Finishing Chapters

Tardis Journal

From an early age I was terrible at finishing travel journals. From my first international trip to my last trip abroad I have always have been required, or have wanted to document my experiences through journal writing.

Unfortunately, none of these journals have ever been completed. Whether it’s the last month or couple of days before the trip ends, the pages stay blank.

I love new and exciting experiences, but I’ve always have hated the feeling after, the withdrawal. It’s more than just reverse culture shock, it’s the feeling that if I complete the journal, then the experience is complete, and I can never feel that same way again.

In the past, happiness has been an extremely difficult and complex emotion for me. The higher the high, the bigger the crash into a downward spiral. Not finishing those journals was a way of clinging onto the happiness I had found. I could pretend that nothing had changed, and I was still in the moment of happiness.

Through lots of self exploration and therapy, I’ve accepted that holding on to a moment doesn’t preserve your happiness, moving forward does. Change is happening all of the time, and grasping on to the past does nothing to prevent it, and makes me more miserable.

Different circumstances in the present and future don’t negate the happiness of the past. The fact that my brother and sister are moving across the country doesn’t change who we are to each other. The fact that disease is most likely going to prevent our annual trip doesn’t change my passion for my organization.

Sometimes I wish that world would stand still, but then I remember that its constant revolution and rotation has given me amazing opportunities and changes that I didn’t even know I needed.

I will probably be never good at finishing journals. There will probably always be that piece of me that wants to believe it’s not over and nothing is changed. But I now know that that my happiness lies in acknowledging the past, but moving forward towards the next big adventure.

Real Positive Change Takes Time

Everyone in sports and LGBT* community is talking about Michael Sam getting drafted by the Rams and that his jersey is selling like hotcakes. While obviously excitement has been expressed by the LGBT* community, it is also very easy to lament over the fact that the first openly gay play drafted to the NFL wasn’t an all-star quarterback or wide receiver. Why couldn’t the LGBT* community bust down the door instead of having in gently pushed open by a seventh round draft pick?

I am not diminishing Sam’s achievements. He has obviously worked very hard to be where he is now, and the fact that ESPN aired a gay kiss on TV definitely made a big splash in the sports world.

The reason we don’t have an openly queer quarterback is the same reason we haven’t an openly queer president. Lasting positive change takes time and moves very slowly. Saying that lasting change takes time does not mean that I am satisfied for slow progress, but in order for the LGBT* community to bust down doors, we need people like Michael Sam. When Harvey Milk won in 1977 no one had dreamed of an openly gay politician. Now we have out Senators and Congress-people who stand up for LGBT* individuals across the United States.

Again, we should not be satisfied with slow-moving change; we should always try to aim higher and better. A quick flash in the pan is satisfying initially, but after a short period of time it can very easily lose impact. Unfortunately people need to see something over and over again until it becomes accepted and normalized.

Fast change looks nice, but what about the substance? What happens after the first openly gay quarterback gets drafted or the first out president gets elected? There is something to be said about reaching to the top, but more importantly lasting change comes from the hard work that continues after reaching the mountain peak. What is a queer president or quarterback going to do to continue to advance the LGBT* movement?

In a perfect world we wouldn’t need to kick the door down or LGBT* rights.

I don’t need to tell you that we don’t live in a perfect world. So we keep trudging forward, relishing in the small victories, but never accepting them as the permanent status-quo.