So here's a little about Ree:
She is one of the kindest, most open and accepting person I've ever met.
She is a devoted, loyal and loving wife.
She is an amazing Mom who works her butt off for her son.
She can figure anything out and isn't afraid to give new things a whirl.
She's got mad cycling skillz.
She is spiritual and has strong values and morals. And, she teaches them to her son.
She can Zumba like a pro. I have to watch her and the Shark both to keep up with all the steps.
She has cool hair.
She has and still works very hard to become and stay healthy. Major weight loss and I am very proud of her.
She would give the shirt off her back to help someone in need. I can't tell you how many times on FB I see her offering to help someone else.
Oh, and one more tiny little thing? If you haven't figured it out already from the title of the post, she is a lesbian. Yup. For reals. I finally got the courage to ask her if I could post about her today. See, I have been watching her for several months now, getting to know her, learning some things not just about her but about myself and I've had this post muddling around in my head. However, I wanted her permission before I did it. My intention is to share what I've been learning and hope that it inspires someone else to let go of some misguided pre-conceived notions or stereotypes that might be holding them back from some awesome relationships.
I first met Ree when she came to a kicking-yoga class MANY months ago, maybe even a year ago. She stayed in the back corner just kind of quietly minding her own business and doing her workout. Of course, my big fat mouth got the better of me, and I made a joke or comment, not directed at her, but could have been construed as offensive. I felt TERRIBLE. Here was this new person in class, and I was behaving badly. The next time I saw her, I apologized if I had said anything that was offensive and that I had felt bad. She laughed and said, "It's okay, I realize I am the only lesbian democrat in this gym. It's totally okay."
That's when I knew I was gonna like her. She wasn't all up in my face, or unforgiving, or even seemed to hold a grudge. She wasn't taking herself so seriously, and I LOVE that!
Over the course of time, and many a gym class, I have gotten to know her even better. I've seen her kindness, her open mindedness, her friendly smile to everyone and have thought to myself. I could be more like her. I could accept people as they are instead of making some sort of judgement based on appearance, social status, religion, or anything else.
I could be more willing to see past what is presented to my face, and look deeper.
Don't get me wrong, I'm not completely ignorant of gay/lesbian people. My nephew, a beloved co-worker (no longer with us), and some acquaintances are homosexual and are a part of my life. But I have never really taken the time to understand as well as I could. Ree's helping me past that. Even to the point of answering my stupid questions
Me: "I don't know what the rules are, but can a lesbian hug a non lesbian? Cause I want to hug you"
Ree: "Yes, we actually hug non-lesbians and we won't even turn you into one."
She can laugh with us at everything.
Take the time at the pool, when we talked her into coming to swim with us.
She walked in and said, "So this is what a lesbian looks like in a swimsuit."
Guppy looked down at her own suit, and said, "Well then, I must be a lesbian" (their suits were similar)
Later in the pool as she was toodling around, I asked her if that was called the lesbian stroke. She laughed.
She can have fun with our differences.
Like when she was at Macey's grocery store, and ran into the Shark. She made comment about being surrounded by "our" people. (mormon mommies stocking up on food storage) - that just makes me laugh!
I think what I love the most and my biggest lesson learned from her, is to stop taking myself so serious. Chillax, find the good in myself and others and love them for who they are. Leave stereotypes in the garbage and embrace differences. Love people. No matter what.
Yes, Ree and I are at opposite ends of some spectrum's, but right beside one another on others. We are both devoted wives who love our spouses deeply. We are both moms who care about our sons and would die on the sword for them. We are both spiritual women who recognize the influence of a higher power in our lives. We both love our friends and cherish relationships. We both value our bodies and our health. We both like chocolate and going out to lunch. We are women. Our sexual gates might swing opposite ways, but that's about it. We are women and that makes us the same in the ways that are important.
So to my friend Ree - I thank you for accepting me. I thank you for being my friend despite my flaws and shortcomings. For showing me how to accept others and embrace change and differences. For teaching me a better way to treat people. For being an example of Christlike love and acceptance.
(Ree's wife D and their darling little Doodle)
I'm hoping I can take her example, and become a better one myself to help others learn the value of setting aside differences and loving others for the mere fact that they are human beings, children of God and deserving of respect. Despite which way their gate swings.
**PS - if you feel the need to leave a rude, judgemental comment -refrain. If you do, know that it will be deleted immediately.