Conversations With A Three Year Old. About Fathers. When He Has Two Moms.

I’ve been watching “Tidying Up” on Netflix. I like her style. I took her method to my son’s closet and dresser. I took all the clothes out. Packed up two massive garbage bags for goodwill and one plastic container for Summer stuff that will still fit them. Then refolded all their shirts, Tidy style, and I was feeling very proud of myself putting all the shirts neatly folded into their dresser. Declan was in the room with me, chatting with me and playing intermittently.

He took a toy and pretended it was a phone, he was whispering, “Hi, is Mama there?” he wasn’t looking at me. I was chuckling to myself still putting clothes away, “Okay, bye,”. The one sided dialogue was cute, and I turned to look at him when it was over, “Who were you calling baby?” I asked. Thinking I already knew the answer. Me. Mama.

His answer floored me.

“My Father,” (But it sounded like My Fawder because he’s three and talks funny).

Me (trying to act very casual and not freak out): “Who?”

Declan: “My Fawder,” he smiled.

Me: “Oh, uh, who’s your Father baby?”

Declan (takes a moment to ponder this question): “Uhhh, Mommy!”

Mommy is my wife. Who was not home at the moment. Declan was all smiles, glad he figured out who his Father is and resumed playing.

I sorta sat there for a minute with my perfectly folded shirts and wondered how or if I should pursue this line of thinking. Then I thought. Fuck it. At least he knows I’m not his Father. I mean sheesh. I’m Mama. My wife has short hair and no boobs hence I’m sure the confusion. Three year old’s don’t get gender and he probably just thinks she’s the male-ish figure.

I know other lesbian couples where the kids call one partner (generally a more butch-y partner) Daddy and they just let it ride. So that’s what I do.

I told my wife when she got home. She thought it was hilarious. She asked Dec who his Father was, and he smiled shyly and said, “Mommy,” and she smiled and gave him a hug.

Declan is wicked smart. I’m not just saying that because I’m his Mom. I’m brutally honest. Trust me I would say if my kid wasn’t smart. His brother, Jackson, also wicked smart, but lazy. He can do as much and say as much as Declan he just chooses not to unless or until it benefits him. Potty training. Didn’t do it for M&M’s or chocolate chips. Wasn’t the right motivator.

He did it when we started not allowing him to watch any movies until he went on the potty.

Jackson is a cuddle bug. That boy will cuddle with me at any time of day or night that I sit down. He’s attached to me. Declan will snuggle occasionally. And it’s not because he doesn’t like to snuggle. It’s because he’s so damn busy. He’s always taking toys apart and putting them back together. The other day I went into the other room and he had half of a jumbo 24 piece puzzle together. It was hard. It was the jungle. It all looks the same. The kid did it by himself. I’ve never even shown him how to do a puzzle and he wasn’t looking at the picture on the box to guide him.

But I digress.

My point is that he figured out kids have Moms and Dads. Mothers and Fathers. Then he tried to fit his family into that social construct. Mama is a girl obviously. I have long hair and I breastfed him for a year. I wear necklaces and he’s always touching my hair telling me he loves it.

But Mommy, that’s debatable in his eyes. Short hair. Dresses like she works at a paint store (because she does) and wears work boots and no jewelry.

So there you go. She fit the Father mold a little better than Mama (which is fine but for real I’m the one that uses the power tools). Then he assimilated that into a fact in his head and bingo bango a Father is born.

My wife doesn’t care. In fact we’ve talked about utilizing Father’s Day as her day and Mother’s Day as my day so we have separate days to celebrate one another. My kids sure don’t care. But there’s something niggling at me (yes that’s a word).

Why are society’s constructs so rigid that a three year old gets them better than he does his own family composition?

Sometimes people get mad when I reference heterosexual privilege. But I’m going to do it. Because hetero’s have privilege. EVERY movie in existence that is mainstream and three year old appropriate has hetero families and love interests. The boys love Disney movies. Guess what. All male/female. Everywhere. And when, God forbid Disney had Lafou dance with a man, there was moral outrage from every homophobic twat in existence. It was a dance. Not even a long dance. I wouldn’t even have recognized it as a gay moment if I hadn’t been looking for it.

Our society makes a two mom family seem less than, unequal by not giving my sons the same opportunities to see two mom families as hetero families in everything from the media to books to magazines to movies to filling out forms for freaking vaccinations. It’s always Mother/Father. What about Parent/Parent?

My three year old shouldn’t think he’s supposed to have a Father. But he does.

He’s just also smart enough to realize he has two parents who love him, and one of them obviously would fill the Father role better than the other one. Touche Dec-man.

(The picture is Dec reading to all of his doggies. I heard chairs scraping and came into the foyer to find the dogs lined up and him reading. He is defying gender stereotypes by reading from the Disney Princess Encyclopedia)

Queer Christmas.

I did an intake recently on some one who told me their parents are very homophobic. I laughed, and said, “Well, we will work on that,” and then they noticed all the super gay pictures of my wife and kids and I all over my office. They started laughing hysterically. They thought it was freaking awesome that their homophobic parent made an appointment with the most Queer provider in the area. Divine intervention no?

That happens more than you would think.

I’m used to it now. I charm the parent over about six months and they have NO clue that I’m married to a woman. Then at some point when our relationship is solidified I drop it in that I have a wife or they can’t ignore the pictures any longer, and we talk about their pre-conceived notions of Queer individuals. I’ve only had one person drop out of treatment after this confrontation. Out of many. Many stay.

Many have their mind blown and re-evaluate their beliefs. Often because in the course of this conversation they realize their kid is some sort of Queer also.

I am a Queer magnet. It happens. I’m cool with it.

As an aside I have to point out, because my wife totally got me, we were talking about Mickey Mantle…weird because we both dislike baseball…and I said “Of course I know who he is, he’s a cis white dude,” and she said, “Well so is Santa.” Touche. Sometimes my wife gets me.

Anyway, I see both ends of the spectrum personally and professionally. I see kids just coming out to their parents, young adults who have come out, and parents who are struggling with their children’s sexuality or sexual orientation.

My absolute favorite phone call is a distraught parent who wants to come in to learn how to best support their child who just came out to them. That amazes me. I’m like, kudos and thank-you. You acknowledged that your kid is going through a lot, and you reached out to a professional who you probably heard is Queer who can help. Strong work.

My least favorite are sessions leading up to the holidays. The pain and the struggle is so real.

It’s hard for my wife and I too. Do we send a Christmas card to her parents or not? We didn’t this year. She chose not to. Do we expect a card from them? Sometimes we get one, and it’s usually religiously based with a zinger in there that just twists the knife.

My wife’s struggle is unfortunately common in the Queer community. So many of my clients struggle leading up to the holidays. Do they reach out? Do they not? They find solace in friends, as we do. They find solace in significant other’s families who are supportive, as we do. They sit with the pain. As we do.

Queer Christmas’ are like Queer birthdays and every other holiday where we have to face the fact that we are alienated from our families due to our sexual orientation or gender identity.

But ever the optimist, I cite Belle’s Enchanted Christmas and point out the best gift any one can receive at the holidays is hope. Hope that one day families will heal the bonds caused by discrimination. Hope that even if we don’t heal the wounds between family members we can heal our community. The Queer community needs to focus on saving lives of all our individuals who feel isolated and alone. Our suicide rate climbs. And I hope that one day it will be zero.

I’m doing my part. One homophobic parent at a time. I’m not under any illusions though, it’s totally the pictures of my boys that win them. Who doesn’t like a woman who has the cutest twin boys in the world? Even if she’s lesbian?

To my Queer community: You are NOT alone. You are beautiful. You are loved. You will find your family.

To the Hetero’s: Make sure your Queer neighbors and friends are not alone this holiday season. Walk the walk. 

To my Wife: You have found your family. We love you. And yes Santa is cis-white-hetero. Touche.

 

The Moment Your 3 Year Old Figures Out Mommy’s Family is Missing.

That moment happened. The one we’ve been dreading since I got pregnant. My sons and my wife were watching The Good Dinosaur. A horrible trippy Disney movie that for some reason made it past Disney editors. My sons are obsessed with it.

There’s a part when Arlo, the dinosaur, is explaining to a human critter what and who his family is. My sons learned awhile ago that their family is Mommy, Mama, Declan, and Jackson (and Rajah and Maddy the cats but they fight over who can have Maddy because she’s more friendly to them).

They are watching that scene, and they are holding pictures of my Aunt and Uncle and cousins, and my parents- Poppy and Ba (Gramma), because they tend to walk around with those pictures and chatter about their family.

Declan looks at his pictures, then he looks at my wife and says, “My famwe Mama, Mommy, Chackson, and Decky, Rara, and Maddy.” My wife says, “Yes, good job.” He wasn’t done though. He looked perplexed and held up his pictures and said, “Who your famwe?” That little three year old brain had put it together. All of these extended relatives were Mamas famwe. So where the heck are Mommy’s people?

My wife responded perfectly and said, “You’re my family. You and Jackson, and Mama.” Declan is too smart for his age. He looked at her, and at the pictures, like he knew that couldn’t be right. So he asked again. And again. And again. Because he’s three and he’s my son. I’ve been told I’m like a dog going after a bone. I won’t stop until I get my answer. Apple doesn’t fall far apparently.

So eventually my wife said, “Well I don’t really talk to my family baby.” He responded, “No talk to your famwe?” and she nodded. Then he became engrossed in the movie and seemed to accept this as an answer.

My wife told me as soon as I got home that night. We were both a little surprised and caught off guard. He’s too young for us to explain this. He’s too…innocent. We don’t want him to know that her family cut her off, left her homeless, has never met them because she’s a lesbian. But he’s also too damn smart and nosey. He’s going to know sooner than we would have liked.

His brother likes to live in happy oblivion. HIs brother accepts reality as it is and doesn’t question it. But he will know too, because if Declan’s talking about it Jackson’s going to be listening.

So here we are. Three years and two weeks into their little lives. That’s how long they lasted without knowing or asking.

It feels weird. Kind of a relief. Kind of terrifying. Sad. The way they will be introduced to discrimination is through the grandparents they will never meet. Not how we would have liked it or planned it. But that’s our reality.

It all feels so stupid. Such an easy fix. Yet so impossible at the same time.

There’s no guidebook for this whole parenting thing. There’s also no guidebook for the whole lesbian mom disowned by her parents thing. It’s a lot of stumbling through. Waiting for the questions to be asked and wishing we had different answers when they are.

How I’ve come to embrace being called a B*&%$.

To start with not many people have called me a bitch to my face. I’m sure many more have said it behind my back. I used to find it quite irksome. Yes it would irk me (Did anyone get that Two and a Half Men reference?! Love that show).

Then I grew a second layer of skin and got over it.

In case you weren’t aware sexism is alive and well even in the liberal Northeast.

I recently had a client’s husband call me to discuss my “method of billing” a.k.a asking for money owed to me for services already rendered via an electronic invoice. Seemed pretty harmless to me when I sent it to them. He took this tone though, the “Settle back little girl while I explain to you how the real world works with us big men folk doing all the heavy lifting and don’t worry your pretty little head about stuff like billing and money, and by the way how about you put your boss on the phone because I’m sure he and I will compare penis sizes and talk about the futility of females doing math…” I mean he didn’t say that, but that was the gist. I smiled and in my sweetest voice possible I said,

“Sir, I very much appreciate your call, but I find it completely unnecessary unless you have a credit card number you’d like to give me over the phone instead of just inputting it into the invoice I sent you. Was the invoice too complicated for you to figure out? I know some people just are not tech savvy and that’s okay. You mentioned my boss; I don’t have a boss, I actually own this practice, and from where I’m sitting this situation makes perfect sense to me. You owe me money. Please pay me.”

There was silence for a moment on the other end. Then he gave me his credit card number.

These occurrences happen on the regular. I hate to generalize but it’s generally men who come into my office confrontational and attempt to put me on the spot and make me feel intimidated and uncomfortable in my own office.

I’ve sat with more than one man in my office, often the father of a teenage client, who has said “I’m not trying to intimidate you but…”

If I was not a nurse practitioner, perhaps if I was an MD, and perhaps if I was a middle aged white male they would not act this way. But I’m not middle aged or male or an MD.

I have wild curly hair, I wear colorful and sometimes tight clothing, I expect to be looked at in the eye not the chest (though I do have a big chest which I know in our society is called a distraction and should just be hidden…yawn and eyeroll). I do know my shit and thankfully I can say I graduated from an Ivy league school when these lovely gentlemen demand to know where I went to school.

There’s more to me than that moment though of being put on the spot, an entire eleven years of nursing is behind me in those moments and an entire thirty three years of living. 33 is young yes, but I’ve seen a lot.

I’ve held children’s parents as they were told their child is dead. I’ve put IV’s into kids who weren’t breathing and who were on the cusp of life and death. I’ve seen my fair share of death, dying, abuse, neglect, and quite possibly the worst of humanity. So some jerk coming into my office pontificating and waving his phone at me with WebMD pulled up showing me why I’m wrong and he’s right…well yeah I’m going to roll my eyes potentially and then educate you on why WebMD may not know as much as me and feel free to call me a bitch on your way out the door.

I used to be intimidated which was the very goal of several male individuals I’ve encountered in my career. But I’m not now. Because I know what I don’t know. If I don’t know something I have no issue saying it. If I think people need a second opinion I say it. If I think I do know something, I also say it. Take it or leave it. I also have a loyal following of clients who refer their family members to me, their friends, their partners, and that I think is the best compliment I can receive.

I’m not going to shut my mouth because my intelligence makes you uncomfortable. That’s a you not a me issue.

The incredibly painful aspect to this though is the message I received growing up was that an intelligent strong female is a bitch. That there is no place in the world for my boobs when they are attached to a brain and a face and a woman who will point at you in the face and tell you “My face is up here.” (Yes I did that. At the nurse’s station to a resident in front of the entire emergency department staff.) I used to feel shame around my intelligence because it just wasn’t sexy or fun or admired.

That this message has not changed for girls in the past thirty years is freaking depressing. That we elected someone who normalizes sexual assault pisses me off. And no I won’t shut my mouth about it.

I recently watched Nanette (because I literally watch it once a week), a stand up comedy show by Hannah Gadsby. She ended the show by NOT relieving the tension. By making profound and gut wrenching statements and self disclosures and then pointedly saying, I’m leaving you with that tension, it’s yours to hold to feel and figure out. That resonates with me.

I’m leaving people with tension because I’m not going to be quiet about discrimination and sexism. Because what’s most important is that I want to be the role model for some teenage girl who is being told her intelligence is not sexy, that her ideas are too bold, and she should just try and be nicer. Because seriously screw that noise.

Intelligence is hot. There’s a whole kink devoted to it! Sapiosexuals are attracted to intelligence!

My ideas have gotten me a successful business, a beautiful family, and I will continue to think boldly and outside the box because dreaming big is necessary. Be nice? Sure. I can be nice, but I will also call bullshit when I see it. I will play hardball when I need to. And in the words of the great and wonderful Pink: I Won’t Back Down.

Some one online recently told me to not be angry about discrimination. I also think that’s bullshit. Don’t tell a minority to not be angry. It’s rude.

Do I think I should carry that anger all the time and let it define me and let it guide me in interactions with others? No. But when my wife is disowned by her family, when my children have never met their grandparents because of their intolerance, when my wife is told to unpack a carload of firewood because she’s gay, when my transgender teenage clients are told to get out of their homes by their discriminatory parents…yes I’m angry. Yes I have a right to be. Until you’ve walked the walk of a minority don’t presume to think otherwise. That’s called white heterosexual cisgender privilege. Check it.

So what can we do with all this information? Educate our young girls. Don’t stifle them into boxes of pink with bows and niceness. Let them explore all of themselves. Let them be “nasty”. Let them stand for something. Encourage their exploration of their intelligence. Don’t tell them they are pretty when you see them; ask them what book they’ve read recently and tell them they are smart! Don’t define yourself, your daughters, your friends in the narrow confines of “female” in our society.

Let your hair be curly and wild, let your cleavage show, while simultaneously quoting Martin Luther King Jr. and discussing neuroscience. Be brainy, be sexy, and if needed be angry. Because we need to keep feeling angry and not numbed to what’s happening in our country. Don’t be numb. Don’t live in a bubble. Acknowledge the problems.

Be part of the solution.

#VOTE

“But please, please never stop believing that fighting for what’s right is worth it. It’s always worth it. And we need you keep up these fights now and for the rest of your lives. And to all the young girls, never doubt that you are valuable and powerful and deserving of every chance and opportunity in the world.” Hillary R. Clinton

 

 

 

 

When a Farmer Told my Wife to Stop Buying Firewood From Him. Because She’s Gay.

We live in a rural area where there are farmer’s who put firewood in bins to purchase on the side of the road. It’s labeled 20$/bin or whatever. My wife went to the same one, right up the road three times. The fourth time, today, the farmer came outside and asked her what she was doing. Clearly she was buying more firewood.

He was upset she swapped one large piece for one smaller piece in another bin. He said he’d seen her there three times before. She hadn’t swapped any pieces before. She said, “Yeah the big piece is too big, we don’t have an axe to break it down further, I’m sorry, I didn’t know, and it was just one piece for one piece…” he cut her off and started unpacking her car. She already had most of the bin loaded.

I asked what she did while he unpacked it. She said she helped him. Piece by piece. Silently. Side by side. Homophobe and homosexual.

He then put some of the wood back into a different bin. Which completely goes against what he had just said. She didn’t argue. She said she could tell he made up his mind before he even came down, and wanted to just get off his property as it felt unsafe.

When you are a minority you get a sense from when some one is just an asshole vs. when you are wrong yourself vs. someone who is homophobic. She said she knew he was homophobic and was looking for a reason to engage with her and cut off her business.

My wife is somewhat naive and very kind. She wouldn’t have misread that. I am very cynical and expect the worse. So I would be one to immediately assume discrimination. She’s not. So if she says it, then it must of been bad.

For her to be in tears when she was telling me. Yeah it was bad.

I don’t know how many more blogs I will have to write about the discrimination that faces my family in a supposedly blue liberal state. I don’t know how long it will take for people to get that this is an issue. It’s not going away. If anything it’s gotten worse since 2016.

It’s a heinous few seconds or minutes when some one lays his cards on the table and then you have to be in their presence. It feels unsafe, scary, and shameful. But I will not own that shame. I’m putting it back on the homophobes. Discrimination and hate is your shame. Own it. Because it was my wife who helped this man unload her car giving him back all his damn wood (yes the irony was not lost on us either) because he didn’t want a lesbian on his property and doing business with him.

These posts are hard to write. I hope they are hard to read. I hope they create change.

To my wife: We are now not supporting a homophobic person’s business. That is a good thing. I wouldn’t of helped him put the wood back which is why you are better than I am.

 

 

 

But Why Are Kids So Anxious?

When I tell people I work in psychiatry and the majority of my roughly 400ish patient caseload are teenagers…I usually am asked a bunch of questions. The people asking are usually adults over the age 35. And the majority of adults who lead up to “But why are kids so anxious these day? Or so depressed? In my day we didn’t have all this school avoidance and depression. It must be the social media.” Or something equally enlightening.

Now I am only speaking from my little corner of the world and it likely is not generalizable to the entire population of teenagers. But here’s why the kids I’ve sat with say they are anxious and depressed enough that I usually start an anti-depressant (while ensuring they are engaged in therapy because I am a firm believer in both therapy and medication working together).

“I’m scared I’m going to get killed.” “I’m scared of a school shooting.” “I’m scared I won’t see my Mom again.”

Really sit with that for a minute. Because it’s not uncommon for me to hear this. Kids are scared of going to school and being killed.

And why shouldn’t they be? What have we as a society done to reassure them that they won’t be? We’ve created active shooter drills where they hide in closets and crouch behind desks. How terrifying that must be to think the only thing between me and a bullet is this desk.

I graduated high school in 2003. 9/11 happened my sophomore year. I lived about ninety minutes from NYC. One of my classmates went home without a Father that day.

Aurora, Sandy Hook, Pulse, Parkland, etc.

When I looked up a list of school shootings since 2003- well there have been 36 in 2018. 36. Sit with that number.

How can we expect kids not to be anxious?

Everyone younger than I am has grown up in a time when school and mass shootings are accepted. Our society isn’t even shocked by them anymore. They make the news for a week max, then we move on with no change.

Sandy Hook- the gun laws in Connecticut are supposedly some of the strongest in the nation, and I can tell you they suck. They do not keep guns out of kid’s hands. As just last year there were two teenagers playing and one shot and killed the other one accidentally. Guns are still here, even in Connecticut where a classroom full of our babies were killed.

Then let’s talk about social media. There are articles about these shootings posted all the time. Articles about how are society is moving toward The Handmaid’s Tale style life because our administration sucks. Articles about missing children, sexual assault, not to mention actual discussion and cyber bullying with their peers.

Then there’s the percentage of my clients who have been sexually assaulted and have not told any one. Ever. Because they knew the perpetrator, perhaps a kid in school with them or worse a family member. It’s rampant.

Throw on the massive workload at school where they are forced to be glued to screens for hours a day, regular pressures of sports and college applications, identifying as lesbian/gay/bisexual/transgender in a time when we have the most homophobic administration imaginable; and being the generation to look at possibly the highest college tuition fees in history…yeah I’d be anxious too.

Teenagers today are NOT like teenagers twenty or thirty years ago. So don’t compare them to yourself. They are facing more danger and more pressures than we could ever imagine.

I went to school when Columbine happened. I remember making plans in my head as to how I would hide or escape. But it never stopped me from going. I remember talking to friends about it, but we never thought it would actually happen at our school. Well it’s happening in real places and real people are dying.

Instead of asking why kids are anxious we should be asking how can we as the responsible and intelligent adults in our society help them be less anxious? How can we make them feel safer, supported, loved? And why haven’t we started to do this already?

How my twins and my whiteness got me out of two tickets.

I’m not saying this with pride. But on days like today, when they brought me to tears and I brought them to tears. Well I need to think about something other than them flooding my kitchen with the damn faucet when I was in the laundry room for maybe two minutes. And how Declan wrenched my freaking back because he didn’t listen to me, climbed too high at the playground, and then let go and fell and I caught him in one arm…all 37 lbs of him. Yeah that freaking hurt. It was a bad long day for all of us. So this blog post is not about that, it’s about something bigger and deeper.

The first ticket they got me out of…I was using my cell phone…on speaker phone about three or four years ago, when I was pregnant with them. Very pregnant. I had a big Jeep Grand Cherokee. The cop pulled me over literally as I was pulling out of the parking lot from work. I had some one on speaker and was switching it over to bluetooth and bam. Red lights.

I explained I was switching to bluetooth but I literally just got into the car. He asked for my registration. I looked at him and explained, “I have to get out of the car to get it. It’s too far, and I can’t reach the glove compartment because I’m pregnant.” This was not a lie. I actually couldn’t reach it over the belly. I leaned over to demonstrate.

The cop looked disgusted. Because who wants to make a pregnant lady get out of her car in the 90 degree heat, behind the psych hospital, and make me walk to the other side to find my registration. He knew it was going to be a shitshow. He asked me if I worked at the psych hospital, I said I do, I’m a nurse practitioner. He facepalmed. Because he knew that my co-workers would likely either be watching or coming outside and then berate him for making the pregnant lady waddle around extra in the heat. He likely brought patient’s to us. He knew my co-workers are mouthy.

He asked me to show him the bluetooth working, which I did. Then he said, “Just go.” but not a nice Just go. An I’m disgusted with this whole situation type of “just go”. I drove away.

Flashforward to Thursday. Yes the day after I wrote the horrible blog post about my horrible week leading up to Wednesday. Thursday morning I got pulled over for speeding. He said, “You were going 50.” I said, “Yes, I know I was, my bad, but I mean it’s a 40 zone…” meanwhile the boys are saying “Hi, Hi, Hi….” on and on until the officer says “Hi” back. He was youngish and smiling at me. It takes me awhile to register, but I think he was flirting which is weird because he clearly saw my twins in the backseat. I’m not used to being flirted with as a Mom.

He replied, “Actually it’s a 35 zone.” I said, “Well shit. My bad.” Because I did actually think it was a 40 zone. Then the boys get louder, and Declan says, “I scared Mama,” and I’m telling him it’s going to be okay, and then I look at the smiling police officer and do my best to look apologetic, and he asks me if I’ve gotten tickets before, and I say No. In my head I think ‘because I’m a nurse and I was pregnant’ but whatever. He lets me go, and tells me to have a “very nice day,” with a huge smile and a wave to my boys.

Now I’m thinking am I being punk’d? Because who gets out of a ticket with a smiling police officer? Then I think, well I’m a white woman with two toddlers in the backseat, in a nice car, wearing nice clothes, and then I’m like Fuck. White. Privilege.

I didn’t want a ticket. And is this only the second one I’ve gotten out of in my life? No. Unfortunately not. But the point is I’ve gotten out of them. And had I been Black or Hispanic or a man would I have gotten out of them? Hell no. I know I wouldn’t have. Had any of these officers known I am married to a woman…would I have gotten out of them? Who knows. I generally don’t wear my wedding ring to work so both times there was no obvious sign I was married.

I don’t know how to change this. Because, well for one thing I don’t want the damn ticket. But neither does any one else regardless of race or gender. It didn’t feel like a win as I drove away. It felt like a, shit, I suck so bad for using white privilege in this moment without even being aware I was using it. But that’s the point right? That’s why people who are not white get so pissed at white people for not even acknowledging that we have privilege and that we use it. It didn’t even hit me fully until I was pulling up to daycare. Where thankfully my two white boys are the minority.

I got out of the car the same time as a Black family, and that’s when it hit me. I thought what if it had been them who got pulled over? A Black Father and his daughter. Would he have gotten out of the ticket with a scared toddler making a scene in the backseat and a winning smile in the front? Probably not.

I’m not going to pretend I could possibly understand what it would feel like to a Black man to be pulled over by the police. Or a Black woman. I can’t. I can imagine it is fear and vulnerability though. The fear and vulnerability I’ve felt when I’ve been with my wife in conservative areas. The fear and vulnerability I’ve felt as a woman when I’ve suddenly realized I’m in an elevator full of men. I felt fear when I got pulled over. But not fear for my life. Fear of a ticket. A piece of paper, money, the hassle.

I can’t imagine being pulled over and fearing for my life. But I know that is the reality for many.

Like I said, I don’t have the answers, but I know this is a problem.

I always call out heterosexuals for not using their heterosexual privilege to advance LGBT rights. Well I’m not about to not call out myself when I’m using white privilege to my advantage without using it to advance the rights of all Persons of Color. This is a conversation that the hate in our country has sparked: finally. If there is anything good that comes out of the asshats in DC it’s the conversations around race, sexuality, gender identity, and that yes white privilege does exist.

As I said, I don’t have all the answers, but I will not remain silent or put my head in the sand and not acknowledge the problem. And that I too am a part of it. These are hard times and hard truths. But, perhaps Prince Edward says it best to Heath Ledger in A Knight’s Tale, “But you also tilt when you should withdraw…and that is knightly too.”

I know now is not the time to withdraw but tilting puts the knight at risk. It is a true fighter though, someone who weighs the options, knows they may fail, but tilts anyway. This piece was uncomfortable to write for me. Because it makes me examine my faults. No one likes to do that. But until we do nothing will change. So here I am, laid bare, tilting when perhaps I should withdraw.

I also know I need to switch to bluetooth before putting the car in motion and apparently I need to be more aware of speed limit changes on back roads. My bad.

p.s. the picture- of course they had to hold hands and walk down the brick path at the playground today after he wrenched my back, and look all cute and stuff. They know how to play me.

 

 

 

 

 

How the Right Thinks We are Being Manipulated by the Left. And Why I’m Fine With That.

I got into a spirited discussion with someone online regarding the Kavanaugh hearings. I actually watched the hearings. He didn’t. I read the transcripts. He didn’t. I’m a lesbian. He’s a cis-hetero white male. He emphatically stated that Dr. Ford was a liar. I emphatically stated that ultimately I could give two craps whether she’s lying or not. It comes down to blocking Kavanaugh from the SCOTUS. Because I watched his performance and I was less than impressed. He did not comport himself with dignity, grace, humility, non-partisanship or neutrality. I personally feel these are all needed to serve on SCOTUS. So if Dr. Ford’s allegations stop him from serving. Then go on with your bad self.

This online troll then accused me of being okay with lies as every Leftist is, as long as we get our way, and that the legalization of homophobia wouldn’t possibly change the treatment my family receives from our society.

I gracefully exited this debate with a have a nice day, and until next time. There were a few statements he made that angered me. I didn’t like that he would presume to know what would happen to my family should legalization of discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity occur federally. Because that’s what we are facing from this administration.

In case any one hasn’t figured that out yet.

It’s a thing. It’s part of their agenda. It’s already legal in several states in the South and midwest and I know personal stories of individuals and families in these states who have been victim to these laws.

No offense to white dudes. But you have no idea what it is like to live in fear. Fear for my safety. Fear of discrimination. Fear of losing my job. My house. My friends. My family. All because I’m married to a woman. These fears are NOT unfounded. My wife’s family has no contact with us because we are gay. We have been called dykes. We have left bars because we felt unsafe. We will never vacation in Alabama. Or Louisiana. Because those states have legalized discrimination.

So if the democratic party is “manipulating” public opinion to oppose K. I say it’s about time and thank-you Dem’s for finally taking a stand.

I will also say to any Republican out there. That lying is not unique to the Democratic party. Um….Chris Collins, Russia, Scott Taylor, Duncan Hunter, Rod Blum, the Iraqi invasion, and for real do I even need to say Nixon? Lying is not owned by the Left. It’s actually likely present equally on both sides. And quite honestly whatever protects my family…affords us safety and allows us to continue to live as Americans in our home. I’m down with.

At least I’m honest about it. Unlike trolls who act like all R’s are these self righteous God fearing non-lying individuals. Ha. That would be unreal.

So to the Right. Yes the Left lies. You do to. The opposing argument would be that your just trying to protect your family, just as much as I’m trying to protect mine. Here’s the thing. In protecting mine I’m not taking away your rights. Your rights stay the same. By protecting my family and by not legalizing homophobia all you white straight “normal” families are still legal too and still not able to be discriminated against. Me standing for mine doesn’t hurt yours. But you standing for yours…could destroy mine. Could endanger mine.

We, the Queer community, already live in fear. So yes, I would beg, borrow, lie, and steal to protect my family. If Dr. Ford is lying that’s not good. But if K is lying. And he lands on the SCOTUS. We should all be living in fear.

There are people who’s minds will never change. Just as mine won’t. Do I think the Left is fiscally responsible? No. Do I think they are the pillar of morality and values? No. But do I think that the majority of them will stand for my family. Will fight for our protection and not our disintegration. Yes.

And that is why I take the bad with the good. I choose to stand by people who yes have lied. Just as the Right stands with some one who publicly stated sexual assault of women is okay and who surrounded himself with people being investigated for treason and collusion with Russia. Our not-friend. We could trade barbs all day.

But at the end of the day I still will stand for those who stand for my family. Nothing will change that.

 

I used a picture of my boys. Because K. kept  bringing up his daughter. Well these are my sons. These are the victims of homophobia and discrimination. This is bigger than K and his family. This is about so many families so many children. Mine included. Don’t lose sight of that. I wish no harm on any one’s child.

BDSM, Polyamory, and Kink and the Sex Positive Nurse.

Our society is rather conservative sexually. I mean did we really not know that women had clitoris’ until the 1970’s? I was born in the 80’s so I can’t speak to life before that. But for real. The United States is rather shaming around sex. To this day.

I probably was no different. I didn’t understand polyamory and I sure didn’t think I’d ever be spending the majority of my days seeing clients who identify as poly or kinky or who practice BDSM on the regular.

But I do. And it’s amazing.

If I look at the clients who are drawn to me and who I have the most success in treating and connecting with it’s usually individuals who identify as part of a minority. I’m drawn to the most vulnerable populations. I see many individuals who are L G B and/or T. I also see many teenagers who are bullied and don’t “fit in”. And for the last year or two my kinky client load has been building. Word got out that there’s a prescriber who is kink friendly. They are finding me. I didn’t go looking for them, I just treated them respectfully when they came to see me, which unfortunately was a different experience than with other healthcare providers.

Treating the kink community and polyamory individuals has been educational to say the least and beyond rewarding. They have generally been shamed by healthcare providers in the past for whatever their kink is or if they are poly. They have never felt comfortable being open about their sexual practices and therefore have never truly discussed sexual health.

I had to get a solid poker face fast. I did. And now, it would take a lot to get me to raise an eyebrow. I mean A LOT. I also educated myself about BDSM and what those relationships can look like. Polyamory and the multiple definitions there are to many different people. I learned we don’t mention 50 Shades of Grey. Genuine Kinksters find this insulting due to it’s many inaccuracies and poor portrayal of BDSM. I’ve learned not to assume that polyamory individuals are into kink and vice versa.

I learned about dominant/submissive relationships and how those can be different and/or similar to sadist/masochist relationships. I learned what a munch is (google it). I’ve learned a ton of vocabulary: sub-drop, sub-space, flails vs. floggers vs. whips, dom-drop, micro-consent, fetlife.com, consensual non-consent play (CNC), play partners, “littles” and Daddydom’s, Little space, and the many many kinks that exist for people.

I’ve gotten so many clients and the sex certified therapists in the area are always full, so I was at a networking event with other therapists and asked who’d be interested in these referrals should they need a therapist. I got a bunch of blank stares and then nervous giggles. I was like, dudes. You seriously wouldn’t take them? They all kinda shied away. And I was like damn. This is the problem. People are ashamed or they have some feelings about sexuality and kinks and fetishes already and are insecure talking to someone else about them.

This is a problem. We as a society need to do better. Why do we marginalize any one who has different ideas or thoughts or desires or needs than mainstream? Why is it we elected someone to the white house who openly discusses sexually assaulting women as his right because of his wealth and position but we shy away from discussing consensual sexual practices with rational adults seeking help in a “safe space”? This makes no sense.

Healthy BDSM sexual practices often contain more discussion especially around consent prior to two people actually engaging in a sexual relationship than a “Vanilla” relationship. We are more comfortable with sexual assault than we are with consensual kink and BDSM. I don’t get it.

I will continue growing my practice with kinky, LGBT, Queer individuals, bullied teenagers, and those young men and women that you know have greatness in them but just don’t fit into the cookie cutter white suburbia life that they are growing up in.

My job is awesome. I get to talk about kinky sex, gender not-normal stuff, and I watch young people who are “weird” grow into these amazing individuals who change our world.

I never wake up and regret taking on clients who don’t fit into the box the world created for them. To all you kinky folks out there, keep on keepin’ on with your kinky self, you’re beautiful as you are. There’s at least one nurse who’s got your back.

Celebrating Birthday’s LGBT Style…

I was recently visiting my best friend and we had a lot of fun…as lesbians tend to do. One straight dude that was with us that night said, “Lesbian’s are fun, I should hang out with them more often!” And I’m like, yeah we are pretty fun…all Gru style from Despicable Me 2 (he has a Russian accent and it’s all throaty and cool).

I haven’t blogged for a little while because I’ve been cranky. See here for the reason for my sleepless nights recently…freaking two and a half year olds able to run out in the hallway at all hours for all reasons…but it’s more than the lack of sleep due to twinning. It took a glass of wine, a free 50″ tv (I won a raffle hell yeah), my Fall decorations on the mantle, and another viewing of Nanette to get me to acknowledge why.

My wife and I have both been cranky. For the whole week leading up to her birthday. If you haven’t read my blog before, her family doesn’t speak to us because we are gay and they have religious beliefs that are at odds with the gay thing. She was homeless. Lots of therapy. Lots of birthdays. Lots of Christmas’. And every time we wait. We wait for them to contact her or not. Either way is going to lead to something painful.

We both get irritable leading up to her birthday because it’s painful to not spend your birthday with people who gave birth to you. It’s painful to have the people who created you cut off contact because they are in disagreement with their own creation.

So yes, lesbians have fun. Because we know horrific pain. We have been through so much to be who we are. So when we have a night to let loose. We do. In a big way. We have been brought down to our knees so we literally have nothing to lose.

My wife and I have had fun times on our birthdays. But hers specifically are overshadowed by something deeper. A pain so deep I can’t even describe it.

So yes, I’m sorry to my co-workers who had to deal with me this week. I was cranky putting it mildly. And when I step back and think about it, it’s not because I was sleep deprived…well mostly…it was because I was worried about my wife’s birthday because it’s never a truly happy occasion. There’s an undercurrent because we both know what’s missing.

I have so many LGBT clients in the same situation. They have made their own families with partners and friends after being disowned by their own blood. It’s a common story unfortunately. It’s our story.

So my theory is yeah, gay clubs and the LGBT community is always more fun. But it’s because we know more pain. We have lower lows, we have deeper wounds, which allows us to experience and seek out higher high’s. It allows us to seek ways to forget the pain for just one night or one hour. It’s similar to nurses. My nurse friends are freaking fun. It’s because we see people die. We know how tenuous life is first hand so we party hard in order to feel alive.

To live among the LGBT community is to know some one who has committed suicide, perhaps even to have been the one to find them. To live among the LGBT community is to know at least one but likely multiple, people who have no contact with their families. To live among the LGBT community is to seek acceptance among the only people who will “get” your experience because heterosexual’s and gender normals just will never understand. And it is beyond frustrating to watch them continuously take for granted their privilege.

Perhaps it’s a sign of our maturity, or perhaps it’s because we were freaking tired, but this year we went to our favorite brewery had good food and a couple drinks, and came home and went to bed. Not a night to write home about, but a night together, celebrating her life. Because her life matters to me.

If you love any one in the LGBT community, let them know their life matters to you. Because too many of our lives are lost due to feeling the pain of being alone.

Love you babe and Happy Birthday.