The End of Lent: Good Friday

Cross on a hill

The end of Lent kind of snuck up on me. I kept thinking I had more time, more days, because there were more stories I wanted to share with my readers, but this is it. The wrap up of my Lenten Challenge 2016 series.

I’d like to say I will do it again next year, and maybe I will. But admittedly it has been rough going. I’ve had a few people who made nasty comments on Facebook about my posts, which clearly showed they neither read my words nor the articles I shared. And they certainly didn’t honor the idea that the purpose of this exercise was to learn from the viewpoints of another, rather than debate their own opinions.

And really, those are the people who truly need these posts. Not that I expect them to agree with every word, but rather when your heart is calcified by the vitriol of a certain kind of viewpoint, I think it is beneficial to step back, listen, learn, try to understand the people you are vilifying so vehemently. But that doesn’t happen. They just go right on hating what they don’t know.

It really is disheartening to see so much hate and prejudice in the world. And these are often “good” people. They go to church, believe in charity, consider themselves Christians. But then they pass heinous laws, or block LGBT non-discrimination policies in North Carolina, or they call for all Muslims to be banned from the USA, or vote for a candidate that uses hate and fear mongering to further his efforts. I hear things like, “With Gay Pride and Black History month, I feel lost in the shuffle. Why can’t I celebrate being white?” Or “That’s reverse discrimination.” Or “I grew up poor. Don’t talk to me about white privilege.” Or “Black lives matter? I think all lives matter.” All of which skirt the issues and ignore the pain that comes with discrimination in its many forms.

So what’s the cure for this disease? Because I really think it is. It’s a disease of the mind and the heart that spreads through well-meaning people who just don’t understand what it’s like to be “other,” because they’re not other. They are straight, white, cis-gender, Christians in a world that treats them as “normal” or the status quo. Which means if they (and me) are normal, then everyone else is “different.”

And that’s what I’d like to change. Stop thinking of yourself as the main character in everything. Start thinking of yourself as another piece of the immense puzzle that makes up this world. And in order to understand how your puzzle piece fits into the next one, you have to step away from your comfort zone and learn about someone else.

It’s simple really, though it will take time. And Google is there to help you along. Just type in “Growing up _______ in America.” Fill in that blank with whatever seems other to you: black, poor, LGBT, trans, Muslim, mentally ill, disabled, autistic, etc., etc. The list could go on forever. And don’t just read one first hand story. Read several, because every Muslim has a different story. They are not universal. Every person of the LGBT community has a different story. They are not universal. Do this everyday until maybe, just maybe, people stop seeming other to you, and just seem like people.

Post #33: 13 Tweets That Define What Growing Up as Lesbian Was Really Like

lgbt-holding-hands

Ran across this short article on PRIDE about Tweets that reflect what it’s like for a girl to grow up as a lesbian. This is of course not an all encompassing report, but rather a peek into a few things that lesbian girls deal with growing up.

Yezmin Villarreal:  13 Tweets That Define What Growing Up as a Lesbian Was Really Like

*New readers may wonder why I’m sharing these posts and why they’re numbered. Here’s a link to my post I’m Giving Up HATE, PREJUDICE and INDIFFERENCE for Lent.

And here are my latest 5 posts in the series:
Post #28: DeRay McKesson: Tackling Racism in the Black Lives Matter Movement
Post #29: Never assume that you’re magically free of prejudice . . .
Post #30: Intersectionality
Post #31: Almost Asian (But Not Quite)
Post #32: Accurate Representation

*Please remember to leave the sites I post clean. We are here to learn, not debate. Even if you disagree, we need to learn that just because we have an opinion, doesn’t mean we need to share it all the time.*

Post #27: When no gender fits: A quest to be seen as just a person

rainbow_flags__gender_non_binary_by_adcro-d9384tg

This one is a long one, but provides a true insight into the thoughts of a non-binary gender person and also from the perspective of their mother. I strongly encourage you to read all the way through. It’s a beautiful and informative read. (And look at Kelsey’s pictures too! Having a face to go with a story makes it so much more real and personal.)

Monica Hesse: When no gender fits: A quest to be seen as just a person

*New readers may wonder why I’m sharing these posts and why they’re numbered. Here’s a link to my post I’m Giving Up HATE, PREJUDICE and INDIFFERENCE for Lent.

And here are my latest 5 posts in the series:
Post #22: The Pain of Growing Up Muslim in Post-9/11 America
Post #23: What You Imply When You Call a Disabled Person Inspiring
Post #24: 9 YA Authors Discuss Music, Chronic Illness, and More in March’s YA Open Mic
Post #25: We can disagree without attacking . . .
Post #26: A Letter on ‘What It’s Like to Have a Sibling with Autism’

*Please remember to leave the sites I post clean. We are here to learn, not debate. Even if you disagree, we need to learn that just because we have an opinion, doesn’t mean we need to share it all the time.*

Post #17: Comprehensive List of LGBTQ+ Term Definitions

lgbt-concept-word-cloud-123rf-com

I know for many people, especially those who may not know people in the LGBT Community, the list of terms and identifications pertaining to LGBT+ individuals is a mystery. Here’s a list that may help educate you on how people besides cisgender persons identify themselves.

Comprehensive List of LGBTQ+ Term Definitions

Lenten Challenge 2016
Post #2: Coming Out Again, and Again, and Again . . .
Post #3: Dalia Mogahed and why she wears a hijab
Post #4: Why diversity in Children’s Literature really Matters
Post #5: The Emotional Toll of Growing Up Black in America
Post #6: Picture from the Box
Post #7: Diversity 101
Post #8: Study examines television, diversity and self-esteem
Post #9: Growing up Muslim in America
Post #10: White Privilege: Unpacking the Invisible Knapsack
Post #11: Explaining White Privilege to a Broke White Person
Post #12: It’s a Choice! Oh Shit!
Post #13: Representation Matters
Post #14: #DisabledTwitter Needs to be Dominated by Disabled Voices
Post #15: #BuzzWordsBeDamned
Post #16: Listen and Learn . . . 

Post #6: Picture from the Box

Dave and Joe

Sunday morning I woke up and realized I had forgotten to create my post the night before. So I looked through my list of links I had saved for future posts, but none seemed quite right. There are several I am anxious to share with all of you, but am holding those for later. And I decided I wanted to share a post on disability, so of course I began to search disability blogs. Huffington and Slate and Time have excellent articles, but if you really want to get to the heart of an issue, turn to personal blogs. They can be crude, irreverent, but often beautiful. They aren’t writing for money or publicity, they’re writing to share the inner most corners and nooks of their hearts.

In my research I found the disability-centered blog of Dave Hingsburger, and though he has many excellent posts regarding what it’s like to live in a world were being disabled is being an “other”, the post he shared on Valentine’s day particularly struck me. As it is so personal and evoked such a visceral feeling in me, I felt I must gain Dave’s permission to share it on my own blog. Dave didn’t get back to me until last night, so I am sharing this post today. It is a bit long, but hit me deeply with it’s pain. I feel it is a very important read for anyone who celebrated their Valentine’s Day with the one they love. Not everyone has always had the freedom to express such emotions.

Dave Hingsburger: The Picture From the box

Lenten Challenge 2016
Post #2: Coming Out Again, and Again, and Again . . .
Post #3: Dalia Mogahed and why she wears a hijab
Post #4: Why diversity in Children’s Literature really Matters
Post #5: The Emotional Toll of Growing Up Black in America