So, I have a friend--one of my best--who didn't talk to me once for six months. He later explained that he'd missed my birthday, and then was so afraid that I'd be angry that he didn't call me for a week because he was putting off dealing with the consequences, and didn't know what to say. The week became two, then six, and months became two, then six.
So I kinda know how he felt.
At first, I was in a crabby mood, and didn't want to write because it would have been snarky. Then life piles itself up, and before you know it, it's been a long time.
Those of you familiar with my blog will remember the first writer's block, which lasted a decade. Such is the stuff of our fears--it can attach itself to us so that we stop being able to see where it ends and we begin.
In the time since my last post, I've sunned myself on a Mexican beach, gotten rained on in San Francisco, and gone about living my life in LA. I've vented my anger at a childhood friend, and been reminded about the power of love and compassion.
The security guard at my building pulled me aside the other day with a shout as I hustled out of my office.
"Hey," he said. "I wanted to tell you something! Where you been?"
"That's what everyone's been wondering," I answered.
"Well, I was watching tv the other night, and there was this documentary on gay parents!" he said. "The old me would never have watched that kind of thing. I would've said 'This sucks' and gone on with watching some crap rerun. But I thought about what you'd said and found myself watching and, you know, gay people have a really hard time adopting kids!" He said this in the same tone you might tell someone about having discovered quantum physics, or cotton candy.
"I know," I laughed. "I've heard."
"And something else; I don't understand why these people can't adopt. I see some pretty shitty families out there." He leaned in conspiratorily: "I'll admit I didn't even want one, and suddenly BOOM! My girlfriend is pregnant. But I'm making the most of it. And then I see these people on tv having such a hard time. They spend like $60,000 for a kid if they want a white one and not a chinese girl! Normal adoptions cost like $20,000." Ethnic commentary aside, I was proud of him for remembering the numbers.
"But get this," he said. "My cousin came in while I was watching and was like, 'why are you watching this faggot stuff?' and I said to him, 'you're a dick' and he was like, 'that's fine, but I'm not watching this shit, it's gay' and do you know what I told him?"
"No," I admitted.
My friend the security guard raised his chin defiantly at me and replied: "I said: Do what you want, but you better hope you don't ever need help from no gay guy, because I'll tell him not to help you 'cause you're a bigot."
He nodded at me, as a way of reinforcing what he'd said. A kind of non-verbal, "so there."
I could have hugged him.
Then on the way to San Francisco this Saturday morning, I was talking to my Armenian cab driver about ethics, and other drivers, and anger, and otherwise loving people doing inexplicably mean things, and I--of course--brought up marriage equality. He was so excited about the topic, as if no one had ever been willing to discuss it; he was asking questions, struggling with his belief, asking for respectful dialogue. I won't bore you with the story, but let's just say that by the end of cab ride, he came around to shake my hand and introduce himself and thank me for speaking up.
It was 6:30 in the morning.
The lesson, dear Reader, is this: It takes only 30 seconds to incite fear, and to play to people's ignorance. But when dignity and compassion rule, those qualities can never be taken away. Yes, there are people in my life--MY LIFE!--who speak out at pulpits and tour buses against gay marriage. They play on fear and work to justify prejudice. And sometimes they win, even if just for a moment. They can get someone to act in fear, and anger, and revulsion.
But know this: When you speak from a place of love and you speak the truth, the consequences are irrevocable. It's no parlour trick to win votes; it's life-changing. A fire is lit in the hearts of those you reach, and they are never, NEVER the same. And they become advocates for compassion, and love, and fairness. They are not afraid. And the fire of love and respect spreads. THAT is power, my friend.
I've been bad about taking pictures, and I haven't talked at all about the economy or fashion lately. I'll say that the economy has been consuming altogether too much of my emotional energy, and I've chosen to limit its effect on my mood. So I'll speak on it when I can, or if you have specific questions. Ask anything, and I've got an opinion. As for fashion, I'm engaging Diabolina to do some consulting for me; even a die-hard fashion expert like me needs fine tuning sometimes and help to see my blind spots. I'll post the results, with pictures.
Her initial comments: "I'd like to see you in more colors."
God, this is going to be tough...