What Makes Me Dangerous

The response to an in-class prompt about people who are endangering the American Dream in the wake of #makeamericagreatagain . Thank you Sonnet L’Abbe for an amazing semester of poetry. Note: my mother is not a hoe–society gave her that label as a single mother, not me.

I’m so dangerous

You don’t even know

I’m in the fast lane

I’m a gay daughter of a liberated hoe

Thinking for myself

Raging against the machine

I’m a beggar of pardons

Where fuck the man is the Queen

 

 

Critical thinking has changed in my lifetime

To thinking critically

Social media feeds angry trolls

With little regard to the damage of words

Yet it is I who is dangerous

With my promotion of equality,

freedom and social justice

I’m dangerous with my dissenting voice

 

Calling bigotry and racism for what it is

Fear mongering and a refusal to accept the truth

We are one humanity but

don’t tell the right winged

Right winged. What a paradox.

Wrong winged is a more accurate term

Ideals that clip society’s wings

Making it unable to soar

Forcing antiprogress that leaves us grounded

In the very nests of hate our predecessors

Fought and died to free us from

How this generation can simultaneously revere

Someone like Lincoln or Nelson Mandela

And loathe everything they stand for

 

It’s the addiction to buzzwords and trending topics

Here I stand dangerously on the edge of unpopularity

Refusing to bend to the overwhelming hate

Throw it all on me and I’ll exchange it for truth

We are one humanity, one Earth, one universe

 

I’m dangerous because I think; thinking leads to change

Change scares people, figuratively and literally

In an age of digital currency

Money still talks, the wealthy still mock the poor

I’m dangerous, leave your tip at the door.

 

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Writer Wednesdays: Your Voice

Think of the stories that you tell your friends and family. What triggers you to share? I can think of three main reasons I share my experiences with others. Moving forward, I would like to formally invite you to consider a moment or some moments in your life that need to be share with others.

These moments could be tragic. These moments could be hopeful. They could bring laughter or they could bring tears. Most importantly, these moments are truthful.

What are the three reasons I share stories from my life?

  • I share stories to give encouragement

There are times in my life that have been straight out of a Law and Order: SVU episode. I grew up in rough circumstances. My choices as a teen were destructive. My young adult life has been plagued by trials, grief, illness and shame.

Yet, God has brought me through. I am an overcomer by nature and my blood type is resilience. If I can share who I once was in light of who I am now–my voice matters–it gives people hope.

  • I share stories to bring abundant laughter.

I’m hilarious. It’s true. Sometimes, I forget how funny I am. People get used to me. Then, I’ll be out at an event or in public and I’ll say or do something that’s classically Cheryl–and people will choke from laughter.

When life tries to suck the joy out of you, when all the news is bad news, when people seem to be negative for no reason–humour aptly placed can bring life. Just think of how much time we spend (waste) laughing at memes or watching Youtube videos. Laughter is the best medicine for many things.

  • I share stories to create understanding.

“What’s the big deal?” & “Lighten up.” are two phrases you wouldn’t expect are spoken to someone as laid back and hilarious as myself. Fact is, I hear them more often than is comfortable. You see, I’ve seen a lot. I’ve had a lot of hurts and I’ve helped a lot of broken people.

We might not know why something is important until someone tells us how it impacted them. Casually mentioned atrocities can cause deeps wounds in those around us and retraumatize them without our knowledge.

This is where you come in. Your voice, your story, your humour, your experiences can make the differences in the lives around you.

If you’ve ever thought to yourself “you have no idea”, here’s your chance to give the world an idea–a new perspective. Who knows, you just might change a life.

~Cheryl

Writer Wednesday: Greg White

This week’s post comes from a man named Greg White. I met Greg on social media. Social media, especially Facebook groups and Google Hangouts, have become a safe haven for marginalized people groups of all walks of life to gain support away from those who would cause injury. Greg’s recent Facebook post resonated with me and many others. It’s a reflection on the events in Orlando after the media has moved on to other things. It’s a reminder of how people are hurting, not helping. Most importantly, it’s an honest account from someone like me. 

It’s been over a week since the events of Orlando, and it seems everyone has had their say. Forgive me if I’m late to the conversation, but I’m still trying to piece together my feelings about it. I find myself utterly heartbroken. While I floated through Sunday in a sense of shock, and even went to a candle light vigil in a strange disconnect, reality set in on Monday night.

I’d come home from work having spent the day in a numb haze, and decided to decompress by making soap. It’s a simple hobby, one that requires little concentration and lets my mind wander through the day’s events and prepare for the stressors to come. As the bars of soap began to congeal in their molds, I began to sob uncontrollably. I cried first for the victims, every precious soul gunned down in the Pulse nightclub. I cried for their families, for their friends.

Suddenly the face of every LGBT person I know flashed through my brain and all I could think was, “It could have been him. It could have been her,” and finally, “It could have been me.”

In the days that followed, I found myself torn by grief while tending wounds that I thought had healed shut. Theological debates about the six “clobber passages” regarding homosexuality came roaring back into focus. My sense of public safety was suddenly shaken. The true face of bald, unbridled homophobia was unleashed in that hail of gunfire, and in its wake, those sympathetic to the gunman’s hatred were emboldened to speak. Fringe public religious figures like Pat Robertson pointed their fingers back at the LGBT community, and some even praised the killings.

But most painful of all, my beloved denomination put out a well-meaning but tepid response. They were sorry and saddened by the events. They were praying for the victims and their families. But where were these words when LGBT kids were killing themselves? Where were those prayers as queer people were denied their rights, kicked out of their homes, suffering depression and religious trauma, bullied, or ostracized?

We have told our stories over and over, and it seems they’ve fallen on deaf ears. Does it really take the worst mass shooting of the century to elicit a response? Decrying the violence, the Church never even condemned the cause. They never said the words “homophobia,” “LGBT,” “gay,” “lesbian,”“bisexual,” “transgender.” And so, the only word that really mattered to me was the word they’ve used to describe homosexuality in the manual; “perversion.”

It simply isn’t enough to stand up against mass murder without condemning the more subtle, institutional forms of bigotry that enforced it. I’m not a pervert, I’m a human being. I’m not an issue, I’m a child of God. I’m not a problem to be solved, a policy to be debated, a statement in a manual or even an out-of-context Bible verse.

How could the denomination that I love so dearly be so tone-deaf? Maybe it’s politics. Maybe it’s blind conviction. Maybe it’s fear. Maybe it’s a love too bewildered by a changing world to know how to express itself. All I know is that it doesn’t seem to be listening.

And yet, in the midst of all this heartbreak, I’m reminded of the text messages and phone calls from my sisters, brother, parents, friends, asking if I was okay. I’m reminded of the extra long hugs I received at church before I even realized I was going to need them for the week ahead. I’m reminded of my church friends marching alongside me in the candle light vigil, crying for justice. I’m reminded of my pastor, who preached repentance from bullying and lamented with me. His precious wife told me that she recognized my hurt, opened her home and let me know I wasn’t alone. Two friends had me over for dinner, let me pour out my anger and frustration, and made me feel understood. During communion, a friend looked me square in the eye, reached out, and clasped my hand in support. Countless conversations, notes of solidarity, and messages of comfort began to put me back together.

Is this what Jesus looks like? Is this what he meant when he said, “the Kingdom of Heaven is at hand”?

I want more than anything for my denomination to understand, to listen, to learn to love more fully. I want them to recognize the depths of pain their policies cause, to recognize that homophobia doesn’t only manifest itself in bullets. Sometimes it looks like smug superiority. Sometimes it looks patronizing. Sometimes it’s disgust disguised as moral righteousness. And sometimes it’s a child learning to hate herself.

But then, I guess policies and manual statements were never really Jesus’ M.O. The Holy Spirit transcends issues of doctrinal and theological debate. And God, it seems, is reluctant to work through imperious power or righteous fiat, but rather through individual acts of love. We are called to be the hands and feet of Jesus, and my congregation, family, and friends have been that to me. I only hope the broader Church can one day do the same. I long for the day the Church can be that for each member of the LGBT community, and not only in times of crisis.

You can view the original post here. 

If you would like to be featured on Writer Wednesday, visit the contact link in the main menu.

~Cheryl

Fan Friday: About Sex

I had a great conversation with a friend last night about the place for sex in a relationship. At the risk of ruffling some feathers, I’d like to take the time to address what I believe on this sensitive subject.

In a culture that is sex positive, and belonging to the LGBTQ culture which is dramatically sex positive, I come across as archaic and old-fashioned IMG_1658in my beliefs. I believe that sex was designed by God to take place
within a committed covenant that over the centuries has evolved into what we now recognize as marriage. I word it this way on purpose. Marriage wasn’t always a state recognized union, and is some places it still isn’t.

In North American culture, our covenant unions are surrounded by  ceremonies and paperwork. In other cultures, if you sleep together you’re married. One thing h
olds true along this spectrum, sex is sacred and our culture has lost that.

IMG_1386I’m not here to shame anyone, I can only speak from my experience and my convictions. I believe the Bible is true, which is why coming to terms with my sexuality as “other than
straight” and Christian doctrine was so hard—is so hard—in the first place. There are more verses about covenant, marriage and faithfulness in scripture than I can count. Marriage is so important to God and to the LGBTQ community.

What are we gaining by promising to be with someone we haven’t really treated any different from the last person we were with?

We gave the last person(s) our heart, our mind, our body…we probably thought we’d be with them longterm too (unless it was casual sex—which I’ll leave for another discussion). What makes sexual intimacy intimate is that it’s sacredness isn’t for everyone to enjoy. It’s a promise to be vulnerable and fully open to another person. If you wouldn’t trust someone with your life, your heart and your future, why would you trust them with the most tender parts of yourself?

Ultimately, if you’re a Christian, you need to figure out where your convictions are in light of the Bible. Do you believe it has authority or is it a nice book to you? No judgement. My sincerest heartfelt hope is that you learn what your convictions are and live a life of integrity. Don’t feel pressured to feign someone’s idea of holiness and don’t feel pressured to be sex positive simply because the people you identify with most are doing it. there’s glorious freedom in knowing who you are in Christ and living accordingly.

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Cheryl

What They Don’t Tell You About Being an Adult

Photo Credit

I am a friendly person. All my life I’ve had an easy time of making friends. I’m the person that the introvert stands beside at a party so they don’t have to talk to strangers. Only, now that I am a grown up and moved away from my college friends, I don’t get invited to parties.

If you’re like me, you’re a product of a mobile global world. You no longer live in the town you grew up in, nor do you still live in the same community you went to college. You’ve likely changed jobs a few times since and still have long distance conversations with your closest friends. You spend more time on Netflix and Facebook than you do meeting people–and trouble is, so do all the other adults like us.

The question remains, where do grown ups make friends? I’ve got some ideas that I’m committed to try this year. Post in the comments things that work for you.

1) Join a group on Meet Up. 

www.meetup.com is a website that sounds sketchier than it is. It’s NOT for hook-ups and sleazy relations like Tinder and other infamous sites. It’s geared for finding people in your area with similar interests. Social media driven by strangers who love meeting new friends. There’s groups for Hiking, Movies, Pubs, Restaurants, Concerts and many other interests. There’s accountability as it’s all public, so you don’t have to worry about security like with other apps or websites.

http://www.everywhereist.com/meeting-online-friends-for-the-first-time-my-10-safety-tips/ Has some good tips about meeting friends from online in public for the first time.

2) Work friends

Never underestimate the people you spend your days with. Some of you are fortunate enough to work in a place that has a lot of people. When we’re kids, we are friends with our classmates. In college, we’re friends with our roommates and dorm mates. Why do we stop this when we enter the working world? My workplace has a lunch room. There I put my friendly nature into play by asking simple get to know you questions. Facebook has sort of ruined this for us. It lays out everyone’s likes, dislikes, friends and hobbies. At work, we actually have to figure those things out for ourselves. Pay attention to the work room chat and jump in. Here’s a few things to keep in mind.

http://www.careerealism.com/friends-work/

3) Take yourself on cool dates

At first, this one felt really awkward.

Taking myself out places that are usually reserved for couples and friend groups leaves you feeling vulnerable. After a while though, regulars at pubs, parks, cinemas and cafes started to recognize me. Before too long I had some new friends. Sometimes, I end up having a really nice time by myself. More often than not though I end up finding the only other brave single person there and we band together. Safety tips for this are similar as meeting online friends–always tell SOMEONE where you are going and when you plan to be home again. My most famous phrase is ‘if you don’t see me post on Facebook tonight–call my cellphone‘.

Basically, have fun, be yourself, don’t over think it, be safe and talk to other people and not your phone. Our biggest detriment to our success is our smart phone. We text people to tell them how lonely we are when we could just talk to the person next to us who is doing the exact same thing.

Add your voice:

Post in the comments any friend catching ideas that have worked for you.