Patrick’s Why

I remember lying in bed crying myself to sleep, begging God to change me and not let me be gay. I just wanted to be normal.

So much I can say would be true, but not get to the heart of it. Yes, he is smart, he has a record of competent leadership, he shares my values. But the same can be said of other candidates. Why him? So much of it boils down to the fact that he is wholesome. He is not a creature of political Washington who has been positioning himself to run for the past 10 or 20 years. As he has said, he looked at the office, and the needs of the moment, compared that to what he can bring and found a match. I see the same match.

I could pretend that his being a gay man has no role in my support of him. To the extent that is true. If I didn’t think he would be capable of rising to the occasion, I wouldn’t consider him. But given that I do believe in his ability, I can turn my head to what it would mean in my life to have an out, gay, married President. I’m 42 years old. I was raised in conservative rural East Texas, where I still live today with my husband. I remember growing up as an awkward little gay boy. I remember the exact moment I realized I was gay and put that label on myself. I was 9 years old. I was so scared. I felt alone. I thought being gay was a horrible secret that I had to keep hidden, and believes with every fiber in my being that I would be cursed to die sad and alone. I remember lying in bed crying myself to sleep, begging God to change me and not let me be gay. I just wanted to be normal. Over the years I grew to accept it and moved on, but those scars from childhood remained unhealed for decades.

I know today that things have changed. But in the back of my mind I imagine another 9 year old boy realizing that he is gay. I imagine him watching the news with his parents and hearing stories about this gay candidate rising in the polls. I imagine him on election night seeing this man making a victory speech and watching as the newly elected President proudly gives his husband a celebratory kiss. I imagine him watching the inauguration, where the new President is sworn in with his hand on a bible held by his loving husband. In that moment, this young boy looks at the television and thinks, “I’m like him. I’m not alone.” This boy will know that he can do anything he wants in life. He can grow up, go to college, fall in love, and get married. And if he wants, he can run for President.

I also think a lot about the parents of a young gay teenager who has just come out to them. So many parents in this situation face a lot of conflict and pain. Of course they love their child unconditionally. But will he be happy? Will he find love? Will he be cast out by society? Pete’s story, and his success, is a comfort to these parents as much as it is to their child. Of course your child can find love and be accepted by the world.

This is the world I want to make in my future.

About Patrick

I am a 42 year old gay man, living with my husband and our 3 dogs in the Piney Woods of East Texas. Not much else interesting or of note about me. I’m kind of boring these days and that is the way I like it.

You can follow Patrick on Twitter at @astrangerland

MJ’s Why

Hi. I’m M.J., the owner and author of this site. I’ve been blogging in one way or another for over 10 years. In that time, I’ve told and read thousands of stories to strangers online. I’ve made connections with, and learned from, people, specifically women, and more specifically, moms from all over the country and all walks of life. I’ve met women across all racial, political, economical, educational, generational spectrums, including my favorite group, hot mess express moms. Often, the women I met fell into multiple, sometimes seemingly contradictory categories. Each woman, each person, has a story. An underlying motive that drives them to their beliefs. Most of them are valid, though some are rooted in fear and/or ignorance, but almost everyone is fueled politically by a desire to achieve belonging and satisfaction in this life. I know I am. I’m also a hot mess express.

I want to tell you my why. Why, after spending most of my life, politically apathetic, only bothering to engage in politics after the 2016 election, I am devoting time and energy to spread the gospel of Pete Buttigieg.

The last two years, the highest office in the land has been filled with hateful rhetoric, fearmongering, fake news, bullying and disgrace. And this is all I’ve ever known of politics.

I lived in a bubble of privilege without knowing it. I knew I had white-privilege, but I didn’t know my privilege as a straight, white Christian woman protected me from so many policies hurt fellow Americans, fellow humans. I am ashamed for not realizing it sooner, but I cannot go back. I can only move forward and do my part now. I wish I had used my words more in 2015, to speak truth to the lies being spread by the GOP candidates, Fox News and conservatives on Facebook. I wish I had realized sooner that my silence was complicity. In the words of Maya Angelou, “When you know better, do better.”

I know better now, and I’m doing better.

For the first time in my life, I have hope for the future of the United States. For the first time in years, I can imagine a better tomorrow. I have faith that this country will be better for my children than it has been for me. I imagine a post-school shooting America. One where it won’t matter who has guns because no one will be prone to murder. (I’m not saying I don’t want gun laws, obviously. (I know many of you are thinking I don’t need that disclaimer, trust me, I’ve been on social media since it’s inception, I need that disclaimer)).

Pete Buttigieg transcends politics. He transcends all our groupings because he brings his whole self to the table. A Maltese-American, left-handed millennial, gay, Christian, war veteran, midwestern, mayor cannot be put into a group, yet, he belongs to ever group. To quote Brene Brown who quoted and pays homage to Maya Angelou in her book, Braving the Wilderness, “You only are free when you realize you belong no place — you belong every place — no place at all.” Brown goes onto describe her journey from hating that quote, to living by it. She tells her story, which brings us back here.

Storytelling is one of the most vulnerable and powerful things we can do. Our stories have the power to change hearts and minds. Pete Buttigieg is telling us his story, allowing us to know what drives him, and it is clear that the betterment of society for the people of this country, all the people, is his motivation.

Being able to bring your full self to the table takes courage, acceptance, wisdom and humility. I’m here bringing my whole self, to this space, including my overuse of parentheticals, my unadulterated truth and my random humor. Pete brings his whole self to the table when he speaks. He is not speaking to gain votes, he is speaking from his heart.

Pete’s own story is my why. Telling yours is my mission.

Share your why by emailing me at hello@whymayorpete.com or by filling out this form.