I'm sitting in the park under a big pine tree. I can barely catch my breath and I'm bawling my eyes out, hoping that no one I know walks by.
How did this come about exactly? I had it in me to start a podcast. I really wanted to talk to interesting people about the interesting things that they write about. So, I used my contacts and I reached out to authors that share the same publisher and I do. It was a good start. A REALLY good start because I had set my schedule to do 2 a month, and I was booked out a year and a half in advance after just a few short days of putting the word out.
I thought, all the authors have the same problems with marketing as I do. It's hard and it's not our passion. writing is. I got really overly ambitious and I thought, I could extend this to once per week instead of every other week and then I could take on some authors when their books come out, instead of as an afterthought. But to do this I needed an inside source. Well, I was friends on facebook with the President of Cedar Fort, my publisher. Didn't actually know the guy but in typical Valerie fashion, without really thinking much about it I sent him a message imploring him to send me his new authors so I could bring them on my podcast which I hadn't even started yet.
I doubt that alone intrigued him. I also told him about all of my plans to use other reviewers to help me formulate the talking points for the interview and to get more perspectives, generate more reviews and more interest in the books.
Let's brainstorm he said. Okay, I'll play ball. I'll give you a little bit of a taste of my ideas. I mean, I had already told him what I was doing, honestly, so I kept it at that. Just before I left the office he joked, "I should just hire you to do this for me." I made an embarrassing heehaw laugh. ugh. And stuttered something about, hey, that would be cool, I got time, Email me an offer, haha.
By the time I got home, I had an email from him. Basically, "What if I did hire you, what would that (and your salary) look like?
I replied I don't care about my salary, tell me what you want and I'll do it. You won't regret hiring me.- I was feeling pretty bold at this point.
Anyway. Long story short, I got the job, I even got to choose my own title, Associate Media Producer. ( not sure why I didn't suggest executive media producer...)
In a roundabout way this is how I ended up crying my eyes out under a tree. No. It wasn't my new boss. He's a stand-up guy. But my first day of work in the office was something to blog about.
I had a lovely author of a regency novel come in first for her interview. It went really well and other than that was rather uneventful. Then Becky Mackintosh came in. There was a bit of debate about who got to interview her, me or my new boss. I said Becky's story is about a mom dealing with her son. I'm a mom. I win. Can't argue with that. The interview went great. Nice and smooth, minimal interruptions and rough spots.
Becky's book is called Love Boldly. It's about embracing your faith, in this case, Becky is a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, (Mormons yo) and embracing her gay son.
A lot of members feel they cannot support a child who chooses a gay lifestyle because they don't want to condone that behavior, It's a commandment to marry and it has to be a heterosexual relationship. It's a bit of a sticking point with church members because families are central to God's plan in the doctrine. Becky described all of the heartache and growing pains her family went through as they tried to reconcile their faith with their son's newfound identity. It all boils down to love of course. It was a phenomenal interview with Becky and I encourage you to go have a listen.
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After we finished our "on the record" talks,
Becky and I spoke off the record for a time. We both agreed that the whole topic is difficult, painful for many and confusing. I hugged her goodbye and walked her to the door. I felt great. A job well done. I said goodbye to my new boss and headed home. I checked my messages on the way home and noticed my husband had messaged me so I gave him a call while I was driving. I started dumping on him about my day. It was my first official day at the office and there was a lot to talk about. As I exhaled I realized I felt really weird. Not physically, but emotionally. I began to explain to him how many of the things we had assumed about LGTBQ over the years was probably wrong and that I had been looking at most of it completely wrong. I'm not hostile to LGTBQ, honestly, I'm just kind of neutral to it all. I don't have any close friends or family and I just don't really get a lot of it. I realized as I voiced my concern for people who are LGTBQ in the church to my husband, that I had an increasingly strange and growing emotion to it all.
How painful to be torn in two directions like that. How hard it must be to have a large part of your identity in complete odds with your belief in God's eternal plan for HAPPINESS. How painful all the caricatures of gays on tv and jokes by your fellow churchgoers. Not to mention all of the hate and vitriol from homophobes.
I still felt increasingly more and more uncomfortable as I lay in my bed at home. I didn't know what else to do so I thought, a nap. I couldn't sleep. I felt so restless and then I began to explain to my husband that I felt like something had changed inside of me, for it had. I had felt like this only once before. It was a private but life-changing moment when a new revelation to me aligned so many events and thoughts that I was able to see things clearly. And while I couldn't see things clearly at this time the feeling was the same. I had forever changed. But what had changed about me and why was I bawling as I tried to explain to my husband that I was now a new person but I couldn't explain what had happened exactly.
I had to get out of the house and clear my head. So, I walked. As I walked up the street from my house I got halfway through the park when I felt a weight on me so strongly I couldn't take it anymore and I saw the pine tree and so I went and sat underneath it. As I sat under the tree I realized what was happening to me. My RAM was full. I had a change to my heart and it happened so rapidly that I couldn't' process it quickly enough to understand it. Usually, understanding comes slowly, line upon line, precept upon precept, but for some reason, today, I downloaded the whole book all at once. Maybe because I was open to it, or maybe because I am needed rapidly as a tool in God's hands. I don't really know but it was an interesting and new experience for me. I am certain I still have much to learn about people who have to go through the difficulties of being LGTBQ in our society. But that's not really what happened here. I gained an understanding of their trials, a deeper empathy for their pains, and understanding about why other people fight so hard for their rights. I won't detail it here, I suggest you listen to the podcast to hear what Becky and I spoke about and perhaps you too, if you haven't already, will be stricken with a depth of empathy that you did not know you had either.