I grew up with Harry, Ron and Hermione. I’ve waited in midnight lines at bookstores and stayed up all night to read. I remember in 2004 sitting in the theatre watching the Prisoner of Azkaban and realizing that I was attracted to Emma Watson. I have read and re-read and last year post fire a friend recommended the audiobooks, which have become the soundtrack to the darkest moments of my life. Driving back and forth from work having flashbacks, sleepless nights where I would pop headphones in a be transported to the Yule Ball and sitting in a plane crying my eyes out while Dobby met his demise. I love these books.
Its been a few weeks since my last post, and a lot has happened, some of which I am not sure how to write about, but it will come. Whenever I struggle, I listen to Harry Potter and driving to my first day back from work I heard this:
“Remember, if the time should come when you have to make a choice between what is right, and what is easy, remember what happened to a boy who was good and kind and brave because he strayed across the path of Lord Voldemort.”
The words of Albus Dumbledore, well really, the words of J.K. Rowling; a profound statement but in my experience, not an easy one to put into practice. My default setting is currently “easy”, it is easier to lie about my feelings, to pretend, to be something I am not. It is easier not to face tough choices, not to look at the painful parts of my life, it is easier to try to hide. But this past week I picked right, rather than easy.
I got a call from a reporter in Fort McMurray to talk about the pride sidewalk being vandalized in Fort McMurray. I agreed, hung up then proceeded to think about what I would say, try to have some key points. Then I stopped, I took a step back and decided to not rehearse. I met the reporter and talked about my feelings, open and honestly. (Story is here: http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/edmonton/fort-mcmurray-pride-crosswalk-defaced-vandalized-tire-marks-1.4229845).
This had consequences, hate on my social media accounts, a few private messages of disgust but also a lot of love and support. A lot. I chose not to feed the trolls and I didn’t get into a long argument on my Facebook page. I felt like I perhaps should not have said anything, that maybe this wasn’t a good thing to do and then I remembered something I heard in therapy: “Feelings are never abusive”. I am entitled to my feelings; I am allowed to be hurt, outraged, frustrated and angry. I can talk about how I feel and I do not need to justify it with facts or figures. It pissed me off that someone defaced a Pride Crosswalk.
The events in the US also pissed me off, I am angry, sad and scared about where our society is headed when white supremacy can rear its ugly head and proceed unchecked.
The most common comment on my FB related to the Pride crosswalk and a comment I see similarly echoed in the events from the US is the sentiment that when someone does something outrageous, and you give them attention by complaining about it you are giving them what they want.
I think that is the easy way. It would have been easy for me to say no to the reporter and not talk about the pride crosswalk. It would have been less stressful, less hurtful and less worrisome (especially for my parents). But it’s not right. The right thing to do was to stand on the street and say that I was hurting, that I was sad and that I was angry. It didn’t feel good, but it did feel right.
The right thing is not to ignore the hate and bigotry that is occurring in other parts of the world, the easy thing is to simply say I live in Canada and things are different; but I know better than that, I have seen confederate flags in Fort McMurray and its time to stop looking the other way. To ignore, to pretend, to tell myself that things are different here is essentially putting those feelings into a nice little cupboard under the stairs and hoping it never comes out. The right way, the hard way is painful. These past few months have been painful.
I think what I am trying to say is that life is challenging and choosing what is right is never easy.