Ahhh…. A day off! It’s been a busy week for me at work, lots of meetings and planning. Nothing I don’t enjoy or thrive on but something I haven’t been us to from many years back. So like most my days off I like to pretty much do nothing, watch TV, surf the web and just ‘putz’.
I’ve done the usual today … off and on work, answering emails from the office and doing a bit of research. Then channel surfing for a show of interest and getting quickly bored with it once I find something, moving on to surfing around on the computer for what ever peaks my curiosity at the moment. The run to the store and then to grab some lunch only to return and repeat my lazy day followed by a huge craving for coffee and another quick run to the store and then to Starbucks.
Of course, when I get back, I am back in front of my computer, TV on and surfing the web for some odd interest that jumped into my mind (and on today watching the little thermometer on my desk rise to a nifty 95.2° Fahrenheit with me trying to move as little as possible in risk of feeling the heat!) While waiting for the next episode of Law & Order: SVU to start, I run across an episode of JAG where they are talking about gay bashing.
As a few people who check in on my site might be aware of (and friends who have been around for so long neither of wants to admit it), I once was a big activist and did my part to fight the battle for Gay and Lesbian rights. Now days, I don’t really do much in the political or activism thing. I always ask myself why I don’t get more involved again. I loved doing my part, back in the days, but as I sat and watched the JAG episode I started to realize something.
I was young when I got involved. Starting around seventeen I went to work for “The Lavender Network” (TLN) in Eugene. Up until I was 21 I was entrenched in the magazine from my volunteer work, to events, to writing and so on. I met some of the coolest and most interesting people and my biggest memories are of the late night phone calls. I would be in TLN’s little office location working late when the phone would ring. Back in those days there was no hotline or helpline for people seeking advice, guidance or just someone to talk too (though at a later date “The Lavender Network” did create one).
It was those phone calls that I remember more than anything. So many people I had talked to and helped or at least tried to be an ear, listening as they told me their stories. Some incredibly sad and hard for me to sit quietly trying to impart any advice or positive comments as they confessed their fears and some entertaining as people looked to find things to do. I’ve dealt with people on the verge of suicide and with others who just wanted to know where to go to find others to hang out with.
But that and helping to put together an 80 page magazine, coordinate something like 40 volunteers each month and then having this stupid desire to make sure I upheld a good appearance for myself and the magazine, I missed being 18. When I hit 21 I left “The Lavender Network” and went to Seattle. I honestly don’t think anyone at TLN ever realized how much I wanted to try to catch up on what I missed out on.
From there I played and played and played and played. On the weekends I would go out dancing and drinking from Friday night till Monday morning (closing down the bars on Sunday night). Ahh … that was fun but somewhere around 28 I think I settled down a bit and tried to just go into a nice routine. Maybe it was later by 30 but regardless, somewhere in there friends moved away and life slowed down.
Now days I go by the practice of living my life and practicing the saying ‘it’s no one’s business but my own’. However, that doesn’t mean I don’t speak up and I have no problem correcting someone when they assume I have a girlfriend. But that is about the extent of it. I miss being active, I really do. I would love to see the world understand and accept people for being who they are instead of seeing a color or who they sleep with.
I personally don’t think that day will come anytime before I am long gone from the planet. Society, namely America, is so stuck in their ways that most people are afraid to move forward and into the future. Heck, look at who we keep electing as our representatives into government. Look at how we run from raising our own children. We are more interested in being powerful and money hungry then we are with bettering our standards on life.
I’m a firm believer that it takes everyone to make a difference. Me laying back and wishing for a better world does negate that belief, I suppose, but I don’t hide who I am and I am not afraid to speak out or correct someone when appropriate. I guess in a way that is my part to remain active. I don’t “act” gay or “sound” gay, since I don’t make a big deal about who I am, I get the fun of surprising someone with some important information on who gays and lesbians are … usually at someone’s most inconvenient moment. (side note: insert evil grin for best effect)
So what’s the point of this writing? Heck if I know, just something I was thinking of. Perhaps it’s my desire to become active again; perhaps it’s just something I have been thinking about lately. I really do miss my work at TLN and I miss being involved with others who are struggling to make life a better place for everyone. So perhaps I should take my own advice and get my butt in gear and become an activist again. Time will tell.
[Note: originally posted elsewhere on my personal website but moved to the journal.]