This has been somewhat of a tough winter, with lots of sickness and snow days and missed work and feeling like a shut-in. I am not a winter sports person, pretty much detest frigid temps, and yet try every year to start off, at least, with a positive attitude (“This isn’t so bad! I’m not even that cold!”) but find that optimism difficult to sustain. So right about now, in mid-February, coming off yet another bad cold and another round of conjunctivitis, I’m done. And yet I’m a little annoyed that I can’t even find it within myself to wish I were in northern California, one of my favorite spots on earth (and where I lived for 12 years), as they’re in the midst of a terrible drought. Thanks for not even making it as my fantasy back-up, NoCal!
(There’s nothing like viewing the world through selfish-colored lenses.)
I am a lump. I’ve been uninspired, phlegmy, tired, bored, boring, and brain dead. I am in desperate need of a kick in the pants, or at least a bit of inspiration, which is why I am sending this shout-out to Ellen Page:
I am not what you’d call an Ellen Page fan. I have never seen Juno or X-Men. I heard Ellen Page’s name via all the buzz about Juno whenever it was that Juno was released and my first reaction to seeing online that she’d come out was a mildly interested “Good for her!” But something compelled me to watch the speech she gave at a Human Rights Campaign conference on Valentine’s Day and I’m very glad I did. This twenty-six-year-old actress is eloquent, compassionate, humble, and brave. She is wise beyond her years and well worth listening to. And if that hasn’t convinced you, her talk is less than nine minutes long.
What’s it gonna cost you? Nothin’. Here it is.
One day, “coming out” won’t be necessary, because no one will have to hide in the first place. But until that day, those in the public eye who stand up despite the inevitable wave of ignorant, small-minded, and hateful comments are heroes who make life just a little easier for kids and teens who are figuring out who they are. And that ain’t no small thing. Because growing up feeling as though everything about you is just wrong is crippling. In my own way, I know about that.
This is why I want so desperately for my son to feel supported in being the person he is, to laugh, love, live, and create. I love his drawings of the unique world that inhabits his mind. The world as he sees it is—like him—whimsical, exuberant, and wildly fascinating.
Last night, as I was running around doing whatever, Jonah was getting changed into his pajamas, and I half-noticed his struggle to put on his pajama top. After a minute or so, I asked if he needed help, went over, and discovered his pajama top was actually his pajama bottom. This might have been why it weren’t goin’ over his head, nohow.
We laughed very hard and when I saw that he was embarrassed, I said, “Everyone does silly things, Jonah. It’s great to be able to laugh at yourself.”
And it’s true. Being able to laugh at yourself is to acknowledge that you’re part of the great, struggling, absurd, and incredible horde of humanity, a mass of beings as different from one another as each falling snowflake and yet as indistinguishable as those snowflakes piled together in a mound of snow. Getting that is one small but important step toward self-acceptance. Getting that is understanding that differences are what make us interesting, and commonalities are what help us relate to each other.
Inspiration is not so hard to come by, is it?
Photos: Top: Thing 2, lumpish but curious; Middle: Ellen Page © Featureflash | Dreamstime.com; Bottom: Drawing by Jonah 2.14.14