Youth Group Yuck

After the publication of “I Hate You, Mom!” Jones (a regular reader of this blog and now a contributor; thank you, cherie!) kept emailing me to ask if Seth enjoyed himself at the youth group retreat after all, and I kept forgetting to email her back, so…this one’s for you, Jones!

And the answer is, not particularly. Plus, he was really tired, having been persuaded to stay up all night, which is not something he’s good at. The other day he said to me, when I asked, “I don’t really get it, Mom. I like the kids, the things we do are ok, but I just don’t like youth group.”

Not one to process, my Seth, that was about all I got from him (that was a lot!). I don’t know exactly what’s bugging him about youth group, other than both Linda* and I have really pushed him to go. But one thing that bugs the hell out of me is the sick-o attitude of many of the adults at church.

People are always gushing. Always going on about how amazing our youth are, how lucky we are as a congregation to have such amazing youth, who are so amazing and unbelievably amazing. It makes me gag. The kids don’t make me gag, I like the kids. Not all of them – many of them I don’t know – but the cutie pie 10th grader who’s been helping with the LGBTQ organizing is a nice girl who I enjoy working with, and some of the others who I know I also like. But the way most of the adults go on, it’s really too much.

I mean, it’s practically masturbatory. “Our kids are so great – yes, just like that – oh, yeah, our kids are fantastic! Yeah! Oh yeah!” Because if the kids are great, we must be great also. So maybe that’s what Seth doesn’t like, I don’t know.

It’s so hard for kids to get a chance to actually do something meaningful when they are thwarted at every turn by over-eager adults like in our congregation, or teachers who are too overloaded to even see who they might uniquely be, and anyway, have to teach to the standardized tests, like in Seth’s high school. Everything everywhere is fakey fakey. Probably that’s what Seth doesn’t like, how contrived everything ends up being. I asked him if he had his way, what would his ideal life look like and he said he would longboard, play guitar, and take math and science. Would that he could! This is probably not a good time for me to go into a rant about how I wish he could homeschool again, now that he’s been thoroughly demeaned by 6 years of school and understands why homeschooling can be so great, but he said it, not me.

In the meantime, watch this, and send Seth some good vibes!

*My ex, his other mom; gets a different name in every post!

Published in: on December 28, 2011 at 5:30 PM  Leave a Comment  
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Birthday OTL

Teaching English to non-English speakers is transcendent and frustrating and I’ve been doing it since college. These days, my students tend to be Korean, thanks to the desire of many middle and upper class families in Korea to have their kids attain fluency in English. One of my current students is a 16-year old girl who is having to repeat 9th grade in order to accomplish this goal, at a Catholic girls school, no less. She’s living with a friend of her mother’s from college, a family she had never met, out in the suburbs where it’s impossible for her to walk anywhere other than around the neighborhood. I try to bring her a little fun along with helping her with her homework and whatever tedious English work she has to do, by throwing in a lesson on swear words and the like every now and again.

At any rate, this often-frustrated but brave and cheerful student recently reminded me about OTL, something I’d learned from a previous Korean student far from home (and he was only 11). Don’t look at it as letters, look at it as an emotional state: the O is a person’s head, the T is their body and the L is their legs. Get it?

I am completely OTL about my upcoming birthday. It’s that one where afterwards they send you that magazine in the mail. Not that I’m not glad to have made it this far, because I certainly am! It’s just a little daunting, is all. Someone’s happy, though – Tex just pure-d loves that magazine!

Published in: on December 28, 2011 at 1:16 PM  Leave a Comment  
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Abe Rybeck Hugged Me!

I’ve been a Theater Offensive fan from way back, give them money when I can, and keep an eye on their doings, which is why I worked on getting True Colors to come to my town’s middle school as part of publicizing the new GSA as well as adding to the anti-bullying effort going on.

Theater Offensive is a queer theater organization, and True Colors is a youth troupe that builds a show from the ground up and takes it on the road, usually to high schools, but they’re going to come to our middle school in the spring. This evening, a group of us went to see a preview of their show, which is called “# Over the Rainbow”.  The whole show was interesting, funny, sad and moving, my favorites being one called “It’s Not Catching” in which the phrase, “No homo!” is used and abused, and another about an American Muslim lesbian. Because True Colors is coming to my son’s school, I finally had an excuse to introduce myself to Abe Rybeck, the founding artistic director of Theater Offensive, who I’ve seen around for the past 20 years but our paths never really crossed. I admit it, I gushed. I told him I love him, and he very graciously told me he loves me too. It was definitely a crowning moment in my career as a queer.

I just feel so grateful to him for making queer theater available and accessible. I feel connected to him on some kind of queer grid or web, where we’re all doing what we can where we can with what we have. It’s a very satisfying feeling, a loving feeling. So, thank you Abe, for all you do for us. I’m out here in the burbs doing what I can as well. Together we’re changing the world. MMMmmmmmmwhah!!!!

Published in: on December 16, 2011 at 10:47 PM  Comments (2)  
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A Happy Cautionary Tale from Across the Atlantic Sea

And now a word from my dear friend Jones, who is spending time in a southern French ville for several months with her dear bonny boys so that they become even more fluent in French than they already are. I visited her in October, and didn’t we have fun??!! We did, and we also got a chance to talk about so many things, including growing older with all its little surprises, as well as dealing with irritations such as the gaseous burbles of impatience and self-righteousness… In a recent email she says:

“I write this because I want to remember it! One – two – of my failings being impatience and a sharp tongue..this morning I was in the supermarket, not really in a hurry but going through the line often seems to generate a sense of self-importance as in, “I have better things to do!” …the person in front seemed to be taking her sweet time and the cashier did not present a very appealing picture: appeared sullen, no smiles, and with her triple chin, severe hair style and hairy upper lip, not quite the picture of a model “hotesse de caisse”.

When (at last!) it was my turn, she oddly began rifling through papers in the trash can, quite persistently until she found a slip of paper which she then began carefully to unfold and unwrinkle. All without saying a word. And LUCKILY I kept my mouth shut and didn’t voice my thoughts which were, roughly “what the f+** are you doing now?!” or more accurately, “Que fichez-vous maintenant?!” LUCKILY BECAUSE…she had dug up a 5 euro coupon for me and used it to reduce my bill! “We’ll just see if it goes through,” she murmured conspiratorily…

ps i have a hairy upper lip too!”

Published in: on December 8, 2011 at 5:35 PM  Leave a Comment