While I wrack my brain over how to write my next big post (okay, it might not be that big), I want to make note of something that almost escaped my mind: Today is Spirit Day, which has been held the third Thursday of October every year since 2010. It’s a day set aside for LGBTQ awareness and support, and was initially created in the wake of bullying and suicide incidents among gay youth. Spirit Day is meant to honor the LGBT youth who, sadly, felt taking their own lives was the only option to end their hurt, and also to tell the LGBT youth of today who are bullied that there are those who are very supportive (the color purple is prominently used to deliver that message).
Just a couple quick thoughts to share on this Sunday afternoon. First, as I noted in my post from Friday morning, I did indeed stay away completely from Twitter all day Friday. I did so as a show of support to the “#WomenBoycottTwitter” protest meant to highlight Twitter’s inequities in applying discipline in matters of harassment and safety among its users, especially in situations where women on Twitter were being harassed and Twitter did little or nothing to punish the misogynistic men that freely hurled the abuse.
So, how did it feel, you’re asking? For me, of course, it felt somewhat liberating to be away from the 140-character universe. Rather than read and scroll ad infinitum through my Twitter timeline (both my female and male accounts), instead I checked out my Facebook accounts. Since joining Facebook this year, I’ve been rather conservative in my use of that platform (i.e. usually visiting it once or twice a day). But on Friday, Facebook served as a nice substitute. So did, Instagram, which Male Mode Me has an account on. The nice thing about Instagram is that it lets the pictures do the talking, and just like one of those fidget spinners (the big fad of 2017), the photos can be so soothing, especially when it’s a nature or broad landscape photo. Ahhh…
Today is Labor Day, traditionally known here in the United States as a day to recognize the labor force… and, yeah, to have one last day of summer before autumn settles in. Now, if you’re like most people, you probably have this Labor Day off from work. I did as well, and to celebrate, I went to work. No, not to sit in my cubicle and pound out the work I do when it’s a Monday that’s not a holiday. Rather, I worked out in the fitness center at our place of employment, one of the perks provided to anyone who works there. Well, let me clarify that: It’s open to anyone employed at the companies in that building (we have more than one business in our building).
Though I might have mentioned this once or twice on here previously, I’ll mention it again right now: The past few years, I, in male mode, have done volunteer work with children. Yep, I’ve made visits to elementary schools here in the Madison area to help teach young children (mostly 2nd graders but some appearances with 1st and 3rd graders and even one kindergarten class) some general, friendly lessons about the importance of work and money.
Take note of the words “in male mode” in that last paragraph. For one, while I do feel more expressive as Allison than I do as Male Mode Me, I won’t go so far as to display Allison in front of a class of impressionable elementary school children. And it’s not necessarily because I’m representing a very reputable educational organization who takes the conduct of their volunteers seriously. No, part of the reason is that I’m best working with a script, whether it be a folder full of poetry as Allison or a volunteer’s manual as Male Mode Me. Take that script away from me and I begin to hem and haw and stammer and stutter, which doesn’t impress any audience of any age. And before you ask, no, I can’t even improvise my way out of a paper bag.
Before I go any further, a quick note about something I’ll go into detail about in a later post: Yesterday, I got dolled up and marched as Allison in Madison’s LGBT+ pride parade. It was such an amazing experience displaying my usually closeted feminine side and standing alongside fellow members of Madison’s LGBT+ community, especially the “T” of that acronym, the transgender community and our allies. I can’t wait to do it again in the future.
But that’s for another post, I promise. I want to do this quick post about today’s big news: August 21, 2017 is the date when a solar eclipse marches across the continental United States, with a total eclipse visible (or at least noticeable) across a stretch from Oregon to South Carolina. Last year, in this post, I recalled the last time a total eclipse cast its shadow on the U.S. in 1979, and in it I mentioned that I hoped to get the urge to “call in sick” to work on this day (“I’ll just tell management that I’ll get a sudden case of being 9 years old all over again”).
Happy weekend, peoples! I’m writing this post on a “tape-delay” Friday evening; hopefully, if the WordPress settings are accurate, this will be delivered to you first thing Saturday morning. Why am I writing this on Friday night and posting it on Saturday morning? Well, I’m going to be very busy not just Saturday morning but all weekend; I’ll talk my to-do list in a moment.
First, though, I want to tell you about a celebration occurring southeast of Madison, in a place called Walworth County. It’s just over 102,000 in population; it’s mostly though not entirely rural; it’s generally conservative in culture; and it’s home to the University of Wisconsin—Whitewater, the Alpine Valley resort and music theater, and the vacation spot Lake Geneva. And on Saturday, it will hold its first ever LGBT “pride fair,” conducted from 10AM to 3PM on the Chamber of Commerce grounds in the county seat of Elkhorn.
It’s the last day of June as I write this, meaning I won’t be able to respond to every “June Jour Challenge” prompt sent out by one of my WordPress peeps, The Finicky Cynic. That’s okay, though. I knew I wouldn’t respond to or even get to think about every prompt before the last of June. F.C. sent out quite a few “deep thought” prompts this June, meaning I’ll spend some extra time thinking about profound responses.
However, on this last day of June, with F.C. usually using her last “June Jour” prompt to solicit thoughts on her challenges, I don’t want to fail to highlight how inspiring and thought-provoking her prompts are. I’ve been working on a still-incomplete response about one of those deep topics; I won’t say which one, suffice it to say that it’s brought to the top of my mind one or two pivotal moments in my life that stayed in the far recesses of my mind… so much so that it led me to search for information on the person involved in that moment (no results came up, unfortunately).
One other thing I can’t fail to mention is that at least this year, F.C. didn’t just send out prompts. Rather, she provided further inspiration for them. I invite you to take a look at her “June Jour” prompts at this tag page on her site. And when you do, don’t just click on one link and add a comment or response. Hit the “previous post” link at the bottom, where this year she offered inspiration on the topics she invited her readers to respond to. Actually, even beyond June, her posts can provide a writing inspiration to those who can’t think of something to write, but these past 30 days they’ve served as real writing invitations.
So, please give F.C. some love and read her “June Jour” prompts. And while you’re at it, read the rest of her site as well; it’s awesome and inspiring (and awesomely inspiring) in June, July, or any other month.
“There’ll be 100 million people right here in this country who will be shocked and offended and appalled and the two of you will just have to ride that out, maybe every day for the rest of your lives. You could try to ignore those people, or you could feel sorry for them and for their prejudice and their bigotry and their blind hatred and stupid fears, but where necessary you’ll just have to cling tight to each other and say ‘screw all those people!'”
– Matt Drayton to his future son-in-law in Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner (1967)
As important as it was to remember the one-year anniversary of the Pulse Nightclub tragedy on Monday, another important anniversary that also occurred on Monday should not be forgotten: June 12 was also “Loving Day.” What’s that, you ask? Well, it has to do with probably one of the most important decisions ever made by the United States Supreme Court — the case of Loving v. Virginia, which was cited as precedence for a much more publicized case 48 years later. Continue reading
I had started work on another post about a different subject this morning, but the significance of this particular day (June 12) has ordered me to take a different direction tonight. Today is, of course, the one-year anniversary of the tragedy at the Pulse nightclub in Orlando, Florida, in which 49 lovely lives were cut short in horrific fashion.
Time to catch up on another of The Finicky Cynic’s “June Jour Challenge” prompts. As I hinted during my first response, I’m doing these out of order and when I can think of and write up a response. And this is a rather simple response to a rather simple prompt, which is this: “Take a photo of an ordinary object on your desk (home and/or office) and explain why it has a purpose for you.”