Monthly Archives: June 2015

I was an ally to Sarah, first.

Hello, dear friends. I wish I could remember specific details and quotes with clarity and overwhelming accuracy. Sadly, I can’t. High school was a stressful blur of memories and the good ones went with the bad as I let them fade into oblivion. In the 8th grade, through high-school and into the early years of college, one of my closet friends was Sarah. She was quiet, soft spoken and had a great sense of humor. As long as I can recall she loved furry little animals especially her cat, Baby. We both loved books. I can’t tell you know what originally drew me to Sarah. I know that I trusted her in a way that I have trusted very few since. I was a typically teenage girl, obsessed with attention, boys, the mall and liked to push the envelope. I didn’t take my classwork very seriously. Honestly, we didn’t really seem to have much in common. At some point during high school, I remember becoming aware that Sarah was a lesbian. (There was a funny conversation that took place about my boobs that still makes me laugh.) I don’t remember how it became more than an awareness and it became something we talked about. I have no idea if Sarah had a coming out speech that she gave me. If she did, I probably handled it like I did with Preston, “So? So what that you like girls?” What I missed at the time was how alienating this must have been at a Catholic high school with Catholic parents.I didn’t understand the persecution that Sarah risked to be herself. There is no way I could pretend to understand how life must have been for her. I know I did and said the wrong thing at times. I was self-absorbed and didn’t identify what an ally was and that I should be one. I can’t go back and change it now. I was young and dumb and didn’t have the balls to use my white, straight, privilege like I will now.

My first Pride parade was in Portland. I’m not sure the year. I think we were upperclassman in high school or perhaps we had graduated. Sarah wanted to go and I wanted to support her. I remember watching the parade wanting to do more, to be more for Sarah. I knew that we wouldn’t have a romantic relationship but I knew I loved her and wanted to keep her safe from hecklers or other assholes who were encountered. Towards the end of the parade, I remember some Bible thumpers giving us a hard time. .. Oh for Pete’s sake…I’m typing this and Everybody Hurts by REM comes on the radio. SERIOUSLY??? Give me a moment while I cry here…

Ok. Wow. Let me try to collect myself after that memory lane time warp. I remember there were religious bigots that criticized us and assumed we were a couple. There in that moment, I grew up quite a bit. I did not want to distance myself from my dear friend. I’d rather step toward her and claim her and knew with every fiber of my being that MY GOD loved Sarah and every other gay and lesbian person as much as He loved me.

I wish I could say that I kept showing up for Sarah and got involved in activism. I didn’t. I had a series of dysfunctional relationships and got pregnant at 19. I didn’t nurture my relationship with Sarah and I will regret that, always.

However, that pride parade has left an impact on me. Now, that I’m older and bolder I’m willing to sacrifice friendships and relationships fighting for what is right. It’s not just about wearing rainbows to Pride Events but to vote in such a way that all minorities will have the rights that I enjoy. It’s about teaching my children to use their privilege for the benefits of others. To show up for our friends at a Trans Pride March and carry the sandwiches for miles if this is what they need. It is about listening to the people that we are trying to be allies for and doing what they want and need. My job is to support and advocate for my bisexual son. To educate others about the stigmas and misconceptions that bisexual people face even from other LGTQ people.

As I participated in the Portland Pride Parade two weekends ago, I strongly felt like someone was missing. Sarah, the original love in my life that introduced me to Pride. I am the flashy and loud one and I think I was always a bit too boisterous for her. Who knows? Maybe if she saw me that day she would have tucked her head down to avoid the spectacle that is me and my people.

Sarah, if you are reading this, I will always have a special place for you in my heart. The love and support you offered me and the shit you put up with, I didn’t deserve. It made a huge impact on who I want to be. Love you, B

The blessing of another brother.

There have been many amazing things that have happened in the past week. The boys and I went on a road trip to Portland to participate in several Pride events. (That trip will get its own post.) Today, the boys and I went with my parents, Sharon and Dan, and Preston’s girlfriend, K, to Crater Lake. It was breathtaking. We have a bunch of photos that Preston took that do capture the beauty. I’ve spent time on the phone and online getting to know my father better. All spectacular blessings. However, yesterday, I received a phone call that I had never dared to hope for…

Yesterday, I heard my youngest brother’s voice for the first time. He’s not much older than Preston and yet when given my phone number, used it to call me! It was incredible. I was impressed by how calm he was. He said he was comfortable calling me and believes that “family is family and blood is blood.” Reunion is something that I’ve had many different types of experiences with, with different family members. I’d like to think I’m some sort of expert. However, the way he boiled it down to its simplest concept, was such a blessing for me. I didn’t feel anxious talking to him, like I usually do. Of course, I couldn’t shut up and barely let him get a word in edge-wise. There are so many little details I want to know about him! I want him to get to know us, his nephews and my husband. What I already know about him is that he is strong and sure enough to be willing to put himself out there, to call a perfect stranger to “find” his long-lost sister who has loved him all along. I am so proud of him for taking a risk on me and on being reunited. I still can’t stop grinning.

I’m so grateful to his mom and our dad for telling him about me and for painting me in enough of a favorable light that he felt he could call me. To have the chance for names to become faces and to have them claim me as their family is an unparalleled moment. The more I can see them in my future, the easier it is to stop looking back.

I do not share this milestone to brag, as I know some who read my blog are still lost or have experienced broken reunions or their reunions have glimmered on the horizon in front of them and then have faded away. This chance is not something that I take for granted. I share this to offer hope. Once upon a time, I was sure that this door to this brother of mine, was closed. I share this to show one more example of my life, being lived in God’s timing. I share this as an example of young people being open-minded and grown up.

I cannot wait to see what is next for us. God is good, my friends.

Love and love, Rebecca

Identity crisis, resolved.

Ever since I was a small child, I’ve known very basic info about my biological father. He was tall. He played football. There was Cherokee in his heritage. That was about it. Talk about holes. During our brief contact when I was in my late teens, a few holes were filled in. Name, spouse, my siblings, career. I didn’t put any work to building a relationship, I was a brat and neither of us were ready. Now, we are both grown ups with a few miles on us, a shared faith and a commitment to not judging each other. It is so fun and brings me much joy to learn about the things we have in common. Today as I received the names of my family members I’ve never known, it was great. I have MORE people. This is super cool. I feel like a little kid at Christmas, unwrapping presents that have been secrets. So, now after all these years, with both sides combined I know that I am English, Irish (have always been drawn to Celtic things), German, Scottish, Cherokee. It feels fantastic. I’m interested in a little genealogy. For now, asking every question I could possibly want to know the answer to is keeping me really busy. The boys are pitching in questions too like “Do you like you like math?”.

This is very exciting and I’m sorry if anyone feels ignored, overlooked or left out. I promise to get back to regular life, eventually. Love and hugs, Rebecca

My life lived online.

Hello readers. Happy day to you. It is for me. I’m in my favorite place. In my bed with laptop, my favorite fuzzy blanket, wearing smelly hand lotion, listening to the iTunes radio station of 80’s movie hits. This is my sanctuary. I know that I am only supposed to use my bed for sleeping, you sleep hygiene purists. Hush. Here, I am able to let the noise and chaos of the busy work day fade into oblivion. This place is for my life and my thoughts and my feelings. There is no pressure, anxiety or worry. In fact, every day I worry less than the last. Being grateful makes me too busy to worry! 🙂

I know that some of you have the opinion that I share too much of myself, my life, my family, online. I can see where you are coming from. Being told that I had my cell # public on FB really blew my mind. That was an ignorant accident, which I fixed. What isn’t an accident is choosing to share what life has been life growing up as an adoptee, or Preston’s mental health challenges, our experience with inpatient mental health treatment and safety proofing our teenager in our home, my stories of reunion, my faith and my family. I choose to share what we have lived and how we love so that others may learn from what we’ve been through. My friends know that they can contact me if their children are in a mental health crisis. I have a unique perspective and will not judge. I am not ashamed of myself as a parent who made mistakes. I’m certainly not ashamed of my children and how they’ve dealt with challenges thrown at them. I’ve lived a large portion of my life with disordered eating. Through therapy, love, prayer and deciding to have a positive life, I am in recovery. (Not cured. Addiction doesn’t work that way.) I have learned to love and except the size I am. In recent photos I LOOK HAPPY!!! It’s a good look for me. This is my authentic life. It has ugly and love and joy and pain. Every moment is worth it. Everything I am and everything I have I give thanks to God. I hope that other people can be inspired by my faith. There is value in my life lived online. I have friends across the United States. When I know of a prayer intention that needs more attention, I rally my prayer warriors and they never let me down.

This life I live and share online, is real. I’ve lived my entire life without my biological father. This week, I reached out to him on FB and he reached back. In the few days following, he’s answered my remaining questions about my heritage. (I have found it really hard to focus because I want to keep reading and re-reading the new info for my identity.) This online transparency isn’t for everyone. I know I push the envelope and other people’s comfort zone. I try to be respectful of what other people might not want shared online. I want to let me excitement run rough-shod over everyone and everything and spin around in a circle laughing until I fall down.

So here I am, to share me, my stories, my failures and my triumphs. I offer you my wisdom, my dreams, my friendship, and most of all my prayers. With love and more love, Rebecca