Talking About Pride

Coming Out of the Closet

I decided to use an actual definition for this one, because I understand that not everyone may be clear on this one. I also think it’s the respectful thing to do. I’ve got friends and family members in the community, so I’m very clear on what this term means. Planned Parenthood- Coming Out Definition

It’s a hard process. Some people choose to wait until a certain time, some never do. It’s an individual choice, and should be respected. If someone comes out to you, please respect that person’s decision to tell you, even if it isn’t within your own values. It takes a lot to say “I’m a lesbian” or “I like guys”, or however it is said.

There is a lot of fear in coming out, however. Many people fear these things:

  • not being accepted. If there is a history of hearing homophobic slurs throughout life, it’s going to be hard to go against that.
  • getting cut off financially/becoming homeless- especially in teens and college students. Some wait until after college for this reason.
  • anxiety, depression or other mental health issues worsening afterwards due to above issues.

There is so much more support these days for the LGBTQ+ community. I feel there is a long way to go in the legal world, but it’s coming.

Marriages were a huge issue a couple years ago and I shed tears when they became legal everywhere. I believe some states are still trying to fight that one. Macklemore had it right when he said in “Same Love”- “No freedom until we’re equal/ Damn right I support it”.

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Pride Events

Have you ever been to a Pride event? I have been to quite a few. Louisville is a big city and every June, there’s a huge Pride event. The event has lots of food (my main requirement for anything), music and a lot of other fun things.

I usually see a lot of friends while I’m there. It’s so much fun. If you’ve never been, and you’re comfortable going, go. If you aren’t sure if there is an event near you, try looking on Google “pride events” and your city or the nearest city to you. Not everyone lives in or near a big city.

These events began as a way for people to get together, have fun, be themselves, meet others and not fear being judged or getting hurt. Of course, this didn’t always go well but over the years, the events have become safer. There will always be those that oppose these events.

The Kid Version

I have a friend, Kate, that is happily raising a son, with her wife, Christy. Lucas just turned two, and he is the happiest toddler that I’ve seen in a long time.

I hope he stays that adorably happy. They got married in Hawaii a few years ago and the pictures were adorable. I know they have struggles like everyone else, but they’re one of the cutest couples I’ve ever known. Lucas is like every other toddler out there- he just has two loving moms.

I wrote a post not long ago, LGBTQ Kids: A Guide for those who need a bit of help figuring out how to navigate the waters of having a child that identifies as LGBTQ.

This is becoming more common than people realize and I wanted to bring that to your, my readers’, attention. If you know someone who could benefit from it, feel free to send them the link.

I think it could help parents who aren’t sure what to do. We don’t always know what to do as parents, or even aunts, uncles, and so on. That’s okay. That’s why we ask others for ideas and read up.

Kids are pretty smart. They can tell who accepts them and who doesn’t. They’ll stay closest to those that do. All kids, no matter their sexuality, need someone who loves and accepts them exactly for who they are. They don’t need or deserve ridicule for who they love. They have enough to worry about.

Mental Health Issues in The Community

Anxiety and depression are common in many people. When you are struggling with hiding who you are (or feeling like you have to), losing someone you love and having to start over in a small pool of people and not feeling fully accepted,things can get very hard.

Drugs, alcohol and self-harm are three coping skills that are used by this population. Sometimes it can be deadly. There are therapists that specialize in LGBTQ issues.

This may be a good time to look into how you can become an ally or otherwise support the LGBTQ people in your life. How can you be an ally?

Pics courtesy of Unsplash

LGBTQ Kids: A Guide

Parenting is full of challenges. We face them everyday- food allergies, mental and/or physical disabilities, bullying, and the list goes on.

There’s a point in life in which our kids decide to date and none of us are ever ready for that- it freaks us out. This happens as early as 12 or 13 or can be years later.

Most of us don’t blink an eye at who they will date, because we just assume they will date someone of the opposite sex, right?

What Happens When They Don’t?

I’ve already thought this one out. I don’t care. As long as my kids find someone that loves and supports them, I honestly don’t care who they date. Race isn’t an issue for obvious reason, and that’s not the topic of the post.

I just want my kids to be happy with whoever they love. That’s it. If Lily brings home a girl and they get married, then I get to watch them say yes to the dress or whatever they wear.

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Being a teen is hard enough as it is today. There’s so much pressure to get great grades, fit in, get into a good college, work, and so on.

When you’re a 16 year old girl who likes other girls, it gets a bit harder to be “normal”. You wonder if others would still like you, even your own family. You grew up hearing slurs about homosexuals and you know it’s not going to be great if you tell your parents.

Then there’s the boys who want to date you and you know they won’t stay away forever. All you want is to find a girl that likes you and that you like back, but how does that work? It’s confusing and scary. Bullying is a thing, and LGBTQ teens have it harder.

Stats hrc.org, kids, LGBTQ

Coming out is scary. It’s rough. The average age is 17, much younger than it used to be according to a British study found on Everyday Feminism

Teens are smart- they know the risks of telling their families something this big. Some families are accepting, and some families are ready to kick their kids right out of the house, which is a shame.

It’s heartbreaking to know that some kids feel they have to hide this part of themselves, because it can lead to drug and/or substance abuse issues, along with mental health issues, like depression and anxiety. A kid can only mask so much for so long. It does get better, time goes by, people do open their minds to new things.

Sometimes the people they think will have horrible reactions will have the opposite reaction. The negative messages are also an issue- they can send a message that a kid is a bad person, or is “going to hell”, etc. This can just add to already negative thoughts that a kid can have about themselves.

It gets better when LGBTQ kids find others like them- online, in school, through other friends, in other ways. It does help that many LGBTQ kids are out to their friends and classmates. Those friends and classmates, for the most part, are accepting, and can be a great source of support.

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What Can Parents Do?

  • Let them know you love them. I’m pretty sure this is the biggest part of accepting your child, no matter what. They need to know this. The scariest thing to many LGBTQ kids is coming out. Once they know they have parental support, there is a huge sense of relief. Be as open minded and present as you can be, even if you aren’t quite sure what to do.
  • Research. Parenting requires a lot of thinking and reading. We don’t always know what to do. That’s why the Internet exists. There are quite a few websites for parents of LGBTQ kids, including Hopkins Medicine
  • Talk about it. This doesn’t mean hound about their sex life, because that’s definitely awkward for everyone involved, but let them know you are there when they need you, if they have questions, etc.
  • Remember this is not a “phase”, there is no “cure”, and there is nobody to “blame”.
  • Watch out for bullying at school. It’s a reality that LGBTQ kids are bullied at school and other places. If you need to, get involved with the school. You can read Bullying: A Closer Look for more ideas and resources.
  • Talk to someone if you feel overwhelmed.

Female couple, acceptance

The world of teenage dating can get pretty complicated, this is just a different road. It’s possible to walk together with your child. Cheer them on!

Pics courtesy of Unsplash

Statistics pics courtesy of hrc.org

Info can be found on:

Everyday Feminism

Hopkins Medicine

5 Rules for Mental Strength

It is not always easy to be mentally strong. I struggle with this a lot. I’m still working on this one. There are days that I feel fantastic and days that I can barely get out of bed because I feel so badly about myself. I’m sure that many others feel the same.

How does this “being mentally strong” thing work? It’s a little different for everyone, but here are a few ideas:

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Being yourself. This is number one for me. I have fought very hard to be accepted for who I am by my own husband and that’s something nobody should have to do.

People change, and sometimes people can’t accept that. When you are comfortable with yourself, it’s much easier to be strong, because you have more faith in yourself. You know you can get through things. You know that you can tackle what is in front of you.

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Trust yourself. Many of us tend to underestimate ourselves, including me. I’ve made many decisions and second guessed myself, even on picking clothes, shoes and maybe even mascara. This tends to occur when you have low self-confidence.

I’ve learned to trust myself a lot more through therapy-working more to shut down that voice in my mind that says “That’s a bad idea, Wrae. Don’t do it. You can’t pull this off”. When you trust yourself more, you will believe in yourself more. You will make decisions with a lot more confidence, even about the small things.

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Build confidence. As Demi Lovato once said, “What’s wrong with being confident?” First of all, I love Demi. She has an amazing voice, has great style and she’s one of my sobriety role models.

She had a point with that lyric. What is wrong with being confident? I’m not talking about crossing the line and being all-out cocky or anything like that, but knowing what you are capable of and what your limits are.

Everyone has them, physically and emotionally. Don’t feel bad about those limits. For sheer example, I hate spiders, extreme heights, and public speaking.

I had to take public speaking in college and almost had a panic attack once. I was also hugely pregnant with Cameron. My professor wasn’t in the mood to send me into early labor, so he allowed me to give my speech from my seat and things ended a lot better than I had anticipated.

Confidence is good. This also helps with looks and body image- I’m a size 14 now and weigh in at around 170. I do not care to disclose that. I weighed 125 in 2015 before my life imploded and I was a size 4. I have been confident both sizes and weights.

Like every other woman in existence, even the awesome Tess Holliday (my favorite model), I have days where I think I look like crap, but then I remember what my body has been through and will continue to do and move on.

This took a lot of work because, at some points, I didn’t take my 60 lb weight gain well. This confidence can be hard to attain, thanks to social media and Photoshopped images of models. It’s tough to look at, so I tend to look at body-positive models.

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Daily reminders. I remind myself daily to take care of myself- this is a must do. If I don’t take care of myself, who will? I have two chronic illnesses and self-care is a must for both. I also remind myself “One day at a time” because that is how I have set my life up.

I just can’t plan far in the future anymore. Whether it is a phrase, app, or something else that helps, once you set your mind on something daily, it becomes a daily habit to take care of yourself and that leads to and supports mental strength.

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Not caring so much what others think. My mother is 62 and does not care what anyone thinks of her. She has always been like this. She’s small, very feisty, and hilarious. Clearly, these genes have passed on to me.

It took me a very long time to get to the point that I really didn’t care what others think of me, but that’s where I am sitting. It’s not healthy at all to care so much what others think of you, because it will break you down in the end. It erodes your self-esteem when you don’t meet their standards.

Your individuality will fade as you try to be more like others and less like yourself. This isn’t good for anyone.
These tips may be what you need to move forward onto becoming stronger. Take them and consider what else you may need to form more strength within yourself.

Song Lyric Saturday with Christina Aguilera

In case you haven’t been able to find a pattern, I’m a huge 90s-2000s pop fan. Christina Aguilera is one of the best. As of writing this post, I haven’t listened to all of her new album, Liberated, yet, so I can’t say whether I like it or not.

I’ve always liked Christina’s take-no-bullshit attitude. She came from an abusive home and singing became her escape. She went through a few phases throughout her career and is back for more, but this time more mature.

I picked the song “Keeps Getting Better”- it’s from her “Decade of Hits” album.

Basically, she’s like “I’m me, I’m not going anywhere. Deal with it.” I love that so much because it shows confidence, self- esteem and determination. That’s her in a sentence.

Christina has many years ahead of her- I can’t wait to finish her new album.

Looking out

5 Ways to Set Healthy Boundaries

Some People Just Aren’t Worth Your Time

It isn’t always apparent right when you meet people if you can fully trust them or not. Some people put on a great facade and you can’t always see them for who/what they really are. It may take time to see through the fakeness to the deeper side, which usually isn’t pretty. People tend to hide the not-so-great things about themselves because they fear that they won’t be liked. If you’re generally negative, rude and extremely bitter about life in general, most people won’t want to be around you. You will attract others like you, but that’s about it.

These people aren’t worth your time, unless you enjoy being brought down by others. This isn’t great for your mental health. How do you set boundaries and cut these people out of your life if you need to?

Relationships need boundaries

Boundaries are a building block for relationships

Setting Healthy Boundaries

Boundaries are good. They help you feel a bit safer in your surroundings and relationships with others. They also give you a bit more confidence when you may need it. They do not appear overnight and do require a bit of time to develop.

  • Determine what your limits are- what you will and will not deal with. Everyone has their limits, and should not be surpassed. That is seriously unhealthy, and can become potentially dangerous.
  • Be direct. When speaking to someone about their inexcusable behavior towards you, being direct is the best way to go. They will realize at some point that you’re being serious (even if you haven’t before) and that while not being rude, you are setting some sort of boundary. Remind them of past events if needed. It may help them realize the damage that has occurred.
  • Resist arguments. One of the main goal of setting boundaries is to have a conversation, not an argument. It may get hard, but this can be done without fighting. Sometimes this requires a break and coming back to the discussion- this is okay. Just make sure you come back to it.
  • Take some space. Sometimes people need space after discussing things, either before things go bad and arguments occur, or afterwards to reflect and maybe think things out. Either is good.
  • Saying NO is good. Some people have a serious issue with saying “no” to others and this can become a bigger issue than anticipated. Making others happy is a good thing, but what happens when you become unhappy because you don’t have time to make yourself happy? That isn’t being selfish, it’s a matter of your health. Many don’t realize this is also a boundary issue. Start small on this one.

Those who truly want the best for you and care about you will respect the boundaries you set and adjust to the changes. Those who don’t? They may not need to be in your life and you might want to consider cutting them out of your life.

Looking out

Using the Scissors

In 2015, I lost someone I loved, quit my job and lost a handful of friends in the space of 2 days. That’s a lot. It took a lot of therapy to deal with that. It took that death to fully open my eyes to who I was spending a lot of time with. I was going out a lot with a small group of my co-workers. I already didn’t like one, so I stayed away from her when I could. The others had their own things I didn’t like about them, but they were generally a ton of fun.

What happened when I needed them the most?

They completely flipped on me. I was told some super nasty things and I didn’t take it well. I never went back to that job (except to get my things and write a note to my manager to tell her I wasn’t coming back and why. The online exit survey was a blast.) and in my efforts to cut people out of my life, my Facebook block list is about 100 people strong. I blocked those “friends” and anyone that associates with them because I didn’t want anyone to tell them how I was doing while getting my life back together. My Facebook remains on very private settings. That story is also told through a filter of grief, and grief will make you do a lot of things.

How do you say goodbye to people that aren’t good for you? In my case, I literally cut people off without a second thought. It was the best option at the time and as of yet, one person has tried to approach me on a different social media site. She was immediately blocked. I don’t suggest this option unless it is something extreme, like if you are in immediate danger or in a situation I was in. If you are honestly okay with cutting people off this way, then go for it. I’d love to hear your story. Send me an email, PM, or leave a comment.

Otherwise, I suggest something a bit gentler- like an email, text or a phone call. Maybe an in person meet up if you’re comfortable and you know nothing will go bad, as in someone getting aggressive. I’m all for people settling things peacefully. In the email, text, etc. try to sound as non-judgmental, mean, as possible. Things can get lost in translation. Just explain how you feel about the situation and that you feel that there is a need for a break in the friendship/relationship either for a certain period of time or permanently. If in person, let the conversation go naturally, because both of you know why you are there. Just be ready for an exit if things don’t go in the direction you plan for.

Hopefully you can come to peace with letting go of people that aren’t healthy for you. It will be a good thing in the long run. Your circle may be smaller but it will be stronger.

Pics courtesy of Pinterest and Unsplash