Letting my (yours, our) light shine

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It’s my birthday…Happy Birthday to Me!

This last year has been pretty amazing. It was my first year out of school in a little over six years and although I thought I might get to take a break, I think I gained more knowledge this year than through most classes I’ve taken. I learned that I have a little light inside of me and, when given the chance, that little light can glow pretty bright.

I had no idea I was (or could be) an activist, but then I somehow pulled together a vigil in a little less than two weeks that gathered more than 250 people;

The ENC equality vigil I organized in September

I wore my politics on my sleeve (or my signs, whichever);

NC Pride in Raleigh…I made the sign, M came up with the slogan!

I found my allies;

The Straight Brides for Gay Marriage float at Winston-Salem Pride

And I cried with a whole bunch of people when 60 percent of the 30 percent of registered NC voters thought it was okay to enshrine hate and discrimination into our state constitution. I also decided that no gets to decide who is or isn’t my family.

You do not get to define my family

My point here is not to pat myself on the back. It’s to remind you that you have a light and you need to let it glow.

It’s scary at times, but I’ve seen crazy change when it happens. At the very beginning of the whole Amendment One campaign, I had one woman ask me not to be so political at church. The very last Sunday before the vote she wore a “Vote Against Amendment One” T-shirt to church. I had another women mention that she was never comfortable putting a family picture of her and her partner up on Facebook, but when she saw how Marianne and I lived our lives so honestly it made her a bit braver and last I checked she has her family portrait as her profile picture.

Regarding my upcoming wedding yes, I am absolutely doing it because I get to marry my best friend, but I am writing this blog because I think all the events leading up to it matter. Everything is not cake and roses, but I keep pushing because things change. And they change when folks meet others who are different from them in their everyday life. When they realize the feminine-looking woman they work with is a lesbian with a wife or the tattooed, leather-wearing, motorcycle-riding butch they were scared of before is perfectly ordinary and maybe even grooms poodles on the weekend, things change.

Marianne and I were in Greenville this past weekend and we ended up the Unitarian Universalist Fellowship service on Sunday morning. The pastor read a quote by author Marianne Williamson about our deepest fear not being that we can’t measure up, but that instead it’s that we are so powerful we don’t know what to do with that power. Part of that quote seems fitting here:

…as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.

So you, yes you, live your life exactly as you were meant to live it. Figure out what makes you passionate and do that thing. Be honest about who you are and others you meet will follow suit. No more hiding. No more apologizing, just truth. And light.

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