Friday, June 22, 2012

Seattle Pride: LoveMore HateLess

LOVE MORE
It's PRIDE week in Seattle.  The rainbow flags are out and flying proudly.  The sun has made a few guest appearances.  The energy is starting to perculate and the party is about to start.  Recently, I commented that I love pride weekend.  It made me stop and contemplate the force behind the emotion I feel during this week.  For me it's the feeling of belonging to a community, a family of people that don't judge.  It's a time where it's ok to be you-- truly yourself.  Whatever that may mean.  How often in our lives are we allowed that gift?

I come from a very conservative state.  One, that although very religious, teaches that to belong and be accepted you have to look and act a certain way. It's a religion that has poured million of dollars from its members into the fight of Prop 8 (gay marriage) in California.   If you don't fit into that strict definition, you are rejected sometimes by parents and other family, friends, leaders and the people that you consider near and dear to you.  My personal journey included that type of rejection, most of it real and some of it only perceived.  Luckily, my immediate family was very supportive when I did come out.  Countless others in the LGBT community are not as lucky. 

As Americans, we are about to celebrate our land of the free during traditional July 4th festivities.  But, not all of us are truly free.  There is still such a thing as 2nd class citizens.  Although in my lifetime, I've seen great strides in civil rights, I still see discrimination based upon who you choose to love, skin color or culture. I personally am still discriminated at work because I'm a woman.  I'm also not allowed to marry the person I choose in this country.  Yes, progress is being made, but for many of us 2nd class citizens, we know the fight for equality must continue.  While we are not equally the land of the free, I can confirm that America is the home of the brave.  There as so many brave people willing to fight and make sacrifices everyday to ensure a vision of true equality is realized one day.

I've been very fortunate to travel quite a bit in my lifetime.  It's allowed me to see beyond the filters I've learned living in the U.S.  Our land of opportunity has many things to offer and we live in prosperity compared to other countries , but we can also learn lessons from other cultures. The lessons I've taken to heart personally are to work less, love and be with your family more. There is nothing more gratifying for me than gathering around a table sharing food and laughter with my family.  The definition of my family has evolved throughout my lifetime.  It's inclusive of the family I was born into, but it now includes dear friends who have supported me, role models who have inspired me with their bravery and people that have truly learned to love unconditionally.

Ro and I started a blog about our food and travel adventures which is our way of sharing with our family those moments of joy, discovery and gathering around a virtual table to share experiences.  We are blessed to be surrounded by our "family" and consider our love sacrosanct regardless if we have a piece of paper or not.  However, we will continue to fight for equality and have a great chance to make a difference here in Washington state.  We will celebrate the day when we too can be married and have the same rights as other Americans.  Until then we are proud of our adopted family and send much love out to all of you during this weekend.  Be safe, enjoy the freedom to be you-- happy PRIDE!

Live life PROUDLY with flavor and fun!