One of the most important aspects of being writer is not only having a great support team behind you, encouraging you ever step of the way, but also having outside support of your writing from people who don’t know and love you on a personal level.
Any writer will tell you that if they can reach just ONE person on an intimate level, that they would know their book and all their time and effort and struggle was worth something. I recently read a post on Facebook by my friend Corey Ann Haydu, whose debut novel OCD Love Story was just released in July [look for my review on here by the end of the month once my copy arrives in the mail!] on Simon Pulse, about one particular blog review [Link to blog review] that really touched her and made her think. She wrote [and I hope she won’t mind me copying her private Facebook post]: “I spend a lot of time thinking about this review and hoping that my books (or any books) help other teens, young adults, people. SO much respect for the honesty and bravery.” Something about that really struck a chord with me, especially in light of all of the love and positivity that I’ve been bombarded with by Adam Lambert fans [Glamberts] this past week, both on here through comments, on Twitter, and via other websites and forums where my post How Adam Lambert Saved My Life was posted and reposted [like FRONT PAGE on his official website, or on Adam Lambert/American Idol forums and news sites].
The outpouring of kind words and individuals sharing their stories with me has been kinda sorta mind-blowing! And it really got me thinking: If I can reach a few people with my blog, how many could I reach with an entire book?
I wanted to take the time and thank all of the Glamberts who have been visiting my site everyday this week, and share some of the stories that they have shared with me, in hopes that maybe more people will feel like they are not alone.
One commenter wrote:
Thank you. So well said. Many years ago my younger brother committed suicide without ever coming out to his family. Part of me still demands to know why he wouldn’t admit to me, his sister with the occasional girlfriend, a legion of of LGBT friends and who had even asked him point blank, “Are you gay?” No one in our family would have judged him. The simple answer – because he was afraid. EVERYONE is afraid to come out. The longer one lives a lie, the harder it is to admit the truth, sometimes even in the most supportive environment.
I don’t know if his sexual orientation was a factor in the despair that drove him to take his own life, but I do wonder if Adam Lambert had been singing to him, loud and proud from the AI stage, would it have given him hope, courage? Would it have been enough to keep him here?
Adam arrived too late for my little brother, but I am grateful that he is here now, sharing his strength with those teetering on the edge, pulling them back, encouraging them to stay just a little longer, be brave; it will be okay.
Comments like this really touched me on a deep emotional level. I can only speak for myself when I respond to these comments, but the fear that some people experience is too great, too strong, and too paralyzing. It’s really hard to describe what it feels like to be alone and feel judged, even if the people around you “accept” you; after all, there is a distinct difference between showcasing acceptance and being genuinely welcoming and judgement-free. To say that you are “accepting” still means that there is something to accept … or deny, and that somewhere a long the way, you chose whether or not to accept or deny someone based on something that they did or do not choose to be.
Yes, I’ll take acceptance over rejection [and even tolerance] any day of the week. But some don’t feel like “understood acceptance” is enough. I do not in any way mean to speak for the wonderful and brace commenter, because I commend her strength — I’m speaking from my own personal viewpoint — but actions speak louder than words.
We, as a global community, need to embrace what we might not understand, so that others may not feel the need to take their own lives. And just because acceptance is all around us, it doesn’t mean we accept ourselves.
Every story is different. We just need the courage to stand up and tell ours.
This next comment also struck me because the man [the uncle] never got to experience a time where it was OK to come out of the closet, regardless of age. He never got to experience marriage equality.
I am 71 yrs. old and had gay friends, mostly men, when I was an art student. My regret in life is that, even tho I recognized that my uncle was gay, I never verbalized it with him. He had married and had kids, just trying to fit in, but he also drank heavily. He did divorce his wife and moved in with another man. I truly hope he had some happiness at this time. He died a few years ago in his daughter’s arms. His partner had died a couple of years earlier. I would not have been uncomfortable discussing his sexuality with him but I sensed that he would not want to do that. He was accepted in the family but not embraced. Part of the reason, I believe, is because he didn’t trust what they actually thought of him. I wish, with all of my heart, that I had the chance to show him who Adam Lambert was and what he means to so many people. That would have been a good opening for discussion. Love your article and love you.
The line, “He was accepted in the family but not embraced” still brings me to tears. It’s too often that stories like these tend to be the only trace of a life that otherwise was rich and filled with love, but not in way that was public. It’s incredibly difficult to think “I can’t be who I really am in front of my family because I can’t trust what they actually think of me and my life,” regardless of whether or not what they think is bad; even the suggestion that could be some resistance, and you’re right back to square one.
I’ve never had a reader who wasn’t my best friend or mother say that they loved what I wrote and that they loved me, especially a random reader who I don’t know at all. But for some reason, I really felt the power of those words. I felt loved. And for that, I love you too, reader.
This is another story about a Catholic mom whose views were changed by Adam Lambert:
Your story is inspiring […] I am a straight, married professional with 3 kids. I would never stoop so low as to follow some crazy fansite or follow an artist closely. I’ve always loved big voices like Celine Dion, Babs Streisand, Josh Groban, Peebo Bryson, Whitney Houston. But I’ve never followed an artist like Adam before. I sensed something from Adam I can’t explain. His stage presence is really captivating, but I think the majority of people don’t see it. […] Adam changed me in other ways. I felt this need to protect him like my own son (I have a son who is challenged and different but not gay) and fight against those who think his career should end. I called radio stations and made hundreds of comments on websites defending him. I am angry at the music world especially radio (now that I understand the politics a little). And yes, for the first time, this 50 something mom had logins and passwords to “Guide to Gay.com” and “AfterElton.com” to name a few websites. I watch the NewNowNext Awards and discovered LOGO. Adam changed my opinion on marriage equality (I am Catholic). It is sad that the USA doesn’t appreciate what we see in Adam. I am hoping one day they will. In the meantime, I’ll continue to support him and pray for his success so others like you can be helped or “saved.” Thanks.
This one really gives me hope that people can change. So often I take the stance that people can’t change their ways; it’s really easy to write somebody off, and incredibly difficult to stop pointing fingers, sit back and actually watch people change. Maybe that’s because I haven’t really seen too much of the “Complete 180”-type flips.
But I know that they exist.
Sometimes, opening your heart works both ways. So thank you for that.
And last, but certainly not least, is a comment that I found on an Adam Lambert fan site about me. This one really made me smile and really gives me the fuel I need to keep moving forward, keep swimming, and never lose sight of my ultimate goal:
Thanks so much for posting that blog about #AdamLambertSavedMyLife. He expresses himself so well, and if he is writing a coming of age YA fiction novel with a strong gay male protagonist, his character could be a role model for many more boys, expanding the “Adam Lambert effect” ever wider. So important!
This particular comment gives me the confidence I needed to continue writing and pushing forward. If this commenter can connect with a blog post and turn around and say that I express myself well and that my YA novel could be important for boys, than I know I’m doing something right.
I can’t express what this comment meant to me, because words aren’t enough. It solidified the fact that I am on the right path. It has erased all the painful memories from that one agent who said that my book felt like “Coming Out 101” or that other agent who said I needed a gimmick to stand up against YA books. It touched me because I reached someone and someone — not just anyone, but a reader out there floating in the interwebs — sees my potential.
This will stick with me for a long time, and help me through the querying process.
Sometimes, all I need is a little confidence boost, positive reassurance, and the knowledge that, as a writer, I am reaching people on a human level; this week on Beautiful Chaos has done just that.