but in her place, she is confident and in charge.

Growing up, I knew my place, I knew what I believed, and I knew what life held for me. I saw everything very clearly.  I was saved at the age of six, baptized at the age of ten.

I'm being baptized with my brother by my pastor.
At church I was comfortable--I knew everyone. I was looked up to in the youth group, I led bible study meetings and wrote inspiring pieces about God's work in my life. I went to conferences and camps and VBS. I witnessed (albeit timidly) to the unsaved kids I came across in school.

Me as Mary in the church nativity.
Sometimes I miss some things about Christianity:
-I miss not having questions.  If God said it, that was that, his ways are higher than our ways, we'll understand when we get to heaven.
-I miss the sense of belonging.  I felt like I was part of something really special, a special group of people who understood something no one else did.
-I miss the music, singing with a group of people every week. That is not something you normally get a chance to do.
-I miss having a whole network of people at my church who knew what was going on in my life and really seemed to care.

Realizing I could no longer believe what I had always spent my life was one of the most painful and difficult realizations I have ever come to. It was a huge part of me, suddenly gone. I was in the habit of talking to God constantly, and now there was no one to talk to. My life was planned out according to my faith, now I had no idea what was ahead for me.

It was like free falling. I've never felt more vulnerable or terrified.

I have also never felt a greater sense of freedom, relief, and peace.  I felt like I just woke up and life was finally beginning.

Aug 8, 2011

Coming Out...to my Parents

I have so many things I want to talk about on this blog, but I think this is something important to share. One of the biggest things you have to deal with, once you realize you're "gay", is figuring out how to tell important people in your life. And a lot of times, the hardest people to tell are your parents.

It's one thing if your friends reject you, or people say stupid things or idiotic stereotypes. But your parents...you can't just go get new ones. You don't want to lose them, or disappoint them, or make them stop loving you. What they think matters, whether you admit it or not.

I have so much love and respect for my parents. I think they are beautiful people, inside and out. I admire them in so, so many ways and hope to emulate them.  They've worked through a lot of stuff, and both of them have come to a conservative Christian faith.  I know how important their faith is to them, and that's why I was so afraid to come out to them.

There are Christians who believe that you can be gay and also have a good relationship with God.  But the way I was raised, being gay is a sin, and it inhibits your relationship with a holy God.

My Mom:
I think I was most afraid to tell my mom, mostly because I kind of already knew she knew. She'd been getting more and more uncomfortable when I had K around (we weren't being physical or anything, I think she just sensed it). She's very intuitive like that, as mothers tend to be.

The words were incredibly hard to get out, and I must have been a pitiful sight to behold. But she handled it a million times better than I ever imagined.  She said she doesn't want to force me to be something I'm not, she'd rather have me be myself, even if she wouldn't have chosen this for me. She said I've always been very true to myself, and honest about who I am. She said she's stopped seeing things so black and white, life is not that simple to categorize. She said it does make her uncomfortable, but she loves me and she's not ashamed of me. I'm sorry you've been going through this alone, it must be confusing and hard.

I knew that although both of us were still figuring this out, our relationship was still intact, she still loved me and it didn't change the way she saw me as her daughter. I felt that she cared more about me than she cared about it.

My Dad:
I told my dad separately from my mom. *sidenote: If you are in this situation, I would definitely recommend telling your parents separately. If I had told them together I would have never heard those things from my mom, because my dad would have steered the conversation. His reaction was very, very different from my mom's. He did not address any of my emotional concerns from the start, but approached it more as a debate. His prerogative: convince me that I was not gay.  My dad is a very intelligent man so at the end of our conversation I felt completely exhausted.

His artillery: You used to like boys, so you're not gay. The only reason you're with a girl, is because you couldn't get a boyfriend.  You only think you're gay because you've never been with a guy.  You have some screwed up perception of men & women from childhood or something, this is not how you were born.  I might have done something wrong, this is my fault.  If you could just work through that stuff, you could be with a man.  Don't use that title, "gay", don't make a permanent decision (this is just a temporary phase).  You just think you're this way because of an emotional connection with a woman.  You're just doing this because this is a political movement you're caught up in.  This type of relationship is a lessor type, inferior, and immoral.  You just followed a strong sexual drive and did unnatural things.  A relationship with a guy would be superior to one with a girl, you just have to learn how to connect emotionally with one.  Something else has made you this way, this is not who you are.

After all that, he ended with "I still love you, no matter what you decide."  Implying this was simply something I had chosen. 

I know all of those things he said sound really mean. And they did really hurt, but I knew he didn't really have time to think through stuff before we talked, I just sprung it on him.  This was his gut reaction. Since then, we've had much better conversations about it, but he ultimately still feels the same I think.

One time I asked him, "Dad, if I was with a guy instead, but it made me unhappy, would you still want that for me?"  He said...he'd think about that, he didn't know.

I'm sorry if all of that sounds really depressing. I really still have a good relationship with both my parents and they are kind to K. I know they would want things different than they are. But unless they want a different daughter instead of me, this is how it is!  So we all deal with it, and still love each other, and I think it's only going to get better as time goes on.

Aug 7, 2011

Sweet Escape

Our trip was a wonderful escape. I always love seeing new places. We didn't really plan anything, but just had fun exploring Toronto. Tomorrow's back to the real world, but until then, here's some pictures to remember the trip.

Public transportation makes everything so much easier.
Welcome to Canada!
Soma chocolatemaker.
So delicious! $2/piece and totally worth it.
Wild turkey at Point Pelee National Park.
K with her birding gear.
Niagra Falls!
Kensington Market.
P!nk impersonator at Crews & Tangos (our first drag show!)
I love her so much. K, not P!nk. There's no one I'd rather spend 20 hours in the car with, explore a foreign city with and hold close at night.

Aug 1, 2011

Blogroll

These are some of my favorite blogs to keep up with, although the list is always growing!

Obviously quite a few of the blogs I read are LGBT focused, that's the whole reason I began blogging in the first place, to find and connect with that community. But that doesn't mean I'm not interested in blogs of all sorts!

If you have a blog to add, please feel free to list it in the comments, with the title, link and a short description of what it is. One of my favorite things about the blogosphere is how we're all here to support each other, not compete. So, self-promote away!


2 Brides to 2 Mummies
A lesbian blog, written by fiancees Lauren and Sarah in Great Britain. They write about current LGBT issues in the UK, day-to-day life, and adventures in planning their wedding, as well as future dreams of starting a family. They also have an absolutely adorable puppy - Willow!

A Summer Full of Peaches
The adventures of two girls, Stacey and Carley, living and loving in Edinburgh, Scotland. Includes a little bit of everything! Their personal stories, blogging tips, cultural commentaries, LGBT issues, as well as book reviews and travel guides. Carley also shares what it's like to be an English girl living in Scotland.

Adventures in Baby Making
This is the blog of celesbians Cori and Kacy, from the Real L Word. They are an inspirational couple, and it's fun to see a little behind the scenes of their on-camera life, and follow their story as they start a family!

Amy & Bear
A passionate writer, photographer, knitter, reader and pitbull owner. Amy is a no-bs type of girl, who tells what it's like to be married to a man in the military. Her writing is beautiful accompanied by  original (and gorgeous) photography. She also includes regular book reviews on current reads.

Cake Wrecks
This blog always makes me laugh. It's become very well known over time. Managed by Jen, Cake Wrecks features hilarious photos of professional cakes gone awry. The pics themselves are funny, but when combined with Jen's commentary, they will crack you up.

def shepherd
"Observations from the intersection of religion, science, politics and culture", this blog is written by Eric Shepherd, a secular humanist. He is a husband, father, and straight LGBT-ally. He's got a sharp wit and biting commentary on current culture. Definitely with a liberal slant, he is passionately against racism, homophobia, religious extremism, and general human stupidity.

glitter & ganache
Tabitha is a natural-born artist with a gift for seeing all that is beautiful in life. Recently she's taken a little hiatus from writing, but it's still worth checking out. Her blog is full of inspiration and includes DIY projects, delicious dishes, travel, home decor, art, giveaways, parties and personal style. If I could describe it in one word? Lovely.

Hunt & Hearth
"The philosophy of shopping & home". Hunt & Hearth is written by Anna who has a brilliant gift for finding depth, humor and beauty in day-to-day life. She has a light-hearted and insightful writing style, creating whimsical & meaningful commentaries on everything from a shopping trip at Target to a bowl of pea soup. Also... she is my big sister. She hasn't been blogging much of late, so we all need to encourage her to write more!

John Shore - Trying God's Patience Since 1958
John has been a helpful resource for me. A self-proclaimed "Unfundamentalist Christian" and the author of quite a few books regarding his views on modern Christianity, John blogs from a Christian perspective on current issues. In his view, love is the most important message Christianity has to offer, and he practices a religion that is open and affirming to the GLBT community. Worth a look if you're interested in reconciling the Christian faith and being gay!

Mondays With Mac
A popular lesbian Canadian blog written by Kristen about her life with her wife Tracy and their adorable baby boy - Mac. She is a gifted writer and a positive voice for lesbian families. She writes about marriage, motherhood, her experiences as a professional photographer, and current events. The interesting twist in their story is that Mac's sperm donor, Andy, still plays a roll in his son's life, he even writes guest posts for the blog!

Spirited Shannon
Shannon is a funny and quirky blogger, originally from Alaska, but she's lived all over the place. She met her Polish husband while living in Ireland, and now they live together in Sweden. A professional photographer, each post includes some lovely shots, as well as a little bit of whatever is going on in her life at the moment. Her blog also includes regular tutorials on just about everything as well as book reviews!

Sprezzatura
The lesbian blog of Laura and Sarah, an American/British couple who live in London and recently became engaged. Their blog follows their adventures together (they share a love of travel), day-to-day life, experiences of being gay, being in love and now, planning a wedding! Also expect regular fun tidbits about food, living in London, and pop-culture.

Two Mommies Trying to Adopt
Jessica writes about the roller coaster ride of being a gay couple trying to adopt a child in the U.S. She provides an inside look at what the process is like, why she and her partner chose adoption, the difficulty of waiting, and the importance of having a good support system.

Waking Up With Her
This blog is the journey of Stephanie and Corrine, two bisexual women who fell in love and were recently married in New York City. They blog about their lives, their wedding, LGBT issues - especially experiences as bisexuals, vegetarianism and a shared love of animals.

A popular lesbian blog written by Whitney and Megan (Wegan). After years of long distance they are finally united in the UK (Whitney is American, Megan's British). Their blog is full of loveliness, love stories, a femme visibility campain and long distance relationship tips. An inspiration to many that true love conquers all - even long distance (we're talking trans-atlantic here). 


Please feel free to add your blog or one of your favorites to the list in the comments below!

Our Love Story

I once read that “the most important things in life are almost impossible to predict”, but I never really knew what that meant until K came into my life.

When our friendship began at a small Christian college, we were both emphatically interested in boys. But after a year of growing closer and spending time together, we started to realize how much we didn’t like spending time apart. We began to refer to ourselves as Jonathan and David (two of the closest friends from the Bible). And by the end of our first year since meeting, we were inseparable.

K and Ruth, back in college.

Well, almost inseparable. I was preparing to spend a semester abroad in Australia, when we would be apart for nearly seven straight months.

Exactly one month before my leaving, we were cuddling next to each other in her dorm room, and I did something I had never done in my life, I kissed her. It was my first kiss, and I didn’t need to kiss anyone else to know that she was what I’d been waiting for. And by the way she kissed me back, I knew she felt the same way about me. We were already so close in every other way, and our physical connection was the missing piece to the puzzle.

The following month was a whirlwind of emotion as we were ecstatic and simultaneously terrified at this new discovery in our relationship. Both of us came from very conservative backgrounds and were wrestling with the inner conflict of our love for one another and the “sin” of being together.

And then… I left.

During those months apart our relationship only deepened as we worked with the time difference, our schedules, and the minor detail of 9300 miles between us. We wrote letters, sent packages, and emailed back and forth. It was anything but easy, but so completely worth it. In spite of the distance, we both knew that we had fallen in love.

K and Ruth on a picnic/movie date night.


The first couple years were not easy, being together. Not because we didn’t love each other, that was never the question. Not because we didn’t want to be together, we hated being apart. We battled with pressure from everyone we told to end it. Friends, family, counselors, our Christian upbringing. Everything told us this was not OK, this was not what God wanted for us.

But as cheesy as it sounds, my heart was saying the opposite. We would fight our love, our hearts, try to “end it” over and over, but we just couldn’t. I felt we had found one another for a reason. We had this connection for a reason. This wasn’t just something to throw away.

So we kept it.

Ruth and K. K visiting for Ruth's 24th birthday.


And we still have it now, over 4.5 years after that very first kiss. We live a few hundred miles apart still. K’s finishing up her nursing degree, and I have a job as a graphic designer in another city. Out of our 55 months as a couple, we’ve only been able to spend 10 of those living even in the same town. But I think persevering through just about everything together, including all of the long distance, has only made us work harder and grow closer in our relationship. We’re deliberate about making one another feel loved, whether we’re three inches apart or 300 miles apart. When we’re together in person, it just feels right. And when we don’t worry about all of the bullshit in the world, we know that it IS right.

Road Trip to Toronto.


There’s a light at the end of the tunnel for our long distance relationship. K will graduate in a little over a year, and hopefully in 12-16 months I’ll be moving to where she lives and for the very first time we will actually get to LIVE together! Goodnight kisses, waking up next to her, and being able to be there for all of the little day-to-day things that we miss.

The most important things in life really are impossible to predict. I don’t think either of us would have predicted this is where life would lead, but I’m thankful every day that it did. We don’t know what the future holds, but I truly believe that Love will win.

Ruth & K (aka Dovey & Lovey)

Photo taken at the NOH8 Campaign Chicago shoot.



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