“My Story… ” Monday: Kim

(I love telling stories. It might be my favorite “style” of writing. It is, without a doubt, the stuff that most of my readers best respond to. This year, I want to tell you some stories about my past– about people who’ve made me who I am today. Some will be happy, some will be sad. Some you will find encouraging, some you will find maddening. But they all have one thing in common. They are all: People Who’ve Made Me Who I Am Today.)


I’ve already written about Reno and the impact he had on my life. As I mentioned in that post, my (known) exposure to the gay and lesbian communities had been so very limited– really, non-existent– up until that point. I am forever grateful that my mind and heart were educated and opened in the process.


Because, see, before that, my views had been tainted and skewed by people such as Kim.


Kim was a girl in my grade throughout school. She really had nothing in common with me, to be honest. She was big and tough. I was neither. She smoked in the bathroom and ventured out on her own. I followed rules and wrinkled my nose at the hazy air. I was a piano- and violin-playing, top-ten student. She caused so much trouble, they threw her in the “bottom-rung” classes.


Honestly, there is not one good reason I should have cared one little bit what Kim thought about me. While I may not have been one of the “cool kids,” neither was she, really. But, she just seemed… Big. Tough. Mean.


And I feared her.


So, one day, when she yelled, “Oh, hey, look! It’s the LESBOS!” across the hall at my best friend and me, my heart simply sank.


I was so terribly embarrassed. And hurt.  And kind of scared.


I was also mortified at the idea that anyone might there was, well, something to her words. I lived in terror that someone would actually– gasp– think Mone and I were a couple. Heaven forbid anyone think I was a lesbian…


I didn’t know any better. I really didn’t have any malicious thoughts about the homosexual population. I just didn’t have any experience or knowledge. Because I was so ignorant and, even more, because of how the term was spat at me, I was desperate to disprove it.


And that’s sad.


Very fortunately, for me, further world experiences taught me oh-so-much more. Nowadays, my best friend and I can laugh about Kim’s comment and tease our husbands that they’re lucky they got us because we were a stunning couple. We’ve both grown a lot and met more people and it’s just so much nicer for all involved.


But, again, words matter. “Gay”, “lesbo”, “retard”– all of that and more… these are not insults to be hurled against people. We need to rewrite vocabulary for some people. And we need to be ever-mindful of what we teach our children.


I have no idea where Kim is these days. But I sure hope she had a Reno in her life who maybe taught her a thing or two…


Other people who’ve made me who I am:

Mrs. JohnsonMoneThe Guy in StarbucksKeithMr. Dorfman, Jay, Hannah, Reno, Dr. Y., Jessica G., The Reading Sub, Peach, Asif, Mr. McG.

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