Thursday, July 27, 2017

Badge of Honor

StacySaysIt - Badge of Honor - Stacy Snyder
Button available at 
I can explain the division of our country in one powerful sentence excerpted from a conversation with my dad on the phone tonight, where he stated, “You and Katie wear your being gay like a badge of honor, and make sure everyone knows about it.”

I didn’t know I had a badge, much less one of honor, but now I know what it looks like to some.

As were furthered our conversation I realized that his comment was not born of hatred or anger or even embarrassment, but simply founded from fear…..fear of the unknown….fear of something he’s never seen percolate to its finale.  Maybe if he had been surrounded with more non-traditional relationships growing up, he wouldn’t think as he does.  Maybe if he had been subjected to more loving relationships, he wouldn’t be as afraid.  But the truth of the matter is that we’re all just a product of our own small worlds and what we think we know to be true.

It’s fear that keeps us separated as a people.  It’s fear that keeps us from fully listening to a contradicting opinion, for it may hold an ounce or resemblance to our own.  It’s fear that chokes us into believing that we can’t give freely to someone else for panic that it might deplete our own supply.  It’s fear that keeps us from accepting one another because we don’t know what it would look like, and it’s fear that makes my dad think when I introduce my wife as my partner, other mother, or wife, that I’m trying to be militant about being gay.  
StacySaysIt - Badge of Honor - Stacy Snyder

Entwined in an almost-20 year relationship with my wife, with whom I’ve shared 5 feral cats, 3 apartments, 3 dogs, 3 homes, 3 fish, 2 children, 2 pregnancy losses, 2 hermit crabs, 1 frog, and all of our history, family, and friends, I do wear a badge of honor, that of love.  I am damn proud of it too, not because Katie’s a woman or because we were allowed to get married or because I bucked the system, but because this shit is hard!

To maintain any relationship is hard, but to not only maintain, but sometimes almost overturn the boat and other times rock the hell out of this marriage, is a pure miracle, peppered with a lot of hard work.

Thank you, Dad, for sharing your thoughts with me.  I’m a better person because of our conversations, even though I don't always like them nor their topics.  I don’t judge you or feel angry with your comments, as I know exactly where they came from….the only thing you know, same as all of us.  But now it's time for all of us to see something different and challenge what we know, so that we can see the world for what it is....filled with a variety of people different than us.

Friday, July 21, 2017

I Am Your Neighbor 3 - Maria Rivera

Maria Rivera is the bomb diggity of making the world a better place through speaking up, caring, helping, teaching, and activism.  She was the same caretaker chick twenty years ago when we saddled bar stools next to one another at The Closet and discussed life and love while cocktailing.  She took care of people in the bar, their pets, their homes, and allowed them to take care of her in return.

Stacy Says It - I Am Your Neighbor Maria Rivera - Stacy SnyderToday, she teaches at CPS and 826CHI, participates in Chicago Shakespeare Theater with her students, volunteers her time and energy all over town, and recently appeared in the documentary The Homestretch, which chronicles the lives of Chicago homeless teens.  She took in teen Rocque to live with her and her family and shares the struggles for underprivileged kids in the documentary.

Maria's own childhood contributed to who she is today and how she views and interacts with the world around her.  If I were to choose one person in the whole world that most embodies the concept of neighbor, I would choose Maria.

Please check out her story above, the anecdote about making the video below, and if interested at all in keeping up with I Am Your Neighbor, please subscribe to my YouTube channel.