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NaBloPoMo 2012: November 9th– Guilt Complex

Today’s prompt reads

Friday, November 9, 2012
If you could change one thing about your life right now, what would it be?

Well, this is a tough prompt to respond to.

I currently feel a lot of guilt for things beyond my control. In the past few weeks (and months) I have felt guilt for having things I have worked so hard for. I have a college degree. I have a job. I have a beautiful studio apartment as a part of that job. I have a car in great condition. I have family filled with good health, love, and support of one another. I have a great set of friends. I’m working towards my Masters in Secondary English Education, and I have a really supportive, amazing cohort. I have had a really rewarding student teaching experience (so far, knock on wood). I have a dog who thinks he’s a drag queen and may or may not be an alien (sorry, I’m sharing this post with you all as much as humanly possible.) I didn’t lose anything or anyone in Sandy, and I’m even fortunate enough to be holding a fundraising raffle for the hurricane victims.

So why do I feel so guilty?

Simple: I have what others don’t. I have always been extremely lucky in my life. Even in times of trial, even when I have been the underdog, I’ve managed to come out on top. When the going has gotten reeeeeally tough, I’ve somehow managed to have everything work out in the end.

Even with a farmer’s tan, frizzy hair, and poor clothing choices, I even managed to come out on top (of a mountain of books) in high school.

If I could change one thing about my life right now, it would be my guilt complex. No matter what the scenario, I always feel guilty about what I have. Instead of feeling guilty, I need to learn to feel grateful and count my blessings. So many people have lost so much these past few weeks, and I need to learn to be grateful for what I have instead of feeling bad about it.

Ten Minute Musings #2 (20 minutes)

5/31/2012

20 minutes of musings

My devilishly awesome 2 year old self, enjoying life as an only child

There is a certain hiding spot that is my childhood. It never had a definitive location, but it always had definitive characteristics. It would be cool, dark, and away from whatever noises I was trying to escape. At my house, it would be in my bedroom, directly behind my closed bedroom door. If it was a particularly nice day out, it would be on the third platform of the playset, in the shade of the “stink berry tree,” right above the long yellow slide. If it was a Tuesday or Sunday afternoon and I was at Grandma and Grandpa’s house, I could be found in the corner of the rec room, either on the cool, yellow and black checked floor or on one of grandma’s chairs she couldn’t bare to throw out. In the summer, if Grandpa had set it up on the side of the house, I could be found in the camper, sprawled out on the itchy polyester cushion that once served as a bed, hiding behind the zipped-shut windows. If I was in one of these spots, one thing was certain: I probably had a book with me. Usually, it was a Boxcar Children or Babysitter’s Club book, but sometimes I’d be adventurous and read an unknown book from the Bookmobile that came to our house, or from the shelf of science fiction books that I didn’t understand in my Aunt Barb’s old room in Grandma and Grandpa’s house.

I was always the oddball out growing up. I was the oldest of three kids, and the oldest of seven cousins until I was about eleven years old. Then the next round of cousins were born, and I became the built in babysitter. I could lie and say I always got along well with my brother and sister, but that didn’t happen until we had all experienced puberty. I am three years older than my brother, and five years older than my sister. I was always the super duper girly girl princess growing up. I insisted on always wearing big floppy bows or hats adorned with fake flowers or ribbons even if I was just sitting around in the house watching Power Rangers. Until my sister was born, it was just my brother and me. I would make him play pretend with me, and he was subjected to my constant diva bossing around. (Afterall, I had been an only child until he was born.) When my sister was born, my brother got a bit of leniency from me, as my sister was a lot more fun to dress up. (Plus, I thought it was weird that my brother’s underwear had a hole in it for him to pee from. Boys were weird to me.) My baby sis was someone to play with dolls, a reason point out all the frilly dresses I wanted her to wear, and the cute adorable baby sister all of my friends were jealous of.

As we got older, there was an obvious divide between my siblings and I. We would hold meeting of “The Cool Kids Club” and Broface and sis would pair off against me. Even though I was obviously in charge because I was oldest and smartest, they would outnumber me and refuse to listen. When we would go to family gatherings like Christmas and Easter, they would each have cousins their own age to play with; I was alone. I was stuck in this weird position of “not wanting to play with the babies” a la Angelica Pickles, but not being quite old enough to understand the conversations the adults were having or fit in with them.

As a result of this dichotomy, I found my escape in books. Everyone would jokingly call me the bookworm, and when my younger siblings and cousins wanted to know what I was doing, I would end up playing school and teaching them about my books. However, sometimes I just wanted to escape. That’s when I found the definitive hiding spots of my childhood: somewhere quiet, peaceful, away from the rest of the world, and the possessing the ability to let me hide in between pages of a book. Books were my childhood.

My Uncle’s Wedding

I tend to love children’s books. My imagination and love for adventure, combined with my not-so-secret yearning and desire for a family of my own one day, occasionally leads me down a guilty pleasure path on YouTube: watching my favorite children’s books being read (or sung) outloud. Apparently, there’s a new genre of children’s literature where stories are read and posted online! It blows my mind.

ANYWAY

A few weeks back, in my YouTube adventures, I stumbled across a fabulous channel called “Gay Family Values.” It’s an amazing channel run by two dads about their family, their lives, and things that affect them in the world.

I watched one of their videos, which introduced me to a fabulous children’s book called “My Uncle’s Wedding” by Eric Ross. The story is told from Andy’s point of view. Like any inquisitive child, he talks about his uncle’s wedding, what it means to him, and all the things that need to be done to prep for a wedding ceremony.

You can watch it being read by the lovely dads of Gay Family Values here:

Personally, I love this book! As a grad student prepping to enter the English education field, I am constantly learning about new ways to teach “touchy” subjects in the classroom to students of various age groups. (Let me just make it clear that same-sex marriage is not a touchy subject in my eyes, just in the eyes of society as a whole. Everyone should be able to marry anyone they want!) This book is the perfect way to explain same-sex marriage to younger age groups without bringing in the big hullaballoo that seems to be associated with talking about anything LGBT in the classroom. (Which, by the way, is complete BS because, as a lesbian educator, every word that comes out of my mouth is connected to something LGBT– me! If you can trust me to teach your children about the basics of literature and writing, you should be accepting of who I am.)

I highly recommend that you share this book with your local elementary schools, the children in your lives, and your local same-sex marriage naysayer. If this book doesn’t explain why same-sex marriage is the same and just as beautiful as other relationships in a way even the youngest of children can understand, I don’t know what will.

My Uncle’s Wedding

www.MyUnclesWedding.com 

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Buy it online here!

Follow Eric Ross on Twitter! @LGBT_Activist