All Roads Lead Here…

They say whatever you “play”  at being as a child is what you should be. Whether or not you become that is, of course, up to you.  There were two very significant activities I would play, so when I hear that–whatever you play at being you should be–I feel that it’s true, and if you think hard enough on your own life, you’ll find it true as well.

Getting off the school bus Friday evenings was always the same.  I would run inside the house, throw my backpack into my room, change into my tomboy clothes, and run next door to Granny Ben’s to play with Moe Moe.  Moe Moe was my first cousin, my dad’s nephew, and Granny Ben had raised him after his parents died in two separate and isolated car accidents while he was a newborn.  By all spiritual claims, Moe Moe was my brother, and every Friday evening we disappeared into our imaginations.  Granny Ben went yard-sale-ing every Saturday with my Aunt Ellen, so Friday evenings were reserved for scouting locations.  This bonding activity for them had existed since before I had, and I never questioned it or had any second thoughts when I passed them in the yard, sitting in their sea-foam green metal tulip chairs, sharpies in hand, circling tomorrow’s multiple destinations in search for junk-to-treasure.  As usual, I would wave and disappear inside the screen door in search for my own treasure: pretend.

The great thing about Granny and Aunt Ellen’s yard sale-ing was that typically they came back with some god-awful porcelain figurine to add to the collection in my room (perfectly lined from shortest to tallest, hidden behind my toy box) and a ream of paper.  I’m not exactly sure how this happened initially, but I remember the question, “Sissy, what would you like Granny to bring you from town?” Granny Ben asked every Friday evening in the small gap of time that I walked into the front gate to the screen door.  My answer was always, “Paper and a Dr. Pepper.” I had a place, hidden from everyone except Moe Moe, where I would stash my paper. There was an extra bed in the guest bedroom where no one slept,  and I would crawl underneath the quilt-covered bed, as far back as I could—which as a kid seemed to me like another kingdom underneath there—and stack my reams of paper.

Once the sound of the spring slammed the door shut, I would run into the guest bedroom and crawled under the bed into my paper kingdom. Moe Moe always knew where I was, so once I saw his feet underneath, I would emerge with a stack of blank sheets of paper. Pencils and pens in hand, he would be there waiting with a big, dumb smile. We would take our supplies into the screened-in porch, place our supplies on the extra-large boxed freezer, and pretend to write. Before either of us knew cursive, we would loop our hands like crazy, writing stories that no one but us could read. Eventually, we’d need to blow off steam from our deep writing, so we’d let the screen door slam behind us in our mad dash to my house to play Rocker Barbie.   I had the slickest stage any kid could imagine, and that sure helped when I had my own fake, plastic people to orchestrate into rock stars.

It’s no wonder I became a writer, or that I work in the music industry. Pretend is powerful.  Imagination is life’s way of guiding you into the best life has to offer. Playing is the world’s way of paving roads where there were none.

What did you play at being?

Children of Twitter

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The People of The United States of discrimiNATION

As a child, I had no experience with discrimination so therefore I did not have any prejudices (other than food).  Around the age of five or six while vacationing with my family in Truckee, California, I saw my first transgendered person.  I was playing on a pile of lumber (yes, my parents let me play in a lumber pile which is more dangerous than the hello I shared with the transgendered stranger) and a deep orange VW bus putted along the back road as the passenger took in the breathtaking scenery that the Truckee River offers.  I was immersed in my own world of play as the Doppler Shift of the hippie music pulled me out.  I turned around to see the passenger’s hand making hand waves out the window as the VW bus inched closer to my makeshift playland.  The Dr. Frank-N-Furter looking person watched me watching him with a curiosity that was frightening.  As his/her face softened into a loving smile, my scared feeling faded into a safe smile and I turned to run into the house.

Initially, I was afraid of the stranger because he/she was different and I didn’t know why he/she looked like that.  As the hippie music moved closer and I saw my first transgendered person, I can’t say I innately had any prejudices other than why is this person different looking?  With my own experience, THAT moment was a defining moment of whether or not I would be a product of my environment and carry on a legacy of discrimination because my experience was a smile and a ‘Hello little one’ out the window.  My experience wasn’t hate-filled, but it certainly was one I had never experienced before.

My mom told me that just because someone is different from me doesn’t mean they don’t feel the same things I feel.  I asked but why did the boy look like a girl.  She told me that sometimes people have to figure out who they are in life.  In a defining moment, my mother asked me if the transgendered person scared me.

“Yes, mom.”

“Why?” She asked.

“Because he wasn’t like us,” My sponge-like brain awaited answers.

“Did he do something to hurt you?” She hugged me.

“No.”

“So then why are you scared?” She continued.

I thought of his different face and how his soul beamed through his eyes as he looked at my fear dead on and with a caring heart smiled a warm smile at the little girl in shock.

“He smiled at me.”  I answered.

“So even though he was different he was a nice person, a good person maybe?”

I thought for a moment and replayed it in my head, “yep, he was nice.”

There is a moment like that in every one of our lives; a moment that shapes our perception.  Truth be told, I later found in life I was the one different and having been on both ends of the potential discrimination table I can tell you that discrimination is inherited.

I feel very fortunate that my mother, A TRUE CHRISTIAN, had an infinitely open heart to teach mine to be just as open and is currently teaching my little brothers the same.   Many parents are not like her and hand down discrimination to their children  and so on and so forth.  I told you this story because deep down somewhere you too have a moment like the above and if we can educate children about the facts of discrimination and stop spreading it, the world will be one big open heart.

Please read these facts and then join our fight for equality.

DFNF

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