Agnostic Humanist In The South, LGBTQ Support

Not A Brave Little Toaster.

I’ve had conversations with friends recently about my “openness” regarding religion and politics. Because I’m not just “open” here on this blog, but on Facebook as well where I honestly spend more time saying, “LET’S JUST BE NICE!” than supporting any political candidate. It’s funny to me, that I give of this impression of the Girl Who Speaks Her Mind because y’all? I DO NOT. There are so many rants my family hears that never leave my home, much less enter Facebook, so “open” some days feels like the last word to describe me.

But I get the sentiment. I live in a conservative religious community yet I’m open about my liberalism and my secularism. To any friends who are without religion or who might swing left politically on some issues…I guess my openness seems brave. But the more I think about it? The more I decide it is exactly the opposite. I’m putting that shit out there before anyone can disappoint me.

My liberal van in the 2008 election
My liberal van in the 2008 election
It’s the same if I make a new running friend who I feel like I might run with often, or if I start a new job, or just have any situation where I can tell I’m going to be spending a lot of time with this new person in my life. I always find a way to squeeze into conversation that 1) I have a blog where I’ve been writing for over a decade 2) I have a gay kid 3) I’m not a Christian. I get the first one out of the way so that – if they’re curious – there’s an easy way to learn more about me. But the other two are so that I don’t have to deal with any awkward conversations later. I’ve had enough minor incidents that were awkward and disappointing that I figure if I get that information out of the way early, I avoid the disappointment later.

Example 1) At an old job there was an old coworker who said that “The reason why there’s so much tragedy in the world is because the world is full of non-believers” which is one of my LEAST favorite Things People Say.

Example 2) I ran with a new person years ago who said, “We don’t want to send our daughter to public schools because we’re worried she might turn out gay.” And that – my friends – was so unexpected that I honestly was silenced for the rest of the run. I’ve heard a lot of crazy anti-gay stuff before but I’ve never heard THAT particular one.

So it’s not being BRAVE that I get that stuff out in the open early on, it’s mainly the opposite. I have no ability to handle myself when people say upsetting things face to face and so I try to get all of my skeletons (so to speak) out early so I don’t have to deal with the awkwardness when someone finds them later.

ALSO – it’s really nice to know my religious and conservative friends are still friends with me even though I know for a fact they know I’m a Pro Choice, Pro LGBTQ, Liberal Heathen. It would be weird to build friendships and as I get close to someone start to wonder, Crap…do I continue to hide this part of who I am? Or do I find a way to introduce it now?

It’s the same reason why I had an Obama/Biden sticker on my car during the last two elections, especially for family gatherings, it allowed everyone to know there was at LEAST one Obama supporter in the gathering so the bashing would probably not be supported by the whole group. I guess I’ve been in enough situations where it’s assumed that everyone in the group is conservative and religious and it’s REALLY awkward so I try to just avoid that entirely. Brave would be to stand up in the group when someone says something I disagree with and politely explaining my stance and why I disagree. Nope. Not going to do that. I’m much better writing than speaking. Instead I put all of my thoughts and feelings out in the open in the digital realm so that hopefully I avoid any real-world awkwardness in the future.

Brave would be interrupting someone referring to Caitlyn Jenner as a He/She and educating them on why that’s insulting.
Brave would be telling someone who calls something “retarded” that there’s a big campaign to end that use of the word. Just like someone did for me years ago.
Brave would be explaining that I’m a very moral person even without religion so blaming tragedies on the non-religious is misguided.
Brave would be telling someone that public school doesn’t make your kid gay and that even if it did – it’s not the worse thing your kid could be. My kid being gay is nothing, but if he hated Harry Potter we’d have problems.

Nope. Being open about my beliefs across all the internet is not brave. It’s me just avoiding situations where I have to be brave. Because brave, I am not. I wish I had more confidence in my speech to speak up in those moments, but I don’t. I tend to fumble around looking for words and trying to fight back anger or hurt or disappointment and I often end up just getting riled up and making no sense. Once I said, “BUT MY DAD AGREED WITH ME!” as some way to argue a point and y’all – THAT MADE NO SENSE. Why does how my dead Dad voted have anything to do with anything? I DON’T KNOW. That’s why I don’t like those conversations in the real world and try to avoid them when at all possible.

So if someone friend requests me on Facebook (which I only accept if I know them in the real world due to some past KRAZEE derived from my blog) I know that they’ll soon find out I’m a baby-killing, tree-hugging, queer-loving, damn liberal heathen. And then if they continue to be my friend? I know we’re golden. But if they distance themselves from me socially? Then I know it’s for the best.

6 thoughts on “Not A Brave Little Toaster.”

  1. Wait, you mean you’re pro-choice, right? You said pro-life. 😉

    This is me as well! I’m a blue dot in a purple state, but my community is still very much conservative and religious. I try to make my views known early on to avoid awkwardness.

  2. You *are* brave to point these things out. A lot of folks kind of hide behind a persona in many social situations. That is rather reticent. Not brave.

    My family knows I’m a liberal lefty and considers me a heathen because I don’t worship the way they do, don’t believe Bible is literal, don’t Billy Graham or…. whatever. I have stock rejoinders to most religious conversations if I’m not able to leave the vicinity – (if the Bible is literal it’s OK to have more than one wife, e.g., Jacob, Rebekkah, Rachel…. and God Liked That so heck with the marriage definition of one man one woman). But that’s not brave, it’s poking them in the eye.

    Family continues to pray that I will see the light. My friends are good friends, and we all respect each others’ beliefs and opinions. And you are the bees knees: brave, strong, great wife, great mom, great athlete, super earth-dweller!

  3. And this is why I love you. I’m not as liberal as you in many ways, but I’m not afraid to listen to someone else’s point of view and I promise I won’t try to convert you to my thinking. Just the opposite. If you’re passionate enough about something, it makes me reconsider my alternative stance a little, if only to try to broaden my thoughts and beliefs.

    Keep on doing what you’re doing and I’ll keep on reading and relating.

  4. I did a Google search on Bullet Journals, and came to your blog! Thanks for all that information, btw! Just want to say I am proud of you for wanting to be brave. I am 59, and still not brave. But then again, I don’t like to hear Conservatives pushing crap down my throat, so I don’t push anything down anyone else’s throat. I am non-confrontational. But just wanted you to know it’s OK! I think I can have my beliefs, and they can too, and I can still remain quiet. One thing I’ve found is that generally you are not going to change anyone’s ideas anyway….so I just stay quiet, and love them despite their beliefs! I just wanted to say this. Love your blog very much! Have a wonderful day! Julie

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