When you can only remember what you want to forget

I had a conversation with a former co-worker who I was well aware is a conservative Christian, and while I didn’t think this would happen, it did. I think in my head we were both just aware that we’re canyon-deep different, but things come up. Or out. But she is super nice, and I still think so, but whatever.

She basically called me out on being as queer as the day is long and the kicker on that is that it’s probably my own damn fault. More on that later.

You could ask about the words that were said, but honestly, I basically panic blacked out in mid-conversation and re-lived a bunch of really traumatic and shitty things from 18 years ago all at once, so I don’t remember specific moments in our conversation.

It can’t have gone that badly because nobody cried, probably because I was partially in shock. To be fair to her, I’ve probably been being way too honest for 9 months of working together and maybe that’s enough to inspire someone to get shirty with me.

Also, she didn’t get me kidnapped and sent to some camp to be reprogrammed as straight. Because that’d be inappropriate. And I didn’t try and kiss her or something truly awful or inappropriate either.

So instead we had a long talk, then I walked with her to her house. And her mom fed us rice and beans, fresh fruit, and asked about my new job.

What is actually happening? I don’t know.

Also, much more importantly, this:

We worked together absolutely seamlessly for those 9 months. Like I’ve almost never had a better co-worker. Sometimes we talked but often we just worked and it was fine. Also, she’s funny, nerdy, and delightful in ways that human beings are. And she laughed at some of the ridiculous stuff I said.

On my last day, she was only scheduled until noon. She stayed until my shift ended at 3:30 and we closed the shop together.

And had a very brief, tiny, lovely moment.

She said she’d learned a lot from working with me. She told me she mentioned to someone that her colleague was, in her words “very non-avoidant.” And that she wants to be more like that. See, it is my own damn fault she told me how she really felt, and I probably, weirdly, in a way, inspired it.

She’s not wrong. I am strongly (aggressively?) non-avoidant.

I thanked her and mentioned I’d learned a lot from her too. And one thing was to be kind. It just matters that we as human beings are kind.

She simply said: “That’s God.”

She’s not wrong.

Neither is my existence.

So, when you see me running around Seattle wearing my queer pride flag as a cape and the dope-ass, hot-shit hat I just got from my favorite brand, Chrome, you can smile or you can wince, and that’s fine.

Because I am fine.

If you haven’t been reminded lately or managed to forget, here’s Brandi Carlile singing her anthem at the Grammys a couple of years ago, for which she received a standing ovation. From a crowd full of Grammy nominees.

Happy Pride.


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