You’re not alone

 I want to send out a big hug to everyone who feels left out during the holidays.

To everyone who has been disowned by their “family” for being LGBT, or having a criminal record or a mental illness, or any “reason”.

To everyone who doesn’t have anything “extra” in their budget to spend on gifts or a tree or a big fancy dinner.

To everyone who grew up dreading December because it shone a bright light on all the ways you were different, on all the things you didn’t have, or just because it was the most dangerous month of the year.

I’d hug every one of you if I could, just so you’d know you’re not alone. Because I get it. I grew up being teased because The Salvation Army brought my presents in a truck while I was in school.

I get it. I spent most of my adult life volunteering for any and every holiday shift and saying it was to help co-workers who had plans to travel out of state or do special things with their kids, when I really needed the money to turn on my heater.

I get it. I took a lot of shit for being bisexual. My “family” kicked me out of their little club after my daughter came out as trans.

Don’t let the holidays get you down if you can help it. Do something that makes you happy and join me in resisting the urge to compare our private lives to the public lives of others…as much as possible, anyway. Down that path lies a world of hurt, and besides, most people—especially on social media—take great care to show only their best side. You probably don’t show most of your struggle and pain in public, and most people are the same way.

If the whole deal seems to be too much, reach out. Someone will be there to help you through the next minute, or the next hour, or the next day, until things feel manageable again. Because they will. I’ve been there and back enough times to say that with confidence.

Check out my Resources page for a worldwide collection of hotlines and websites just waiting for you to reach out or use your Google-fu and find a new one.

Hang in there. *hugs*

tilted rose

pictures 1-4 taken by Charley Descoteaux.

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Hop Against Homophobia and Transphobia!

Hello and welcome to my stop on the Hop Against Homophobia and Transphobia!  Almost 200 people in the LGBTQ writing community have banded together to celebrate the International Day Against Homophobia & Transphobia and raise awareness, acceptance, and love around the world.

Everyone is running their own giveaways in this hop, and mine is a $25 donation to The Trevor Project in the winner’s name, along with a $10 All Romance eBooks gift card. I considered offering some Trevor Gear, but don’t want to exclude my international friends. Check out the end of the post for ways to enter.

I really didn’t know what to post about for such an important event. Usually at big events I’m the quiet one in the corner, observing. But that’s not exactly what I signed up for. This is the sixth post I’ve written for this hop. The others weren’t bad, but they were all too something:  too personal, too political, too sad or too angry.

So instead of any of that, I’m going to shine the light on one of the most important groups I know of: The Trevor Project. I wish they were local so I could volunteer, but I’ll have to settle for sharing their Lifeline number and their message, and sending money.

Many kids, regardless of orientation, experience a time when things seem too hard, too big, too impossible to overcome. Even though it’s wonderful to be unique, it’s not always easy to be different. It can feel like nobody cares, or like nobody has ever gone through anything so awful. I’ve been there myself. When you’re in crisis, it’s hard to feel anything but horrible and hopeless.

TrevorSpace

But you’re not alone. Someone cares. The volunteers at The Trevor Project are always there to listen. They care. The people who give money to keep the phone lines open care. The team keeping the web site up and running, they care. Even if they don’t know you, they care what happens to you.

Parents and friends of LGBTQ youth—let the young people in your life know you care. Even if they seem to be handling things okay, everyone needs help sometimes. The strongest kids can break the hardest and with the least warning. Texts, phone calls, hugs—don’t let someone you care about forget you’re there.

Trevor Lifeline: 866 488 7386

Thanks, everyone, for getting this far with me, and for participating in the Hop Against Homophobia and Transphobia. To enter my giveaway for a $25 donation in your name to The Trevor Project and a $10 All Romance eBooks gift card, leave a comment with your e-mail address and a suicide prevention hotline number or similar resource serving LGBTQ youth or seniors in your local area (worldwide). I want to compile a list and make it available 24/7 on my Resources page. Because even though the greatest sign of strength is asking for help, you have to know who to ask.

For more entries, follow my blog, Like my FB Author Page, catch up with me on Twitter, or share my Resources page–anything goes!

Let me know what you did in your comment, and then hop on!

I’ll e-mail my winner within 48 hours of the conclusion of the hop on May 27th. Break a leg!

 

Strength and Self-Respect

Life can be difficult at times. I’m sure this is not news to anyone, but so often we forget that the difficult times pass.

Recently, my family was touched by violence fueled by hatred and ignorance, which is why my internet spaces have been silent. Time passes and bruises heal, and sometimes we just need a little extra help to put painful events behind us.

Please remember that asking for help is a sign of strength and self-respect. Ask for the help you need, and share these numbers with everyone you know.

Depression Hotline: 1-630-482-9696
Suicide Hotline: 1-800-784-8433
LifeLine: 1-800-273-8255
Trevor Project: 1-866-488-7386
Sexuality Support: 1-800-246-7743
Eating Disorders Hotline: 1-847-831-3438
Rape and Sexual Assault: 1-800-656-4673
Grief Support: 1-650-321-5272
Runaway: 1-800-843-5200, 1-800-843-5678, 1-800-621-4000
Exhale: After Abortion Hotline/Pro-Voice: 1-866-4394253