Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Another awesome piece from Saturday's GSA workshop

No more running.
I’ve been quiet for too long
while you’ve breathed Sodom and Gomorrah-
all those fags who done got what they deserved.

Time to express, liberate myself;
The truth shall set me free.
So here’s the meat of what I’m saying-
No more vegetables in this speech-
I’m queer as all get-out.

Now comes the hard part- resilience.
How do I cope with your eyes,
Your lips drawn tight?
How do I cope with being a different kind of human?

You ask me, what would Jesus say
when I finally reach the gilded gates?

This life is my masterpiece.
It just so happens my paint is rainbow.

My hands clench into fists.
I am alive, I say.
I’m living for love.

If Jesus asks about that at the gilded gates, I’ll tell him I’m living for that
And for girls.


Sunday, November 14, 2010

Another wonderful piece of writing from Saturday's GSA conference

LGBTQ Narratives received this email submission from a young person who attended Saturday's workshop. Thank you for submitting your work, Rachael!

It Will Take Courage

I run towards you, my opposition
Searching to find the commonality,
The we, we both choose to say “I” for.

Expression is freedom of choice.
I hope to liberate those who
Are confined by lack of self expression.

Together, with you,
I will face the temptation
To sit idly by as a vegetable
while others hurt.
I will do it with strong and forceful resilience.

We are all unique and different.
Therefore, each of us forms a masterpiece.
We are all human. We are all individuals
With our own roads to take.

And everyday, with conscience, deliberate action
We choose to take our own road.

We can choose to be alive.
Therefore, we can choose to love.

I challenge you to make that choice.


If you are interested in creating a common word writing, use our list from Saturday's conference or create your own. Saturday's words were:

Email your submissions to lgbtqnarratives@gmail.com

Work from Saturday's GSA conference

On Saturday, November 13th, members of LGBTQ Narratives facilitated a workshop at the fall conference of the Gay Straight Alliance for Safe Schools. Members of LGBTQ Narratives facilitated a "common word" writing exercise, in which youth offered up 12 words and everyone in the room had 20 minutes to create a piece using those words in order. Seventeen youth were in attendance at this workshop and many volunteered to share their work on this blog. Thank you to the youth who attended!

Here are a couple of writings from youth & facilitators:

Yes, go run and tell.
I'm gay.
And I express it openly.
Liberate me.
I am not a vegetable. I'm not different.
I am resilient.
I am no different.
Don't expect me to be a masterpiece. No.
I am a human being. I should be treated as so.
I am deliberate in being true to myself.
I am alive and gay.
And all I want is love.
- Jon

The culture runs counter clockwise to Truth.
I cannot suffer the fools who follow so blindly.
Suppressing and expression like mindless vegetables.
It is within our power to build our resilience through the joy of being different.
A masterpiece of the human condition.
A deliberate celebration of being alive, of being Queer, of loving ourselves.

I run from those who hate. I express my emotions,liberating my cause, eating vegetables while I sing a song. I'm resilient to those who oppose my difference, but I am a masterpiece of the creator of the human race. Deliberating when I'll die but I focus on being alive. I believe love is love no matter what for, even if it is for a whore. Even if I'm a bore I don't care. I'll be myself not an imposter like everyone else. If you aren't you then whom the hell are you? I don't know because you pretend that I'm your friend but you are not who you are for real but that is your won deal.

Run to us, offering wares on the street corner like candy, crack, and pencils to write with.
I, I, I, I, I, One, One, One, One
Expression locked within a series of syllables like a Yoko Ono sound piece.
Will unlocking the syllables liberate the sounds?
I am going to marry a vegetable standing outside Rebecca Kleefisch's new office.
Our resilient human-carrot bond.
It's a little different, but she is a masterpiece of a carrot - orange and ridged with purple rings.
Her near human expressiveness in the nobs I pretend are her eyes.
Our deliberately gentle touching - I have to be careful with her.
You don't have to be alive for me to want you
Our love will last until she withers away in the produce drawer and I add her to the compost bin.

Running through the town
I live, my expression on
my face is that of a liberator
of vegetables.
They had resilience to empower
the different types
the masterpiece came
in the form of human
they deliberated on how to
live alive and love together.

Running on whispers,
I hear what you say.
I'm here to express to you,
liberate if you will, that you have lived the life of a vegetable.
With resilience, my community has stood proud.
You look at us as though we're different,
but I am a masterpiece, as you are a masterpiece, and we are all the same.
We, together, identify ourselves as "human."
Don't consider our lifestyles as "deliberate disobedience."
We're merely expressing ourselves as who we are while we're alive.
We all love, and not you, nor anyone, can ever tell us that's wrong.

Every time I run away
I hold my expression tight
liberate me from my shell
keeping me silent like a vegetable
Hold your resilience
Dare to be different
landed on the island of misfit toys
I'm a masterpiece
I'm a human
This isn't deliberate, I didn't choose this
I know love like anyone else
A name will not hold me back

A run in the fabric that holds us
that holds us in
Break the old habit
am "I" triumphant
a pure expression
liberates us from tradition
root vegetables
and their winter resilience
each new season, a masterpiece
each human living free
a deliberate movement
to be unique and alive
with love in our hearts.

Saturday, November 6, 2010

It Gets Better

This story is meant for you, the young person who I have not yet met, but know. You see we already share an affinity, a kinship. We are both alike and we are different. I know some of your story; you may be living some of mine. Our stories do share a common theme. Our differences create our essence and your essence makes you special. You are the only you, and you are a gift to the world.

When I was your age I knew I was different. I couldn’t articulate how I was different I just knew that I was from the deepest core of my being. I felt alienated and alone. I sought connection with friends. I wanted to be accepted, welcomed, invited to the party, to join the group, become a member. Sometimes it happened, sometimes not. I often felt more rejected than accepted, more alone than together, more different than the same. Sound familiar?

It wasn’t until I was an adult that I was able to answer the question of how I was different, to come out, to name myself, to understand that I was a woman who loved women. I was finally living an authentic life, embracing my essence, I was being, me. My journey was not easy, much like yours. What I needed were allies and tools, new ways of thinking and the courage to face my fears. What I needed most were people in my life who smiled at me when I entered the room. Yes, it’s pretty simple. Surround yourself with people who smile when you enter a room. These are the people who love you; the people who matter in your life. These are your allies, your family.

When I look back at my teen and young adult years, I see that there was so much pressure to be the same, to conform, and to mimic the opinions, appearance and behaviors of the dominant culture, or “in crowd.” I mistakenly thought that the heroes I wanted to emulate were those young people who were most liked, possessed the most friends, who were leaders, not followers. What I didn’t realize at the time was that they often were surrounded by others, because like me, they were afraid, afraid to be alone, to step out, to assert their individuality, to express their independence.

One lesson I’ve learned as an adult, I’ll share with you today. Sometimes we each go through life comparing our insides, our deepest fears, insecurities and vulnerabilities, with other peoples’ outsides. The smiling, confident, self-assured bravado of our friends and colleagues, from whom we desire to be accepted, liked, and invited to the party. What we see on the outside doesn’t always reflect what’s going on inside. They too have fears, insecurities and are vulnerable; they too have dark nights of the soul.

Another lesson I’ve learned as an adult is when you get a group of people together, the group can take on opinions, beliefs and act in ways that doesn’t always reflect the values and desires of the individual, but instead creates a dangerous “group think.” When you separate the individual from the crowd and interact one-on-one, you may discover you have an ally. Heroes are not born from crowds; heroes are individuals who step outside of convention, risk voicing their opinion, live authentically.

When I was growing up, the real heroes were the young, vulnerable ones, who often walked the halls of school alone; the ones who were called “different.” The ones who in spite of the shameful, abusive name calling, bullying, and shunning by others, even when their courage wavered, bravely risked being themselves, loving, accepting and embracing those attributes which made them different. What made them heroes? They believed it would get better, that they would find others who were like them, people who would smile when they walked into a room, people who would love them unconditionally, not in spite of who they were, but because of who they were.

It does get better; it gets easier and remember when you feel like you are absolutely alone without an ally or the energy to take the next step — you are my hero. Reach out, accept help, take the next step, live the next moment, you are the only you in the world. We need you.