I’m sitting on the couch with Kelly beside me, waiting for my turn. My exchange gift is in my lap. It’s obviously a book, and I’m excited about that. Writers are voracious readers. I love books.
Wow, maybe he actually looked at my Amazon wish list. Wonder what book it is?
I despise opening gifts. I can’t stand everyone staring at me. It’s always embarrassing to me. I’d much prefer to give than receive. I’ve tried to opt out of this gift exchange before. One year I even succeeded, and I paid for it all year. I vowed I’d never complain about it again. Just not worth it.
My turn. I tear the paper off, everyone looking at me. I don’t recognize the cover as anything that I’d put on my “to read” list.
“50 Things Liberals Love to Hate”
I don’t know what to say. My fake smile still plastered on. God forbid I be rude, right? Because I am compassionate. I care about other people’s feelings. I’d never let someone know that I didn’t like their gift.
I’d also never give a “gift” that taunts. And, obviously, if I received one, I wouldn’t even do what I want to do which is to stand up for myself and chuck it at his head.
lib·er·al (lbr-l, lbrl)
adj. 1. a. Not limited to or by established, traditional, orthodox, or authoritarian attitudes, views, or dogmas; free from bigotry.
b. Favoring proposals for reform, open to new ideas for progress, and tolerant of the ideas and behavior of others; broad-minded.
Since when is it bad to be a person who is free from bigotry, who is open minded, who is tolerate of the ideas and behaviors of others? When did liberal become a dirty word?
My cheeks are aflame. Anger? Shame? Or just the sad recognition that I will never be accepted into this family?
“That’s a good book right there,” he says.
I can’t even look at him. I’m stunned at this blatant condemnation of who I am.
I spend hours finding just the right gifts for the people on my list. I’d never buy a gift meant to wound. But then, you know, I’m a liberal. A bleeding heart.
I’m also an avid runner. And a big reader. And a writer. And a gardener. And a swimmer. And animal lover. And a budding photographer. And a journal keeper. And a homeowner. And a Steelers fan. And a woman.
Not one of those 10,000 other things that I am gave him a better idea for a gift? Something that I might enjoy? That’s what gifts are supposed to be, right?
20+ years I’ve been a member of that family.
20+ years I’ve been a liberal.
20+ years I’ve been me.
20+ years I’ve tried to love them.
20+ years and I’ve yet to find acceptance.
Isn’t it time to just love me for me? Isn’t it time to just accept me for who I am in spite of my political views that differ from yours? Isn’t it about time to let me put my guard down?
I’m a liberal and so, despite the tough talk and hard outer shell, I am by nature soft-hearted, sensitive, and pretty easily wounded.
About Just Write
“What ends up revealing itself when free writing is that everything has meaning. That is a magnificent gift of writing. If we write from a free heart-gut place, our souls start speaking.”