I live in Reno, The Biggest Little City in the World. At least, that’s what we call ourselves. We probably should have been called The Windy City, but that one was already taken. I have seen trees, on way too regular of a basis, being uprooted when the winds roll off the Sierras. It’s a creepy thing to see the ground boiling up where the roots of a sequoia are located, getting ready to fall on my minivan.
Mama needs a new car. Please fall on it.
This past week, I was invited by my friend Rory Dowd, to be on his local podcast, called the Worst Little Podcast. It is a very “adult” oriented show…as adult as sex jokes and swearing can be. It was an absolute blast, and I was allowed to talk a bit about my story.
If you can handle the adult content of it without getting offended, take a listen at the link below. If you have time to listen to the whole thing, you should. Great music, featuring PJ Ruprecht, is among the chaotic antics of the show, and is fun to listen to. If you just want to hear the section where my story is mentioned (including my awesome charter school, Rainshadow), you can start listening at 51:50.
Get your story out there, too! Contact me if you want to share your journey on this website. You can receive encouragement from people who stop by here as well as help others who struggle with their spouse revealing that they are gay.
Sometimes, the only way to get through this thing called Mixed Orientation Marriage, is to rely on the support of others who have been through it before you. In fact, it’s the best way, I have found.
Enjoy the Show, and Live Life, Love Life, Impact Others,
And after listening, if you’d like to give to my amazing charter school’s annual fundraising campaign, click the following link. Every little bit helps our students to be in a school that helps meet their individual needs. Rainshadow Charter High School Annual Giving Campaign
A full-on Rainbow and Glitter Gala Celebration, with our Three Little Birds, Devon and his husband Felipe… and me, the Clutter Whore Ally Momma.
Last year was the first year we spent Christmas together under one roof, mostly due to necessity. I was recovering from one hell of a pre-chemo surgery, complete with tubes coming out of all kinds of places for drainage and some really great pain pills.
I needed help. And Devon and company were there for me.
But this year was by choice. I heard on more than one occasion from the kids that they were thrilled we could all get along well enough to be together under one roof. I didn’t see this one coming nearly 10 years ago, but I wouldn’t change a thing about it.
To say life is different now than it was then is a complete understatement, but I loved it. The fact that the kids felt it was a blessing was wonderful.
So, to brag a little and share my life with you (and to document our Christmas together because it’s my blog and I can do what I want with it), I am going to post pictures here and memorable moments so that maybe one day, when the dust has cleared in your world of finding out your spouse is gay, you might be able to see what is truly possible.
Life is stranger than fiction, and more beautiful than we can imagine if we keep our minds and hearts open after moving forward and working through our shtuff. Know what I mean?
Here ya go!
Our break started off by me finishing the semester at Rainshadow with my students and getting all of my grading done so I wouldn’t have much work to do while I was off for three weeks. If anyone tells you that they didn’t go into teaching for the perks of great breaks, then they are lying. Teachers certainly don’t get paid enough for all we have to do, but having these breaks makes things pretty peachy, I must say.
We left the day after school was out to go to Sacramento, all six of us, to watch Thomas’ basketball tournament and do some massive shopping. The road trip was a blast, the hotel room situation was spectacular and we spent way too much money on food and gifts. But that’s okay.
Here are the photos of our road trip, including me relaxing at the mall with my feet up. What a rough job shopping can be. My clods were killing me! Next time I will wear my Birkenstocks and not my Kick Cancer’s Ass Boots.
The trip went really well and it was so much fun spending time with them. We all got along, which 10 years ago, I never would have imaged.
Next came Christmas Eve.
I was slated to stay there for a couple of days. We did our usual Reese Family Christmas Eve Dinner with Devon’s family at his mom Virginia’s house. Good food and LOTS of laughs. We were all crying from laughter listening to Aunt Wendy explain the rational thought that went behind her Sims City obsession. Gifts were exchanged and we made out with some great loot. Thomas and I took a poll with my Facebook friends to see who looked better in his SWAGish hat. It was a tie, by the way.
My sweet Middle Bird, Kate, came down with an acute ear infection while at Grandma’s that night. Christmas Eve. Ear infection. Welcome to the world of having kids.
The brilliant thing? All three of us parents were able to pitch in and help. I did my best to comfort poor Kate, while the dads braved the only 24 hour pharmacy that was open to get her meds… and were there ’til 1 a.m. Nightmare? Yes. But isn’t it great we were all there to help make our Christmas Eve work out?
The sweetest thing came from it. This picture. I sent it to Kate after telling her that I wouldn’t want to spend Christmas Eve any other way (she was feeling horrible for “ruining” our Christmas) and she told me it was her favorite picture of all time; she would “treasure it forever.” Bam. It’s all about being positive and having a little perspective.
Christmas morning was beautiful. There was very little chaos and lots of thoughtful gifts, including the handmade gift that my dad made for the girls (he made my sister and me a hand mirror as well, just like the ones pictured below and we still use them to this day). All of this, including playing Risk as a family, made for a memorable time with our Freaky Rainbow Crew. Here’s a video and some pictures from that morning.
And finally, New Year’s Eve. This day is officially Devon and Felipe’s 1st Anniversary after getting married last year in New York City. So, I stayed with the kids at their house, took them out to The Hobbit and Pizza with another good friend of mine, and returned to their house to bring in the New Year with gambling for Hershey’s Kisses as well as a hotly contested game of chess. What a wonderful way to bring in this year with the three best people in my life. And without Devon (and Felipe, too) we wouldn’t have been here, doing these things, altogether.
So, basically, the holidays are over, but the memories live here for myself and anyone to view, hopefully forever. Life is beautiful. Expect things to be that way. You might be surprised.
Happy Holidays and may your 2015 be extraordinary!
Never in a thousand years would I have pictured myself having holidays with Devon and his husband and my kids all under one roof… 10+ years ago. I wanted to share my Facebook Thankfulness Post from today to give you some perspective on what time and moving forward can do for families who have a spouse that comes out. I am not guaranteeing this will happen for you, but I want to encourage you to be open. Take care of you. Let go of things and people you can’t control. And above all, LOVE. Love yourself, love your kids, love your friends. Love really can heal things because it is powerful. Happy Holidays from me to you.
Day 340: December 19, 2014
Thankfulness for This Time Last Year
Nothing like receiving a text at 4:30 a.m. this morning from my Sis. That’s okay, Lora. I wasn’t sleeping or anything.
Actually, I was wide awake. And I was thinking about the exact same thing you wrote. Woman! We are so connected. Do you have telepathy?
“I was just thinking that a year ago today I was out at your place helping you recover from that awful surgery. I’m so glad we’re a year out from that. Miss you. Love you.”
No kidding. Ditto on all accounts. Worst surgery I hope I ever have to go through.
I continued my recovery over Christmas at Devon and Felipe’s house. Lots of great drugs. Way too many tubes and bags coming out of me. But the silver lining was that I got to spend Christmas Eve and Christmas morning under the same roof as my Rainbow Family. That part was wonderful.
Then they all left for NY. That made me sad and feel sorry for myself. Again, thankfully I had great drugs and wonderful Wendiana to help me out for a week with those spazzing dogs and movie marathons.
I was sad I couldn’t go with them. That’s what makes this holiday so special. Today we leave for a mini Rainbow Christmas vacation to Sacramento. All of us freaks in one car being a weird family. Basketball, music, shopping, laughter and memory making. To top it off, the whole doing Christmas under one roof was a brilliant idea, so we’re doing it again.
This is going to be one amazing holiday. I couldn’t have guessed in a million lifetimes that I would be where I am today, thinking like I do, without all of the blessings that my life “tragedies” have brought. I love my family. I love my life. I love feeling thankful.
It’s Sunday. I have taken an unusual break from sitting on my front porch this weekend (a.k.a. The Coolest Porch in Reno… where a huge bear decided to take an evening jog by my house last week. Let me tell you, it was freaky.). I am in South San Francisco for a much needed sabbatical from my busy life of raising my Three Little Birds and teaching other people’s kids.
As I write this, I am enjoying today’s unique sunrise from The Coolest Porch in San Fran. I can see the bay and city from here and am wowed at the complexity of creativity and ingenuity of the humans that God created. I mean, look at this place! Not only did God allow for such a beautiful coastal area, but the Creator endowed us with the ability to come up with major technology and expansion prowess (even if some people may consider that a bad thing). To piggy back on that thought, I am sitting here being able to write all of my thoughts in my head down into a computer connected to the world for anyone to read who feels inclined to simply “click” on my link. Wow! We are pretty amazing and intelligent people to have such a thing.
I love Sundays when I take the time to truly worship the Maker. Life is so good!
I finally have the time to read the book that my good friend Kathy Baldock of Canyonwalker Connections recently published. It’s good. I mean, REALLY good. What was supposed to be somewhat of a memoir when she first started tackling the topic of LGBT inclusion in the Christian church, turned into a lengthy research project that spans time. It is insightful and in my humble opinion, an excellent piece of literature to be able to give to Christians and non-Christians alike. It gives history, testimony and examples of God’s work in all people, including the LGBT community.
And yes, my story is also included on page 326 in the chapter section about Mixed Orientation Marriages. Some of the people I have had the pleasure of being introduced to (Chet, Lynn, Jerry, Mark and Cheri) are also included in that chapter, and their stories lend insight to affirming and non-affirming Christians as to changes the Church needs to make in handling families in their congregations when a spouse comes out of the closet.
There needs to be change. End of story.
I have never met an individual who has gone through the tumultuous time of a spouse coming out of the closet whose church and leaders handled the situation lovingly and with compassion. And if yours did, PLEASE contact me. I need to know your story. We need some added hope here on this site regarding how churches handle our unusual situation!
It’s all about relationship building, when it comes to the Church and Christians finding a way to understand the LGBT community. If you’re new to this site and have recently found out that your spouse is gay or bi or whatever other letter represents your spouse, please know that you can find positivity here. I understand if you are in the position I was in, nearly 10 years ago, finding out your spouse, Christian or not, is gay.
It simply sucks, to put it mildly. There’s no other way around it.
And now what you have to go through, from this moment on, really sucks. The only hope you can cling to is that if you keep moving forward in your unique situation, you are not alone. You can also begin to hope that you will make it through this, however long it takes, by relying on stories and encouragement from others. But you have to keep moving forward, trusting that you will turn out to be a more complete and whole person than you are now. Because if you don’t cling to that, then you might be a miserable person in the end. And no one wants that.
Be hurt. Be angry. Be bitter, even. But move forward with all of the strength you can muster, even if you take 17 steps back. You have to want to get through it to the other side, whatever that may look like for you, in order to get there. And along the way, know that you are loved by many, especially the ones who have been through it before.
And if you are not a person of faith, you will get zero judgement from me. If you are a person of faith, memorize the Serenity Prayer, stat. Repeat it like a mantra, because the only thing you want is peace (serenity), and the only way you’re going to get there is to accept the things you cannot change, change the things you can, and understand the difference between the two.
I wrote a little piece about this prayer awhile back, and if you would like to read it, click here.
On a related note, there were some interesting things that happened this last week during one of the nation’s largest denominational get together conferences, the SBC.
Thank you, Kathy Baldock, Matthew Vines, Robin Lunn and Jeff Hood (and all you other warriors) who attended the SBC Conference this last week. Your mission was to build relationships, and it looks like that’s what happened. For those of us who have been hurt by the Church in some way because of the MOM that we didn’t ask for, your efforts to find a bridge between our stories and the Church is appreciated.
Here is an article posted in the Baptist News Global that mentions all of us straight and gay spouses who needed some bridge building between our faith and our situations, but didn’t receive it. There is hope for us straight spouses of faith, and I am thankful these people are taking our issues to the front lines.
This is the final piece I wrote for the Reno Tahoe Tonight magazine in the May 2013 issue. Devon and I were blessed to be able to share snippets of our story and journey as we navigated the waters of his Big Reveal that he is gay. In it, I refer to the movie Brokeback Mountain, released in 2005. It was a turning point for Devon and his desire to finally come clean to me. Thank you, Oliver X, for letting us share our story through your publication.
BrokeBack to the Future
You know, years can pass by after a major relational hurt in your life, and even though you’ve moved on, forgiven someone and have healed your relationship, something random can trigger those old feelings again. It’s like Doc kidnapping you in his DeLorean and forcing you to relive your crap in the past. You may just find yourself right back to the very moments of pain years earlier.
This is why I have avoided the movie “Brokeback Mountain.”
I remember lying in bed with Devon one night, almost nine years ago, having our usual chit-chat, which often included conversations about movies. Devon fancies himself a movie critic, so we usually debated about the value of various films. This particular discussion led us to talking about what movies we wanted to see.
“I really want to see the movie Brokeback Mountain,” he casually stated.
My reaction fell directly in line with my Judeo-Christian, Leave it To Beaver, beliefs at the time. I dismissed him outright by saying: “No way. That’s disgusting. I don’t want to see two guys having it out in the wilderness. Plus, they cheat on their wives, all for their own desires. It’s gross and wrong and I can’t believe you’d want to see that.”
He hummed and hawed a bit, mentioned something about the fact that it had wonderful cinematography and the conversation ended there.
As an English teacher, this conversation would fall under the literary term foreshadowing. Indeed, five months later, the truth came out of the closet.
I often look back on that conversation and wonder if he was trying to open up and tell me something. As usual, I dismissed him and said something hurtful without even knowing it. We had lots of conversations before his Big Reveal that I view now as clues that I should have been less naïve.
When I found out that the turning point in Devon’s realization that he is a gay man was due to him viewing Brokeback Mountain (he actually left town to watch it and I didn’t know about it), I despised that movie even more. Devon revealed this to the readers of Same Sides in one of our installments of the Reno Tahoe Tonight several months ago. He mentioned that I still hadn’t watched it because of the hurt I felt from it years ago, but that maybe someday I would.
Well, I did. Over Spring Break. And it hurt. A lot.
I will tell you that the scenes with the two main characters “having it out” in Wyoming weren’t really as disturbing as they might have been to me eight years ago. The thoughts that I had during those moments were ones of me picturing Devon watching them and his possible realizations that he was unhappy with his life and our marriage as well as the fears that he may have had in telling me.
The scenes which hurt the most were the ones of the deception that occurred in the lives of their marriages. Good God. I knew almost exactly what those ladies were feeling, especially the wife at home with her beautiful young babies, realizing that her husband wasn’t finding true fulfillment in their relationship… and not knowing why. There was deceit, to boot. The shock she felt when she saw her husband in the arms of another man was so real to me that I had to stop the film in order to catch my breath so I could keep watching. I even grabbed a glass of wine at that point.
And yet, she didn’t say anything. She wanted to deny it was happening. She let her marriage deteriorate and allowed her husband to live a lie. Their marriage was one big sham and she allowed this, not just him.
The interesting thing about the movie, ultimately, was the cultural era and time frame in which it was set. These guys literally couldn’t live openly. They accepted their fate and continued with their charade because they had no other choice. One of them was brutally killed because of it.
It was just so sad.
As I watched it, old wounds were opened in my heart. These were wounds I never wanted to see again. I questioned my decision to rent it when I finished it, sobbing uncontrollably like I did eight years ago when I first confronted Devon jokingly by saying, “What are you then? Gay or something?”
I had to work through those things all over again. But you know what? It only took me five minutes. As soon as I started to think about all of the blessings that have come from his truthfulness with me, I became the New Emily again, instantly.
This New Emily has so much to be thankful for, and she owes it all to Devon’s Big Reveal.
1) I am no longer judgmental toward people who are different than me, especially the beautiful LGBT people in this world.
2) I am no longer living in a marriage where my husband isn’t able to be fulfilled. I can find someone who will be fulfilled by me and we can fulfill each other completely.
3) I walk in truthfulness and bask in its light.
4) I still have Devon in my life. In fact, I know ALL of Devon, not just the parts that he was willing to reveal when we were married.
5) My kids see us as transparent humans, willing to accept, willing to forgive, and willing to parent together. We even have a wonderful step parent in Felipe. We are all blessed beyond measure.
6) I can relate to people. All kinds of people. I can relate to mistakes, erroneous thinking, changed hearts and people who are hurting.
7) And well… I get to write about it. Devon gets to live openly in a loving relationship without fear of being killed for his love of Felipe. He didn’t have to cheat on me for years with another guy in order to meet his needs at his core. Sure, there’s still hatred and misconceptions out there, but the tide is changing and I get to be in the thick of it.
8) I now grasp what I’ve always desired to understand since I was a little girl: true unconditional love and forgiveness of others.
As we close out our column in the Reno Tahoe Tonight, our family wants to thank Oliver Ex and our readers for allowing us to share our story with you. It has been our goal since working through our issues to be transparent, loving and provide encouragement to others because of our lives. We are honored to have experienced what we have gone through so we can spread hope to others.
So hey, Doc, thanks for the ride in the DeLorean. I needed that.