I watched an episode of Tabitha Takes Over where she did a revamp of a classic gay nightclub in Southern California that had lost a lot of its lustre.
What it hadn’t lost, though, was a strong sense of family, of safety, of support, of welcome, of play, of caring. That’s what the show built on, convincing owners to empower the next generation, to lead with fun and trust and only correct when needed. One old queen stopped watching TV and started really getting into social media, just another senior who found they loved a new way to connect. Another let go of micro managing, realizing it was much more fun to be proud of the staff when they did good than to bitch that they didn’t do things the way he would.
There was even one transwoman at the big grand re-opening party, looking a bit lost in the sea of gay guys, lesbians and drag queens, but still having a great time. I wanted to kiss her. After all, somebody should.
I got out of my decade taking care of my parents a few months ago. And since then, I have been looking for someplace where I can feel safe and welcomed. I haven’t found it.
My realization, a long time ago, was that if I was going to find safe space I was going to have to create it. I do know how to listen to other people, to not get pulled by what their stories bring up for me, to not press my own agenda and fears, to encourage.
I realized that, sure, and I spent decades getting clear, understanding that what I am upset about is my stuff, not theirs. Those early days of being called a balloon-burster have stuck with me, and I know that people heal and grow in their own way and their own time. They don’t need me to tell them what I think they should do, they need to be supported in taking the next step that they need to make, whatever that is.
I will tell you, though, that it feels unfair and painful that I am always the one who has to take care of others, and that there seems to be no one out there who is ready to take care of me. That’s not completely true, of course, but to acknowledge that is to have to fall back on my logical, thoughtful mind rather than being able to express my feelings, and that is the challenge I have always had, needing to stay centred in my overloaded head so that others don’t have to engage and respond to my feelings.
I know the right answers. I have spent years looking for the right answers.
I have also spent years looking for safety space, welcoming, embracing and understanding, someplace where people get past their own damnselves and care for others.
Yes, if I haven’t found it, I have to make it. That’s the right answer.
Just not a satisfying or nurturing answer.