July: the month of sunshine, barbecues and happy times. Freedom Day. Cocktails. That feelgood vibe. Or, in my case, a month starting with really shitty challenges and ending with a nasty bout of Covid 19!
Summer in the Thornton-Clearwater household has, so far, been a bit of a damp squib – but it has delivered some beautiful lessons!
The first big knock came when a US talk show and discussions portal I’ve been supporting for several years stitched me up like a kipper!
Outdated religious rhetoric.
Remember that Out NewsGlobal piece on rainbow washing? I expanded my views on that for one of my regular US columns.
As part of that, I said that all those supermarkets displaying the rainbow flag in Pride season sent a really clear message to all the right-wing shoppers, homophobes and people hiding behind outdated religious rhetoric that those opinions weren’t welcome.
The alarm bells started to ring when my usual weekly opinion piece didn’t run!
I took it in my stride at first, dropped the platform’s big cheese a note and said I’d use it elsewhere if he didn’t like it.
To be clear, this isn’t an LGBTQ+ platform. In fact, its views swing far further to the right than I’m usually comfortable with and most of the supporters seem to be pro-Trump.
Finding common ground.
I’ve stayed there because sometimes it’s good to bring a bit of balance. I first joined as a radio show host, together with a group of other women. Our show was all about bringing together people with different opinions and finding common ground. For me, that cause has remained at the heart of my written work there since.
And so, when the platform boss said he wanted to turn my rainbow washing piece into a radio show, I trusted him.
Imagine my surprise when my words were spun horribly out of context.
Instead of discussing acceptance, inclusivity and diversity, I started being questioned about… wait for it… black, Asian, and LGBTQ privilege!
Yep – apparently, as an out, gay woman, I have far more opportunities than my straight pals, and the same applies to other ‘minority groups’.
I was even hit with that most ridiculous statement about the human race dying out if everyone ‘turned gay’.
What in the rainbow hell had I walked into?!
It only got worse from there!
It seemed the show had two other guests waiting in the wings, both of whom had been granted the ability to listen to everything I said. As I was booted out, they were invited in. A Baptist minister and a guy who wrote a book called From Queer To Christ.
Together, they tore into everything I said, took everything horribly out of context, mentioned perversion and paedophilia, and stopped just short of “Adam and Eve, not Adam and Steve”.
I had no idea what had happened until the show and commentary (including my original article) was aired some time later.
I knew it was bad when my wife listened, earbuds in, fists balled, tears streaming.
My words had been twisted beyond recognition. As far as possible, a US platform I’d been loyal to for years had virtually lynched me, without warning, in the most insidious way.
I could not believe those views still really existed outside of episodes of Louis Theroux, but there they were – and there I was, stuck in the middle of a horrible web.
Let me tell you, trust is one of my major value sets and this felt like a massive kick in the gut.
Right now, I don’t know if I’ll ever write for them again – and definitely not before I’ve had an open and honest with that platform’s head honcho I once counted as a friend.
That was the first of a series of punches in this most delightful summer season, not all worth going into here, but suffice to say July left me feeling utterly pummelled. All those little hits add up, don’t they?
Mid-month, I went to support one of my clients as she qualified as a firewalk instructor. I’d done the same programme several years ago, sometimes gone back to help with the training, and I wanted to do something good for my coachee on the final night of the programme.
It was the first time I’d been out with real people in a long time. I felt jubilant! It was so good to be with human beings in 5D!
But then, a few days later, the symptoms started…
When the first lateral flow test came up positive, I convinced myself it must be because of the vitamin C drink I’d had that morning. I’d read about kids using fruit drinks to generate a positive result and get out of school; surely that must be the cause.
I waited an hour or so and did another… yet another positive!
My heart sank.
This was Friday morning and I was due to run a residential weekend retreat, starting that afternoon. Not only that, but I was supposed to be running my three-day speaker training event from the Wednesday as well… and that had already been postponed from March 2020, thanks to lockdowns.
Oh, the irony!
I forked out £185 for a rapid result PCR test. Positive.
Kick Covid’s ass.
And so, with my events postponed (thank goodness for really understanding clients!), I prepared to kick Covid’s ass in the comfort of my own home.
In reality, it kicked mine! It went a good few rounds with my wife, too.
This is Day 16 and we’re just beginning to feel almost human again.
It was touch and go for a while. My blood oxygen levels fell dramatically and we thought I’d end up in hospital.
Thankfully, though, with the support of an incredible homeopath and my GP on the end of the phone, it looks like we beat it!
Why am I telling you all this? Because one thing July has delivered to me is a massive dose of perspective.
As I gradually wind back up into work mode, I’m reminding myself not to take on too much and only to accept/create work that brings me joy.
Only this morning, I’ve politely declined the opportunity to write for another magazine who wanted me to be ‘provocative and edgy’, when I’d actually offered to write something motivational and inspiring.
I’ve postponed an interview and allowed myself a few spaces in my diary.
I’ve unfollowed several social channels that weren’t doing anything but adding to my stress levels, levelled down my commentary on anything Covid or jab related (because it all feels like the new Brexit in terms of media divisiveness), and trained myself completely out of ‘doom scrolling’ on Facebook.
Honestly, I was pretty good at not being caught in the FB trap anyway, but found myself being sucked back in while I was poorly and without the ability to concentrate for much more than a few seconds.
Doing things differently.
Aside from keeping a daily Covid diary in a closed FB group (my way of redressing the balance with all the media drama and horror stories), I’ve pared right back.
There are A LOT of angry people right now – and that’s to be expected given the past few years.
What I want to say, though, is we don’t need to soak it all up.
We don’t need to bend to everyone else’s demands.
We don’t need to show up to every online argument.
We don’t need to be doing anything that doesn’t serve us, from the soul out.
And so, next week, when I go back to work, I’ll be doing things differently.
It might not be immediately obvious, but I will know. I’ll be far more aware of where I’m putting my energy, the direction I want to take and the lifestyle and mindset I want to create with my thoughts and my actions.
I’m grateful for a month full of hard-knocks and a nasty visit from the ’rona for giving me so much perspective.
What do YOU want to create in your future? Maybe it’s time for you to take stock as well.
Just remember, you don’t actually need a dose of Covid or a brush with some overseas homophobes to deliver a dose of perspective. I’ve already taken one for the team!
Until next time…#UnleashYourAwesome
Follow Taz on Twitter.