Tag Archives: Gay

White Knuckled Decisions: It’s not my job to teach other people lessons.

but why?

The Kid (formerly known as The Tot).

I’m a new mom. Newish.

I’ve held this position for the last 3 and a quarter years now and every day seems to bring a whole new set of rules.

I like it. I’m one of those odd people who enjoy a good shake up every now and then.

Yesterday, I was chest deep in a very awkward and potentially damaging situation where I had to either choose what I wanted to do OR choose what was best for my little hazel-eyed, curly, blonde-haired, 3 year old daughter.

I picked up my daughter from school and wanted to treat her to her favorite meal. She usually goes for shrimp and crab but the budget for the day only allowed for shrimp and we pulled into the local Sam’s Seafood and Eatery.   As I’m getting The Kid (formerly known as The Tot) out of the car, I hear a man shout from the curb and ask me if I had any money.  “Sorry man, I don’t have any cash” is what I shouted back at this tattered homeless man…and then…my mouth opened back up.  “Are you hungry?”  I asked him.

Of course he answered with yes and I motioned for him to come into the restaurant with us. As he met us inside, I asked him for his order and get it to go.  Then I ordered for The Kid and me.

The three of us make it over to a table and sit down. Not much chit chat.  Our server brings our meals out at the same time.  Ours for here; His to go.  He decides to stay and eat dinner with us.  At this point in time, I realize that my daughter is in for more than I bargained for…

She sits across the table from him in her little 3 year old frame…wide-eyed and silent. I look at him as he looks at her.  No sense in trying to side-step the inevitable.  The man, who later became known as Isaac, has a black eye patch that covers his left eye.  He has a scar that runs from the top edge of his hairline, through his eyebrow and left eye down to his left cheek.  There is another deep scar that runs from his right ear across his face to his lips.  His top lip has been smashed too many times and lies much differently than most upper lips.  His arms are also covered in numerous marks and scars. Finally, I say to her, “Are you afraid to talk to him because of the eye patch?”

“No, Momma.”

I explain to her that he looks differently than she is used to but that he has 2 arms and 2 legs just like she does and that he is a just a normal person that has had an accident (or 2 or 6).

Photo: Jake Warga“Why is he eating with us, Mom?” As I explained that Isaac doesn’t have a home and that he was hungry, I told her that sometimes people need help and that if we can help them, then we try to help them.  Isaac nodded his head in agreement and said thank you.  The Kid eyeballed him nearly the entire time we ate.  And I was fine with that.  Isaac tried to carry on a conversation with her but she was content with nodding and didn’t need any other interaction.  And I was fine with that.

As we started to wrap up our meal, Isaac pulled out his Gatorade bottle half full of his drug of choice. I asked him if he preferred whiskey or rum.  He quickly shoved his bottle back into his bag.  “It’s whiskey.  I have a drinking problem.” he said.  “We all have our problems.” I replied.

**Enter the SHAKE UP**

“Yeah…I know. I tried to share a 40 with this woman earlier and she told me she was bisexual.  I don’t like that.  I don’t care for those homosexuals.  They’re disgusting.  Then she said that she was going to go down to that Equality Center and I said that I don’t want to be around those fags.  She got mad at me then and I had to get out of there.  They can keep all of those faggots over there, I don’t want nothin’ to do with them.” he said.

They can keep all of those faggots over there, I don’t want nothin’ to do with them.

At this point, I look at my daughter and look back at him. I tell him that I understand why that woman got upset with him.  I ask the server to bring some boxes so we could box up our leftovers.  “It’s time for us to go.” I say to him.

I could feel two versions of myself fighting each other on the inside of me. One was telling me to breathe while the other had firmly planted her feet and slung out a healthy, “THIS FAGGOT JUST FED YOU DINNER”.

I wanted so badly to “teach him a lesson”. To let him know what he’d done…that he walk away from this place knowing how rude and awful he was.

And then I looked back at my daughter. This was her time.  She had a brief glimpse of what it’s like to help someone in need.  She didn’t need to know the ugly side of it.

I needed to walk away.  I scooped up my little baby girl and we left Isaac sitting at the restaurant.

Now I am white knuckled, trying to decipher if I did the right thing or not.  She’s really quiet but breaks the silence by asking me if I’m ok.  I nodded and smiled big at her, “I’m ok, sweetie”.  As I’m getting buckled into my seat, I ask her what she thought about eating dinner with Isaac.  Normally my 3 year old likes to give her opinion with gusto.  However, after asking her about dinner, she just looked at me through the rear view mirror.  “Were you scared?”  She just looked at me.  “Are you thinking about Isaac?”  She just looked at me.  Trying to think like a 3 year old, I asked her, “was he a good guy or a bad guy?”

She looked out the window and then back at me. Furrowing her eyebrows and tilting her head sideways, she said, “I think that he is good guy AND a bad guy.”

She already knows that there can be an ugly side.

Not everyone is open hearted.  There are people everywhere who misunderstand other people unlike themselves.  Some even wish that the other didn’t even exist.  Gays, Straights, Christians, Muslims, Religious, Non-Religious, War-mongers, Peacemakers, Atheists, Hungry, Homeless, Rich, and Poor.

Since that moment, I have reconciled that it’s not my job to “teach other people lessons” when they offend me. My job is to work at being an amazing mom to my daughter and this particular lesson was for me…to help when I can and walk away when necessary.

For more information about the Equality Center, an amazing resource for the Tulsa area, click here.

For information on a very easy way you can help the homeless in the Tulsa area, click here.

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How my Strength caused My Paralysis.

We all want to be strong. Right? Am I right for thinking this way?

quote-strength-persistIt seems that we all have a desire to be physically, mentally, emotionally, and/or spiritually strong.  Most of us anyway.  For me, it has always been important to “have a good head on my shoulders”.  I have modeled my life around being as diplomatic to situations as I can possibly be…sharing multiple points of views and relating to many sides of the story.  I grew up this way. I was the first born child in my household and had a very strongly opinionated and hard working mother. It became necessary to understand that there were more sides than just 2 to any given story at any given time. I had to take on the task of being “momma” while Momma was at work and also act as liaison and advocate for my siblings once Momma came home because ultimately she was the final authority in all things.

Momma taught us that we were leaders. Momma taught us that we were strong.

What happens when it all backfires?

I’ve shared before that we were exceptionally poor. Growing up in a house that had only one room…just a box that we played in, slept in, and ate in. No electricity or running water.  I know that all we wanted was to escape.  For a couple of my siblings, their escape was writing.  For me, my escape was physical and the moment that I met someone who told me I could do it…I did it.  I left.

I was ushered into a life of travel and I LOVED it.  I also loved the idea of helping people. I had already “roughed it” most of my life so to travel to 3rd world countries to help build sewer systems or water towers to help others seemed like a dream.  I was introduced to an organization that honed in on my eagerness to lead and my desire for traveling.  At this point, I knew what it was that I wanted to do for the rest of my life.  What I didn’t know was the power that had tapped into me.

It was January of 1993. I had been groomed to attend what was called a Discipleship Training School.  To most Christians, the title of the school seems harmless enough and looking back on most of my training, it was really an amazing school.  We learned about diplomacy, public speaking, travel, working and living communally. We learned about humility and patience…it was a very hippy-esque school but I liked it and this lifestyle liked me too.

Here’s the rub.  See, in all of this, we were getting ingrained to learn a school of thought about chain of command. I had already gotten a good grasp of this while living at home but here at the school, I was one of the younger and newest recruits.  I had MANY people to answer to and many voices to obey.

Head down...don't ask questions.

Head down…don’t ask questions.

It’s so weird to type this out.  My memories of this time in my life carry a desperation and it’s hard to know that I was so easily paralyzed.

We lived a very strict life.  We couldn’t do much without the consent of our leaders. We couldn’t go home to visit family, we couldn’t choose the jobs we wanted, we couldn’t date, we really couldn’t do much of anything…unless we had the approval of our leadership. To this day, it’s still hard for me to see that this WASN’T ok.

I was considered one of the “rebellious” ones. Not so much because I rebelled but because I followed questionable orders with a grimace on my face.  Trust me, I get protocol.  I get the need for a chain of command.  However, I didn’t understand why I needed to be told what to wear, how to wear my hair, who I could date, what I could do with my leisure time, who I could and couldn’t be friends with, when or if I could leave the base to visit my family…and on and on and on.

We weren’t a military base.  We were a Christian organization of missionaries and our leadership had overstepped it’s boundaries from leading to controlling and I had been brainwashed.

I had been brainwashed.  I had been brainwashed.  I had been brainwashed.

Here’s the deal.  Before I left for missionary school, I had been treated for homosexuality.  That’s right, I was gay and had been put through a gay to straight program.  I was told that in order to fulfill my “life calling” I could never act on my homosexual tendencies and in order to learn to be straight, I had to listen to and do everything I was told or I WOULD FAIL.  I would fail at life, fail my family, fail my God, fail at being a leader, fail at being strong.  So… I did what I was told.  I obeyed.

After living in this cult type atmosphere I started to test the waters. I had climbed the ranks in the organization, so to speak, and decided to act on an attraction I had towards another girl in the organization. After a few weeks, our relationship was exposed to the leadership and after 2 years of blindly following their every dictation, including a humiliating “outing” to the entire organization, we were sent home packing.

Photo Credit: Yannick Bouchard

Buried Alive…what it feels like to be paralyzed by fear and control.

Have you ever witnessed someone experiencing drug withdrawals or someone grieving?  Writhing in pain, unable to think, unable to breathe, unable to sleep, unable to bear being alive.  This is what it was like for me.  Everything that I had built my life around and for was taken away.  And it was easy for them to do so.  I thought at this moment that I had forever ended the life I was meant to live.  I was back to square one.

The very thing that I had strived to leave behind…the very thing I had desired to escape became me, once again. I was an outcast.

And still I longed for the escape. I longed to travel and to help people and I longed for the only way that I had learned to do so.

After being relieved of my position, I agreed to complete another gay to straight program in fear that I would never fulfill the purpose God had for my life.  And really, when you’re in that situation, your only thought is do what you’re told or give up living all together.

So…I did it again. I obeyed.

It’s been over 20 years since that journey began.  And since then, I have battled the resentment, the failures, the damage, the brokeness.  Sadly, it wasn’t until today that I realized how much of my life has been affected by what happened during that time in my life.  I still struggle with confidence and standing up for myself.  How do I recover when the desire to be strong backfires? How do you trust yourself to have the ability to make good decisions?  How do you trust yourself to trust the right people?

I have recently stepped back into my career of public speaking. It has been nearly 10 years since I stood in front of a crowd and shared my heart.  I was all but banished from the arena of public speaking in the way that I have always known it. But today, I refuse to count myself out.  I refuse to give up my dreams.  I refuse to be told that I am broken.  I refuse to believe that I have nothing to offer.  My story may not line up with yours. You may not give two cents about anyone who is gay or their journey.  You may have never been so low in your life that you allowed someone from the outside to paralyze you.  I don’t know. But what I do know is that there is someone out there who needs to hear that someone else knows what they are going through.

I will be your someone else.

I have decided that I will be vulnerable by my own volition. I will share my heart again and I will help people again.

I speak on these very topics of Shame, Guilt, Vulnerability, Poverty, and Overcoming Gay Reparative Therapy.  If you have an event that would benefit from these talks or an event that would welcome these discussions, please contact me at Angel Adams Media Services.  And please share this with others…My heart is that no one be paralyzed by someone else’s doing.  We are supposed to be free. We are supposed to be different.  We are supposed to be strong.

You are welcome to follow Angel on this journey.

You are welcome to follow Angel on this journey.

Be strong, my friends.

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