If you haven’t read Sara’s last blogpost, you should. It’s full of compassion and loving wisdom. She told me that it took a long time to write in part because she wanted to respond to my blogpost about Pride (Hug #47). I cannot remember her exact language, but she told me my post was harsh and upsetting. She said she could not find the hug within the writing, within my description of the experience. At first I was surprised and felt ashamed. One of my first impulses was to publicly rescind my comments and apologize. So I went back and read my post. It is harsh and upsetting, but it does capture my perception of the experience. A perception of which I am not very proud. If you couldn’t tell from my post, I had a hard time at Pride. I felt uncomfortable and agitated by the atmosphere, which is certainly reflected as judgement and negativity in my post. Hmm judgement and negativity. I am working on those things, or trying to at least. The hugs are an opportunity for me to do so; to hold love and compassion for myself (even the unsightly parts of myself) and others. I am grateful to have the opportunity to practice and learn, to fortify the energy I put out in the world. It’s difficult in the city. Things move so quickly and it’s a fight for every inch. I am lucky to have a collaborator who supports my growth and edification; who is slightly older and greatly wiser than I. I am learning all the time about myself, about my own perception and assumptions. This week’s hug was a good example…
July 4, 2011 2-3pm
“You wouldn’t want to be a bad influence.”
Hug #48 happened on July 4 at Navy Pier. It was a hot and sticky day. Even though there were no city-sanctioned fireworks this year, the pier was still packed with people. We received embraces as well as some cold stares while we were stationed at the entrance of the pier. We lasted for about forty minutes in our location when a cop on a segway and what looked like a security guard approached us. “You can’t be doing that here,” the cop said. “You can do whatever you want in your own time but there are kids around. You wouldn’t want to be a bad influence. This is a family-oriented place.” “This is a family-oriented hug,” I replied. The other officer/security guard told us our sign was a safety hazard and we were as well and we would have to move off the private property. I began to argue with them, or question them at least, about the line between private and public property. My heart beat quickly in my chest and I could feel my throat tightening. I was resistant but we did move. Our second location was in the park across the street. I was still worked up. “They are just threatened,” I said to Sara. Internally I condemned all cops and their manipulative, narrow-minded, power-hungry ways. “It will take a different kind of experience to change his mind,” Sara said about the cop, who had informed us his name was Officer W. Just then Officer W rolled up in his segway. I thought he was going to tell us we had to leave again. Instead, he said that he supports gay rights and hopes the proposition passes. We told him we are not gay. Our hug promotes love and physical affection between all kinds of people. “What!?! Well I don’t believe it. I just don’t believe it,” he said in shock. He hovered around us on his Segway. Sara showed him her wedding ring and he continued to be flabbergasted. He laughed at his own assumption and we laughed with him. In the end we had a lovely, eye-opening conversation. He acknowledged his preconception and I realized that not all cops are scum. In fact, Officer W ended up being a pretty nice guy. He told us that he has made a commitment to protect all different kinds of people, regardless of their race, ethnicity, or sexual orientation and regardless if he agrees with their values. He doesn’t know me, but he would risk his life for me. I can count on that. He just doesn’t like criminals a whole lot, he adds.