Yesterday I received this from a former UCLA student:
I wanted to write you to simply express the positive impact you had on me of which you are perhaps not even aware. You and Emily Rokosch were the only openly lesbian women that I had ever met, whom I could look up to. It sounds so dramatic now to say that was ‘life-changing’ since my life is now intertwined with the LGBT community, but it was very much so at the time. I hung onto every word you shared about your long and difficult coming-out experience and I admired your strength, as well as the way you led discussions about gender expression and sexual orientation. (I recently drew on those for a graduate lecture I gave on Family/Gender/Sexuality!) The comfort I felt around you two women, and the positive experience I had at UCLA has since translated into confidence and a Sociology & Demography MSc degree with emphasis on gender and sexual (in)equalities.
Every now and then I receive similar tender, touching emails like this from former students from the University of Michigan, UCLA, and CSU Fullerton. Of course every professor/teacher/activist/mom prays for this kind of impact on our students but unless we hear from them, we just never know. The most important understanding for me is that I’m always surprised at how my words and actions impact(ed) another person. I hope that even in retirement I still positively affect a young person’s life, as my mentors still impact me in so many ways. Thank you, Frieda Saraga, Pritchy Smith, and Helen Schwartz, for guiding me even when you didn’t know it, and thank you, dear students, for letting me know…
I worked on my book, met With Helen Conley of the Ventura Democratic Club for coffee, then had a great golf lesson with Dee at Saticoy. After all that, I took a 3.5 mile walk around the Harbor which felt so good. I like to meditate when I take my walks, feeling God in the air, in the sea, in me.
I love golf regardless of my (lack of) skill level. It’s such a great way to just be in the moment. The focus has to be on that little ball right in front of me….not on the ball I flubbed a few minutes ago nor the one I’ll try to hit better next, but this one, right now. And that makes me think of one of my all-time favorite songs, probably the one with most closely represents how I’ve lived my life. Today as sung by John Denver. “Today is my moment and now is my glory, who cares what tomorrow may bring. A million tomorrows shall all pass away, e’re I forget all the joy that was mine today.” I first heard that song in the 60s while in college. My roommate Bobbi Lemlich would sing it as she played her guitar in our apartment. It’s stayed with me ever since though it has more meaning to me now than it did back then. (Regina sang it to me at my 60th birthday party at the UCLA LGBT Center.) I try to live my life one day at a time, in this day, in this moment. Sometimes I get tied up in my shorts but mostly, if I stay true to myself, the chaos and the drama are minimal at best.
Today in LGBT history (from the Quist app): In 1976 New Jersey Superior Court ruled that transgender people may marry based on their reassigned legal gender identity.
My meditation for today (from A Women’s Spirit): I can dare to let chosen friends know who I really am, and they won’t go away. Loving them changes my heart and soul.
It’s good to be 67!
What happened with you today?