I'm starting to feel I'm focusing too much on the LDS church here; I'm hoping to fix that.
The thing is, as a young kid the LDS church was like a friend of a friend, or a friend of family. Eh, call him Larry, Larry Daysaints. He ran the neighborhood, and on whole was a pretty good guy. I liked and revered and followed his father, Bob Protestantsen, and grew up in a school with Bob as my teacher (stick with me here :-)). I suppose I wasn't really clear there was a difference between the two men at such a young age.
When Larry told me there was a difference, though, I decided to give him a shot. I befriended him, then I revered him, and then I believed his every word. I'd come to find though, I couldn't trust his every word and so returned to following Mr. Protestansen. For a while, in my teens, I thought Larry had evil motivations, in his trying to pull me away from following Mr. Protestantsen, but eventually concluded that the Daysaints had good hearts and were just honestly mistaken. After all, I started to notice very similar problems with the older Bob. I eventually decided to not believe everything either of them said.
Then I went through puberty and found I wasn't like the rest of the boys. Bob and Larry would have had a problem with that, but Larry and I had already cut ties and I knew Bob had problems of his own. So who cares what they think, right? And that was that for many years.
I got married, and we moved to get my MS in California. I hardly noticed we left Larry and Bob in the old neighborhood, and really got comfortable rarely realizing being gay was an issue any more pressing than my eye color. Still, I had fond feelings for both old neighbors, and in fact still respected them from afar (or respected what I remembered of them).
Then it came time to become parents and we wanted to raise our kids around family, and so we moved back to Utah, back to having Larry as our neighbor, which I naively didn't give much of a worry. Outside my neighborhood, Larry controls very little and I was used to that, but in Utah it's different.
So we were blessed with children, and suddenly I started hearing rumors, or more accurately I started noticing it much more. Larry smiles to our face and says horrible things about me and my husband to the other neighbors; it turns out he always had and it just didn't hit me hard when it was just some old guy spouting off about something he knew nothing about, but, when aimed at my marriage and kids, that made a difference. And yes, I know, friends had told me he was a jerk but I thought that was just a temporary mistake or a lapse on Larry's part; we all make mistakes.
Then he started putting insults right to our faces, lawn signs in his yard aiming at us. It was not just in his private neighborhood meetings anymore, and, worse, he began publicly insulting our kids. Of course he claims it's all for our own good, constructive criticism, tough neighborly love or something, but who does he think he's fooling, right? How would he like it if I treated his family like that? I got upset, and told him we're officially not friends anymore, but, of course, he didn't much notice.
Then--would you believe it--Larry starts asking the neighborhood to work to harm my husband and kids and many other families of friends we love. He's telling us he doesn't hate us or disrespect us, no; it's just that families (if he'd even use the word for us) like ours, having equal rights to Larry and his wife, well, that upsets him. He says he's just defending family and marriage by harming us and doesn't get how his choices could ever be disrespectful or immoral. He can't seem to understand we are all for marriage and family too and to insinuate we are not... well, I'd rather be called faggot to my face. It all came to a head when he made himself instrumental in an attempt to annul my legal marriage last November, with the help of other neighbors and distorted facts about what has happened in neighborhoods where we are treated with equality.
Then, when I confronted him about his behavior, he acts all offended and goes on about his rights and being persecuted, complaining about my incivility and lack of respect for him. Weird, right?
Anyway, I digress.
So I've got this bizarre long-history with this neighbor I once liked but who has now turned himself into a great source of harm for my family, and I don't know what to do with it. For months since the election, I find myself waking up about once a week at night worrying what he's going to do to my family next. I know, behind the scenes, he's still plotting against us. It's making me paranoid. He's already expressed interest in our children, and has shown his power and influence with his interest in our marriage. But it doesn't have to be that big; what if he starts spreading more lies to my family? Instructing them? Many of them are torn and some will do whatever he tells them. What about what he's doing to the gay children in his home? I hate to bring it up in a lighthearted metaphor like this, but what gay man in Utah doesn't know a kid who killed himself here?
If Larry was feeling sad because I stopped taking notice of him or what he had to say for all those years, he should be pleased; he has tight hold of my attention now.
And that's what I'm hoping to change. I'm thinking of him too much. It's like the year our mailbox was blown up, Christmas decorations slashed with a knife, and we were left, on our doorstep, a cryptic handwritten letter about us turning to Christ, in Spanish (true story :-)); each little bump I heard at night, sounded like those vandals trespassing again. Similarly, after our last year with the LDS church, I'm thinking too much of them trespassing into our home, our most sacred unions again. Sure, we have real conflict but I'm also seeing conflict where there is likely none.
I want to stop that and go back to our old neighborly relationship, before all this. I want my neighborhood back, to feel like my home again, not some bully's territory. I want neighbors who say they're sorry when they harm us, instead of "stop hitting yourself". I don't want to be suspicious anymore of people who count Larry as a friend. I even want to like quirky old Mr. Daysaints again, if he'd just live and let live.
So, while we have to be in his neighborhood, I'm going to try to turn my attention away from his every insult and political maneuver, on this blog and in the real world. I'm going to try to ignore proclamations in my brother's home, and CTR rings on my child's finger... treat it like the inappropriate words that come out of the mouths of my older relatives. It's certainly not that I find the behavior any less objectionable, but I don't want to spend as much time thinking about it, worrying the next time Larry walks by he'll salt our lawn, or tell my children they're of inferior moral character to other kids, or something. We'll deal with it when he does.
So what do you think is a fair goal? Only one post about Larry per week, month? How does one go back to those pre-prop 8 days, anyway? Seems a lot of us around here want to know.