Sunday, June 24, 2007

I Am Proud Of You

One of the only things I actually remember from junior high school, I heard from Mary Beth Benham, my Speech teacher. For those of you who don't know, Speech class is the pre-requisite for, among other things, high school Drama class, so it is typically filled with debate geeks, gay boys, and chubby girls (hags-in-training).

Ms. Benham began her lesson one day by asking the class whether we knew what the the five nicest words you could say to someone in the English language were. After several minutes of unsuccessful guessing (I ventured "How much do you need?"), we admitted defeat. Her answer surprised me.

"I am proud of you," she said.

My intitial reaction, after making sure that there were exactly five words, was "That's it?!" And now, over 25 years later, that information is still holding space in my consciousness. Why? I believe the main reason is that what is expressed in those words resonates with me on some base, core level -- that there is some psychic itch scratched, some metaphysical discomfort soothed, by those words.

Try it yourself: sit back, shut your eyes and hear the words in the voice of a loved one.

I am proud of you.

Kind of amazing, right?

The last few months have been a time of increased awareness and recognition of the immense power behind, and energy within, words. Science may tell us that words are merely sounds, created from impulses from our brain communicated to our vocal chords, which tremble and dance, sending vibrations through space, which are funneled into our ears, bounced of our eardrums, signaling new impulses to the receiver's brain. And while I accept the science (quite unlike the current administration), I do think there's more to it. I believe that words come to us, irrevocably laden with the energy of their source and the essence of the emotion behind them. I'm convinced that words have potent power to heal and a daunting ability to destroy.

So on this last Sunday in June, the day we set aside each year to celebrate Gay Pride in New York City, I want to send these words from the best part of myself to every gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender person of this tremendous city -- I am proud of you!

I am proud of you for getting up & walking out of your house each day.
I am proud of you for allowing yourself to love the person you love.
I am proud of you for holding hands when you walk down the street.
I am proud of you for getting married.
I am proud of you for registering at Bloomingdale's.
I am proud of you for taking care of yourself when no one else will.
I am proud of you for opening your mouth when it's easier to stay quiet.
I am proud of you for walking through fear to do what you know is right.
I am proud of you for taking care of your brothers and sisters.
I am proud of you for choosing to live.
I am proud of you for looking beyond the obstacles.
I am proud of you for having and raising children.
I am proud of you for taking your medication every day.
I am proud of you for going to therapy.
I am proud of you for taking an active interest in healing yourself.
I am proud of you for loving yourself.
I am proud of you for honoring those who went before you.
I am proud of you for dropping bread crumbs along the way.
I am proud of you for reaching out.
I am proud of you for being financially responsible.
I am proud of you for never forgetting how to laugh.
I am proud of you for learning how to cry.
I am proud of you for continuing to be teachable.
I am proud of you for voting.
I am proud of you for telling your story.
I am proud of you for continuing to be part of your biological family.
I am proud of you for refusing to hate.
I am proud of your willingness to share your talents.
I am proud of you for trying to learn a better way.
I am proud of you for getting up when you fall.
I am proud of you for not knocking someone down.
I am proud of you for living as honestly and honorably as possible.
I am proud of you for making this world a more beautiful place.
I am proud of you for making this world a more livable place.
I am proud of you for defining "fabulous."
I am proud of you for never, never, never giving in, or giving up.
I am so proud of you.

The following is a list of GLBT men and women who have been, in small and large ways, instrumental on my journey as a gay man. They have made me proud of who I am and have given me direction, inspiration and hope, directly and indirectly, by their words and example.
* Brad * Casey * John * Kevin * Peter * Billy * Michael * Dave * Jim * Mark * Colly * Luigi *Frank * Tom * Dan * Todd * Frédéric * Bob * Ryan * Victor * Salvatore * Barbara * King * James * Antoine * Frédéric * Jean * Mark * Aldo * Achilles * Karl * Fabian * Randy * Deirdre * Graydon * David * Frank * Jeffrey * Jonah * Keith * Mirch * Eliam * Steven * Nicholas * Arthur * Ricardo * Jean-Michel * Jerome * Toby * John * Bob * Reggie * Todd * Bill * Shawn * Daniel * Tom * David * Melissa * Chloe * Daniel * Michael * Kevin * Skip * Artie * Dairmid * Robson * Kata * Christopher * Bill * Thad * Adam * Frank * Chris * Christopher * Charlie * Matthew * Alex * Ricardo * Bo * Kevin * Van * Anthony * Sammy * Terry * John * Kevin * Michael * Rob * Chris * McKenzie * Craig * Andy * Grant * Eric * Harvey * Rob * Charles * Fritz * Read * Michael * John * Steve * Bob * Henry * Sven * Michael * Ricardo * Kevin * Chris * Nelson * Mark * Rob * Fred * Matt * Gary * Thomas * Bernard * Bob * William * Jim*
Thank you so much for sharing yourselves with me.

Happy Gay Pride 2007!

1 comment:

brad said...

Brian:

I'm proud of you "for getting up each day and walking out of your house.
I'm proud of you for allowing yourself to love the person you love.
I'm proud of you for holding hands when you walk down the street.
I'm proud of you for getting married.
I'm proud of you for registering at Bloomingdale's.
I'm proud of you for taking care of yourself when no one else will.
I'm proud of you for opening your mouth when it's easier to stay quiet.
I'm proud of you for walking through fear to do what you know is right.
I'm proud of you for taking care of your brothers and sisters.
I'm proud of you for choosing to live.
I'm proud of you for looking beyond the obstacles.
I'm proud of you for having and raising children.
I'm proud of you for taking your medication every day.
I'm proud of you for going to therapy.
I'm proud of you for taking an active interest in healing yourself.
I'm proud of you for loving yourself.
I'm proud of you for honoring those who went before you.
I'm proud of you for dropping bread crumbs along the way.
I'm proud of you for reaching out.
I'm proud of you for being financially responsible.
I'm proud of you for never forgetting how to laugh.
I'm proud of you for learning how to cry.
I'm proud of you for continuing to be teachable.
I'm proud of you for voting.
I'm proud of you for telling your story.
I'm proud of you for continuing to be part of your biological family.
I'm proud of you for refusing to hate.
I'm proud of your willingness to share your talents.
I'm proud of you for trying to learn a better way.
I'm proud of you for getting up when you fall.
I'm proud of you for not knocking someone down.
I'm proud of you for living as honestly and honorably as possible.
I'm proud of you for making this world a more beautiful place.
I'm proud of you for making this world a more livable place.
I'm proud of you for defining "fabulous."
I'm proud of you for never, never, never giving in, or giving up."
I AM SO PROUD OF YOU and I LOVE YOU>