Suddenly her mom’s silence matched Jackie’s own. “Oh, my God,” she murmured in disbelief. “Are you gay?”
"Yeah," Jackie forced herself to say.
After what felt like an eternity, her mom finally responded. “I don’t know what we could have done for God to have given us a fag as a child,” she said before hanging up.
She got a call from her older brother. “He said, ‘Mom and Dad don’t want to talk to you, but I’m supposed to tell you what’s going to happen,’” Jackie recalls. “And he’s like, ‘All your cards are going to be shut off, and Mom and Dad want you to take the car and drop it off at this specific location. Your phone’s going to last for this much longer. They don’t want you coming to the house, and you’re not to contact them. You’re not going to get any money from them. Nothing. And if you don’t return the car, they’re going to report it stolen.’ And I’m just bawling. I hung up on him because I couldn’t handle it.” Her brother was so firm, so matter-of-fact, it was as if they already weren’t family.
You should read this Rolling Stones piece on Queer kids getting kicked out by their religious parents. And remember it. (via fuckyeahdiomedes)
Speaking of homeless teens, this article will break your heart and is worth reading.
Austin and I were walking by a group of homeless teens sitting behind Safeway and this one kid looked at us and calmly, cheerfully even, said “you should kill yourselves.” He was smiling slightly and nodding and he maintained eye contact until I looked away.
Like it was kind of funny but also disturbing? I guess we looked like total assholes. Anyway I think about that dude like once a week.
And then, there I was, in the room. I couldn’t believe how much like an operating room it felt. Cold, bright lights, antiseptic, people scurrying around and chatting with each other. It was like being present at my own death, except once in awhile someone would ask me a question and I would call out to everyone, trying to be funny.
“You’re smiling again,” the doctor said to me, “Guess you’re feeling more like yourself.”
Is “myself” smiley? I wondered. Does she think of me as cheerful? Was I less myself before, stripped of politeness? That seemed sad.
Meaghan O’Connell is telling us what it was like to have a baby over on tinyletter all day today and it is wonderful, wonderful, wonderful (via christinefriar)
Okay it’s wonderful yes - and necessary (why doesn’t anyone talk about how horrifying giving birth is!?!?!?) - but I literally had to get off my train at one point while reading this because it was giving me a panic attack.
Meaghan’s writing is so funny and on point but (and I mean this in the most literal sense) I am deepy scarred for life.
Oddly enough, a Justin Bieber poster that hung near my desk at my first full-time salaried job was one of my biggest catalysts for growth in my early twenties.
(I guess I’m in my mid-twenties now, at the ripe old age of 25, but really all these years just blur together and there is barely a distinction. I know I’m going to blink and be 30 and despite having just experienced a decade full of rich, amazing, and awful experiences, I’ll still feel mystified that THAT was the decade everyone is always talking about…and how is it already over? Maybe we label early/mid/late because it makes this decade feel like less of an utter fucking mess. Which it has been for me and most of the people I know and love. We’re all a wreck. Taylor Swift called it. Happy, free, confused, lonely, all very true.)
My first friend at this company was the one who hung it up. The Justin Bieber poster. She was mature, funny, girly, southern. The type who said “It’s Friday, y’all!” every Friday. She was different from me but we formed a connection, mostly via discrete eyerolls in the kitchen when someone said something particularly douche-y. This company, by the way, was full of douches. It kept our friendship strong.
We were different in plenty of ways that didn’t make me bat an eye. Her unabashed love for Justin Bieber, though, astonished me. It was totally unironic and she had no problem with anyone knowing that she followed his every move and shed tears over his particularly emotional ballads. His relationship to Selena? The end all be all.
At first, I was embarassed for her. And then, I was amazed by her. And envious. Here was a girl who was smart, funny, stylish, discussing economics with her poli-sci doctored boyfriend, with all of her shit together, and oh by the way, obsessed with a teen pop star sensation.
I would ask her about this and she would say she didn’t care. She eradicated the concept of guilty pleasures. If you like it, you like it, she believed, and that’s all there is to it.
Aside from opening me up to the world of celebrity gossip and interest (which I’m fully a part of now, openly and without shame), she opened me up to what it meant to “be yourself,” as horridly cliched as that phrase is.
This realization came then with a further understanding of myself that was a little frightening. For years I’d been obsessed with needing to like the right things. The things I felt fit with the personality I had, or should have, or wanted to have.
Next I discovered a comedian on twitter, and I wish I could remember her name. But she took the lightbulb the southern belle had plugged in, and illuminated my whole brain. First and foremost she was hilarious, but the subject matter went in so many directions she didn’t fit into any of my heretofore understood personality boxes. She made poop jokes. She loved fashion. She made political jokes. She watched the bachelor. She was incredibly smart. She was a feminist.
This to me was, sadly, a revelation. A PERSON CAN BE ALL THESE THINGS AT ONCE? AND STILL BE VALID?
And then followed the pathetically obvious realization that a personality is just a collection of your personal likes, dislikes, interests, impulses, ideas, and thought-processes. And that all of those things didn’t need to perfectly align with one another. And they could totally contradict each other. And they could rage against stereotypes. They could define you as an individual, instead of you as a certain type of individual.
It seems silly and obvious writing it out, but even today, three years later, I have to remind myself that it’s okay to be me. To think and feel what I feel, even if it goes against what society has taught me to believe I should think and feel based on what kind of person I’ve decided to loosely identify with (although that whole notion belongs in the trash, or at least should just be reserved for pre-teens who need something to hold onto during puberty). I learned to question whether I truly liked or disliked something, or if I was just blindly following the shoulds and shouldnts. In fact I put that on my 2012 new years resolutions: “Don’t dislike things just for the sake of disliking them. Question these things.” along with “Support women more. It’s not a competition.” Enlightening year I guess. Thanks internet.
A big part of growing into myself these past few years has been learning that I’m a person that’s different from other people. And that even if there is someone who is pretty similar to me, we’ll still be different in some ways. I’m a pile of contradictions. I’m a collection of traits that is unique to me and that is what makes me, and everyone else, interesting. Deciding you want to be a certain type of person, and then stuffing yourself into that at all costs, is not only boring, but detrimental to your personal development. And I’m talking about me here. Me. And maybe you, if you’re like me (in some ways, different in others).
The miraculous part of this realization was the insane amount of energy that was restored when I absolved myself of that pressure. I love people who love things unabashedly. And then turn around and love another thing, or display a trait, that totally doesn’t fit with the first thing. They fascinate and inspire me! They are comfortable with who they are.
All this to say, being comfortable with who you are is the most fascinating and riveting thing you can be in this day and age. To me. In my opinion. And maybe in yours, if you’re like me (in some ways, although I’m sure very different in others, which is cool and interesting and worth noticing).