My sister wrote a really lovely post about Spirit Day today, filled with beautiful narratives about how we grew up and the way we were raised; how we were taught that humans are humans; how her purple hat will hopefully change someone’s day. I have no doubt that it will. It’s a nice hat.
I didn’t have a free morning to write; she beat me to the punch. And while I’m not one to be trumped again by the better-blogger sister, I’m already one-upped because unfortunately, I don’t have a purple hat. But today, a dark purple shirt will do. It’s understated, maybe, but it’s the thought that counts.
Thinking about my sister’s blog, thinking about the way we were raised, it’s funny how differently I construct my narrative.
I remember being the only straight girl in my high school’s gay-straight alliance. I remember sometimes being afraid to say hi to those other people in the halls, and today I think about how sad that makes me. I remember how loud, how boisterous, how free they were — and what a fucking stir they caused because they could and they didn’t care. Shawnee Mission Wonderful.
I remember participating in Day of Silence and I remember no one getting it. I remember being forced to speak in my 125-person choir — to call roll for my section as usual, even though someone offered to do it for me — because my director, a man’s man but someone closer to me than my own father, would rather make his own statement than let me make mine. I went home and cried.
Unlike Paige, I remember talking about it at home, which is probably the benefit of growing up five years after her. Although I refused to realize it at the time, I was blessed with a stepfather — a minister and a man trained to teach diversity and acceptance — who encouraged the conversation. I didn’t usually want to talk…but we did, sometimes. And I’m glad.
Suburban Kansas City isn’t the breeding ground of tolerance, but I’m thankful I picked it up somewhere or from someone. Because today, in Des Moines, around Drake, at Mars, the place is littered with purple: a barista, a mom with her newborn, a woman doing work during her break, me.
It doesn’t really matter to me if I change someone’s day. I’m holed up in a coffee shop until I play bingo old people and then pick up kids from church and put them to bed. It’s not a captive audience. But it’s the thought that counts…and the action feels pretty good too.