Posted in Establishment of Self, LGBT Coming Out, LGBT Couples, LGBT Families

Out and Staying.

I hope I can articulate this with the words needed. This is personal and my personal leads to the public person most see fighting for the improvement of mental health for the LGBTQ community. Feel free not to read. First, I must pause and thank all the individuals tunknownhat helped or hated me along the way.

Both were bumper pads that I bounced around on, creating who I am.

Each child /teen I help in the LGBTQ community I think, ‘that is one that might be able to do it different. With a healthy perspective they can move forward not with the narrow mindedness of ‘I’ but with that of ‘I am a part of….”

 I fell in love in the 80’s but instead of being able to just say to myself or others, “I am in love” or “this is who I am in love with” (mind you, they were straight and did not know) I started my spinning. Being a good person, people would step in to be a friend or to have a relationship with me and they to would be pulled into the spinning. In my head I truly believed; If they saw me they would never REALLY love me.

I hurt many people as I was trying to claw my way out of my own skin. I own that.

I was blessed with a son. Being a Mother, being his mother, was more important than anything else in life. He saved me on a daily basis. His smile. His giggle. His unconditional love. I had so much growing up still to do. Losing him was not an option. EVER. I would have become anything I needed to in order to keep that boy.

I thought, ok, I will be gay in private and straight is public. As long as I am honest with him and myself I am doing the right thing. I looked like I had it together. I gave my son the responsibility of loving me as me and had to hope that would be enough. He saw me split myself open and try to find the parts that were really mine.


I remember a conversation with him, my mom, and myself (this was years ago) when I was going to try to do it the RIGHT way. I just wanted peace and a life like others had. I wanted to pay taxes as a family, have insurance, go on vacations and have family dinners. You know the things that all gay people with children, at that time, had to hide. Anyway, I had dated a couple of guys as an adult. I tried, I did. We had fun but nothing on the inside was real. Anyway, the three of us are sitting there and she said (this is as close to what she said as I can remember), “ I had just hoped you know that you could keep trying to be straight.” Before I could say anything, because I did love my mother and my son and if I could; I would have, My son says (as close as I can remember) , “ She is gay Grandma. She tried. It is weird to ask her to be something else.”

I was choking on self-hatred and when I looked up my self-hatred had broken the hearts of people around me. I did this pattern over and over again until I was ready to just love myself as myself.

I dare to say when I came out of the closet no one really even had a reason to still be standing there. Some were however. Unconditional love is a crazy thing.

I had to do a lot of cleaning. My social skills were awful. I did not know how to interact with people honestly. Just like in an alcoholic life; I had spent years playing the role society told me to be in order to keep my son and I had mastered it, I thought.

When my mom died. I had already been working for years on getting healthy and was proud of the growth. When she died it was the moment I could not do fake. I could not do politically correct. I could not carry anything or anyone. I was raw and broken again. This time I realized it was not in a bad way. I have been blessed with the powerful and scary freedom of being responsible for my actions. Alone. I had to decide. Everyday. Will I try to respect that today? I let go and picked up the pieces of my life.

I work with teens in hopes that they don’t have to choke on self-hatred for being gay or live in a closet. I don’t want them to spend years clawing their way out.

Instead teens, I hope that you understand; this is who you are. Pick up the coat and get out of the closet. If you like wearing it, great, but if not then put it back and get another. Society is not responsible for which one you wear. You are. I hope that being responsible for your actions make you proud. I hope the actions that don’t make you proud, you work to correct. I hope that you want to be responsible because what you have been taught; to love yourselves and others as they are.

I am sharing this piece of my story because I can not stand quietly and pretend that there is not a real issue in front of us. I know what self shame, societal shame and bigotry feels and looks like. I don’t want that for our youth.

The wheels of hatred are in motion again towards the LGBTQ community. There will be losses and pain. I want to be standing anywhere but in the closet against it.

Much Respect,

Melinda Porter

http://www.melindaporter.com

Advertisements
Posted in LGBT Coming Out

Stepping “OUT” LGBTQ

IMG_0229When you step out~

Off with the ‘self’ people think they see and into the you!

What are some healthy ways that have worked to find the YOU that fits?

We have friends in the LGBTQ community that struggle to find their true self; a self that deserves to be loved. Many times the thought of being gay is seen as ‘wrong’ so ‘poor actions’ can be attached to it. Here are some healthy thoughts about coming out!

* Know that you know yourself best! If you are not attracted to the opposite sex then wait until you met the person that does put a tingle in your toes.

* Decide how you want to tell people; start with trusted family or friends.

* Respect yourself by giving yourself time to sort your thoughts and talk to someone. You don’t have to know all the answers.

* If you tell someone and the response is not going well; step back and give them room to think. You are not responsible for taking on their issues but you told them because on some level they were important to you. Giving them time to process may allow you time to reevaluate and modify the conversation. Hurting them is not the goal. Hurting you is not the goal. Starting a line of communication is.

* Talk to someone before having the really hard conversations! Walk through possible terms and statement that might be better for you.

Your path will look different from others and that is ok! Try to stay focused on the goal of connecting with people who you want as a part of your future; close, distant, periodically, or as a memory.

Stepping “OUT” as you ~

Much Respect,

Melinda Porter  817.733.7206

Posted in LGBT Coming Out, LGBT Families, LGBT Parenting

Do the kids know? Coming out to Your Children~

IMG_5430
`1992
IMG_5117
My Son, My Gift, My Joy…My Life Time of Lessons…

“Children are likely to live up to what you believe of them.”

                                                                           Lady Bird Johnson, former U.S. first lady

Oh, the gift of being a parent. I think I learn the most when dealing with my son. He is now a marine about to be married, but still, I learn. I have learned that honesty connects us and dishonesty places a wedge between us. I know that as a parent it is my job to handle stress in a way that models how he can do it or not… later in his life. My goal is to let him see me work through struggles but yet not be responsible for them as the child.

IMG_5427

Telling your children that you are LGBT is not an easy conversation, accepting that will allow you to move pass the fear of doing it wrong. There is no ‘right or wrong’ way. The ‘talk’ can be awkward, uncomfortable, difficult or damaging. So~ PLAN!

* It is not the child’s job to make you comfortable or to make it easier.
IMG_5431

* You are the parent, make sure the conversation is age appropriate, using understandable terms and statements.

* Go over the conversation with a counselor or trusted adult friend. These are your children, they are worth the energy of planning a healthy conversation.

* Do not share more than asked~Your children are NOT your best friends. Sharing too much can be damaging, so respect yourself and them!

* Let them know you will be happy to answer appropriate question or let them talk to someone (i.e. counselor) if they want.IMG_5432

* Understand that they have a right to grieve the loss of what they thought to be true and what they now know…respect their space but stay present.

IMG_5428

You do not have to be perfect…my son would have fired me years ago if so! You have to be the loving parent you were before the conversation~that is your job! To love them…and don’t be afraid to ask for help. If the conversation did not produce what was needed for your family to work, talk to someone, then try it again.

Much Respect,

Melinda Porter MA

Posted in LGBT Coming Out

What do you say?

552452_372727219507220_2138674930_nThe younger LGBT community has a voice that is different than the voice of the 1980’s. I can say that because I’m older; not dead but older. I have people ask in different settings, “What should I have said?” “How do I know what is the right way to let the family in on the ‘family’?” As the decades pass, the answer changes with words but not meaning. “Be truthful with yourself” ,”Stay true to yourself”, or “Be true to thine own self” and all of those statement lead to one reality; being true to one’s self looks different for every person.

I know…right! That is not a clear answer, there is no cut and dry response to inner peace. There are a million paths that lead you to the one true fit for you! I have some guidelines that I have pieced together over the years that have helped my true self grow.

* I am forever learning. I do not claim to be done with life’s education on people, places, and things.

* I stay open to love changing the way it looks to me; I accept that everyone loves a different someone.

* I take responsibility for the areas I may need growth in and reach out for the knowledge I desire.

*Do no harm to others. I accept that I am not responsible for other people’s actions, nor are they mine. I can chose to respect where they are at; in that moment. Many friends, family and loved ones have met me where I was…

My viewpoint of life has changed over the decades, my need for you to ‘see’ me the way I see you is not the same. What is still true? The belief that one should be true to thine self. Respecting yourself and others can help in finding inner peace.

“It’s not what you look at the matters, it’s what you see.”

-Henry David Thoreau

Much Respect,

Melinda Porter MA

Posted in Establishment of Self, LGBT Coming Out

Peace past the breaking apart; Rainbow Colors…

MelindaThe LGBT community has developed just as the light does in creating a rainbow. Individual colors too strong to be hidden in the background or fade into another… each color standing as a group and as an individual.

Learning how to be yourself, a couple, and/or a family when it looks different to the world can be challenging…but possible…

Life is about change. LGBT individuals go through the everyday changes and the weight of being uncomfortable in their own skin. Some have a million reasons why: family, friends, girlfriend or boyfriend, husband or wife, children… but only one reason ‘why’ they do not fit. Having all these blessings and feeling that they belong to the person you are thought to be…not the person you are.

What if the person you are was SO talented, they were able to create an outer self that kept them safe until they were strong enough to handle life as they are? What if the individual had solutions built-in and just needed some assembly done? I believe that the truth in your colors is there!

*Decide who you are aside from sexuality: hobbies, dreams, politics, sports, family, kids…and so on.

*Determine your goals as an individual: career path, travel, etc.

*Grow! Grow into the person you want to be and as you love yourself in your journey others will be able to fall in love with your ability to stand as an individual within a group of beautiful colors that was found in the light~

Much Respect,

Melinda Porter MA