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How Love is Love became my Battlecry

Love is Love became my battlecry

I was young when I got married. Many people shared their opinion that I was making a mistake. More significant than the fact that I was still a college student, I was marrying outside my faith.

I was raised the daughter of an Orthodox, Jewish Rabbi and I married a man raised Catholic I had no business even knowing.

I stood up for the love I felt was magical and everything to me, and I was called stubborn and selfish. Most of my family boycotted my wedding. My parents and grandparents who could have made an appearance in a 20-minute drive were not there. (Oh, I knew in advance they wouldn’t be. It was made very clear to me.) 

Now, after nearly 25 years with my husband as my best friend we face the same prejudice with my daughter‘s engagement. The tone may be softer and the language has changed but the message is the same.

“We won’t be there to celebrate your love. We don’t think your love is right.”

As a Mama Bear I have come forward in the LGBTQA+ community to say I will stand up at a wedding for someone whose parents are doing the same thing. If your mom won’t be there to celebrate you and validate you, I can be. If someone makes you feel your love is wrong, let me tell you why it’s right. If you are made to feel less than by your family because you live in the LGBTQ space, I and 11,000 other moms will tell you that you are wonderful just the way you are.

Love is love.

Love doesn’t know your body parts or hairstyle or pronouns or skin color. Love doesn’t care if those around you welcome it or shun it. Love prevails and love permeates and educates and invites others in.

I’m letting you know that my love was judged, I know how that feels, and I have learned a lot from it. Hopefully many of you can learn some of that lesson without ever experiencing it. (And if you think it is your job to judge someone else’s love, please stop and consider why it’s your business in the first place. How does it have any effect on your life?)

People have all different words to describe connection and inclusion – and I choose Love.

Embrace your Aha Moment

Have you had an “Aha” moment? Oprah talks about them all the time. A moment in time – or an experience – when insight or realization hits. It might be about a career or a relationship, but if you are really lucky it’s a moment of self-realization.

Learning something about yourself that changes your path may take strength of character. Often these moments of clarity lead to change – and people fear change. I have friends who have had aha moments about religion, sexual identity, gender identity, adoption – even keeping a vegan lifestyle. And a true AHA moment will give you the courage to maintain that sense of self even in the face of adversity.

I enjoy stories and shows with coming-of-age aha moments, when youngsters or tweenagers realize what they stand for and why. There’s a show at the “Straz Center” in Tampa, Florida, this week that I have been waiting to see called “Fun Home.” It the first Broadway musical with a lesbian protagonist – Alison Bechdel.

fun home straz tampa florida

Alison Bechdel is a real person. She is a cartoonist who had popular graphic novels and comics in the mid-80s and early 90s. In 2006, she published a graphic memoir of her life called “Fun Home”, which was subsequently adapted as a musical and won a Tony Award for Best Musical (among others) in 2015.

I first learned of Alison Bechdel when some college friends were talking about the Bechdel-Wallace Test. This tongue-in-cheek “test” analyzes portrayal of females in film and other popular media. A movie passes the Bechdel test if it has at least two female characters in it who both have names and who carry on a conversation about something other than a man.

I have been following the musical about her life, “Fun Home,” since its inception and I am thrilled that since its Broadway run has ended it will now be right next door to me in Tampa. I know too much already about the show and music, and I don’t want to spoil it for anyone, but it deals with a lot of sensitive family situations – some of which will make me cry a lot from my seat in the audience – and which have also been a part of my family’s recent narrative.

I’m curious to see how the show will be readapted for the Straz Center’s gorgeous stage, because it was performed in the round in NYC. I’m also excited to see the 3 Alisons – three different actresses portray Alison Bechdel at different ages during the show.

If you want a bit of a spoiler, here is an Alison Aha Moment; Small Alison performing Ring of Keys at the 2015 Tony Awards.

For you teenage thespian geeks, check out the “Teens Take Broadway” feature on Thurs., Nov. 30 and receive a deeply discounted ticket plus a free pre-show event with live entertainment, games, raffles, refreshments and a free post-show talk-back with the cast.

Fun Home runs at the Straz Nov 28 – Dec 3, 2017Regular seats start at $31. I hope you go and your sense of self grows, or your sense of the world grows. I hope it helps you sift through your own clutter and find clarity. And I hope tomorrow night when I see it, I do the same.

I was asked to post about Fun Home in exchange for 2 free tickets due to my relationship with the Tampa Bay Bloggers.

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