That poor woman… but also, I love this story…
Thanks to all my friends, family, loved ones, and everyone else along the way… you all continue to teach me new things about myself and the world around me.
Original Post Date: August 29, 2017
When I was maybe 9 years old my friends and I used to use the word “queer” as a synonym for “awesome” and “cool.” Maybe I did it more than them, I honestly don’t remember. What I do remember is that one day I walked into a stationery store in Olde Towne and was browsing through their cards and other products. I enthusiastically called several items “queer” and the store owner came up to me and chastised me, asking me what exactly I meant by that. I, in my not at all uppity 9 year old way, told her it meant cool and certainly did NOT give her a facial expression that implied that she should invest in a dictionary. Nope, not at all. She looked utterly surprised by my response and told me not to say that word and I proceeded to boycott that store for years. Yes, I took my 9 year old stationery needs elsewhere. I don’t know that the store ever recovered from the economic impact of that boycott. Looking back, she was most likely a strong advocate for gay rights trying to stop a child from spreading harm throughout the world. And I was a little (as yet unrealized) gay girl navigating the world not realizing that queer would ever be considered anything but awesome.
I’m up in the middle of the night, probably because I’m in my early 40s and I had a Sunkist with dinner, but while I’m up various thoughts run through my mind. Tonight’s thoughts include privilege, and when I first realized my relative privilege. I don’t remember exactly when it happened — honestly it happened in stages, and it keeps happening. I remember key realization points throughout my life (such as watching Roots in 4th grade and learning about the politics of hair in high school), and I remember key points of blissful youth. That story about the stationery store is a point of blissful youth. There is always more to learn about ourselves and each other – that is what makes life such a beautiful and rich journey. I’m grateful for everyone who keeps teaching me new things, and who keeps helping me learn more about myself.