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.

Thoughts.
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.

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