Greetings, fellow keyboardists.
This week’s Park Lark will be a bit briefer than you might normally expect from such things, mainly because I started out with one intention in mind and then I became distracted by something else. (On a related note, this perfectly describes my romantic adventures in college, when I was a bit of an unfocused tramp. Let’s just say that I welcomed a challenge, and we’ll leave it at that.)
I was piddling in the archives, as I am wont to do whilst searching for inspiration, and my random clicking eventually led to me revisiting comments on past posts. I believe I’ve said it before (although this might be a lie, unfocused tramps often resort to such) that sometimes, here at Bonnywood, the comment threads often turn out to be much more enriching than the posts that inspired the threads. That being the case, I’d like to share two snippets from two conversations, both of them involving how we strive to be better, or we at least hope that we are.
C.J. Hartwell: This was powerful! Well done, Brian from 6 years ago, and well done Brian from today, choosing to post it intact.I graduated in 1982, in Phoenix — bigger city and maybe a bigger school than yours, but hate is hate wherever you live. I can remember how loosely those derogatory words were thrown about, or the taunting song the football players would sing whenever someone walked by whom they suspected was gay. (My God, why was it always the football players? Was there some requirement they be assholes?)
Years later when I became more aware, I wondered at the cruelty handed out to anyone who was different, and we just accepted it? Why was it never questioned?I work at a high school now — I’m admin assistant to the principal — and you wouldn’t believe the changes! Students seem much more accepting, there’s a LBGTQ club on campus and it’s well attended, by both gay and straight students. It really is remarkable how much better the climate is, although I know it’s not perfect — hatred and ignorance can never be completely erased. Even so, there are signs.
In March of this year, the church denomination I belong to voted to allow gay marriage — which was a long time coming but still a surprise. Then in June when I woke up to hear the Supreme Court decision, it blew my mind! It feels like we’re living in a new age, doesn’t it? I mean, I realize it’s far from over, that there is still so much to do, but … well, it seems possible now, right? That more and more, people will be allowed to love who they want to love. And others, the ones who hate them for it, will get smaller and smaller, until one day, no one can hear them anymore.
Anyway, wanted to let you know how much I appreciated this post.
Me: Wow, this comment could be a blog post on its own, and deservedly so. That last full paragraph is very heart-warming, culminating in the great hope that “no one can hear them anymore”. (I think I got something in my eye while I was reading that, dang it.)
And yes, it did always seem to be the football players, right? At least it was in my case, for the most part. It was such an overwhelming aspect of high school at that time. Football was King, the star players were gods, infallible, and the rest of us did our best to stay out of their way. (I’m exaggerating a bit, but not really, especially in Oklahoma.) You are spot-on in highlighting the cruelty that was blithely accepted in those days. So much pain, discounted, ignored. Then again, we didn’t know any differently. It was the culture of the time. Individuals could be enlightened, but the masses could turn on the TV and get their prejudices reinforced with nearly every program.
It’s nice to hear that some school systems, these days, are moving toward tolerance, but as you mention, we’re not quite there yet. It hits me in the gut every time I hear a news story about a gay teen suicide, often the result of bullying by peers, a despicable activity that has actually been made easier by the throw-a-brick-and-run ease of social media. (Sometimes modern inventions have their downside, despite good intentions.) So we have to keep fighting, for ourselves, for each other, for decency. And one of the ways we do that is for someone like you to have honest, supportive conversations with someone like me.
Next, we have the post “Tulsa Flashback: Shotgun Sam’s, A Woman with Issues, and Some Really Bad Porn”. The equally lovely Claudette provides her thoughts on the proceedings…
Claudette: I shudder to think what an urchin you must have been. Surely you were destined to become a Super Villain Megalomaniac and rule the world but somehow you subverted your natural tendency and turned into a decent, loving, good person.
Me: Thank you so much, Claudette. I’ll admit that I was a challenging young urchin, mainly because I was instantly given the mark of the beast since I dared to ask questions, something one didn’t do in rural Oklahoma. You were expected to accept the conservative party line, to swallow the tenets in a manner akin to some form of personal rapture, and then march forth into the land, spreading said gospel. I couldn’t do it. Granted, I was much more hesitant than some of my stories might imply, but the fire was there. And then I met other people who questioned, other folks who did not fit into the status quo and wanted change. So, I slowly learned to turn my anger into empowerment. I never got to wear the Super Villain suit, despite the fleeting appeal it might have. But I did get to wear jeans and a t-shirt, and I got to know more people who understand that jeans can come in all colors and none of those colors are any less worthy. So, I keep typing and hoping and working toward a day when nobody feels inferior because they don’t fit a mold that somebody else created…
Bottom-line motivation for this post? Please feel comfortable in speaking your mind here at Bonnywood. The sharing of honesty and compassion is a wonderful thing. Unlike some sites (no names should be mentioned, according to my lawyer, Scotch the Cat) I do carefully review all comments and contemplate fully an appropriate response, even if it takes me decades to follow through. And sometimes those comments end up in a burgeoning file that I open up from time to time and remember when, gently touching the words that touched me.
Peace out, peace in, peace.