Today I had an image that brought me to tears, the image was that of my Uncle Matt. 25 years ago (this week), Matt committed suicide at age 23. In the image- he was having coffee with my grandma Betty in her kitchen. He just stopped by to “shoot the shit”. They were laughing and chatting and she was pouring him coffee. There was so much love between them; she was so happy. I guess Matt never realized how loved he was or that his mom’s heart would be shattered for the rest of her life after he took his own life. No one will ever know what Matt was thinking or going through, but clearly he could not see beyond the darkness and pain.
In 1997, I made a declaration. That I would live my life in honor of my Uncle Matt. I would live the greatest life I could, a life that would make a difference and a life that would have light shine so bright that people could see a possibility in the face of the darkness. I would live a life that would demonstrate that love could and would heal our world.
Honestly, since losing my job in March this year- I forgot about this kind of love. My job wasn’t just a job- it was the vehicle to fulfill on this promise. It was my life. It was my dreams. I had given it my whole heart since 1997- when I was 20 years old.
The loss of my job has been one of the most devastating experiences of my life. It was like a sudden death. There were mornings when I woke up in tears and cried myself to sleep. Where I was in a deep haze. I denied, negotiated, was bitterly angry, waves of sadness at unexpected moments and day by day- a little bit more acceptance.
Several months after the firing, I began to think about my future and yet nothing felt right. One day I was going to be a TV star; the next day I was going to college (I ended up going to 14 different colleges and each time I told Nathan – “this is where I am going!”- his patience is commendable); then I was going to do nothing; Then I was going to start my own business, etc, etc,… but those moments were fleeting and then the darkness and emptiness would return.
As this inquiry progressed I started to ask questions: How could I make a difference- a real difference? How could I forgive myself for my naive and immature ways of speaking that led to by dismissal? Why did this happen? What do I do now?
I asked anyone who would listen and yet everyone’s answer, in my world, was just noise.
Today, I believe I discovered the answer. The answer has been there since 1997 (and actually much, much longer). The answer hadn’t changed. The answer is: Love. Love can make a difference – a real difference. Love can forgive. This all happened so I have a deeper capacity to love. And the next thing to do is to love in bigger, greater, and more powerful ways than ever before.
I also can see that it is time for a new declaration- a declaration that honors my Uncle Matt and honors Brian Nord and what he had to overcome to have the life he has had. A declaration worthy of the rest of my life. A new promise. A new purpose.
I am now dedicating my life in honor of every LGBT person who does not know they are loved. To every LGBT person who’s dream of being in love and loved in return has never been realized. To every LGBT person who feels unlovable no matter how much love they get. I am creating a clearing for the healing of the LGBT community through Love.
I am creating a new reality in which it is THE NORM for LGBT people to have loving, supportive, healthy and lasting relationships (if the chose). In other words, I am committing the next chapter specifically to LGBT marriages and relationships not only being legal but thriving and fulfilling.
Inside of this promise, I am creating for myself the most remarkable life with Nathan that inspires others.
- I will be starting college for the first time and will be pursing my bachelor’s degree- as a personal way to love myself and honor myself.
- I will continue to love and honor myself and all human beings through taking care of my body and losing weight and living a healthy lifestyle.
- I will create new way to contribute and support my LGBT brothers and sisters to find love and to be successful in their relationships for the long-haul.
- I will create a new job that provides for Nathan and our future family abundantly.
So thanks to my sister-in-law Shanti for opening my eyes and my heart again to the real answer. The real work is just beginning..it’s time to love again.