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Do Ask. Do Tell.

A Federal judge has ruled “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” unconstitutional. How anyone would have ever thought this tactic was healthy or functional or productive to anything boggles my mind. Yet, this theory that if we don’t “really” know  or don’t “really” tell anything makes it less real is rampant everywhere, even in my own mind.

My older daughter just turned thirty. She wrote a long letter to many family members and friends. In her letter, she spoke of her thoughts, beliefs, reflections at this milestone anniversary of her birth. She expressed her gratitude for the love in her life and the manner in which each of us had played a part.  She began speaking of that very typical feeling that little has been accomplished after thirty long years. She moved quickly on however, not dwelling on regret, but rather speaking of wisdom gained and blessings received. One statement she made in particular greatly effected Lee and I.

She said, ” So even though I sometimes wonder what the hell were you thinking, I know that at that given moment it was exactly what I wanted. So why regret something that once made you smile. Don’t! I have learned that, not to ever regret something that at one point was exactly what you wanted.”

What does that have to do with “Don’t Ask, Don’t tell?” As we reflected on our daughter’s words, we both became aware of how we give events and choices entirely different meanings when thinking back on them, choosing to see them as mistakes or nightmares and ourselves as fools or victims rather than to claim the past as a valid reflection of exactly who and what we were at the time.

Again, what does this have to do with “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell?” We do this all the time. We all do this. We don’t ask ourselves and we don’t tell anyone the truth, especially ourselves. My daughter’s letter led Lee and I into a deep discussion of something we both pretend was other than it was. We pretend because we were afraid to know the truth. The truth was just a thought away. Our discussion freed the thought. The thought, the one we had been afraid to ask and even more afraid to tell, the one we had feared was horrible, was nothing more than a glimpse at our selves. It wasn’t ugly as we’d feared. It wasn’t shameful or guilty. It was okay. It deserved our love. In fact, it was a good.

“Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” hides a boogie man of the mind. It hides the monster that isn’t really under the bed. It hides something beautiful  that fear made like itself, something to be feared. Hooray for that Federal Judge for shining that light under the bed.

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September 14, 2010 - Posted by | The Straight Me | , , , , , , , ,

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