Random ramblings of a Rose…

Posts tagged ‘Ballet’

Validation

I want to talk about something today, folks. You probably guessed it from my title, because I didn’t make any attempt to camouflage it. Validation. Specifically the definition: to recognize or affirm the worth of a person or their feelings or opinions. Let me start out by saying that I am completely aware of the fact that validation isn’t necessary, and that sometimes seeking it makes one feel worse about him/herself than just being content, regardless of others’ thoughts on the matter. However, as this topic specifically pertains to my boys – Jose, now almost 9, and Squishy, rapidly approaching 6 – I have to say that I am getting REALLY tired of people in their lives only deigning to offer validation (or finding it necessary to pass uninvited judgment) as long as I’m made aware of one *VERY IMPORTANT* (said with supreme sarcasm on my part) thing:

Their likes/dislikes, desires, dreams, activity choices, etc. may indicate that **gasp** (horror of horrors) they might possibly be gay or fall somewhere on the spectrum not strictly in the MANLY MEN camp.

You know, yeah – maybe that’s true. Maybe as they get older, they will come to me and let me know that they believe that to be the case about themselves. But guess what? And I’m speaking to BOTH (or should that be all?) sides here: THERE IS NOT ONE DAMN THING WRONG WITH THEM IF THEY ENJOY LIVING THE WAY THEY DO AND THEY ARE STRAIGHT, AS WELL. When did it become a rule that nail painting, wanting to do mommy’s hair & makeup, loving My Little Pony, being disappointed we’re not getting the new Tinker Bell movie RIGHT NOW, playing dress up & dancing in a tutu, participating in gymnastics, choosing pink as a favorite color or Queen Elsa as a favorite character, wearing a headband or hair clips – any of these things (or more) – are exclusive privileges awarded only to boys who may be gay/bi/anything other than cismale?
boysIf you are the well meaning more-liberal-than-I friend/family member who sits me down and gently discusses with me the possibility that my son may turn out to be gay in order to give me time to “prepare for that future” and, “What would you do if that were the case?”: thank you, but I really wouldn’t change a damn thing. If they’re gay (etc.) then they’re gay. It will not change how much I love them, my wants, wishes, and desires for them to have a blessed life, whether or not they are welcome in my home, etc. Pretty much all of you know that I am a moderately conservative Christian, so yes, I hold certain biblical beliefs that I may wrestle with regarding the topic, but none of that will change the fact that Jose and Squishy are MY SONS. They were given to me by our Creator God and I do not for one second doubt that He is in ultimate control of everything. So why would I need to worry and fret (which the Bible specifically labels as sin, by the way) about something that was never mine to be anxious over in the first place?

If you are the concerned more-conservative-than-I friend/family member who sits me down and lovingly states that hubby & I need to take a firmer hand in the choices our sons make, because in letting them make their own decisions more often than not, we are letting them choose a slippery slope: I’m sorry, but you’re wrong. There is not one single passage in the Bible that leads me to believe in any way, shape, or form that ANY of the choices our sons have made that we have allowed/upheld are ungodly or sinful. They are CHILDREN. They are supposed to explore & discover, lead by us and their other guardians, and Jose wearing leg warmers to ballet class or Squishy loving & wanting to keep his long hair is not going to create something in them that wasn’t there to begin with. It just doesn’t happen that way. And you know, I have to say that the Jesus I read about in the Bible isn’t someone who beat up on his disciples, watched porn, and fired assault rifles to prove his manliness to those around him. So when you tell me that I need to “toughen up my boys” and “let them be men,” I have to wonder if you’d have told Mary the same thing? And in case you’re worried about their spiritual relationship with God, don’t. You recall that time when Christ displayed anger in a physical manner – like we expect men to do – turning over the tables in the temple and kicking everyone out in righteous indignation for the mockery made of his Father’s house? I can GUARANTEE you that Jose & Squishy would be more than happy to participate in that sort of “manly” activity on God’s behalf. They love the Lord deeply and fully and the suggestion that they can’t possibly be true Men of God if they enjoy traditionally “female” things is ludicrous.

And if you’re the snooty, judgmental, self-righteous person on either side of this debate who wants to look down your nose at me because I’m CLEARLY screwing my kids up for life: leave. Seriously. We don’t need you in our lives. To the room mother surprised that my Christian-school-attending son would be in gymnastics, last time I checked, the entire male Olympic gymnastics team wasn’t gay (and you know damn well you’d still watch the Olympics and root for them, even if they were, so please keep your hypocrisy to yourself). To the former friend who joked how I was going to be so lucky to have shopping buddies to keep me up to date on current fashions when my boys are older (because **wink, wink, nudge, nudge** they’re obviously going to be open to that sort of thing given their proclivities), how dare you? You grew up feeling like you couldn’t be yourself because of how others might judge you and you were terrified to come out, but you automatically pigeonhole my boys because they make effeminate choices sometimes? Isn’t that JUST as bad?
2015-03-14 14.16.21So please, if you are going to give validation for my boys choices, give it because you love them. Because it makes them happy. Because they enjoy what they’re doing. Etc. Don’t only validate them because you think they’re going to need the support. Don’t only validate them because you think you know what their future holds. And don’t WITHHOLD validation from them because you think the choices we have allowed them to make aren’t “manly” enough, especially for “good Christian boys.” And if you can’t deal with these guidelines, then please just keep it to yourself. We don’t need, or want, false validation or self-righteous judgment. Modifying Thumper’s Rule here a bit: “If you don’t have anything nice and genuine to say, don’t say anything at all.” Because it’s gotten old.

Thank you.

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My “Princess” Boy. . .of Sorts

I unknowingly started a firestorm this evening on my Facebook by posting what I thought was a perfectly innocent picture of Jose at dance class.  He was wearing leg warmers because it was chilly at dance and I suppose that – combined with the fact that he was at ballet – was enough that some were worried for Jose’s mental stability and future sexuality.  I don’t really want to re-hash the whole thing here, but we (friends/family) ended up having a (fairly) healthy debate about the topic – 44 comments total.  I had no idea that some of the people in my life (on both sides of the issue) held such strong views about right and wrong!  To me, it’s really a non-issue.  If Jose likes to wear leg warmers, play dress up with “girl” clothes, or sit on the couch and do my hair, great!  If he’d rather crash his trucks, wrestle with his nephews, or laugh a big belly laugh EVERY TIME his brother toots, more power to him!  (Although the last one does get on my nerves… 😉  😀 )

At any rate, I wanted copy my response to the whole thing here, not only for posterity (lol!), but also simply because as his mother, I think it bears repeating.  So here goes:

I just want to say that I appreciate and understand the comments from both sides of my family. I personally don’t believe there is anything wrong with a 4 1/2 year old being a little creative, whether or not it is in public. He likes dance and tumbling, and this was the class we could afford that the City of Phoenix offered. He actually really wanted to be in gymnastics, but they didn’t have that available, so this was the next best thing.

I do believe, as the Bible states, that the ACT of homosexuality is a sin – I would think that anyone who claimed to know me at all would know that. However, I also believe that in this fallen and broken world, there are things beyond our control – including genetics – that have mutated and changed beyond God’s original purpose. This is to mean that I truly believe some people are born feeling as though they are in the wrong body. However, I also believe that this is something through which they can glorify God by remaining celibate and dedicating their life to God’s kingdom work – however much that may seem like it would suck.

THAT BEING SAID! Do I think Jose is gay? Really, no. If you saw how he behaves in class vs. how the girls behave, you’d see that despite his “metrosexual” tendencies, he is definitely a “boy” in the societal sense. And he loves doing all sorts of things that “boys” like to do. In fact, as I write this, he is rolling a truck across the room as hard as he can and cackling when it crashes into stuff.

I honestly don’t think that letting him play with dolls or wear his leg warmers if he wants to is going to do him any harm. In fact, it might do him some good! He goes around all day trying to emulate his father, who (by the way) does all of the following BECAUSE HE ENJOYS IT: writes poetry and songs, leaves “lovey-dovey” notes for me in the morning, gardens, cooks, does housecleaning to relieve stress, etc. etc. etc.

And honestly, considering all of the detrimental things that are typically attributed to men being men (beating the crap out of each other for fun, getting drunk and carousing, watching porn and going to strip clubs, etc.) I think I would quite prefer if Jose grew up to be like his father rather than like what most people would consider the ideal for a “man.”

And this:

I just don’t understand why things have to be such a big deal when he is as young as he is, and I don’t think that “That’s not a boy thing!” is a good enough excuse to break Jose’s heart. After this all started, I asked him what he would have done if I had told him he couldn’t wear his leg warmers tonight, and he said, “I would have been very upset. I would have cried.” And that, right there, is why what others think about him means so much less to me than what his little heart truly cares about.

Also, this:

Yeah, that’s the only part that worries me – how other kids will treat/respond to him. And I am still weighing the decision (as my mom did before me) of telling him the cold hard truth up front and possibly causing him to build an impenitrable wall around himself or letting him be who he wants to be and having a million little heartbreaks along the way that may eventually lead to that same wall being built. Either way, it really sucks.

But for now, since the kids he’s been around all love him and not a single one has made fun of him (in fact, he’s pretty much the most popular kid in school right now – something I NEVER managed to achieve, lol!) I will just continue to let him be himself.

So that’s all for tonight.  I’ve posted the infamous picture below so you can judge for yourself.

P.S.  The title of this post is in reference to this book: http://www.myprincessboy.com/index.asp

Obviously, the boy this book was based on is much more “into” things that are considered to be only for girls than Jose is.  And I think in Jose’s case, his interest in dressing “girly” is more likely to simply be something that lends itself to instilling a decent fashion sense in him when he is older, but when Jose read the book, it made him smile.  And that was good enough for me.

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