Tuesday, December 10, 2013

HOW I ‘CAME OUT’ by Kay Lee

I was visiting my mother when an aunt dropped by. I listened casually to their chatting, but when my aunt said, "I've been having trouble with my son. He's flunking in school, skipping and smoking that marijuana,”  my ears perked right up.
I had been using pot for about year:  I was 39, I had never paid much attention to it’s legality or lack of, neither  before nor after I began using it. I was unaware that it was medicine for many. I didn’t even know that there was a movement to make it legal, although I had read Jack Herer’s book,  “Emperor Wears No Clothes”.  Read it, heck. I had highlighted and double-checked and made notes and references all over that dog-eared book.
But all I really knew for sure was that marijuana had raised the quality of my life drastically. So of course I’m way more curious than I’m letting on. 
My mom listened to the whole drama about her nephew, then replied as if it was a fact, “Pot will make you stupid, you know.” 
Now, I knew my mother as an intelligent, very honest, a pretty open-to-new-knowledge kind of person, so I was more than a bit surprised by her response.
I sat a bit stiff, words bursting to get out, until my aunt left. My mother began washing dishes at the sink with her back to me. I took a deep breath.
“Mom, do you think I’m stupid?”
She whirled her surprised face around, almost dropping the dish in her haste to say, “Of course not. Why would you ask such a thing?”  She shot me a reassuring look and turned back to the sink like the matter was settled.
I paused, then as gently as I could, I responded, “Because I smoke marijuana.”
I could see the stiffening in her back and shoulders, hear her double fast scrubbing on the dish in her hand.  There was one of those silences that feels like it lasts forever, then her voice, subdued and a little shaky, questioned, “Do you buy it?”
I flinched before I replied, “Well, mom. If you’re going to smoke it, you’re going to have to buy it.”
Again the silence.  Then she surprised me.
With her back still to me, she quietly said, “I always thought I’d like to try marijuana ... if a doctor was there to make sure nothing went wrong.”
I said nothing. I had no words. Everything Jack Herer had wrote was true:  about prohibition...about the hysteria created to make the plant illegal... about the misconceptions and misinformation promoted to keep it illegal. Oh, that all these years later, people still thought like that. I was stunned and angry that they had planted all that prejudice and ignorance in my beautiful truthful helpful mother’s head. How dare they!
That’s when I knew I had to learn to articulate my principles... I had to share the truth with people like her before more harm was done. 
Thus began my personal ‘journey for justice’. 
That's how I 'came out' of the closet. What’s your story?

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