love

A truth (now) (almost) universally acknowledged by Kailee Haong

This is going to be a very long overdue post, but I think it needs to be made.

I will preface this post by stating that it brings me sadness, the fact that I will have to block more than just a few people from being able to view this. Friends, it’s 2015, it’s time to show a little less intolerance and a little more compassion.

This past year has been a year of personal growth, understanding, and self-acceptance after years of not being comfortable with who I was. Why the sudden change? Because some small part of me mustered up the courage to let my guard down, let my walls down, and to love wholly and openly. In cheesy terms? I fell in love. Hard.

I’m telling you I fell in love with a human who made me feel comfortable with who I am. Someone who helped me learn to love myself entirely—each and every little flaw included. Someone who made me see life in HD, which I’ll tell you is a lot more vibrant and a lot more satisfying than SD. Someone who made me love early Sunday morning adventures, even on weekends with hardly any sleep.  Someone I can cook with, exercise with, study with, read with, drive with, adventure with—honestly, do pretty much anything with.

If I said I had a boyfriend, I wouldn’t have to block half of my family and friends from seeing this. They’d pat me on the back, ask for pictures, and congratulate me for finding a nice lad. But since I fell in love with a human who just so happens to be a girl, I still can’t be completely open for fear of condemnation or rejection. This makes my heart heavy.

So I ask you, what’s so wrong about doing all of those cool fun things with someone who happens to have the same chromosomes as you do? Why would one short, stubby Y chromosome in place of an X make my life a whole lot easier, a whole lot different?  Can you really say my “lifestyle” is wrong? Because this is the happiest I’ve felt with myself for a long, long time.

It brings me pain to see that love is still not being accepted unconditionally. So I wanted to leave a few messages to people I almost let break me down.

To the women who burned holes through our hands as we sat doing absolutely nothing wrong in a café: Grow up. We didn’t judge you for your incessantly loud church gossip, so there was really absolutely no reason for you to glance over and glare every ten seconds.

To the family that veered their children away from us to the complete opposite side of the room: News flash, but love isn’t contagious. Honestly, I wish it was, because you could use a little bit of it.

To the woman who catcalled my girlfriend when we were going out to dinner: Your slang and sick comments and your dirty, snide smile made us fearful to go out in public. You ruined the first half of our dinner and you made us afraid to go back outside.

This is not a cry for help. It’s a plea for humanity. We really need to stop wasting energy on spewing hatred and bigotry and start channeling that into acceptance and love. I would really like to see a world where I can love who I love without any fear, pain, or prejudice.

Years ago, I got really good at suppressing any feeling I thought wouldn’t sit well with my family or friends. Now? I am comfortable with myself. I am comfortable with the human being I have become. I am comfortable with the strides I have made. I am comfortable with my successes. I love myself, I love others, and I love that humanity is, albeit slowly, beginning to surface. 

To those of you who disagree: This isn’t a “lifestyle.” It’s my life. This isn’t a “choice.” It’s love. This isn’t a “sin.” It’s divine. This isn’t an “abomination.” It’s compassion. This isn’t “disgusting.” It’s beautiful.  This isn’t all of the other nasty words I have seen countless times again and again. It’s love. It’s pure, genuine love. And if you’re reading this disagreeing with me, if you’re one of the people I missed in blocking this post and you’d rather me be discontent the rest of my life than be happy and myself, do me a favor. Look yourself in the mirror. Tell yourself three things you love about yourself. Smile. You hating my “lifestyle,” or me as a person does not affect me. I still think you’re a beautiful human being. Why? Because look around. Humanity is absolutely gorgeous. I’m sorry you cannot accept love, but I’m not wasting another tear on your hatred. I’m choosing happiness.

To those of you who have been supportive all along: You are the reason I have found the courage to write this.  You give me hope, you bring me happiness, and you make me feel loved. And I could never ask for anything more. I love you. You matter to me. You matter to the world. You are important and special and I am so, so thankful for you.

So, gather round, folks. I’m opening that door and I expect to see a beautiful world on the other side. You can either stand with me, or get out of my way, because I’m on to a bright future, and I’m not going to let anything or anyone stop that.

As always, here’s a quote for you. From my buddy Kurt:
“A purpose of human life, no matter who is controlling it, is to love whoever is around to be loved.” – The Sirens of Titan, Kurt Vonnegut

Combat negativity by Kailee Haong

Some words for all of the horrible words I have been reading in my news feed

 

On police brutality, malicious attacks, and tragedy

It is a shame that we are still seeing so many cases like these. It saddens me to read news story after news story of deaths, injuries, and overall maltreatment toward human beings. But let’s talk about police brutality, first. We’ve dichotomized into two distinct factions here—the brute force, the “law is always right,” the uniforms, the conservatives, and then the youth, the troubled and trouble-making misfits, the liberals, the “be the changers.” I think we forget to take a step back and realize that we’re all human. Disregard race, gender, political background, income, origin, all of it. Humans, we’re humans, people. We’re skin covering 206 bones holding organs and life and 23 pairs of chromosomes. Here’s where I struggle with the issues of these police brutality cases. Let’s take this young teenage girl/pool party story that is the most recent (that I have been made aware of). Lesson one: don’t be disrespectful to police officers. Lesson two: there is absolutely no need to kneel on top of a girl about a third of your size. Lesson three: if you are asked by a police to leave, you should probably leave. Lesson four: there is no reason to scream profanities at children. The problem with cases like this is that dichotomy I mentioned earlier—nobody is willing to look at both sides. We’re stuck in this stubborn mindset that chimes “you’re right, everyone else is wrong!” and this is dangerously caustic to society.

Let’s take a moment to talk about framing (shout out to Kris Morehouse). Here are some headlines about the case I am discussing:

“Texas officer draws gun on black teens at pool party”

“Texas police officer suspended over pool party incident”

“Jarring image of police’s use of force at Texas pool party”

“Shocking video shows Texas police attacking black teens at pool party”

Do you see what a difference language makes in a headline? Can you see the difference between “police officer suspended” and “police attacking black teens”? No wonder people are so staunch in their beliefs if they are only reading ONE headline. Weren’t you ever told to fact check in school? When did the curiosity of mankind die? Don’t you ever crave to know the real story? Get more evidence, keep digging? Maybe that’s just me.

Back to the point. It saddens me to see these atrocities happen to human beings. I don’t know when we decided it was acceptable to treat our own kind like trash, but we certainly should cease that immediately. And this goes both ways—respect should be shown by both parties. Be a decent human being. Easy.

 

On Caitlyn Jenner, transphobia, and homophobia

Again, I am appalled by the terrible comments I have been reading about all three of the things listed above. Days ago, I saw a post from a news source (I don’t recall which) that included a video of some key figures in Seattle (I forget them now, I think the mayor) raising the pride flag in honor of June, the month of pride. I was saddened and disgusted after reading hundreds of comments about how “gay is a choice,” “a sin,” “an abomination,” “unnatural,” need I say more? Let’s revert to something I referred to in the beginning of this post. I’ll even make it really, really obvious. WE ARE ALL HUMAN BEINGS. I’m really not certain how I could be clearer about this point. Your faith or your background gives you absolutely NO moral grounds to judge another human being.  It is A-OK to have opinions, it is A-OK to disagree with things, but it is NOT A-OK to publicly shame, humiliate, or destroy another’s reputation because of your views. I repeat, you have no right to judge another human being. Live your own life, and stop worrying about everyone else’s. If you disagree with something, then disagree. Don’t post about it on Facebook, because your opinion is—get this—just that. It’s an opinion. It’s not right. It’s not wrong. It’s an opinion. Get over the fact that not everyone thinks like you. This is neither the time nor the place to be a bigoted, ignorant human, hating on the lives of other humans. Just love everybody, okay? It’s really not that hard.

More recently, Caitlyn Jenner has made her transformation into a woman and has received an alarming amount of backlash from society. It disheartens me, because we grow up with the mantra “be who you are,” constantly on a loop in our brains, but the second we try to do that, it’s suddenly wrong to be who you are? Why are we inculcating positive messages into our children’s brains and then, when the time comes, taking that freedom from them? When does it stop being okay to “be who you are”? I wasn’t aware that the saying had an expiration date, but it seems like it does today.

I’ve seen posts commending her for her immense courage and bravery, and I too commend you, Caitlyn. It takes an incredible amount of strength to be who you are in a society who falsely claims that it is accepting of all. I’ve seen a shocking amount of posts comparing Caitlyn Jenner to men and women in the armed forces, and this is just ridiculous. The two are completely different, and comparing a transgender person to a person in the military is both irrelevant and just a flat-out weak argument. You cannot say servicemen are courageous and Caitlyn is not. Courage and bravery are not limited to those in camouflage. If you disagree with her transition, that is fine—no one is forcing you to be pro-trans, but that does not mean it is okay to hate, make disgusting comments, or deny her bravery. That just shows cowardice on your own part. We’re all human beings. We need to support one another as such. Just because some are different than you, does not make them any less of a human. I absolutely loathe the color pink, but that does not mean I am going to walk around condemning anyone wearing pink—it’s no different.

 Society needs a wake up call. Someone to grab it by the shoulders and just shake the hate out of it. Hate has no place in our society, and I do not want my future children to live in a world in which they are afraid to be themselves. I’m going to leave this section with a quote I stumbled upon.

“Tolerance is a cheaper, low-grade parody of love. Tolerance is not a great virtue to aspire to. Love is much tougher and harder.” – N.T. Wright

From this point on, I will be removing people from my Facebook, my blog, etc. I will remove those filled with hatred and spite toward humans because I do not need a newsfeed filled with negativity. The world is an absolutely beautiful place if you open up your eyes to it. I see potential in society. I see potential in our youth. I aspire to help create a society that is accepting, that is loving and kind—I aspire to help create a society that is a harmonious conglomeration of human beings, relishing in the presence of other human beings. One last quote from one of my favorite artists:

“Admire as much as you can. Most people do not admire enough.” – Vincent van Gogh