Ordain Women, again.

Sisterhood
Photo by Katrina Barker Anderson

I spent this conference weekend in Utah, attending the second Ordain Women event asking to attend the Priesthood session of conference. I was planning on still being there today to meet with people who worked for the Church to have discussions about how to help the women of the church, but the meetings I had worked so hard to line up all got canceled. And I am left wounded and grieving and trying to not let go of faith in my people.

I’ve been writing and talking about this all so much that I am loathe to recap it all again. My OW sister Annie wrote a post that speaks for me as well. Read this.

What has been so deeply saddening in all this is not that we were turned away, I expected that. What has been so difficult is how we’ve been treated. Denied from the sacred ground our ancestors built and told to stand with the protesters screaming violence and obscenities in our faces. Our every action and mere existence interpreted with suspicion, people projecting poor behavior on us because their pride was wounded. Cars full of white shirts and ties yelling at us. Online commenters and friends I’ve known for years telling me that I don’t understand the gospel or must not have a testimony.

This is a video my friend Troy Williams took of me asking for entry:

I took her, and myself, honestly, by surprise when I went in for that hug. I was near the beginning of the line and when I hugged her, she bristled. But I was overcome and couldn’t help myself. I had empathy for her. I knew that what she was doing was going to be physically and spiritually exhausting and I felt for her. When I went in for the hug I whispered in her ear, “I know this will be hard for you today. Thank you so much for being here and letting us do this.” That’s when you can see her pat my arms and say, “OK, take care.”

I am grateful for the spirit of love I felt that allowed me to be empathetic to her. As Annie wrote in the link above, over the course of the day, she softened. I don’t think that the PR department had any idea that we were actually earnest seekers. I think they came prepared for people waging a manipulative and deceptive battle and by the end of it, I think at least Kim understood that we were not there to cause trouble or embarrassment. We were there honestly.

The statements coming out of the PR department are not honest. And that breaks my heart. In part because I know these people, I’ve had great associations with them, it hurts to have them think such nefarious things about me and it hurts me to see them not living up to their own values. Bear says, “PR people are PR people. They’re going to do whatever they have to do to protect who’s paying them.” But I want to believe that people who work for the church would still place their morals above their job performance. And the statements issued contain demonstrable lies. There’s no way to sugar coat that. Believe me, I’ve tried. I want to find a way to make it OK, and the truth is that it’s just not.

When people think that I’m doing all this for reasons other than my own earnest devotion to truth and justice, it never fails to shock me. There are people who honestly believe that I get something out of this. That I’m a ‘try-hard’ who wants to fit in with ‘the world,’ and I’m doing all this for attention. I can’t help but chuckle ruefully and shake my head. Here’s the truth: ‘the world’ doesn’t care about Mormons. They think we’re an adorably out of touch religion at best and a source of oppression at worst. I take heat from all sides, I don’t get any credit there at all.

Instead, if I were able to put all this away and fit in as a Good Mormon Woman I would be dramatically more successful. Because of my activism I have lost book deals, sponsorships, readers, friends, family, community, jobs, careers, speaking tours, and more opportunities than I can count. So often we members think that we are sacrificing to live our values, without ever looking at how much we gain by being “community approved,” particularly when Mormons have such a huge presence in the blogging, publishing, and craft worlds. By following my heart and the Spirit I am “community approved” exactly no where and it has had a major impact on my work.

But if I didn’t do it, I could never ask for another prayer to be answered. I could never ask for another blessing. I would know that I hadn’t lived up to what I had been asked to do and couldn’t be worthy of more. I don’t know why God has given me this road to walk, but he has. And I know that to be true with the same fervor and in the same way that I know God lives and that I find him in this faith. To deny one I’d have to deny the other. And I won’t.
Turned Away
Photo by D’Arcy Benincosa

facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmail

Year of Pleasures: Art

3 Birds
I had to go back and look through my archives to make sure I hadn’t posted these before. It seems like such a ridiculous oversight. This triptych hangs over my desk and is what I look at all day long as I’m typing away. My talented friend Melissa Mayhew created these for me based on an idea I’ve had forever and ever. These are a symbol reminding me to be courageous in how I fight for good in the world.

Brain
An owl is a symbol of wisdom

Heart
A lovebird is a symbol of love

Voice
And a songbird is a symbol of song

All together these birds remind me that God gave me a brain and a heart and a voice and he expects me to use them. Once upon a time another friend of mine (a hugo award winning friend) did a rendition of these for me that one day, when I get the guts, I’ll tattoo on my back. I don’t even remember when I thought of these birds, but anytime someone tells me I’m doing something God would not approve of and that I should just get back in line, I think of these birds. And I keep on going.

facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmail

How to help

How to Help

How to Help

Being the unfortunate expert in going through hard times, I often get loving tender hearted people who ask me how they can best help their loved ones who are dealing with something hard. Parenting a kid with special needs, dealing with miscarriage or infertility, chronic illness, and so much more, I am all too well acquainted with hard stuff so people come to me for the lessons I’ve learned that they can apply to their relationships.

Here’s the big thing I’ve learned: no two people need help in the same way. I’ve gotten to the point where I have very little pride and I’ll just take what goodness comes my way. But for other people, well intentioned but actually unhelpful help is just one more thing they have to deal with.

This is especially true when people express sympathy and then say, “Let me know if you need anything.”

I know that comes from a sincere place. We feel helpless watching people we love go through all the hard things life holds and we don’t know what to do. But we want to do something, so we give some vague offer of good intention and then our phones never ring. Because who among us is good at asking for help when we’re in the middle of suffering? When I’m dealing with the worst of it I know that there are people who would show up for me, but the thought of picking up that phone or delegating some part of my life to them is too exhausting to contemplate.

But since everyone needs help in different ways, what else are we supposed to do?

Here’s what:
You hand your loved one a questionnaire. You ask them what kind of help would be helpful and what kind of help would really only be about you feeling like you were doing something, and then you follow through.

Giving your friend this little handout my friend Jerilyn and I made for you (I wrote the words, she made it beautiful) is an act of love all by itself, but it allows you to learn exactly what your friend needs without giving them a burden. You can learn what works and then without any further instructions you can do it.

i know times are challenging for you right now, and since you are my friend, and i love you, i want to do something to give you support.
but i want it to be something that would really help you, and not just make me feel less helpless as i watch my friend go through hard things.
tell me what would be truly helpful, and i will be there.

bringing dinner would be great.
dinner is one area we’re covered.
food would be great, but only if it meets these specific dietary requirements.

providing childcare would be a nice break.
my child really just needs to stay with me.

my last priority is a clean house. i would totally let you tackle that for me.
are you kidding? i’m not letting anyone see the state of my house.

all of my clothes live in one pile. i would let you find them a home.
if somebody folded my towels wrong it just might be my last straw.

flowers are beautiful and so thoughtful.
flowers are only great in theory and then i have to clean out a moldy vase.
chocolate makes everything better.
i don’t need cavities on top of everything else.
a care package on my doorstep shows me that i’m thought of.
i want to talk to someone about anything else. let’s chat about something fun.
i want company without the pressure to be entertaining. just come sit with me.
i need people to keep a little distance and let me take the lead.
i need someone who is unafraid to let me be angry, and sad, and depressed, and whatever else i’m feeling. help me process what i’m going through.
i need a distraction. take me to__________________________.
this is what i need more than anything: _______________________________________________________________ _______________________________________________________________

I love you. I believe in you. And I will be there for you.

Download the pdf here and use it with love.

facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmail

How to cope with suicide

Atticus looking at the light

Someone close to us killed himself two weeks ago, and we spent the end of last week traveling down and attending the funeral. It is tragic and heartbreaking, but out of respect for the family I’m not going to talk about that. Instead, I want to talk about how to cope in the aftermath.

As someone who struggles openly with mental illness, I want to speak for those who commit suicide.

There have been times in my life with the threat of suicide was very very real. Times when I had a plan and the only thing that kept me from enacting it was people who helped me when I reached out to them. So I feel like I can speak from experience when I say: no one does this because they’re thinking rationally. Teenagers have their own unique dilemmas that threaten suicide, but if we’re talking adults? They do this because the disease they are living with – depression, bipolar disorder, addiction – has overcome them. It’s the disease that ends their life. Suicide was just the form it took.

That distinction is crucial in every way. When we process a loss, we all go through the anger stage. This is a normal and healthy part of processing our grief and isn’t something to be avoided. But when it’s suicide that complicates that loss, the anger stage contains a specific component that blames the loved one. We talk about the person “giving up” or say they “couldn’t cope.” That they’ve abandoned their family or sneer that suicide is a “permanent solution to a temporary problem.” Well, sometimes that problem is temporary – the problems that often affect teen suicides can be temporary – but sometimes it isn’t. Mental illness and addiction are not temporary. And if someone dies from suicide after a struggle with a permanent problem like that, it’s not because they couldn’t cope. It’s because the treatment failed.

If someone had cancer, and they had good care from doctors and fought through chemotherapy and they still died, we would never say it was because they couldn’t cope or lament that they weren’t stronger or criticize them for being selfish. We would say the treatment failed. That despite every effort the cancer did not respond to chemotherapy and it took their life. That’s how we need to treat mental illness and addiction. (I keep saying mental illness and addiction because I want to pay special attention to addiction. It is, in fact, a mental illness and should be taken every bit as seriously.)

I am extremely lucky because in a nation where it is far from the norm, I have had access to mental health care including prescription medications. And I’m lucky again because the medications work, and I am absolutely diligent about staying healthy with the help of supportive family and friends. Not everyone has that string of luck.

We have no real treatment for addiction. There is no medical treatment, there is no cure. We have some excellent therapeutic tools, but we have no way to change brain chemistry or structure in a way that consistently and reliably counteracts addiction. Which means that every person you know who is sober and living with addiction is performing a mind over matter feat of strength that should humble us to our core. Unless we can use our mind to lower our cholesterol or blood pressure, how dare we judge an addict whose disease ends their life?

Blaming a victim of suicide for being weak reinforces the stigma surrounding mental health and feeds into the diseased mind that tells us the world would be better off without us, that we’re too much of a burden on our loved ones, that we shouldn’t reach out for help, that we’re not capable of coping.

But it also is a tragedy for the people left behind.

Your loved ones didn’t commit suicide because you didn’t love them enough. They didn’t commit suicide because they didn’t love *you* enough. They didn’t do it because you enforced boundaries or consequences or to teach you a lesson. They did it because the disease overwhelmed them and the treatment failed.

No other cause of death has us feeling so guilty. We wouldn’t tell ourselves that if we had put up with the cancer better than our loved ones would have survived. If only they loved us more they wouldn’t have been overcome by the tumors. If we had loved them better than they never would have gotten cancer in the first place. All of those thoughts are absurd, but when you replace cancer with addiction, they are commonplace.

Mental illness is a disease. Addiction is a disease. And losing someone to it is tragic, but it does not make them, or us, weak. All we can do is rest in the knowledge that their fight is over and try to leave room in our hearts for the knowledge that whatever length of time they managed to fight this disease was heroic.

facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmail

Year of Pleasures: Brian Kershisnik

She will find what is lost

Since I am broke, as I discussed yesterday, I’m hardly in the position to be an art collector. So when artists that I love offer open stock prints of their work I am so grateful I could weep. This is my latest acquisition. “She will find what is lost” by Brian Kershisnik.

This piece is so significant to me and has become even more significant since my work with Ordain Women. I believe God has more for his daughters.

facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmail

Class Guilt

Fireplace reading

So I mentioned last week that we went to the resort at Pebble Beach. If you’re not familiar, it’s, like, the hoitiest toitiest super elite thing there is. Their golf course frequently hosts the US Open, they have an “equestrian center” and tennis courts, and a spa that was just bonkers. There are actually homes within Pebble Beach that cost upward of 5 million dollars and they’re used as vacation homes. It’s a level of wealth that I honestly find sinful.

Since Bear started this new job, we’ve been entered into a new circle of access and opportunity. We are NOT rich. We have so many years of medical bills and school debt and times when we had no choice but to live off credit cards and then our sweet little San Diego house we had to lose because it was too expensive to sell, that we will be digging ourselves out of this hole for YEARS. But thanks to this new job, we will eventually dig ourselves out. Eventually we’ll be able to have a retirement and probably even save for Atti to go to college. Which is a hell of a lot more than most people can say these days and that thought is never far from my mind.

I’ve never known true poverty, but I’ve come as close as you can get while having access to good public schools and living in an area safe enough that living in my car wasn’t taking my life in my hands. I’ve spent years dodging creditors and floating checks and living paycheck to not quite another paycheck, I’ve gambled with no car insurance, and lost my twenties to having no health care. I’ve come *thisclose* to bankruptcy and been foreclosed upon. So when I go to a place like Pebble Beach, part of me feels like a hypocritical fraud.

But another part is beginning to feel right at home. Through work connections and some generous friends I’ve been able to get enough of a taste of luxury that it doesn’t shock me any more. As I was getting a massage at Pebble Beach this thought actually went through my head: “I’m enjoying this, but I think the massage I got at LaCosta was better.” And then I killed myself.

When Bear and I first got married, one of our first arguments was when I swore to him that no matter how much money he made, I would never shop regularly at Nordstroms. He got upset because back when he was 22 he thought that the measure of his manhood was how he provided for his family, and what would his hard work be for if we couldn’t enjoy it? I brought this argument up to him the other day and he just shook his head and said, “I was such an idiot.” Years of hard times has taught him what the hard work is for, and that’s security. I do not take that for granted for a second, and we have big ambitious plans for how we’re going to use our good fortune to provide security for others. But in the meantime, as I get these experiences that so few people in the world get to experience, my enjoyment is always laced with guilt.

I often call myself a “red-letter Mormon” because the words of Jesus are paramount to my faith. So I take very very seriously the charge to care for the poor and needy. I take seriously how often Jesus condemned the rich and powerful. I believe that people in positions of abundance are stewards and have an obligation to use that abundance for the betterment of the world. And I also believe in beauty, in design and style, in rest and relaxation, in appreciating creation. I guess every person has to find the balance in there somewhere.

For me, so far, the balance is enjoying it on someone else’s dime, and then writing angsty blog posts about it.

facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmail

Why I don’t fix my nails

Chipped nails
A lifestyle blogger knows that she’s going to receive criticism for what she puts out there. A blogger like me who regularly blogs elsewhere about the most controversial possible issues in life knows that I have to put on my thick skin armor and deal with other people’s reactions. But there is one thing people respond to over and over again that I find completely mystifying. My nails.

Whenever I post a craft tutorial that requires me to take pictures of my hands, somebody has something to say about my nails. They’re too long, I need to cut them. They’re too ragged, I need a manicure. And most of all, if my nail polish is chipped, people lose their minds. They insist, over and over again, that chipped nail polish is so distracting they can’t possibly pay attention to what I’m actually demonstrating.

I think this might be one of those things that is surprisingly common, but I never knew about it until I started working on the internet. Like the people who are really into latex, or act like chewing into a microphone is as uncouth as insulting your mother.

But I can’t help but think that there’s something else at play here. The way those commenters are so derisive – like I’m taking pictures of myself with my skirt tucked into my underwear – like they’re embarrassed for me – the way they comment as if having chipped nail polish undermines any credibility I might have as a crafter or blogger – I think it’s about being a woman.

A man who works with his hands and has the marks to show it is considered manly. A man with rough hands and callouses is pretty universally respected, if not thought of as sexy. I am not only engaged in crafting – covered in paint and glue and solvents and dyes everyday – but engaged in parenting and washing my hands every hour and washing my kid every other. If I made sure that my manicure was perfect before every picture I took – I’d never take any pictures.

At one of these conferences I go to regularly, I talked with a woman who was a tech reviewer. She had the same problem. And in her case having nails was a really helpful part of the job – you wouldn’t believe how many phones and other devices are designed so that women with nails can’t use them at all. Not crazy Guinness records nails, just run of the mill nails you see at any nail salon in every strip mall in America. So as a tech reviewer being able to point out – women with nails can’t use this – was actually a pretty cool and valuable insight. And yet when she posted pictures of her hands, commenters would go nuts about her nails.

I think that it’s another way that women’s bodies are up for grabs, less than, viewed as public territory, a woman’s beauty something she owes to the public. And I think that’s gross and crappy.

I also think it’s gross and crappy that someone feels they can criticize me for not spending enough time on my appearance when I’m teaching them how to do cool stuff.

When I go to these conferences and pitch my “brand,” (bleck.) I always tell them that I am about authenticity. I write a blog, and not a magazine or work for some big media conglomerate, because I like the personal nature of it. I don’t want to be glossy and pretend that I have the answers to everything. I don’t want to be a Pinterest mom. I don’t want to pretend that I’m perfect and shiny and can do all the things I do with one hand tied behind my back. To do all the things I do, somethings gotta give, and if the only thing that’s giving in a certain day is my manicure? I think somebody should be throwing me a parade.

In other words: it’s not just laziness. Every time you see a photo of chipped nails, know that I am taking a stand. Against people who think that women have to look a certain way in order to have something worth listening to, against an artificial version of perfection promoted by blogs, even against poor time management. My life is not going to be dedicated to how my nails look, or how my face looks, or even how my clothes look, (and I obviously love my clothes.) I get to enhance or ignore each of those things as it feeds my soul, it’s not something anyone owes you.

facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmail

“All Boy” is offensive. Stop it.

Muddy Knees
I really don’t believe that boys and girls are all that different. On some things, sure. Bear does the heavy lifting in the house, for example. And I am perpetually suffering through the effects of having a woman’s biology that is constantly trying to torture me, if not outright kill me. But most differences, I think, come down to how we’re raised. Men are usually taught not to deal with their emotions, so most women will seem more nurturing in comparison. Girls aren’t encouraged to play in the dirt, or wrestle, or play with trucks, so by the time they’re grown all that stuff is a world away from them.

We talk about this all the time in activist circles. LGBT rights and feminism are deeply concerned with our ideas about gender. We say that while differences certainly exist, there is far more difference amongst genders than between genders. You take someone like me, a crafter in heels and lipstick who is unathletic and doesn’t like getting dirty, and put me up next to a female forest ranger or firefighter. We’re both women, and neither of us should feel like we’re the “right” kind of woman, but who has more in common? Me and her? Or her and her male firefighter colleagues? The human experience is too vast for boxes about how men are and how women are. It’s just how people are.

And yet, there are definite trends. When I’m with my woman friends, I feel a power there in our shared womanhood. Is it just shared experiences? Or something more? My mom friends all tell stories of boys turning barbies into guns and girls turning trucks into baby dolls. Tiny little girls insisting on pink dresses and princess stuff. Boys making car noises before their first words. It’s an argument that sociologists, anthropologists, and hosts of other ists have been having forever – nature or nurture? Chicken or the egg? Are they taught this because they love it? Or do they love it because they’re taught this?

I was watching some dumb sitcom the other day and one plot line was the dad telling his son that whenever he wanted to get out of trouble with a woman he shouldn’t put up a fight, he should just immediately give in and say, “You’re right. I’m sorry.” He taught that with this one bit of wisdom the son could get away with anything, just use these magic words afterwards and he could always have his way. The kid then went on to pull all kinds of shenanigans and get out of trouble every time as he would just say, “You’re right. I’m sorry.” to his sister and aunt when he got caught. Because women just want to be right. They don’t care what you do, as long as they win the argument in the end.

It was just a dumb sitcom, but by the end I was fuming. That’s not how women react, that’s how PEOPLE react! Because you APOLOGIZED! Only a jerk would reject the apology and keep yelling just to satisfy their own rage. When someone says I’m sorry, people who haven’t been raised by wolves stop being angry and accept that the lesson has been learned. But in the world of this sitcom, women are nags always trying to keep men from doing what they want to do.

I could write a book about how and why this happens (short version: too many men in the writer’s room), but it happens hundreds of times a day. Every day. And eventually we stop noticing it. The world we live in teaches us that men are one way and women are the other and we rarely stop to consider if that’s how it really is. Underneath the razor commercials and anti-aging ads.

This is another one of my silver linings in being a mom of a special needs kid. The rule book was stripped from our hands and it was terrifying and overwhelming, but it means that the only rules we have to play by are the ones we make for ourselves. I think many moms get there one way or the other. We were kicked into that lesson.

The first time I was at a scrapbooking night and realized how many cute papers and embellishments I’d never get to use – first steps, baseball games, soccer teams – it was heartbreaking. And then right behind that realization came the thought that if I was rethinking what and why and how I scrapbook, that meant I didn’t have to use any embellishments just because it was what they were selling, and I started thinking through everything I was seeing on the shelves. Out went the “All Boy” stickers, the “Little Man” die cuts. Those things are gross, and offensive. People use them because they love their children and they’re proud of them, but think about what the opposite might mean. What exactly is someone who’s not ‘all boy?’ A girl? A gay person? A trans person? And if you’re bragging that your child is All Boy, does that make it bad to be something less than that?

The “All Boy” stuff is almost always covered in tire trucks and mud, camouflage, sports balls. What if you have a kid like mine who loves hugs and kisses, music and books. Where are the All Boy papers covered in letters and numbers, or kissy marks? They don’t exist. Because when people say “all boy” they mean something very specific. And anything different is not All Boy and therefore not worth bragging about.

When I saw these muddy knees, my heart lept. Not because he’s “All boy” but because of how hard won that playtime was. These muddy knees represent Atti dragging himself through the house, out the door, and into the grass. It shows that he got up on his hands and knees after years and years of therapy to accomplish that. It’s that work ethic that I am proud of. His love of nature. Who he is. Not because he’s officially checked off the “Boy must play in dirt” box.

facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmail

Ordain Women

Kate Kelly and me
I am a believer.

I believe that creativity can change the world.

I believe in Jesus Christ and in striving to make myself into what he preached instead of making his preachings into what I am.

I believe that people are good, and when they’re not it’s because they are either sick or they’re afraid.

I believe in God and that he’s still trying to guide us if we would only listen.

And I believe that God loves his daughters just as much as his sons.

I left home on Saturday at 4 in the morning and drove across the desert to get to Salt Lake City to join up with my fellow supporters of Ordain Women as we sought entry to the Priesthood session of general conference. In my religion, like most religions, only men hold the priesthood and by extension nearly all of the leadership opportunities, as well as bureaucratic and financial authority. Many women are not bothered by this because the system works for them. They have the good fortune to be surrounded by men who don’t abuse or dominate them, and have plenty of opportunities to exercise their talents and gifts. Many others don’t but want so desperately to be righteous that they make it work for them, grateful for what they do experience. But many many others, so many others that the weight of sorrow I witness often overwhelms me, see the unequal policies and feel intense pain at the thought that their Heavenly Father views them as less important than men. That the current church structure reflects the structure of heaven. That the silencing, and ignoring, and discounting, and even often cruelty they experience from men and leaders in their life might be a shadow of what awaits them on the other side.

What people often misunderstand in viewing these kinds of efforts is that the motivation comes from an abundance of faith, not a lack of it. If we didn’t love our leaders, it wouldn’t hurt. We’d shrug our shoulders and walk away, shaking our heads at the time we spent as part of this religion. If we didn’t have faith in the priesthood we wouldn’t want it. We’d go about our business and smirk whenever someone suggested it’s power, knowing how much power we could wield without it. But we don’t do those things. We drive alone across the desert, fly across oceans, walk past men refusing to meet our gaze, show up at the door and knock, only to be turned away. We can read the talks offered at the session, use them to teach our Relief Society lessons, watch it on television, but we can’t enter the building. And we mourn and we weep when we feel rejected by our church home, our righteousness questioned, our earnest faith unwanted.

We believe all that God has revealed, all that He does now reveal, and we believe that He will yet reveal many great and important things pertaining to the Kingdom of God.
-9th Article of Faith

I feel called to keep pushing on this issue. There are a lot of people who don’t like me because of it. I’ve lost friends, I’ve lost callings, I’ve lost jobs, I’ve been threatened, I’ve had family chase me from their home. But I am a believer. And I believe that God has more for his daughters.

facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmail

Mormons at San Francisco Pride 2013

Our signs for the parade
We’re having a crazy heat wave here which knocked the power out yesterday. Not only was it awful because I was entertaining Atti in the heat with no relief, but because I’ve been dying to share these pictures with you! Sunday was San Francisco Pride and I walked in it again with Mormons for Marriage Equality. Once again it was the highlight of my year, but this time it was even better because I brought family and friends.

Wind on the train platform
Atti gets easily overwhelmed with crowds and noise, so I was worried about how he’d fare. I came stocked with juice boxes and granola bars and he powered through like a champ. He not only got through it, but he actually had a blast, starting with playing in the wind on the train platform.

Atti likes the train
This was Atti’s first time riding a train and it just happens to coincide with his newfound love of anything with wheels. He was thrilled to actually be inside one of the vehicles he spends so much time playing with.

Atti decked out for Pride
Once we got there he was a little more apprehensive, but he was a big fan of the rainbow pinwheels I taped to his chair. With ribbons down the handles and woven through his wheels, he was a major hit with the crowd.

Disbelief at Pride 2013
And the crowd was so supportive it made tears leak from my eyes through the whole event. This was probably my favorite reaction, caught totally by accident. Open mouthed disbelief. We got a lot of thank you’s, lots of tears and hugs, lots of people cheering us on. Honestly, I take so much heat throughout the year that I drank it all up like water. Sometimes straight people participating in Pride is controversial – it’s not for us, it’s about gay people – but I felt that need. I needed to be proud of my beliefs, my work, the love I have for this community. I needed to celebrate it and be celebrated in return and I got that. It was so beautiful.

Snuggling on the way home
Atti was completely tuckered out on the way home but he had the greatest day. We told him that this was a special day to celebrate love and all the new families that could love each other the way we loved each other. Our battle cry was, “Hooray for love!”

My family celebrates families
Last year was incredibly moving, but being there with my family so shortly after the Supreme Court allowed gay marriages in California was poignant and historic. I kept looking at Bear, and running my hands through Atti’s hair, and thinking of all the people who get to have what we have, and weeping. And being so so grateful that I could join in the celebration.

facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmail