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Shame and Redemption: Stops on the road to a house of grace
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Sorus
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PostPosted: Wed Sep 09, 2015 10:46 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Linna Heartlistener wrote:


I don't know... the other day it came flooding back to me the way I've seen people "joke" with someone, "Well you aren't GAY, are you?"
And then I realized, "Wow, whether the person on the receiving end of that comment is straight or is gay or bi but not open about it, that's a wretched situation!"

Do you think those careless words are a major source of pain & aggravation for gays you've known?
Or are people you know more like, "Meh; it's just people being idiots."
I'm thinking maybe there would be regional variation, but I dunno..



As with most things, there isn't a one-size-fits all answer. It depends on the person and their relationship with the person that said it, and how sensitive/easily offended they are in general. In my case I will generally shrug it off as thoughtless but not deliberate. I have a good friend who is an expert in the art of calling people out on it - they will generally apologize and be a little embarrassed and she'll forgive them and we'll move on like nothing happened. There is an art to it - making it clear that such talk isn't cool, but at the same time, not turning it into a big deal.

Linna Heartlistener wrote:
I was thinking of writing it as all three friends (not all of whom chose to reveal their same-sex attraction to their whole High School) were just plain tormented by their peers in High
School... with subtly-cruel comments they couldn't quite deny.


In many ways, I think kids these days (did I actually just say 'kids these days'? I must be getting old) are more open-minded and accepting than they were when I was growing up, but on the flip side, if they're expecting to be accepted and they're not, they probably aren't as well equipped to handle it. The regional thing can be important, but family is even more important. If Janie was having problems with her peers but knew - or thought - that talking about it at home would be met with rejection or denial, that could certainly have driven her to do something desperate.

(Not trying to change or influence the direction of the story; sometimes I just go off on a tangent.)
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PostPosted: Fri Sep 18, 2015 8:09 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Something completely different...
I wasn't sure I'd ever show this to another living soul.
But now that I have a couple of people's ears, (and I haven't managed to horrify either of you yet) here's something I wrote two-and-a-half years ago. (January 24, 2013)

(Also, I'm a little bit "stuck" on the other thing I was writing and I want to keep things moving here..)

So, warning: extremely bitter P.O.V. character.
Here it is:
_______________________________________________

Silla sat in the chair, examining her reflection in the mirror. A tall, slim woman, still dark-haired... but today she decided she looked pale, weather-eaten. Still, she could pull off the short, dark dress she still wore from last night. No; not really. It emphasized her unnatural thinness; her bony angles seemed offended by her failure to conceal them.

So that's it... he just chewed me up and spat me out, just like the last one. "That's all I'm good for; just flings," she told the empty room.

She crossed and re-crossed her legs, measuring them for faults. She inspected the dying yellow blooms in the vase while her mind clicked through her options. Call a friend and complain. Her friend, out of an attempt to help and comfort, she thought sarcastically, would try to cut down the half of a man she'd sought to give herself to for the last two weeks. Hear him derided and mocked until the old tape played in her head, "Yeah, yeah; nobody you'd want would bother with you anyway."

Unbidden, her hand made a move for a cigarette. She had it out of the box before she knew what she'd done; would have had it lit and at her lips already if she knew where that damn lighter was. Ahh, well. If the thing was lost at the moment, that was just another of God's blessings. Too cold to go outside, and the room would stink if she just sat in the chair chain-smoking.

"Options, options," she reminded herself as she traced the petals of one of the withering blooms. A dozen tapered petals dropped; some into the dirty water in the vase, some on to the table. "Oh, my lovely options. People do the things they do after a split to lose themselves. Screw THOSE options."

She crossed and re-crossed her legs. "Yeah, that was a great night," she thought sourly. He decided he might as well get laid one last time before he told her to shove off. Because, "Apparently," she intoned sourly, "I'm not the type that men find to be 'marriageable material.' " She pulled back her hair in the mirror, and saw a light dusting of freckles, and a face that was finely-sculpted as the sunlight shone on it. Now she saw something different: Youth. Elegance. "I would actually have something if I don't spend all my blasted passion and energy on these worthless husks of men."

She laughed at herself. "Option number 9: Think about him," drawing out her voice in the most dramatic tones, "...And the pangs of unrequited love... unceasingly." Along with options number 6, 7, 8, and 10; they just had different wordings... same basic idea.

"Even not making a choice is making a choice." Can't escape that one. But what about when all the other choices in the list were stupid?

It was all about him anyways. But wasn't that true for both of them? In her mind, it was all about him. In his mind, it was all about him. Jerk. [<--I had a different word there at first.]

Why can't I be like everybody else? Supposedly girls like me are able to throw off the constraining chains of love the instant that - even before - the guy's interest goes stale. I saw it on "Sex in the City." Maybe they can anticipate it right about when he's starting to grow cool. And then just ditch him, poof, just like that, with no consequences. She laughed harshly.

She stood up, picked up her dish, brought it in to the kitchen. She had a vision of herself filling up the sink with sudsy water, gathering the dishes off the countertop into the sink, donning a pair of rubber gloves and wielding that handy-dandy plastic scrubber-on-a-stick: Diligent. Confident. Purposeful.
Ha, leave that for another day.

She paced the room, bare feet tasting the uneven slats of the hardwood floor. In her most businesslike voice, she pronounced, "So, I've eliminated the options where I drink myself, drug myself - or fool myself - into oblivion." "Check." "For now, at least..." "Eliminated the options where I obsess over him." "Well, sort of." "So what am I doing now?" "Obsessing about obsessing about him."

More sensible things to do included:
* Washing her face and hair.
* Calling someone who didn't enjoy lying to her. ("a tall order, I know.")
* Venting her anger in hilarious ways.

She paused at that last one. "This situation is decidedly NOT hilarious. Why did I come up with this?"

There was another class of women who she was in contact with. They were the, "I'm married and it was so easy to get this way" bunch. Oh, they were full of advice and platitudes.

Hmm, she could write a whole list of platitudes she'd heard over the years. It should start with... 1. "Everything happens in God's timing." 2. "Everything works out in the end." 3. "God will find someone for you when YOU are ready."

"Hey, what if I wrote what they really mean?" With a devious grin, she clicked out a red pen. 1. "Everything happens in God's timing, and it won't hurt ME at all in the meantime. Also, your loneliness matters little to me, because you at least have a nice, quiet apartment to yourself, wheras I got married and have since gone deaf listening to the ensuing cacophony of children screaming and arguing." 2. "Everything works out in the end. But you'll probably be dead by then." 3. "God will find someone for you if you would ever just your act together. Because, like, my character was totally ready for the challenges of marriage. That is why I am, at this moment, punishing my husband for all the petty charges that I still hold against him."

"Grace; that's what we all need. Badly. Grace," she mumbled to herself.

"When I'm done, I can analyze the before and after lists for theological content," she said to herself with a wicked grin.
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PostPosted: Sat Sep 19, 2015 6:54 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Drat, you probably found that kind of gross if you read it, Sorus.
Wish I'd given a more fitting disclaimer. :-/
I found it kind of gross myself, and I wrote it.

When I posted it, I was telling myself "We all need grace, and it fits in the category, and I can finally share it with peeps I know."
But "fits in the category" is just not enough if the category is "We all need more grace, and we all need to give grace to others more." (!)

Here's more of the other, though!
Did a set-timer-for-3-mins thing, and it WORKED.

LotsOfLove_Mom Okay, okay, I'll try to just listen!
JCGirl2019 THANK you!
JCGirl2019 (my mommy has counselling skillz... tee-hee!)
JCGirl2019 That was a horrible summer. But it brought us really close.
JCGirl2019 Wow. I *just* realized that Janie's the only person from home I've kept in touch with these past 3 weeks.
LotsOfLove_Mom Besides me! Wink
JCGirl2019 Hehe.
JCGirl2019 Okay. *deep breath* You asked what is meant by "homophobia."
JCGirl2019 What are you confused about?
LotsOfLove_Mom Well, I'm not really sure if it means someone is scared of gay people, or afraid of possibly being gay, or what?
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PostPosted: Sat Sep 19, 2015 8:55 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Linna Heartlistener wrote:
Drat, you probably found that kind of gross if you read it, Sorus.
Wish I'd given a more fitting disclaimer. :-/
I found it kind of gross myself, and I wrote it.


I'm not easy to horrify or gross out. My own comfort zones - such as they are - aren't very susceptible to vicarious harm.


Linna Heartlistener wrote:
LotsOfLove_Mom Well, I'm not really sure if it means someone is scared of gay people, or afraid of possibly being gay, or what?


That second point is a very good one. I had an old neighbor... well, that's a long and unpleasant story.

I think it's probably easier these days, but people my age or older - we really didn't have any role models when we were growing up. I watched my friends go boy-crazy and expected that it would happen to me one day - not something I dreaded or looked forward to, just a fact of life that I expected would happen sooner or later.
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PostPosted: Sat Sep 19, 2015 11:39 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Sorus wrote:

Linna Heartlistener wrote:
LotsOfLove_Mom Well, I'm not really sure if it means someone is scared of gay people, or afraid of possibly being gay, or what?


That second point is a very good one. I had an old neighbor... well, that's a long and unpleasant story.

I think it's probably easier these days, but people my age or older - we really didn't have any role models when we were growing up. I watched my friends go boy-crazy and expected that it would happen to me one day - not something I dreaded or looked forward to, just a fact of life that I expected would happen sooner or later.

I hate to jump in to the very interesting dialogue...
but I can't not, just in case [which seems to really BE the case] Linna wants to get at the issue...
The problem is "of." For those who claim and those who deny and those who dodge "homophobia." It's powerful language. But unfortunate.
People are afraid OF heights...but not that they're unnatural/shouldn't be allowed/will ruin things. And they aren't disgusted by the fact that the mountain is tall, and stands there being tall [or even flaunting it...intentionally offending those who don't like height].
Being a homophobe...to the extent it even is a thing...is mostly afraid FOR something...morals/culture/identity.
Fear of heights is simple, in its way.
Fear of homosexuals is complicated.
Even the disgust factor, which seems simple, isn't. Almost everyone, most of the time, thinks poop is disgusting. But no one would think moral/cultural/religious disapproval of all who poop would be justified by the disgust.
All this blather just cuz the question the mom asks is a great one...but complicated.
And you need a great and complicated answer [though it doesn't have to happen right that second] to avoid being blah/trite/simplistic.
Sorry for the interrupt.

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the hyperbole is a beauty...for we are then allowed to say a little more than the truth...and language is more efficient when it goes beyond reality than when it stops short of it.
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PostPosted: Sat Sep 19, 2015 11:56 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I always wonder who is lurking in here. As I said in the beginning, my PoV may not be exactly what Linna is looking for. It's nice to have another perspective.
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PostPosted: Sun Sep 20, 2015 12:12 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Sorus wrote:
I always wonder who is lurking in here. As I said in the beginning, my PoV may not be exactly what Linna is looking for. It's nice to have another perspective.

I'm lurking everywhere...I even know what most of your wow toons are up to.
[[[but not in a weird/stalky way. I keep the weird for the 'Tank, and the stalk for the Close.]]]

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PostPosted: Sun Sep 20, 2015 12:19 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Sorus wrote:
I always wonder who is lurking in here.
Me too. But I agree with vraith that joining in such a dialogue changes the dynamic.
I'm very much a "one-on-one conversation" person, as some here may have guessed.

Besides, for all we know, vraith found it because of the word "peeps."
(lol, I JUST realized I used the word peeps - that's hilarious! You people are getting into my head!)

I am kinda tired / don't want to think carefully about actual post content (mine or anyone else's) so I'll just stop at having engaged in the above meta-conversation. (meta-conversation about a respectful conversation about a respectful conversation about a messy large-scale dialogue.)
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PostPosted: Sun Sep 20, 2015 1:41 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Does that mean I ought not mention that I have been following this thread?

For many reasons, I have an abiding interest in both Grace and the dynamics of how those who have other-than-traditional relationships handle that private fact in their public persona. Although the story in the exchange between mother and daughter seems to be more about how those of a traditional mindset handle knowledge of others whose lives involve "coloring outside the lines", I suspect there may be a plot twist ahead.

As for the other story, poor Silla...may she find the reciprocal Love she deserves and which is her right. May she have the courage and wisdom to accept it when it manifests. May she be patient and kind to herself while awaiting that day.

Edited to add that after commenting, I went back and re-read the thread from the 2011 beginning, which I had not done when it resumed two weeks ago after a long hiatus. Linna's initial post is a powerful statement on the power of both Grace and what we SRD fans would call one's inner Despiser. I commented on it back then, but it had faded from my memory. It certainly spoke to me tonight.
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PostPosted: Sun Sep 20, 2015 3:37 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

+JMJ+
Sorus wrote:
I always wonder who is lurking in here.



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PostPosted: Sun Sep 20, 2015 1:42 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Sorus- I keep thinking of how things you say may get passed over... all these stories are long ones, aren't they? :-/

vraith- thank you for your thoughts, by the way. Now that I've, more awake, considered 'em, those words are much appreciated.

SD- as far as Silla... I have loved and walked aside several dear women who've waited long and yearned for a husband.
Can you give them...? Me neither.
Quote:
But Naomi said to her two [now-widowed -L.H.] daughters-in-law, “Go, return each of you to her mother's house. May the Lord deal kindly with you, as you have dealt with the dead and with me. The Lord grant that you may find rest, each of you in the house of her husband!” Then she kissed them, and they lifted up their voices and wept. And they said to her, “No, we will return with you to your people.” But Naomi said, “Turn back, my daughters; why will you go with me? Have I yet sons in my womb that they may become your husbands? Turn back, my daughters; go your way, for I am too old to have a husband. If I should say I have hope, even if I should have a husband this night and should bear sons, would you therefore wait till they were grown? Would you therefore refrain from marrying? No, my daughters, for it is exceedingly bitter to me for your sake [because she loved them as a mother? -L.H.] that the hand of the Lord has gone out against me.” Then they lifted up their voices and wept again. And Orpah kissed her mother-in-law, ["goodbye" and left -L.H.] but Ruth clung to her.


As far as grace - as the old blessing goes, "[May] the Lord make his face to shine upon you and be gracious to you," SD.

wos- way to drop the intellectual thingy 2 more steps.
I mean, we were already on a fictional AOL Instant Messenger conversation.
...But also way to lighten the mood, wos! I accept it as a gift. Smile
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PostPosted: Sun Sep 20, 2015 6:13 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Linna Heartlistener wrote:
Sorus- I keep thinking of how things you say may get passed over... all these stories are long ones, aren't they? :-/



Don't worry about it. I tend to ramble and go off-topic. Trying to keep a rein on such tendencies, but they get away from me sometimes.
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PostPosted: Fri Sep 25, 2015 1:42 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Well, I've been a little stuck...
But I think might even write in in a way where a character gives her mom an inaccurate definition.

Since you're not getting writing out of me right now, here is something else cool:

I found the book that likely gave me the germ of the idea for the format I'm using, "The Naked Mole-Rat Letters," by Mary Amato.
When I read it a few years ago... let's just say it taught or re-taught me a few things about empathy that I thought I already knew!
Awesome book.
Hoooray for creative formats for YA fiction!

Sorus wrote:
Don't worry about it. I tend to ramble and go off-topic. Trying to keep a rein on such tendencies, but they get away from me sometimes.
Ha! I would tell you not to be so hard on yourself, but that would be like the cat calling the kettle black.

Sorus wrote:
...I watched my friends go boy-crazy and expected that it would happen to me one day - not something I dreaded or looked forward to, just a fact of life that I expected would happen sooner or later.
I did dread becoming 'boy-crazy like other girls act boy-crazy,' even as I began to develop crushes on boys.
I always found Western culture's heavily-sexualized model of male-female relationships off-putting. :-/

But what you speak of... ya know, that's something that a lot of us never imagined "what it would be like to be in those shoes."
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The mother nodded: "Now I have perfect understanding. I have already experienced the worst. After this, there is no worst possible thing."

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PostPosted: Mon Mar 21, 2016 4:21 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Alright!
Ready to pick up after this total cliffhanger:
JCGirl2019 Okay. *deep breath* You asked what is meant by "homophobia."
JCGirl2019: What are you confused about?
LotsOfLove_Mom: Well, I'm not really sure if it means someone is scared of gay people, or afraid of possibly being gay, or what?

Here goes:
JCGirl2019: Wow, I'd never even considered one of those definitions.
LotsOfLove_Mom: Which one?
JCGirl2019: Ack! I just looked at the clock, and im five mins late 4 class.
LotsOfLove_Mom: Awww.. you got me right into the serious part of the conversation... which class?
JCGirl2019: math!
LotsOfLove_Mom: Ackk! Well, in that case, you better go NOW!
JCGirl2019: Moommm.
JCGirl2019: I'm doing okay in it.
JCGirl2019: And this is important.
LotsOfLove_Mom: Actually, hun, I didn't say, but I'm running late for work.
JCGirl2019: Oh, gosh.. it is that time in your time zone.
JCGirl2019: Why didn't you say anything?
LotsOfLove_Mom: Well, I only noticed once you'd mentioned some serious stuff... Janie and all.
JCGirl2019: Ahh! okay.
JCGirl2019: that makes snense.
JCGirl2019: Well, I'll let you go! ..I <3 you!
LotsOfLove_Mom: Hey - how about we call tomorrow for the rest of this conversation?
JCGirl2019: Yes! Good idea.
JCGirl2019: Except for.. ack... I don't want to set my phone to vibrate right now 'cuz I never keep it on me.
JCGirl2019: And I'll forget if I dont do it now.
LotsOfLove_Mom: We log on to AIM first and then you call me?
JCGirl2019: Okay - I'll call you!
LotsOfLove_Mom: Alright - now go! Love you! <3
JCGirl2019: Love you, mom!

And I love what I wrote here... even though it may seem like a digression.

When I re-read this thread, I noticed this & remembered something else I'd meant:
Sorus wrote:
Linna Heartlistener wrote:
and I'm glad you spotted that ellipsis - yes, it is key.
the rest of the sentence: "cause they aren't really talking to each-other" or "cause everything people say gets taken out of context" or "cause it's the internet."
And yes, that is very important. There are a lot of potential misunderstandings, and too many people who are too quick to take offense.
Yeah... under the category of "cause it's the internet"... I think I was especially thinking of this kind of scenario:
On a Facebook wall, someone says something really aimed at one or two people, or maybe a particular group of friends. (but something that's connected to a controversy)
But then someone who has no commitment to that group takes offense, and feels the responsibility of disputing it...
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PostPosted: Fri Apr 01, 2016 9:19 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

<i>Completely unrelated weird vignette that was in my head, and which just kinda grew:</i>

When I was ten, I thought my Aunt Gracie was the most beautiful woman in the world. When I look at pictures of her in the album, I see flabby sunburned arms, and wisps of blonde hair flying everywhere. And I recognize that yes, that's how she looked. But she really was the most beautiful woman in the world to us. We'd barrel up her front steps and knock on the screen door, and there she would be, rushing up to greet us, wiping her hands on a towel. Then she would engulf us in the best of hugs, and start setting out plates on the kitchen table.

And it was a good thing we Aunt Gracie, because we kids had Grandma Belladonna, too. She had raised kids during the Great Depression, and we heard about it! We sat in her basement on a rainy day once talking about it. I still remember the awful colors of those fake leather chairs. There were three that were that particular ugly shade of green, and a black one with a vinyl-covered button and a big rip in the seat. There was also a huge cloth-covered chair, unwieldy and woven, with strands that were off-white, burnt orange, black, brown, ugly green-- and every other awful color you could think of too. With the rain drip-dripping outside, and the flutter of our older brother Philip shuffling a deck of cards, we felt about right to discuss something pretty bad.

So we four broached the topic of, "What would we do if another Great Depression happened and we couldn't get food?" "We'd go to Aunt Gracie's!" was the reaction of Gilbert, who was almost four. Anna, in her six-year-old wisdom rebuked him: "No silly, we're talking about what if nobody had any food."
"I know that! But she's Aunt Gracie. So if she didn't have any food... to give us... she would cut herself up... and feed us that..." Anna started shrieking that you couldn't say such awful things, and Gil needed to learn that. But Philip and I just looked at each-other.
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PostPosted: Sun Apr 03, 2016 7:23 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

You are a fantastic short story writer Linna - you spin such detail and attention 'hooking' content into a few short lines: it's a true gift.
This has a .........mmmmm........ - an almost Harper Lee quality to it: a feel of middle America gone (or going) wrong. "What potential horror does that final look convey", we ask ourselves? It's a lovely bit of suspense that has just a little threading of the macabre creeping in! Brrrrr.....! Laughing
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