Monthly Archives: June 2015

Dad Wisdom

I am thinking about all you dads out there this Father’s Day.


Some of you will get cards and go out for brunch as a dad or with your dad this special day. But…some of you won’t.

Maybe you have little kids or grownup kids. Maybe you have a dad who has passed away and part of this day will be painful knowing he isn’t here anymore; you will look through pictures and relive memories in his honor.

More tragically, maybe some of you never had a dad in your life. That may be particularly sorrowful. Maybe you had a dad figure or figures in your life to help you develop into the person you are today: a coach, a stepdad, a mentor.

And maybe, as I have met many of you, your kids are estranged. Perhaps this is because of some fault on your part, but if you could change something to make it better, you would. Maybe you still can. Ugh. I am guessing it is painful.

For my own life circumstance, my kids now have two dads, both of whom love our kids and I appreciate them for what they do and add to Maddie, Kate and Thomas’ lives. Now that I am down a path of healing after finding out about Devon’s sexuality, I am happy to live this unexpected life of mine.

It is never boring, let me tell you.

One of the biggest things that has gotten me to this point is my own dad. His experiences, his sincere faith and his wisdom has come to me at many times during my adult life to help guide me. I love him so much.

I am going to ask you, Reader, to share phrases and memories that your own father or father-figure may have passed on to you as wisdom, which you can live by…and even pass on to your own children.

Here are several biggies from Don:

  1. Worry is like a fast getaway on a wooden rocking horse.
  2. I will bring back the Fanny-Pack under the brand name: I B Cool.
  3. God grant me the Serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the Courage to change the things I can, and the Wisdom to know the difference.
  4. Stick to the Letters in Red.
  5. Always assume that the other drivers on the road can’t see you.
  6. We don’t need a dishwasher. We already have two: You and your sister.
  7. There is a difference between reasons and excuses.
  8. Saying “sorry” is easy; asking for forgiveness is key.
  9. The best car is the one that is paid for.

So…what kind of wisdom can you share that you remember from your father or father figures? I want to hear them in the comments below.

Happy Father’s Day to all people who do any kind of fathering. You are loved and appreciated.

Have a Wonderful Day,

Emily

A Case of the Clingons

You’ve built a life with someone; a life financially, with offspring, social circles, extended family, memories galore.

And then they come out, rarely willingly. It usually happens because they get caught. Maybe a Craigslist ad was carelessly left open on a computer screen. Maybe some texts or dirty pictures from an iPhone were downloaded to an iCloud account. Or maybe they were caught in some other red-handed way.

No matter how you find out, your world as you knew it, as you planned it, explodes into chaos. Nothing makes sense, and things make sense, all at the same time. The truth was right in front of your schnoz, sometimes for years, but you couldn’t, and sometimes wouldn’t, see it. This Truth is something you want to know all about, but don’t want to know, simply because of the pain it brings.

Earth shattering, gut wrenching, baby-barf in your mouth…painful Truth.

How could this have happened? I loved my spouse. What did I do wrong? How could I be so stupid? What did I do to deserve this? Was anything real? Was my entire marriage simply a sham?

Can I fix it? I need to fix this. They are saying some of the right things, like:

I love you and want to make this work. I won’t do it again. I am not really gay. Please forgive me. I will change. Don’t tell anyone. I want and love no one but you.

We cling to those words. We are afraid of what lies ahead, the unknown, without them.

I can’t make it alone. Our kids will be devastated. I have invested my best years in this marriage. Who am I without them?  I love him/her enough to stand by them, help them through this…believe them.

Actions speak louder than words, and their actions don’t match. Not even a little. Sure, there may be a few times where they hold you, listen to you, send you flowers…but those are not consistent. They distance themselves emotionally and physically, sleep in a different bed, do irrational things like make a large purchase without telling you, secretly spend time on the computer doing God knows what…and the whole time you try to cling to what they say, not what they do.

Your whole focus becomes them, changing things to keep them close, and keeping your marriage intact. In fact, maybe even your dual-life spouse revels in that. They see that they’ve got some control over you and milk it for all it’s worth. They don’t want to change things either, but from an even more selfish standpoint. You, your family, the life you have built is their beard, their cover. The idea of giving that up is painful, just as it is to you.

You both have so much to lose. So, you get an acute case of the Clingons.

I mean, who wants to believe that they made such a life altering mistake? No one. Not a single one of us.

This is not about divorce, even though you may be considering it in some fashion. This is actually about finding yourself. Really knowing who you are apart from anyone else. The major portions of your identity are wrapped up in your spouse and this life you have made together, which actually is turned on its head.

It comes down to taking care of you. Sure, you need to think of your kids, your finances, your friends, your extended family. But…

If you aren’t taking care of you, apart from anyone else, those things are going to crumble anyway.  Depression is common, and if you don’t seek professional help and others who have been where you are, you will be eaten alive.

The overwhelming panic is the toughest thing to deal with, it seems. If you aren’t taking care of you, standing up for yourself, facing things as head-on as you can, then this ship you are sailing on is going to sink, fast.

So, what are some things you can do? I can give you a random list, but I would LOVE to hear from others who have been where you are, in the comments below. Comment anonymously if you would like, because I know many of you will read this and have some practical advice for people who have found this blog, desperately searching for answers.

Here is a small list of my own. Again, add to it, readers, so you can help those who need it.

  1. Find a good counselor that isn’t there for saving your marriage only. Find a personal one just for you and your needs.
  2. Find time to journal.
  3. Go someplace quiet on the regular, by yourself, and cry.
  4. Read uplifting quotes.
  5. Find a confidante who will not try to fix the problems you face and won’t get annoyed listening to you.
  6. Take bubble baths.
  7. Watch funny movies.
  8. Read funny books.
  9. Take a daytrip somewhere that you have always wanted to do.
  10. Stay away from negative people or triggers, as much as you can help it.

Above all, find the things that you cling to and move toward reality, which is who you are at your core. Get to know yourself. Forgive yourself for mistakes. Allow yourself to feel. Try not to beat yourself up for not seeing the truth. And if you do beat yourself up, keep telling yourself that you are loveable, you aren’t alone, and you are worth so much more.

The more you get to know and love yourself and your core, the easier it will be to make seemingly polarizing decisions.

Cling to those things that are wonderful, praiseworthy, beautiful, and lovely. Eventually you will find yourself transforming from a Clingon to a Superhuman. One who can hold their head high and move forward in life with the confidence of a powerful, loveable and dignified individual…

Apart from anyone and anything.

Not A Clingon Anymore,

Emily

Brought to You By the Letter “T”

Finding out your spouse is LGBTQ, while you are straight, is painful, without a doubt. My own experience only includes the “G” in the acronym, but I have had the blessing of meeting so many who can relate to the other letters, which has given me much needed insight.

The themes and feelings are mostly similar, though. Here are several:

  1. Shock
  2. Duped
  3. Reality vs. Perceived Reality
  4. Anger
  5. Hate
  6. Vengeance
  7. Sorrow and Mourning
  8. Desire to know the truth…all of it
  9. Secrecy
  10. Shame

Then there are the questions of what to do. Can they change? Can this be fixed? Is divorce the only option? What about the kids? My church family? My extended family? Will I ever find true love again? Am I even loveable? What could I have done differently? Who am I without them?

You feel alone. Are there any books, a step-by-step program to help me through this? Is anybody out there who can help me? Give me answers. Give me solutions. I need them now!

In my own unique journey in this (because even though there are similar themes, each person’s scenario is different) I came to the realization that if society, religion, bullying and inner painful thoughts hadn’t have been a part of my ex husband’s life, maybe he could have lived authentically and not caused the hurt and pain that myself, my kids, my friends and my family had to endure. We wouldn’t have married. I wouldn’t have spent years with him building a life, a paradigm and a geriatric future with him, only to find myself alone.

But then…I wouldn’t have my beautiful Three Little Birds with him. I wouldn’t have grown to know who I am at my core. I wouldn’t be sitting here today on my amazing front porch thinking and writing these thoughts and loving others without condition.

So I stop right there. I cannot soak in regret. I am thankful that I married him.

I learned to get to know and love myself without anyone else in my life except those who the Universe brought to me as a gift. We only get one life that we really know of for sure, and wasting it away by staying stuck in the list above in is not where I want to be.

I intentionally chose to change my way of thinking about LGBTQ people, from one of a “choice” and “lifestyle” to love, empathy and acceptance. But it took me a long while to get there. Even if you don’t ever get to where I am, that’s okay. I love you unconditionally, too.

Out of all of the letters in the LGBTQ acronym, however, I have had the toughest time grasping the “T”. Transgender, for me, is tough to understand. But I am trying. I am accepting. I have empathy.


So now, we come to Caitlyn, formerly Bruce Jenner. It is non-stop chatter in the media, and people’s true selves and ideas of “authentic life” are brought to the surface. Sometimes with support, but sometimes with vitriol.

In my high school English class this week, my students immediately brought Caitlyn to my attention, as though they were sharing brand new information. God bless them. They know me well, and often seek to know my opinion on subjects. Most of the time, we teachers have to tread lightly on so many tough subjects, but in my small charter school, it is much easier to be transparent.

“Oh my God! Did you see the cover of Vanity? Isn’t that crazy? What do you think, Emily?” (At Rainshadow Community Charter High School, students call teachers by their first names. Weird, I know, but it really is a good thing for these at-risk teens.)

What I said and what I thought were two completely different things. What I said was: “She is beautiful. It has been a long journey for her and she needs love.”

However, what I was thinking was: This must be so painful for those who are experiencing the reality of a spouse coming out as transgender. It is all over the news and they can’t escape it. They must be reliving the memories of someone they thought was one gender, but lived a lie and sucked them into it.

Like, maybe they are revisiting some of the stuff that I listed in the beginning; I dare say even more than what I listed. Maybe a wife or husband or their children are seeing a mom transform into a dad, or vice versa. I cannot imagine the pain they must feel when people joke in comments or memes about Caityln being prettier than Kris, or the Wheaties box of Bruce being changed into Fruity Pebbles. “She totally knew! No sympathy!” Or jokes about makeup or harsh comments that God only made male or female and that transgender people are pedophiles.

Horrible stuff.

So I am writing this, ultimately, to support you, the straight spouse, during this most difficult time. That goes for everyone’s experiences, whatever letter describes your life in the acronym, but especially those of you who understand better than I do regarding Transgender people.

So, this post is brought to you by the letter “T” as in transgender, tough, and transition.

And for the word “transformation” for yourself, the straight spouse of a transgender individual. Because not only is your spouse transitioning, but what you are going through can at times feel tragic, troublesome and traumatic. And where you will be, after you come into your own, is something beautiful and transformed, even if you can see it yet.


Hang in there. I love you. And so do many others who have been where you are.

Talking Ts and Transcending Travesty,

Emily