I Woke Up This Morning
November 5, 2012

I woke up this morning, happy to go to work. I was relaxed, I was eager to get to my day. I wasn't trying to escape from home. I wasn't dreading the work ahead.

Content and eager.

I drove in to work, marveling at the mountains, the sun playing with the crevices. Oranges and pinks playing in the tiny bits of wispy clouds and reflecting down on the mountain. Driving down the mesa until the sun just POPPED out from a crevice, brightening the remains of the volcanoes to the west. 

I was singing along with Los Lonely Boys at the top of my lungs and looking forward to my day.

Once I got to work, I almost forgot to clock in, my mind already spinning to the various things I had to get done, wanted to get done today.

Eager. Anticipating. Enjoying.

Later in the day, the new guy came over. He was afraid that I had thrown the little cake he brought me first thing this morning away. I was horrified. Of course not! I showed him it was in the fridge. I was thinking I would take it home to share with my partner tonight. He smiled - he's a very smiley kind of guy, his face just lights up - and said that he was going to make that suggestion earlier. He thought it would be nice for us to share that cake. A nice moment together - sharing a treat.

It wasn't until later that I truly marveled over that gesture - not just the cake, but for us to share it together.

You see, I know I grew up post-Christopher Street, post Stonewall. I know that my life has been easier than so many. I was never hassled by a cop wanting to know if I was a male or a female. Never asked how many "gender appropriate" pieces of clothing I had on.

I know that I've had it easy. I've had friends who were gay-bashed - one who suffered a severe brain trauma and despite the bleeding from his head, the cops turned away and wanted to know what the problem was. (He'd been hit deliberately by a car as the driver called him a faggot.)

Matthew Shepherd was murdered while I was in college.

Pat was a popular SNL sketch throughout my high school and college days.

I've had a couple of times when some random stranger wanted to let me know they disapproved, but nothing major. A postal worker refused to pick up a medical bill because of the rainbow sticker on the front door and a bit of Dr. Pepper which had gotten spilled onto the bill. He was certain it was AIDS.

I had a doctor insist he should run an AIDS test instead of a plain, old CBC (basic blood count test). 

Mostly just ignorance without real malice. Still dangerous, mind you, but nothing like what others have been through.

But I didn't realize just how guarded I'd become until today. This happy, joyful day when I was so relaxed and in the moment.

When my new coworker not only sweetly brought me a small birthday cake, but hoped that I would take it home to share with my partner of 13  years.

It wasn't until later in the day, when he insisted on washing a dessert dish that another coworker had brought for my birthday (I tell you again, I am so blessed right now - it's unreal), that everything came together for me. I thought I was doing well to get it back to her that same day. I forgot that there's a sink where we can wash well-scraped dishes. This new guy insisted on taking the dish in there and washing it.

Incredibly thoughtful. (I actually take my dishes home to wash them - I seriously forgot that little wash area was even there.) It was thoughtful and sweet of him to do that. I told him so and thanked him for taking the time to do that. 

He replied a few minutes later that one of his ex girlfriends had once told him he was very feminine. I scoffed and said he was kind and conscientious.

And then it occurred to me. While I told him I was gay and talked about my partner, I didn't expect such a matter-of-fact acceptance and inclusion. I grew up Catholic and Texan. Most people I knew back in the day might have decided they liked me, but would ignore that I was gay and had a partner. I wasn't truly included.

You experience something often enough and you come to expect it. I didn't even realize it, but I expect for people to only superficially "accept" me. I expect there to be a holding back, a staying apart from my supposed "differentness." And I'll admit that I expected a latino man raised Catholic to not accept me.

That was the best birthday present this year. To recognize that guardedness and to realize I need to let it go. To realize that I have to stop assuming that the Focus on the Family folks, that the Westboro folks, that the Family Research Council and the National Organization for Marriage are not the only folks out here. They don't represent the bulk of Americans who can see me for me and not for what they assume I do in my own home.

It was the icing on the cake he brought me, the whipped cream on the trifle another coworker brought me.

Yeah. It was a damn good day today.

And tomorrow, I get to go back to a job I adore, work with people I love and learn something new.

I love my life.

Posted by Red Monkey at November 5, 2012 5:35 PM | Storytelling: She was, of course, supposed to be sleeping. | | StumbleUpon Toolbar Stumble |

 

Tara R. said:

This makes me very happy for you.

November 5, 2012 7:42 PM

 

terry oggel said:

I like this post, enjoyed this one thanks for putting up.

November 18, 2012 7:13 PM
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