Friday, July 30, 2010

Lessons I have learned from my new favorite lesbian

So I have this new totally cool friend.  She is officially part of the Diva's.  Which says A LOT!  Not everyone can be a Diva, for crying out loud - I barely can.  Most of the time, I am a "pretend" Diva.


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.


Sher said...

What a great post about someone you have obviously taken the time to get to know, and care about.

While, I don't necessarily agree with the lifestyle, I don't subscribe to the closeminded viewpoint that people who are gay are somehow diseased or broken. They are people, too.

Garden of Egan said...

Em, you are awesome. I love that you posted about Ree. It looks like you all totally rock the fitness world. Love the pix with all of you.
I should be so dedicated at taking care of myself.

I also need to practice more Christlike attitudes to EVERYONE.

tiburon said...

Dangit - I had a rude judgmental comment all prepared. But I deleted it. Mostly because this post is about Ree and my rude, judgmental comment was all about you. And your attitude this morning.

I love me some Ree. I think my life is better for having her in it (as well as a few other people at the gym...) and I think this was just the sweetest post ever.

You just keep standing behind us in Zumba too ;)

Scrappy Girl said...

I don't know what to put. I have typed several things...nothing rude...but I don't know what my words are so I will just say...crap I still can't think of what to say.


MommyJ said...

People are people and all people deserve to be treated with love and kindness and respect.

That's all.

Missy said...

Such a cool post! The best friends are the ones you make when sticking your foot in your mouth! That is how I have met all of my friends!

Lara said...


This is always a hard issue, but one I've learned to be more compassionate about since my husband has two siblings who are homosexual.

Thanks for posting this. :) Ree sounds pretty cool...wish I could go to your gym.

Cherie said...

You got it right!!!

dubb and dawni said...

It's great to have a friend like Ree!!!

" Hit It......." said...

Isn't it funny how friendship becomes more important to us the older we get? Lesbian or not (shouldn't matter) she sounds like a great gal! Cherish your friends.

tammy said...

Chocolate and going out to lunch? I think I'm part lesbian.

Mrs. Organic said...

People are people, you know?

Pedaling said...

everyone offers things we can learn.
guess the question is, are we willing to learn?

Loved this post and feelings of how your friendship with Ree all came about.

Teachinfourth said...

I'm not a lesbian so I probably shouldn't comment on this post. Oh well, I'm glad you were still able to have fun with it.

Emily :) said...

Still waiting for that great day when I get to see Ree and the ladies in swimsuits!
Ree is a sweetheart!

Java said...

I just don't understand why some people put lesbians or gays in a different class of people? People are people and whatever they choose for their sexuality is their business....that doesn't change anything about them...not their swimsuit, not their spirituality, not the way they mother their children....nothing...Ree is like you...and Ree is like me! A woman!

Just ME the MOM said...

I think it's always a little difficult and out of our comfort zones to go out of our way to befriend someone new no matter what their differences - bravo for you!


Martha H. said...

I think TeachinFourth is wrong. He really is a Lesbian if he prefers women. (My brothers all swear that they are lesbians.) tee-hee-hee

I think Ree is fab. Every time I go to Zumba, she is very encouraging and she's great to talk to.

Braden said...

One of my favorite things about living in NYC was all the people I met who were so not like me. It really enriched my life. Very thoughtful post. Thanks, Melissa.

carma said...

we have a couple down the street - who are lesbians and also avid cyclists. You need to check with Ree if that is another trait ;-)

wonderful post about your friend!


Never can have enough friends!
Ree sounds like a great one.

rthompson said...

Believe me...the pleasure has been all mine. You have been a joy to get to know and I love how you wear your heart on your sleeve, say it how it is, and you are who you are. I wish everyone was more like you and willing to challenge yourself to grow! Look at all the wonderful experiences we would miss out on if we didn't challenge ourselves (running a 10k in the mud)!
Thank you for all that you are and all that your bring to my life!

Mae Rae said...

all i have to say to you is :-)

tiburon said...

WHAT?!?! I never get a comment on MY blog from Ree!

Erin said...

I love this post. And I love how Ree has such a great outlook on life, and how she can ignore people who may not agree with her and still keep a smile on her face. I wish I lived closer so we could be friends.

Did you end up getting any negative comments?