Monday, July 1, 2013

Get Your PRIDE On!

Hey folks! So yesterday was the day that I've been waiting for for weeks . . . It was the San Francisco Pride Parade! The parade was actually something we were somewhat dreading because we all have just been going, going, going for DAYS. Even before I left the state I was working a LOT, as many shifts as I could get, even taking on doubles so that I could save up for the trip here which, by the way, cost me under $500, including things such as gas, food, and lodging. I'm one hell of a financial planner! So, anyways, even in the last month or so that I was in Michigan, I took probably two days off total (keep in mind that where I work, I work weekends. So when I say two days, I mean two days out of the 30 days in a month). I stopped working 5 days before I would have to leave for the road trip, but even then I was doing something every single day with the people I wanted to spend time with before I left. And then after that, we drove for three days, and then we went into the city, and then we went to Rocky, and then we went to Pride... Do you see where I'm going with this? I'm incredibly tired. We all are, actually. Jackie's been going to school and trying to finish up her summer classes, Patrick has been prepping the house by cleaning and organizing and has also been teaching class from home, plus he just got home from conferences. Kerry worked at her job up until the day before we left, and then she's been in my boat with me with all of the driving and trips around here. Therefore, even though Pride was something we were determined to do, it was definitely something that would have been more fun if it had been next weekend, after a long week of doing nothing.

My poor legs are extremely swollen from the amount of walking we've been doing! My shin splints are KILLING me!

A terrible picture of my rainbow eye makeup :)

Alas, we went to the parade. To get to the parade, we took the "real train," aka Caltrain, which is literally a double decker train that goes across real train tracks, which I've never seen before. But to my surprise, I really enjoyed the train in comparison to BART. It was smooth, the seats were nice, it really reminded me of first class in an airplane. However, because it was Pride, the people at the train station knew that everyone would be using public transit today to get to the city. So initially we thought that the train we were going to get on was going to be packed, but when we got to the train station, we learned that they had done us a huge favor and sped up the second train that was going to go through that day and put it right behind the normal train. When we got on, we got real seats! And we didn't have to stand the entire way there, which was super cool, especially because there was going to be no where to sit anywhere in the city.

When we got there, it took quite some time to get to where the people were. I was expecting the streets to be packed, but then again, it is a parade, so it would make sense for the streets that the parade ran on to be packed. Finally, when we got to where we needed to be, we saw it. Easily 100,000 people all standing around, ready to support a wonderful cause.

I should note why this was so important to me. Regardless of the views of anyone else, I've always been one to support gay rights. However, now I feel like I support all of those who are looked at by society as abnormal. Patrick and I are a rare pair. There is an age difference, we met online, and he already has a daughter close to my age, so there are going to be people in life that look at us and say "What the heck?" and "Wow that's wrong/sick." But it's not. There's nothing wrong with equal love, there's nothing wrong with what we're doing. Because I've found someone who I can stand next to and be proud to be with. Because I've found someone who agrees with me on literally every single thing in life. For example, yesterday, I offered him gum. He took two pieces. I looked at him and smiled because I knew he and I think the same. I mentioned it and he admitted to me that one piece (Trident, those tiny pieces) wasn't enough to satisfy the need to chew, not knowing that I've done that for the past few years myself for that same reason. On the other hand, we are opposites in good ways. He likes to hang things in the closet and I like to use the dresser. We compliment each other very well, even though we have never lived together. I find it incredible that out of all of the people on the planet, we were able to find each other in this sea of craziness. 

I went off on a little tangent there, but my point is that I don't want anyone else, despite the challenges being with Patrick causes me to face. There's a saying that comes to mind that I mentioned yesterday, but I only knew the words "There was no one left to speak for me." Of course, Patrick was able to finish my statement like the mind reader he is and he was even able to tell me where it came from. 

"First they came for the communists,
and I didn't speak out because I wasn't a communist. 

Then they came for the socialists,
and I didn't speak out because I wasn't a socialist. 

Then they came for the trade unionists,
and I didn't speak out because I wasn't a trade unionist.

Then they came for the Jews,
and I didn't speak out because I wasn't a Jew.

Then they came for the Catholics,
and I didn't speak out because I wasn't a Catholic.

Then they came for me,
and there was no one left to speak for me."

This is actually a really powerful piece, one that I just recently learned (though where, I can't remember). But to me it means, if I don't stand up for the other misfits-- the other relationships that are fighting to be recognized because of their compatibility and care for each other rather than the other things that others may see, such as sex, age, or race-- then who will fight for us when we are the last ones left? So I went to Pride to show my support for something I believe so strongly in, but also because I felt that it was important for Patrick and I. We are going to fight the good fight all of our lives, but that doesn't mean we stop, and it doesn't mean we avoid fighting something that could draw hate. 

We saw all sorts of people. They were awesome! I loved some of the outfits, everyone decked out in rainbows and glitter, people dancing in the streets. When we arrived to the parade, the first thing we saw was the local police marching. Patrick explained to me that the people who are marching in the parade are usually the gay people that are employed by the business/ organization that sponsor the float. So it was really neat to see a city that was so supportive of the openly gay people that live here, especially officials like the police and firefighters. In fact, the chief of police in San Francisco is trans, and it's completely fine with most of the people here. I'm usually pretty emotional about things like this, so as soon as I saw the cheering and support of the local gay cops, I got choked up. We continued on our way and took some pictures, stopped for drinks and some food, and just observed. The mesh of people coming together for such an important cause was incredible.

It was really awesome to see this woman and her partner's matching outfits! Super cute!

People everywhere! Sitting on top of bus shelters! 

Free love :) 

(Not going to lie, I definitely felt like a rock star going up the escalator in the BART station (the only way you could cross the street where the parade was happening was to go underground through the BART station). 

More bus shelter crazy people!

If you can read this, the paper butterflies form the boundaries for the letters of the word "Art."

Eventually, we met up with Patrick's friends Mandy and Brook (another Brook! My first ever Brook with no "e"! It was a revolution!!), who have been married for a few years now. They were really great and I honestly think those two are people that I would become great friends with! On the way back from where we met my new friends, we saw a couple of things which, of course (typical me), made me tear up a bit. The first was a wonderful older couple who were holding hands, one man in an electric wheelchair, and another walking by his side. They wore matching shirts that said "I DO." This was especially emotional for me because I could see the beauty in their relationship and I recognize the pain that they have likely been through due to the past marital laws. It was refreshing to see a couple so strong in their love. The second tear-jerker was the group we saw marching in the parade, made up of same-sex families who have had successful adoptions and are now pride families. I cannot believe that there are people in this country who would rather see a child suffer in foster care or be adopted by a single working parent than by a loving, beautiful couple who are just unable to have children and want to have a family, like most other people.

Afterwards, we decided that we needed to try to get back to the train station so that we could get home and get prepared because Patrick had a Rocky rehearsal that night (the Rocky cast is doing a "special" show come August, where they will be doing a performance of Spaceballs) at his cast director's house. We started to make our way back to the train station and suddenly we hit an absolute stand still of people. It literally took at least ten minutes to get through this mob of people. Patrick lead and Kerry and I formed a train behind him, and it wasn't like we were just moving slowly. We were literally packed like sardines with these other people. Thankfully, most of them were calm, but there were a few that just wanted to get through the cluster and they started shoving. A couple of them almost got into a fight. When someone would shove me, I would seize up and quit moving, letting them know that if they shoved, they were getting no where. I have never been touched by so many people at once! Finally, we got through the cluster and were able to make our way back to the train station. We missed our initial goal and were late to the train we had wanted to get on, but I honestly count that as a blessing, because if we had gotten there *just* on time, we would not have been the first ones to the door and we would definitely have been stuck standing for the 40 minute ride.

Once we got home, we had some down time, and then we headed to Shannon and Jared's house in a neighboring city, which I was quite nervous for. Besides Jackie, Patrick doesn't have much family other than his sister who lives up in Washington, so essentially his Rocky cast IS his family. So I was preparing myself for a very large family meeting . . . all at once. However, my nerves were for nothing! We got there, went through some introductions, and then Kerry and I made our way down to the nearby beach while Patrick mingled. I, of course, hate the ocean more than I hate bridges or planes, so this was potentially disastrous for me, especially because I didn't realize that the beach was at the bottom of a steep cliff, and with my injured ankle and short high heels, this was not going to be a good time. Once we made it down to the beach, we took a lot of pictures, tromped through a lot of sand, and decided we had enough, so we headed back up to the house for drinks and mingling. It turned out to be a really nice night. I got all 15-20 of the cast members' names down (and most of the relationships, yay me!), and I really enjoyed myself. Everyone was so nice and friendly! Eventually we headed back home for good and all went to bed. Overall, yesterday was a really great day with only a couple of setbacks, and I'm really enjoying myself out here so far, even though I can't wait for a break!

A lot of typical beach pictures were taken on this day. Don't judge! 


The water got me!

Boo, water on my pants :(


A better view of my awesome eye makeup and a pretty nice cliff :)

More eye makeup!

Bouncing in the bed of Nick's truck! We sure tested the shocks on that bad boy! (That's my arm, the picture was taken after I got off of the tailgate)

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