Hope, It Gets Better, and this is unrelated to Seattle's snowtastrophy.

Today's a snowy day in Seattle, and I should be out playing and taking pictures or something instead of hunkering down for a day of studying on the computer, but this isn't about that.

I woke up and got on the internet, as I often do, and came across this Pixar-employee-featuring video from the "It Gets Better Project", which is a product of Seattle-ite Dan Savage, and which had me crying embarrassingly and sentimentally alone in my house at 7:45 in the morning:

To paraphrase Ernest P. Worrell, I'm awfully glad it's snowing, because no one sees the teardrops when it pours.

It Gets Better is old news, I guess, but I think this is the best of the videos I've seen. If you haven't heard of it, basically, the project is a response and address to bullying of LGBTQ youth where adults can post videos describing their lives and/or teenage experiences to assure queer kids that life gets better.

Watching and identifying with these, I feel like an emotional parasite as a straight white corn fed country male who hasn't lived the LGBTQ experience. For most of my life I was more a part of the problem than part of the solution. I've also heard several types of criticism leveled against the project But what about the people for whom it doesn't get better?! What about in the Third World and Global South, where they have real problems?! What about other minority experiences?!

But those sentiments be damned - this is inspiring stuff. It's inspiring to see a group of people who've historically been pushed down and marginalized standing up and telling the haters to eff off in such a convincing way. And, as someone who works with the broad spectrum of troubled, depressed and seemingly hopeless kids, it's inspiring to see a marginalized group delivering a message about perseverance that so many awkward bullied teenagers can identify with, whether or not they fit into LGBTQ category. I've written quite a lot about the gifts that the gay community has given me personally, living and working in a neighborhood with a high LGBTQ concentration here, and this project distills a lot of those gifts into a package that's easily consumable for the masses. It's a part of the broad gay community's gift to the larger world.

I interpret this ultimately as a project about hope, and as a natural Eeyore cynic, I think that's why it resonates so much. Life sucks a lot of times, and the world is full of horrible things, but you have to recognize the hopeful aspects of life if you want to address the shit. It's all about Raging, Raging against the dying of the light and staring into the Abyss and not blinking and so forth. As I've been thinking about the relationship between spirituality and community, one of the keys, I think, is this kind of thing - the community reassuring the individual that there's support, and that life is livable, and sometimes even beautiful and just and funny.

And so, queers, thanks once again for being the bigger people in the societal conversation, and thanks for sharing your gifts despite the fact that so many of the rest of us are usually assholes.


KJ said…
GLBT folk work for Pixar? Who knew?

That is indeed excellent "It Gets Better" video!

Though I grew up in Evangelical Land and my sexual orientation was a complete mystery to me (i.e., it was supposed to be due to rejection of a God that I had not rejected), I cannot say I ever considered suicide as a youth. I grew up in a loving family and was educated in a Christian school where I never received any sense of ostracism even though my natural interests were in music (This was a value at the school.). The fact that my best friend through high school was a jock likely created a sphere of protection of which I am aware only in hind sight.

However, it was at mid-life when the call to come out became so strong that attempting to resist it led to ill mental health, and my family believed that I was having a mental breakdown, and I guess I was. The depression was dark and likely would have resulted in self-harm had I not come home each night to a wooden headed German Shepherd who had expectations of his boy that required the "normalcy" of putting one foot ahead of the other ("I am, as always, glad to see you. The leash is here, the door is here. The leash is here, the door is here. The leash is here......"). He was generally patient when runs were interrupted by crying spells - one cannot run and cry at the same time - at least for no great distance.

It was on a run when I finally looked up at the sky and yelled, "Okay!" not fully realizing what that meant. Regardless, it was at that moment I had peace and knew it was going to get better. Not necessarily easy right away, but certainly much, much better.