It seems a defining habit of mine, one that I can often see play out here, has to be my way of dealing with threat. Typically, my emotions won’t run their course until I feel the threat has passed. As I've written before, if we hear a bump in the night, I never feel fear; instead I methodically search the house like it's a game. I don’t first feel sadness over the death of our family dog; I go calmly hunting for the coyote that killed him. When Rob and I suffered loss trying to become parents; it would be weeks later before I did all I could to get us back on track and I could finally relax my drive and let that loss run me over.
I'm not complaining; when I whiteness the options on other human models, I’m glad I’m built how I am. I experience happiness in real time, and negative emotions are delayed until dissolved by the solution I find, or at least dulled by the realization of the problem’s irreversibility. It’s probably why I’m one of the happier people I know.
Trouble is, though, I look back now and I see I’ve keenly felt my family has been under threat in Utah since we became parents, six years ago. That’s a long time to be putting off, to be vigilant. In that time I have, of course, tried to fix the problem. Maybe it's because people don't know us? Maybe it's because they don't have the facts? Maybe it just takes political energy? I can take all that on, right? They make me feel I can take anything on. So I worked on everything from isocrat.org to political campaigns… so many editorials (you catch my last one? ;-)). Each little bit making me feel like I'm doing something to protect them and each, of course, too small to dent such a huge problem.
I’m hunting that damned coyote, and have been for a long long time.
Recently, Proposition 8, the “Common Ground” losses, the increased local social hostility, the "love" "respect" and "civility" of those aiming to harm us legally... all that really stepped it up an order of magnitude for me this year. That's a lot to hold for later, and it hit me harder than I noticed, and I noticed a good deal.
I can see myself trying to go back to my habit, the day after the vote, and put off feeling it until I fix it. However, I know I can't fix this one--it takes time and many more people--and I've written that before, but I have to get it through my head. This often helpful habit of mine has become a dam on this issue, holding back six years of GLBT political weather and last year we had record rainfall. And yeah, I know, it has been cracked and has been leaking all over my blog (me and my metaphors... :-)).
Funny thing is I didn't realize the extent to which I'm tired of this fight until someone in power yesterday, out of the blue, offered to help me and the gay community in a little corner of local government. It just took someone to offer to help to make me realize I needed it, like someone offering to take my place at a guard post; only then I felt how tired I was.
Then, as if the universe was trying to drive home the point that I can't win against such threats, we found a neighborhood cat yesterday, killed in our yard by the material forms of my metaphorical threat, those coyotes (Apologies to new readers here who don't understand why I'm going on about coyotes. These animals have been a long time issue with our neighborhood, and my reaction to them strikes me as similar to my reaction to political threats here in Utah; just search the blog :-)). I guess the fauna indigenous to Utah, be they in the wild or in our wild legislature, won't be caught and won't stop following their instinct, and so I can't keep dealing with it like it was just any other one-time threat with a solution I could reach if I only focus more, work on it more, put off anger just another day.
Anyway, to be responsible for a gay-headed family in Utah… I fear if we lived the rest of our lives here, I’d be waiting the rest of our lives to finally let the water out of that dam. But don't get me wrong. This may sound like a gloomy post, but it just took letting it out with Rob and I'm in good spirits. I'm just realizing more and more that I can't treat this problem like others we might face, and am writing this down in the hopes it will eventually sink in.