One thought that keeps haunting me

There is something that Kurt said that had been haunting me lately … even before this weekend.  He spent a lot of time trying to raise awareness against bullying, speaking from his own experiences about what it was like to be bullied growing up. In Kurt’s case maybe it was for maybe being gay, maybe for being a little overweight and most likely just for whatever stupidly arbitrary reason kids pick up to relentlessly select a target and go after him or her in hopes that he or she will break (and hopefully they will get to witness it … otherwise it is no fun.)

Kurt lost his father when he was very young.  He talked about the day his father passed, his body was still in the house and there was confusion in the household. The doorbell rang. Kurt’s distraught mother sent him to answer the door. When Kurt opened the door he saw his schoolmates, who immediately punched him in the stomach and ran away.  I remember Kurt saying that even in that moment he couldn’t have peace and how he was still never really able to get over that.

There is a certain meanness in this world that is so cruel that, to truly comprehend it, I believe it really can drive one “mad”.  I don’t think we can ever make that sort of meanness go away. Maybe we can mitigate it to some extent. Maybe we can sanitize it. Maybe we as individuals and as a society can learn to “process” its effects upon us.  But I don’t think we can ever make it truly go away.



I lost a friend an ally over the weekend

I lost an ally and friend over the weekend. I just found out about this a few hours ago and I feel empty and horrible inside. I had gotten to know Kurt Cunningham over the past year as we both became suicide prevention trainers together under the Question Persuade Refer (QPR) training program. He also attended the same Suicide Prevention Council Meetings I did. We saw a lot of things the same way. He was really supportive of my blog and we would meet for coffee and he would grill me with all sorts of questions about what I was experiencing as a detransitioner.  He was really curious about why I hated the term “cis” and seemed to totally getit when I explained it to him. I know he was trying to understand and get things right … just has he was trying to understand other parts of the LGBT community he cared so deeply about but at times some of the more dogmatic infighting left him completely exasperated and I think that is why he and I had a lot to talk about. He was always asking me to critique his presentation that he would do around the community in his capacity as a mental health worker and advocate about the “new new” terminology around lgbt issues. (He also would get similar advice from other stakeholders in the community … again he wanted to get it right.)

So as I keep saying (excusing) I have been busy. I have been away for the past six weeks from people and projects I care about since I started school,   I guess you kind of expect people will still be there when you get back. When you are ready they will be there for you. Life doesn’t work that way though. Once again I feel empty and heartbroken inside. Kurt had told me that our little get togethers did him good … that it was ok to bother him because he probably needed breaks and diversions. They did me good too. Like me though hewas busy though too. Maybe even busier than I was. Both of us spinning our little wheels trying to save the world. I know I am missing a lot of stuff that is falling away right in front of me. Do I need to go to school to learn how to return an email or call a friend? It all seems so pointless and hopeless sometimes.

I was really looking forward to getting to know Kurt better this year and to work with him on a few things going forward that we had both been talking about. I know Kurt touched thousands of people and did make a difference. (I suspect he also pissed a lot of people off too … we had something in common there.)

I know a lot of people are also saying that we need to respect Kurt’s choice and that there is no blame here. People are pointing out that he was sick with depression and he didn’t take care of himself as much as he should have. This was inevitable.

For those of us who knew Kurt I guess we all need to find a story that makes sense to us. Sometimes that is hard to do in a world where nothing seems to make sense. I needed this guy around.  Someone told me he is in a better place now.  His pain is at long last over.   Kurt shared pretty openly about his experiences being bullied from an early age.  I do think that there is still something about this world that is unforgiving in a way that chases some of us out of here sooner than their time.  I still want to see a world where people like Kurt decide to stick around a little longer.

Kurt’s Page