Outing Oneself

liberal in conservative Ohio

I live in a rural Ohio township in a county that’s resoundingly conservative. The last few months it has bristled with Trump signs. Some of them are huge. Some handmade. Many farms and businesses have sported dozens of signs that haven’t yet come down. I acknowledge their passion, although it’s beyond my comprehension.

When we first moved here I was told to avoid putting up Halloween decorations, since that would mark me as on the side of Satan. When I displayed homemade yard art, our postal carrier asked if we were devil worshipers. Just admitting we weren’t the correct brand of born again Christian resulted in a de facto death threat.

Still, we’ve stayed. Heck yeah. We planted fruit and nut trees, along with raspberries, asparagus, and other perennials. We built barns and fenced pastures. We intend to live here until we’re so damn old that we can’t feed livestock or can our harvest or take a daily walk. If nothing else, we’re resilient.

Years ago I visited Portland Maine to see a friend. It was a delicious shock to my keep-your-opinions-quiet life. From bumper stickers to storefronts it seemed everyone was wildly progressive. I’d avoided broadcasting my planet-friendly politics, beyond-denomination spiritual beliefs, and sustainable lifestyle, only to realize there were actually places where such things were de rigueur. There are all sorts of closets.

I find hope wherever I can, especially in a house I pass each week on my trip to the library, where signs for polar opposite sports teams and political parties are posted on the same lawn, in front of the same house, where the same couple presumably shares the same couch, toilet, and bed. If they can do it successfully, so can a nation.

The only place I feel free to be myself out loud, politically and otherwise beyond my own small circle of family and friends, is on social media. When I post on my natural learning page I steer well clear of potentially inflammatory opinions out of respect for other people’s beliefs, but when I post on my own Twitter and FB pages I share ideas and reflections that are interesting to me. Mostly it’s hopeful but the last few days my posts have been raw, fearful, and unsure —- the way humans beings can be in times of flux.

Such posts may have cost me one of my dearest friends, someone my family and I love.

Since the election I’ve felt battered and bruised, barely able to pull up my optimism pants. And I am saddened beyond words that being who I am may mean losing people I love. I hope that’s not what coming out means. If this is what it’s like, even for a political stance, I can’t imagine what it feels like to come out when the issue is much larger and much more personal.

This is what I’m hanging on to — that spring always comes no matter how cold the winter.


About Laura Grace Weldon

Laura Grace Weldon is the author of three poetry collections --- Portals (Middle Creek, 2020), Blackbird (Grayson Books, 2019), and Tending (Aldrich Press, 2013), as well as Free Range Learning, a handbook of natural learning (Hohm Press, 2010). She lives on Bit of Earth Farm where she's a barely useful farm wench. Although she has deadlines to meet she often wanders from the computer to preach hope, snort with laughter, cook subversively, ponder life’s deeper meaning, talk to chickens and cows, sing to bees, hide in books, walk dogs, concoct tinctures, watch foreign films, and make messy art. Blog: lauragraceweldon.com/blog-2/ FB: facebook.com/FreeRangeLearningCommunity FB: facebook.com/SubversiveCooking FB: facebook.com/laura.euphoria Twitter: @earnestdrollery
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15 Responses to Outing Oneself

  1. Elizabeth says:

    (((Thank you for this beautiful writing.)))

  2. katechiconi says:

    There are hundreds, if not thousands, of us out here who value you and your opinions, your humanity, kindness, tolerance and love of knowledge and learning. May we try to console you for the loss of your friend? I find it hard to understand how a society can stay stimulating and fresh unless there are different opinions for us to try our preconceptions against.
    I think the rest of the free world and beyond may be holding its breath to see how things turn out. We had no opportunity to vote for or against this person who will will have the potential power to change all our lives. The ripples spread far beyond your borders, and we are all a little afraid. Let us hope that somehow, reason will prevail.

    • About 17 people actually read these posts, or maybe 10 people and 7 cats walking across keyboards, but your kind words warm my heart Kate! Time for us all to take a deep breath. Time for me to keep my eyes more on sunlight and stars, less on social media.

      • katechiconi says:

        Bet there’s more…. But yes. Time for a deep breath and a spot of mental adjustment. What cannot be cured must be endured. And in 2 years you get to choose again.

  3. Four years, actually.

    Now we must reach across the aisle to all who have supported Trump while at the same time doing our very best to stand up and say no to policies that hurt the planet and her people.

  4. It goes in cycles, we have a liberal president and then a conservative president, then one, then the other. I am a conservative who did not vote for Trump. I don’t think he’s really conservative and nobody’s conservative in the same what that I am. I’m an odd duck, truthfully. I am almost always keeping my radical-don’t-fit-in-anywhere opinions to myself unless asked, while being nice and polite to everyone. I’m hopeful that the strong democratic system that is in place will help Mr. Trump not to do anything too crazy but when I woke up Wednesday morning to see the results of the election my heart sank. I don’t trust him, but I don’t trust Hillary either. We didn’t have a good choice in my opinion.

    We need to figure out how to get along and how to compromise. Maya Angelou said it best.

    Human Family

    I note the obvious differences
    in the human family.
    Some of us are serious,
    some thrive on comedy.

    Some declare their lives are lived
    as true profundity,
    and others claim they really live
    the real reality.

    The variety of our skin tones
    can confuse, bemuse, delight,
    brown and pink and beige and purple,
    tan and blue and white.

    I’ve sailed upon the seven seas
    and stopped in every land,
    I’ve seen the wonders of the world
    not yet one common man.

    I know ten thousand women
    called Jane and Mary Jane,
    but I’ve not seen any two
    who really were the same.

    Mirror twins are different
    although their features jibe,
    and lovers think quite different thoughts
    while lying side by side.

    We love and lose in China,
    we weep on England’s moors,
    and laugh and moan in Guinea,
    and thrive on Spanish shores.

    We seek success in Finland,
    are born and die in Maine.
    In minor ways we differ,
    in major we’re the same.

    I note the obvious differences
    between each sort and type,
    but we are more alike, my friends,
    than we are unalike.

    We are more alike, my friends,
    than we are unalike.

    We are more alike, my friends,
    than we are unalike.

    • I like the kind of duck you are, NicuVolunteer!

      Thank you for sharing the poem, it offers exactly the healing words we need right now. And Maya Angelou has given me a new goal —- to see a purple person/

  5. I’m sorry. I should have said Ms. Clinton instead of Hillary. I call them Hillary and the Donald at home and I remembered to correct myself on his name and be polite, but forgot on hers. Rude.

  6. Barb says:

    I strongly relate to your post. This election has cost me my only sister, and, in turn, her 4 adult children. They chose hate over love.

  7. suz says:

    i’ve seen and heard much of the same here, in a rural ohio township in a different county from you. thanksgiving and christmas get-togethers will be like no other. –suz in ohio

  8. Karen Smith says:

    ❤ you are always safe with me.

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