gratitude-a-thon day 100: Jason Collins Comes Out

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SCORE: Jason Collins. Standing ovation. Let’s do the wave (oh, sorry, that’s baseball). You’re my new favorite basketball player.  It’s impressive that this NBA player just publicly announced that he’s gay, but even more impressive is this seven footer’s courage. In case you’ve been living in a cave for the last few days, Jason is the first openly gay athlete playing on a major American sports team. This is the kind of move that creates change.

I’m not gay, but I support the gay community because as I’ve said many times before, gay people are just like straight people. We all share the same sort of big dreams and hopes, fears and insecurities. When you get right down to it, we’re all just people. JUST. PEOPLE. Trying to have a good life, find love, give back, do our best. I don’t want to kiss a girl, but I don’t care if you do. I’m all for it. And I’m all for equal rights, HUMAN RIGHTS. ‘

An announcement like this helps the lesbian gay, bisexual, and transgender community of teenagers in a big way. And this is a population that needs support. We all know how complicated adolescence is, what with the hormones, acne, emerging personalities, romantic relations, friends, school, social media and mandatory rebellion,  but add a questioning of sexuality, or knowledge that you’re different sexually than all your friends, and you’ve got yourself the kind of isolating experience that causes deep pain and shame. Now these kids have one more person who’s let them know that it’s ok to be exactly who they are. Hey, I think I’m a little in love with Jason!

How has this announcement been received in the macho world that is professional basketball?  All sort of NBA players have been extremely supportive to Jason. And even President Obama called him to say he had his back.

In the Sports Illustrated article, in which Jason makes his announcement, he says,

“I realized I needed to go public when Joe Kennedy, my old roommate at Stanford and now a Massachusetts congressman, told me he had just marched in Boston’s 2012 Gay Pride Parade. I’m seldom jealous of others, but hearing what Joe had done filled me with envy. I was proud of him for participating but angry that as a closeted gay man I couldn’t even cheer my straight friend on as a spectator. If I’d been questioned, I would have concocted half truths. What a shame to have to lie at a celebration of pride. I want to do the right thing and not hide anymore. I want to march for tolerance, acceptance and understanding. I want to take a stand and say, “Me, too.”

And looky here, our city’s marathon tragedy actually helped him make his decision to come out, as he talks about in this excerpt:

“The recent Boston Marathon bombing reinforced the notion that I shouldn’t wait for the circumstances of my coming out to be perfect. Things can change in an instant, so why not live truthfully? When I told Joe a few weeks ago that I was gay, he was grateful that I trusted him. He asked me to join him in 2013. We’ll be marching on June 8.”

So, Jason Collins–you have my 100th day of gratitude. I imagine you feel about a bajillion pounds lighter. You’re a good ball player, but you’re a great man.

gratitude-a-thon day 99: my memory, what’s left of it

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My memory is going. I know everybody says that, but really, I’m telling you that my memory is…..what was that word again…..oh yeah, GOING. ‘

Let us dissect. From everything I’ve read, it’s normal to start forgetting stuff in your 50’s. Perfectly natural.  And while I am not forgetting where I am, or wondering what it is you do with a toothbrush, I am forgetting words. In the middle of a sentence. I just plain forget a word. While I’m talking. It’s like I see a giant white board in my forehead. I fumble, I throw in a some “um’s” and some “uh’s,” until I can retrieve the missing noun, verb or prepositional phrase. Honestly, sometimes I can do it, and sometimes I come up empty handed, using my hands if I’m face to face to try and describe the phrase that’s gone missing like a kid on the side of a milk bottle. Sometimes whoever it is I am talking to (or as the case may be, not talking to) will pitch in and participate in my little game of hide and seek. “Flower, wine, street, belly button, parsnip?” they’ll yell, as if playing charades. One day, my friend Deb was speaking and then she stopped and said, “can anybody finish this sentence?” And that about sums it up these days. If we’re talking, try and keep up, because you might be called upon to finish my thought.

Sometimes the kids talk about something that happened and I stare blankly at them like they are trying to pull one over on me. “When did we go to that restaurant?” I will ask, indignantly. And they will describe the event and get all dramatic about how ridiculous it is that I can’t remember said moment. I will push my little brain to try and recall. “C’mon cerebellum, get with it, cerebral cortex,” but they’re all like, “We’re 54, we’re exhausted. Who cares about the dumb restaurant, anyway.”

My husband has worked on Alzheimer since I have known him. I am always quizzing him on my memory issues. He claims if we get old enough, we’ll all get it. “But what about NOW?” I ask. “You don’t have it,” he says, giving me the “Pfffttttt” sound to let me know how crazy I am. But just because he works for Harvard and has been studying Alzheimer for the past 25 years doesn’t mean he knows, is what I think. Plus he can barely remember his name these days, so he should talk.

I have always been the memory for my sister who has barely been able to remember yesterday for her whole life. So, it’s kind of rough on her too. The two of us will be like the guy in the movie Momento, with tattoos all over us to tell us about our pasts.

A lot of my friends say the same thing, of course. And it is likely, very age appropriate. Still, it is unsettling, to lose some of the moments of your life that were once important. I wonder if maybe I can figure out a way to selectively remember. Like all the dumb people who are against gay marriage, or gun control. Those people, I’d be happy to forget.