Pride Month

Rainbow

I’ve been pondering this post for a couple of months and decided to place it on the backburner. I couldn’t really think of a better day to write it out and I hope the words just come as I type.

I grew up in a rural setting in the middle of the Bible belt and, subsequently, tornado alley. While enduring more than my share of childhood trauma, I tended to make relationships low-priority for some time.

A nerd in every sense of the definition, kids brutally teased me in sixth grade for being a ‘lesbian’. Every evening, in the solitude of my bedroom I’d shove my face into Brown Bear and cry until I fell asleep.

Criticized for my “humiliating” sense of humor, tom-boy like nature, and tendency to gravitate toward Fortran and briefcases versus pom-poms and Prada, I managed to do a fantastic job of suppressing who I was…even to myself.

In fact, it wasn’t until I finally moved to an environment where I felt empowered and safe and learned to express myself through writing poetry, novels, and short stories that I began to discover the person I am.

I’ve spent the last several years exploring me, and I’ve learned a lot of things, not all that I need to share. It’s not been easy, but I’m lucky in that I have supportive people in my life who are willing to listen and talk.

We’re really good at folding little boxes, piecing them together, taping them up, and tying on large pink ribbons at the top, and I understand how truly difficult it is when one’s situation is too large or complex to fit into those meticulous, dark containers. I realize that if I could just pretend, if I could simply smile from ear to ear and play within the confines of what society deems appropriate life could be, would be simple.

I’d suffocate.

So, this year on Pride Day, I wish for empowerment; wherever you are in your journey, if you’re comfortable, afraid, lonely, depressed, excited, I hope that you can find a sense of worth and voice and know that you are loved.

If you truly have been shunned, abused, or made feel like less of a human, it is my hope that someone enters your path and offers you genuine support.

Love to all on this day, the first day of June,

Erin