A Pre-Inauguration Story (With Curse Words)

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I pulled into the parking lot of a theatre with my girlfriend (partner? I never know the best moniker for the woman I love) the Friday before the election. (I feel as though it will forever be referred to as “THE election.”) We parked at the exact same time as our friend and her 12-year-old goddaughter. We got out, walking towards each other sharing greetings, at the same time a man stopped on the sidewalk. He began shouting at our friend, “You fucking bitch! Who the fuck do you think you are?!?” He was beyond angry and continued an obscenity-laden tirade aimed at our friend.

She kept walking towards us, not breaking eye contact, then glanced at her goddaughter, presumably to comfort, then smiled and nervously laughed, “I don’t know what that’s all about.”

We began making our way towards the theatre, while the man continued his outburst from the sidewalk. Nobody in the parking lot – was there even anyone there? – jumped in to offer support.

Then, he stepped off the sidewalk and began coming towards our friend, shouting obscenities. And every single alarm in my body went off.

I stepped between them. No hesitation.

I snapped my fingers and pointed my finger at him – like a mother to a child having a tantrum. (Or a lesbian to a barking dog. Frame of reference is important, friends.)

“Absolutely not. Not OK. Unacceptable.”

These were the phrases that came out of my mouth.

Absolutely not. Not OK. Unacceptable.

He seemed momentarily stunned. Me, in my searsucker blazer and heels (I was wearing fucking heels), snapping in his face, shocked him to silence.

Then…

“Who the fuck do you think you are?!?!” he spat out.

I stood my ground. “Move along, sir. Move on,” I responded. “This is not OK. Move on.”

He turned and slowly walked away. Not happily. He was muttering obscenities, but he moved on.

Now, I know that this had a much better ending than it could have had. He could have become physically violent. To be fair, I was prepared for violence. I had a posse of three behind me. Two and half, really, ‘cause one is only 12-years-old. And, honestly, our pal probably could have handled herself. (The woman conceal carries in her fancy purse for crying out loud.)

But when he stepped off that sidewalk everything inside me said, “He is a threat. Stop him from moving closer.”

As the 45th President’s inauguration nears, I can’t help but liken it to that evening in the parking lot. Up until January 20, he’s been on the sidewalk, but post-January 20, he’s walking towards us.

I am on high alert. I am preparing for what comes next.

But…in the meantime, it’s back to work.

I’ll volunteer more of my time. I’ll give more of my money to the organizations who are doing the work. I’ll make more phone calls and write more letters. I’ll also continue to look for commonalities and work towards common goals.

But I stand at the ready to step in when I see the unacceptable. And I’ve been practicing my snap.

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Open Letter to Councilmember Diego Bernal

September 4, 2013

Dear Councilmember Bernal,

Wow! Who’da thunk that an ordinance making it harder to discriminate against our citizens would be so divisive? You have had your work cut out for you over the last couple of months, but more specifically in these last couple of weeks.

Now, contrary to the most recent claims by District 9 Representative Elisa Chan, who believes there has been a “lack of public process,” I am delighted with the public input — both positive and negative. The overwhelming participation in the crafting of this ordinance has been exciting to see, especially for a city that lacks participation in local elections. I hope that this process translates to more votes in our next municipal elections as more people have come to realize the direct effect our city leaders can have on our daily lives.

Ms. Chan believes there are “three main reasons this ordinance is so divisive: 1) lack of public process; 2) lack of clarity in the proposed NDO; 3) potential infringement of freedom of speech and freedom of religion.”

While I could summarily pick apart each of her arguments — I mean, those three “reasons” are part of the Shiny Object Politics that have made this ordinance in particular so divisive — I choose instead to give you my own list of reasons.

Because It Makes Good Economic Sense

Businesses that have this non-discrimination ordinance in place will be hard-pressed to recruit members of the LGBT community to their companies if the City doesn’t have this standard ordinance in place. Perhaps this pleases certain members of our society — why recruit more of “those people” to our city? — but a business who can’t recruit won’t choose San Antonio for its headquarters. That’s logic. Examples of businesses who already have non-discrimination clauses in place are USAA, Rackspace Hosting, and Spurs Sports and Entertainment.

Because It Makes Good Political Sense

With less than 25% (give or take a few percentage points) of our Boards and Commissions filled, we can’t afford to lose out on capable candidates who want to serve our city because they are not included in a non-discrimination ordinance.

Because It Makes Good Military Sense

As a “Military City,” we can’t afford to show members of our armed forces that while the federal government recognizes all classes, we, as a City, do not. Yep, that’s right…the military is no longer a “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” organization. They are now the organization that releases statements like the following:

“Every person who serves our nation in uniform stepped forward with courage and commitment. All that matters is their patriotism, their willingness to serve their country and their qualifications to do so. Today’s ruling helps ensure that all men and women who serve this country can be treated fairly and equally, with the full dignity and respect they so richly deserve” (Released June 26, 2013, Statement by Secretary Hagel).

And finally…

Because This Isn’t About Acceptance, It’s About Discrimination

“Just because I disagree with the lifestyle choices of the LGBT community does not mean that I dislike them. Similarly, just because one opposes the proposed NDO does not mean that one is FOR discrimination!” This is part of Representative Chan’s opposition to the NDO as written in her letter to “District 9 Residents and Friends” dated September 3, 2013.

Let me be clear: I don’t need your acceptance. I am comfortable with who I am as a human being without your stamp of approval. I would simply like an affirmative vote on an ordinance.

You see, whereas Ms. Chan might merely “disagree” with my “lifestyle choice,” which ultimately would never sway her decisions about me while in office, there are perhaps others who are not as evolved as she is, that will allow their opposition to my “lifestyle” to discriminate against me. Perhaps this will translate to my denial to a city commission. Mayhaps this will come to fruition in a city contract I am not given. Or this could play out after an application to work for the City of San Antonio is denied.

#NDO4SAThe non-discrimination ordinance, which has been updated to read as such, “It shall be the general policy of the City of San Antonio to prohibit discrimination on the basis of race, color, religion, national origin, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, veteran status, age or disability, as set forth in the Divisions following, unless exempted by state or federal law or as otherwise indicated,” makes it impossible for those who may not be as adept as Ms. Chan in separating their personal and public lives from discriminating against me.

We are a city on the rise, and you are a representative of that city. Here’s hoping we can rise above this anger and vitriol and just make good policy sense.

Sincerely,

Molly Cox

Resident, District 1

Ginormous Lesbian, Unfortunate Last Name

Year 2

Two years ago, there was a phone call – “There’s something wrong with your father – his breathing is labored, and he’s not responding to touch or sound,” and then, approximately 12 hours later, he quit breathing. I watched it happen. I was on the phone with my brother, who was incredulous, “Well, can’t you get them to stop it?!?” And my voice – only it didn’t sound like me – “He’s dying…there’s no stopping that.”

It’s fuzzier now. Two years later.

I don’t remember everything like I used to.

It’s been two years, but the anxiety still creeps in.  The sadness started a week before this day rolled around. It’s not as horrific as it was last year, but it’s still there nonetheless. I was told that your body reacts to grief. These “anniversaries” are inside you. You’ll be walking down the street, and you feel something is wrong and realize, “Oh! Today is THAT day.”

So…I knew it was coming. I tried to prepare myself better this time around.

I’ve been preoccupied with this non-discrimination ordinance in San Antonio and the utter lack of compassion I’m reading from those who oppose it. I find myself really missing my dad on this issue.

My ultra-conservative father would have found this type of dialogue so non-helpful.

Here’s the deal: my dad and I never spoke about the fact that I was gay. To him, it was an unimportant piece of who I was. I was smart, and I could make him laugh. These were the important pieces. Who I loved – although clearly important to me – didn’t matter to him. I mean, he wanted me happy, but he wasn’t concerned who was contributing to it. This was true for my whole life. He didn’t want a relationship with my partner; he wanted a relationship with me.

A discussion around someone’s private life didn’t interest my father. Hal Cox, the serial husband, knew he had no business telling people whom they could and could not love. A man who had been married and divorced four times was always so shocked by the discussion around gay marriage – “Let them be as miserable as the rest of us” was his favorite argument. Umm…thanks, Dad…?

Now, two years after his death, the tide has changed. More and more people are talking about “the gays.” More specifically, they’re discussing my sex life. That’s really what it is. The people who are so anti-gay are mostly concerned about the things that happen within the confines of my bedroom (or the kitchen or the couch – let’s face it, straighties, gays are a lot like you.)

My father would be mortified. I am his daughter. Not only did my sex life never enter into his mind, the fact that other people are concerned with it would have made him so uncomfortable.

However, this societal swell of gay talk would have forced us to have a conversation.

I never talked to my dad about being gay because it was unimportant to him.

But who I am is important. And before my father died, I was never able to be fully authentic with him.

While being gay is not something that defines me, it certainly makes up who I am. And while my sex life is not now, nor will it ever be, your business, whom I love is important. Because the person I love makes me better and happier and more open and centered. And really, that’s kind of important. And while it is entirely too sappy – my father would quickly deflect and change the subject – it is important to know about love. Perhaps, if we led with that, we would be less inclined to preach hatred.

ImageSo, on this, the two-year anniversary of his death, I am saddened that he is gone – there is, and likely always will be, a hole in my heart where he was. I know he still sees me as smart(ish), and I probably still make him laugh (and his was a good laugh), but I am also certain that he sees me happy (or gay…see what I did there?) and fully authentic.

An Apology

Confession: churchies make me nervous.

For clarification, a “churchie” is someone who self-identifies as “born again,” a “follower of Christ,” someone who “found Jesus,” and/or anyone who describes him/herself as “religious.”

I am not proud of this confession, but I share it now as we move into hearings on marriage rights, which is generally argued on religious beliefs.

Here’s the deal…churchies are the people who say things like the following:

On marriage equality: “Basically marriage will be completely destroyed, families will be destroyed, children will be hurt by this. And freedom of speech and freedom of religion, including in the pulpit itself, will absolutely be bulldozed over,” Mathew Staver, Dean of Liberty University’s School of Law.

After the Aurora, Colorado massacre: “We don’t have a crime problem, a gun problem or even a violence problem. What we have is a sin problem. And since we’ve ordered God out of our schools, and communities, the military and public conversations, you know we really shouldn’t act so surprised … when all hell breaks loose,” Mike Huckabee, former Governor of Arkansas.

On marriage equality: “Anything other than a man marrying a woman is two disturbed people playing house,” John Hagee, senior pastor and founder of Cornerstone Church.

After the Newtown massacre: “The question is going to come up, ‘Where was God? I thought God cared about the little children. God protects the little children. Where was God when all this went down?’ Here’s the bottom line, God is not going to go where he is not wanted,” Bryan Fischer, American Family Association.

These are churchies.

Let’s be clear: I grew up Catholic. My grandma’s best friend, a man I deemed my “other” grandfather, was a Catholic priest. I was 10 when I received my first bible. I was wrestled out of bed every Sunday for the Catholic dance – stand, kneel, sit, kneel, wine, kneel, sit, stand. I never felt connected to God in a Catholic church. I remember feeling closer to God during conversations with my grandma than I ever did sitting in a pew, robotically reciting the prayers I had learned in CCD class.

After my parent’s divorce, my mom took us to a Lutheran church. It was here that I went to church camp, sang in a choir, and joined a youth group. Church was fun and filled with volleyball and lock-ins. It was also here that I began hearing about “totally twisted perverts” – the homosexuals who could destroy life as we knew it.

I stopped going to church when I was a teenager. I haven’t returned. Well, I go when required – weddings, funerals, the occasional family outing.

Churches (and the churchies) make me nervous. And here’s why…

The God I have come to know – the one that asks me to be the best me – is not the God that these churches (or churchies) speak of. That God is scary. He believes we are all sinners – hate the sin, not the sinner. He is vengeful and spiteful. He shows his wrath by helping kill innocent children or desecrating cities due to homosexuality. The God of the churchies needs a mediator to hear you – a priest who can tell you what your punishment is for the sins you have committed. Churchies stand outside military funerals and claim their God kills soldiers because “God hates fags.”

I am not trying to get into a religious discussion – that can’t be done in a blog or on Facebook. I am happy to go to coffee and have a legitimate dialogue, as I have been known to do with many a Christian.

What I do want this blog to be is the start of a change. For me.

This is an apology to you, my Jesus lovin’ Christian friends. I apologize that I allowed these churchies to cloud my assessment of you. I am sorry that I let a select few corrupt my views of so many.

It is not your fault that a few of you are extremists. It is not your fault that a select group of you seem unloving or judgmental. It is not your fault that the loudest (and generally angriest) of you are generally the only ones heard.

Perhaps it’s because only recently have I actually met a few of you that helped me redefine what “churchie” means: that being a Christian means loving all and being the best you. It means having a relationship with God outside of your relationship to others. It means being comfortable enough in that relationship to not need to make others feel like their relationships are less than. Being a real Christian means that you spend your days being the best you and understand that others need to be the best them.

So, while you may not catch me at church every Sunday, what you will see is me being my best me.

More importantly, you will see me change…’cause we are nothing if we can’t evolve.

It’s taken me a while to figure this out, but I know that you will forgive me…it’s kind of what y’all do.

PS. Heard of the Reformation Project? It’s kind of awesome.

The Boy Scout Challenge

Dear Mr. de los Santos,

I accept the challenge – made in your recent editorial in the San Antonio Express News – to help the Boy Scouts of America accomplish incredible things for young people and the communities we serve.

Indeed, I have looked through your list of merit badges and believe I can be of service to you in more ways than one.

  • I rescued and now care for five dogs, (don’t ask), making me the perfect person to help a young scout receive his Dog Care Merit Badge.
  • I own my own business, whereupon I work with nonprofit organizations on capacity building, increasing their ability to effectively serve more people, so I can certainly help answer questions and offer guidance for an Entrepreneurship Merit Badge, and may even be able to help a scout tackle your Citizenship in the Community Merit Badge.
  • I have been on stage since the age of five and spent four years teaching young children and teens the art of theater, so I kind of have some expertise for the Theater Merit Badge.

These are just a few, but I didn’t want to lose out on the Humility Merit Badge. (I don’t think there is one, but there should be.)

gay badgeHere’s the problem: I can’t actually accept your challenge, Sir. I can’t help the Boy Scouts of America help “young people grow into good, strong citizens” because your organization has a policy banning me – an “avowed and open homosexual” – from participating in your organization.

To believe that this conversation about gay rights – rather human rights – takes our focus away from our nation’s children and what is in their best interest shows how out of touch the Boy Scouts of America Corporation is from our nation’s current narrative. It is difficult for me to understand, then, how your organization is able to help young people grow at all.

When you reduce the conversation to one that is about doing what is best for our nation’s youth, then I ask you to be prepared to answer questions about your organization’s disservice to the very population it purports to represent.

Every day that you uphold your discriminatory and simpleminded policies is yet another day that your organization shows your scouts that it is acceptable practice to blindly discriminate against a sector of society based on misinformation and a lack of understanding. This does not do what is best for our nation’s children.

Every day that you proclaim to be an organization that provides youth “programs of character development and values-based leadership training,” while upholding a policy that asks for the “open” and “avowed” homosexuals to stand down, is a day that you show that lying about who you are is better than being open and accepting about who you are. This does not do what is best for our nation’s children.

To teach discrimination and a lack of acceptance doesn’t bring up good, strong citizens, but rather a group of young men who are close-minded, lack diverse life experiences, and, quite frankly, miss out on meeting some amazing individuals that can teach them incredible things about the world.

Your organization is currently at the center of a nationwide debate – not because of your work with young people, but because of its discriminatory policies and its unwillingness to see them as such.

Please don’t reduce this conversation to an Either/Or Proposition – either you’re concerned with the best interest of children or you want to talk gay rights. As a good, strong citizen, I believe this is a Yes/And Proposition. I am both concerned with the best interest of children and believe that means they need to understand human dignity.

So, I offer you a challenge of my own: I challenge you and the Boy Scouts of America to rethink your concept of “good and strong citizens.”

I argue that in an effort to be both good and strong, we should know that there are people who are “different” and good at the same time. I argue to be good and strong, we should learn from people and embrace diversity. A good, strong citizen questions antiquated policies and learns from, then rectifies, mistakes.

Let’s lead by example – a good, strong example – and truly help accomplish incredible things for young people and the communities we serve.

An Open Letter to the Quils

Dear Day and Ny,

Let’s be real clear…I’m not a good sick person. More specifically, any sickness makes me certain I am dying.

Also, I have been dying since Friday. My chest is filled with something that comes out into my tissue in an odd green-yellow color. My head hurts in a way that makes me want to break my cheekbones to relieve the pressure in my face. My cough sounds as though I have been smoking unfiltered pal malls for 72 years, (shout-out to my grandpa!), and I’m only 34.

During the day, I perch on my sofa – fake working – falling in and out of sleep due to a drug-induced haze of DayQuil, Allegra, ibuprofen, Mucinex, and expired doses of Alka Seltzer Cold and Flu. At night, I double-dose on NyQuil and fall deeply asleep, leaving my dogs to dance to the symphony of snores that are undoubtedly coming from my stopped-up nasal passages. If this illness won’t kill me, the overdose will.

You’ll note that the constant in my meds is you…The Quils.

I can say that I’m finally, after 5 full days of near death, on the mend. I attribute this to you both, Day and Ny. Well…you, some sleep, and a lot of time in my pajamas.

That being said, I have a bone to pick with you both.

Day, what is with your packaging?

DayQuil tablets

I mean, I think I understand the complexities of packaging in general (well, I’m still irritated that there are only 7 chips in a bag, but I digress), but the sheet of pills inside your cardboard box, particularly for someone already high on meds and dying, is a pain in the ass.

Once you get into said box, you’re required to use Popeye-esque strength to tear off the perforated, foil-covered pills, and then somehow manage to cut into the packet without slicing open your hand on the industrial-strength plastic. It’s more difficult than cracking open a new CD.

Then, if you’re not bleeding to death (and now having to rummage around for a band-aid), you are asked to swallow the two most ginormous pills I’ve ever seen. These are what my dad would have referred to as “horse pills,” although I’m quite certain no horse could swallow them either. Why can’t they be the size of Tic Tacs?  I’m already sick, Day. My throat is enflamed, and I can barely swallow water. Hell, make ’em dissolvable and call it a Day. See what I did there?

Finally, why can’t you fill the two empty packets? Why does one sheet only have four doses when it could have six? Is this a ploy? Because just as I’m starting to feel better, I’m OUT OF DOSES, and now I have to go pick up another box. Clever, Day. Very clever. GIVE ME MY EXTRA PILLS!

Ny, don’t think you’re off the hook, my friend.

NyQuilWhy must you taste like that? No, but seriously. I’m specifically talking about when you’re wearing green, but don’t think that you’re much better in red. In red, you’re merely tolerable. And then, I only tolerate you because just as I start to realize I’ve ingested what can only be described as a step up from a mixture of the consistency of Clorox Toilet Bowl Cleaner and the smell of Fabuloso, I am knocked out cold.

So, thanks, guys for your ability to turn my ickypoomongitis around, but now that I’m on the mend, I simply wanted to be honest with you.

Oh, also, I may be on you right now, which is why this might be slightly incoherent.

Your loyal consumer,

Molly

13 Things in 2013 That I Know For Sure

Every year, as the new year rolls around, I make resolutions. Yet, every year, as the new year takes hold, I find myself not adhering to my resolve. I still bite my nails. I don’t exercise every day. My office is still not organized. Perhaps it’s because I don’t really care to stop these things. Or I give up too easily. Or any other number of reasons. Whatever the case, I never keep them. So, rather than bore you with a list of resolutions I won’t keep, I’d rather bore you with the 13 things in 2013 that I know for sure:

  1. FEYITA PANTING IN MAY 2009At 5 o’clock, Feyita will remind me it’s time for her to eat. Could be spring forward or fall back. I could be in the midst of a major project. She could be dead asleep. At 5 o’clock, my little possum pig dog wants food.
  2. nyquilCold medicine makes me wonky. There’s tingling in my extremities and a fog in my head – cold medicine may make the cold go away, but it makes me high. NyQuil, on the other hand, is the nectar of the gods.
  3. cheeseCheese makes most things taste better. And for everything else, there’s chocolate. This is self-explanatory.
  4. rated rWatching scary movies alone is torture. I spent a week on the couch over the Christmas break (when I take a break, I break). I watched every movie I could, then I moved into the scary movies. This is stupid. Don’t do it. There is clearly a killer living under my bed with a liquid virus that when injected into my ankle, which will happen when I dangle my feet, will make it impossible for me to escape the zombies because I will have full body paralysis. For these reasons, I leap from my bed to the floor and never EVER walk into a dark room.
  5. white tshirtI’m never gonna wear that shirt in my closet. Or that outfit. Or those pants. I may want to, but I won’t. Ever. I’m just gonna put on my favorite jeans and a white t-shirt. I should just be OK with that and get rid of that shirt (or that outfit or those pants) to make room for more plain white t-shirts.
  6. KMy keys are never where I think they are. Neither are my sunglasses or my phone. In fact, if I’m looking for something, it’s never gonna be where I think it is. And I will always need it when I’m running late.
  7. youtube-logoYouTube was designed to keep you from doing anything productive. And that’s why I love it. There’s always just one more video to watch. Like this one. Or this one. Or even this one. Full disclosure: this is why I’m usually late (please see #6).
  8. heart“Love” is a funny word that means far too many things – I love cheese. I love my dogs. I love Barbra Streisand. I love my best friend. I met the love of my life. – And it’s typically hardest to say when you mean it the most.
  9. EYEBROW_EYEKeeping one eye on the mission will make every project better. We tend to lose ourselves in the grind and forget the goal for which we are ultimately striving. Keep an eye on the mission; it gives you purpose.
  10. timeSometimes is a great time. For example: Sometimes you have to go to bed angry. Sometimes “never” is actually true. Sometimes even when you’re in love, you have to say you’re sorry.
  11. question markI don’t know all the things. I am trying more and more to be OK with this. In fact, this list – I’m not exactly “sure” of…you know? I mean, I’m sometimes sure of most of these things. Well, Feyita is pretty much a solid win every time (see #1).
  12. I shouldn’t make lists.

Happy New Year, suckas!