Author Archive for Marc Adams

17
Dec
12

The gun in our faces.

 

Marc Adams

I’ve stared at the business end of guns twice in my life. Once at the hands of a criminal and once at the hands of overzealous police. Neither incident will ever leave my mind.

Each time I see death and destruction like we have seen this past Friday I am quickly reminded of how I would have responded back in the day when I believed in the same theology as Mike Huckabee and those like him. A time when I lived life without owning a shred of empathy for others. My reaction would have been to respond just as he did, blaming others for removing (my) god from public schools.   Oddly enough I would have said (my) god was not allowed in public schools knowing in my heart I believed (my) god was omnipresent and knowing the impossibility of a government restraining access to my omnipotent god.

I would have done just as he did, ignore the insane and incomprehensible deaths of teachers and students and focused on trying to use the incident as a way to evangelize for my version of truth.

I would have responding in the only way I knew how, with selfishness and self-service.

It was a lonely path, thinking I was always being persecuted for my faith. Especially in moments like this when people would “attack” me for speaking (my decided) truth.

During times like this I feel humbled and still amazed that I was able to find a path to self-acceptance, the ability to love myself and miraculously, a way to learn empathy for others. It took me years to get those things right.

Now when I see the guns, the destruction of life, and the inevitable religious (it’s not always someone who identifies as a version of a christian) chaotic call, I still feel unsafe.  But it’s a different kind of lack of safety.

We are all responsible for lost lives and vanished hopes when we do not take moments like these as turning points. It’s not about guns, it’s not about my right to own a gun, it’s not about mental issues, and it’s definitely not about religion.  These days, right now, are about how we as human beings choose to make the world a safer place for everyone.

Safer for kids who should never feel bullied at school, let alone worried that they might never go home. Safer for teachers who should never wonder if their school will be next.  Safer for parents who trust so many other people with the safety of their children.  Safer for me and you, who need to be able to sign off on just one year where we didn’t have to watch or hear about loss due to our inability to do the right thing to protect each other physically, mentally and humanly.

Doing the right thing takes courage and compassion, something which is learned and tested by life’s experience.  In this instance it also means putting others before ourselves for the greater good of all.

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20
May
10

Living with courage, confidence and consistency.

Since June is gay pride month, I thought I would take some time to share some of my writings on different aspects of the subject from a human perspective. So much of what is written about being gay, lesbian, bisexual or transgender presents the subject from the perspective that it’s ok to be gay and christian or gay and muslim. There hasn’t been much written that talks about how it’s just ok to be who you are.

This first piece is from my new book, It’s Not About You: Understanding Coming Out & Self-Acceptance. So much of what I’ve written here can be applied to our humanity. Courage, confidence and consistently applied to our everyday life, gay or straight, changes everything.

FROM: It’s Not About You: Understanding Coming Out & Self-Acceptance

Coming out is most likely one of the hardest and yet one of the most important things a person can do.

It takes courage to do the right thing, especially when society reinforces the lie that the heterosexual lifestyle is somehow proper for every human being. Nothing on this journey defeats a life lived honestly.

An honest life is a life lived courageously. The pressure to live a dishonest life comes at us from every direction. Living life with courage allows us to close our eyes each night and sleep in peace. Leaving behind the idolatry of acceptance sets everyone free to find the place in their heart where courage waits to be unchained.

Confidence is not easy. More often than not doubt prevails and we close the door to living with confidence. When our social surroundings encourage dependency on acceptance from others instead of self-acceptance, achieving self-confidence seems a pointless endeavor.

To live life with confidence we must first look to our own heart. The same heart we looked to in the middle of our darkest moments before coming out. Think you were the only person to feel the intense loneliness associated with self-denial? Think again. It felt like you were alone those nights when you used to wish for death rather than wake to another day. But you were never really alone. All around others traveled the same road.

That same introspection must be revisited in order to find that mark where you can begin to live a confident life.

Each day lived with confidence leads to a life lived confidently. Days become weeks and months and without notice, confidence in yourself and who you are becomes a natural part of your existence and expression.

Finding a path to living with courage, taking that courage and living with confidence paves the way to living our lives consistently.

Those who don’t understand the importance of us living life honestly should be exposed to our lives lived consistently. Hesitation on our part could cause family or friends to doubt our honesty.

Not only does living life consistently show others the courage to be ourselves, it also strengthens our resolve to live confidently.

25
Feb
10

Being right doesn’t always feel good.

I’ve spent most of my adult life hoping that I was wrong.  As confident as I may have appeared to be to many, I always wished for proof that what I held as truth was actually not so.

On Valentine’s Day, 2010, life showed me that I was not wrong.

I will always believe in the moveable middle.  Those who are capable of being both loving and rational.  Those whose lives prove that education and life experience can undo learned inequity and acquired fear.  Those who know that loving others is only possible by first loving yourself.

Over the past 14 years I have told thousands of people who have taken a moment out of their life to listen to mine that there are those who are incapable of moving beyond where they are because their religious beliefs will not allow it.  As consistent as I was in conveying my belief that relationships are contingent on real love that is not based on obligation or manipulation, I always wished that I had misinterpreted my own life experience.

Two years ago, when my biological (fundamentalist Baptist minister) father died from blood related cancer, I realized that my thoughts about him were true.  Life was too short for him to get to a place of understanding and loving himself, let alone those around him. 

It was a difficult moment of acceptance for me.  I looked to the future and hoped that I would still be proven wrong.

Over the past four months I observed from a distance, the slow and menacing advance of an incurable condition in my biological mother.  Regardless of my faith in the strength of the human spirit, I knew every day that soon I would be writing these words.

With her grim prognosis and her immediate inability to communicate or even comprehend what was happening to her own body, it was only a matter of time until this day would arrive.

As much as I’ve told people of my mother’s commitment to the god she believed in and how that commitment created a world in which I was not welcome as I was, I’ve always hoped that I was wrong.  I hoped that somehow natural parental instinct and familial love would override everything that prohibited us from experiencing a true familial bond.

I grieve for yet another life passed without coming to an understanding of my place in it.

At this moment I look to the example that my grandmother lived.  Her ability to express unconditional love to a son and daughter-in-law who believed she lived a life of sin, showed me how to truly love others, particularly those who think or speak ill of me.  Her kindness to me in my days and nights of coming out eased the pain of lost relationships and gave me the courage to begin new, healthy relationships.  Her simple life of loving and her display of human kindness inspired me to extend my own hand to others in need.

I’ve always secretly hoped that I would be proven wrong about my deductions.  Alas, I have learned over the years that while some people are capable of change, there are others who simply are not.

More than any other moment in my life I am grateful not only for my grandmother and her life of transparency but for the lessons I learned through her example. 

So I wasn’t wrong.  For some, there are not enough minutes in a lifetime to move past self-imposed obstacles.  While it is never an easy thing to learn of the end of a life, I look to my grandmother’s life example which is carried forward every day in the actions I take.  The work that I do is only done because of her influence on my heart.  She was proof that I was right that there are those who are capable of understanding the lives of others and that there is such a thing true familial love.  It is her mercy and her grace toward others that set the example for me to follow for the rest of my life.