Wednesday, December 31, 2014

A Room Without Feathers

A young friend asked me a couple of weeks ago if I've been writing over the last two months, if I've been stockpiling posts and had a plan in mind for my spectacular return to blogging. An even greater sadness quickly permeated my already hurting heart as I looked into the young man's kind and gentle eyes and said, "No, my friend ... I haven't written at all." He smiled softly as he replied, "People need you to write, Terrie ... I need you to write ... the world needs you to write ... you need you to write." I tried desperately to blink back my tears as I shook my head and said, "I don't think so, friend ... I think I'm done." Later that evening, I wept for what I didn't tell him ... that over the last weeks I have tried again and again to write ... that I've spent night after night staring at the blank screen before me ... that I was certain my days of writing were over ...that I was convinced I had nothing more to offer anyone. I wept for what I knew but could not say ... that my confidence was gone ... that my spirit was broken ... that I was afraid to write again.

A few days later my very first guest blogger told me she was spending Christmas in the same place where she penned her first guest post ... her first blog post ever in fact. I published her post on December 31, 2012 ... and what a powerful post it was. I suggested she write another guest post to close out 2014 since I knew I wouldn't be writing one myself. She quickly suggested we write a post together, and I quickly replied that she should write alone. That night sleep eluded me as I thought about her words, her suggestion that we write a joint post, her thoughts for possible topics, her not-so-subtle attempt to get me to write again. But even more ... so much more ... I thought about the impact her words have had upon so many of you. I read back through countless emails I've received asking that she guest post more often, telling me of the difference her words and her insight have made in the lives of so many of you. And that's when I knew ... that's when I knew I had to try again ... for you ... for her ... maybe even for me. So settle in and read for a while … though I’m not at all sure about my own words, I am certain beyond any doubt that the words of my friend are well worth reading.



Writing isn't the only thing I've abandoned over the last couple of months ... perhaps the most telling, the most frightening, the most significant of all the things I've abandoned have been my nightly walks with my wiener dog Ollie. As is so often true when the darkness of depression envelops me, I only saw my own sadness and felt my own loss ... I didn't even consider what Ollie was feeling or what he needed. Until my sweet little wiener dog did something he's never ever done before ... until he let me know in no uncertain terms that not going for a walk each evening was absolutely, completely and totally unacceptable in wiener dog land. It was a Friday evening and upon arriving home from work, I flipped on the light in my bedroom to let Ollie out of his kennel. I stood in silence as I looked around my room ... there were feathers everywhere ... feathers on the carpet, feathers on the bed, feathers on the furniture, feathers on the clothes I had tossed on the floor, feathers on the ceiling ... there were feathers everywhere. As I stood there wondering if a flock of chickens had somehow made their way into my room and subsequently exploded, Ollie started barking ... and with each "Mom, you're home ... let me out!!" bark he barked, more and more feathers flew out of his kennel. As I peered at my tail-wagging, feather-covered little hound, I realized what had happened ... Ollie had completely shredded the oversize feather pillow that had been his bed for more than a year. I've been unable to get Ollie's pillow-shredding feather tantrum out of my mind, but only partly because I'm still finding feathers even though I've vacuumed a gazillion times. I can't get the feather episode out of my mind because I can't get the meaning of it ... the deep and powerful meaning of it … out of my heart.

When Terrie first told me about Ollie and the feather incident, the first thing that came to mind is Terrie’s video, “Ears Wide Open?” But because little Ollie can’t talk, this was more of an “Eyes Wide Open” moment. And maybe even an “Eyes and Heart Wide Open” moment. Terrie talks about while in a depressed state, it’s hard to see anything beyond her own sadness. I think that Terrie isn’t alone in this. When many of us go through difficult or troubling times, it’s hard for any of us to see what others are going through. Actually, sometimes it doesn’t even take a difficult or troubling time, there are just times that we’re more focused on ourselves than others.  

It’s hard to admit, but I’ve often been surprised to learn about others’ struggles, as I bet we all have. I’m guilty of interacting with people who I think have it all – thinking that maybe they aren’t dealing with as much, they aren’t as stressed, they don’t have to worry about things to the degree others might. Then, with ears, eyes and heart open, we learn more about others. We learn they are dealing with a lot of worry. It could be that their son has health problems, their aging mom needs daily assistance which is taxing the family, their job isn’t what they hoped, their spouse or partner isn’t being supportive, they found a lump, their partner is out of work, they lost a friend due to a disagreement and so on and so on and so on.

Personally, when I learn of these things, I’m maybe a little embarrassed. Embarrassed that I first thought that they had it all. That they didn’t have things to worry about. Embarrassed that I didn’t take more time to get to know them, to talk, to listen. And then it comes down to, for me anyway – exercising real empathy. Real understanding that everyone has stuff they are dealing with. Because that is a fact:

Everyone has stuff.

I think maybe it’s true that all things happen for a reason, that perhaps there are no coincidences in life. My endeavor to remove the feathers from my physical dwelling place has caused me to think an awful lot about the feathers that reside inside of me … feathers of shame and doubt and guilt and sadness and despair and loneliness and fear and isolation. Just as it seems I will never be able to rid my room of all the feathers left behind by Ollie’s shredding event, it so often seems I will never be able to rid my mind, my heart and my soul of all the feathers left behind from the times when events or words or circumstances tried so desperately to shred my sense of self-worth or belonging or inner peace. My first reaction when I walked into my room that evening and saw the massive feather chaos was anger … my first thought was “This is going to take forever to clean up … this is going to be an impossible task.” I didn’t see the humor in what Ollie had done … I didn’t see the opportunity for some much-needed deep cleaning in my room … I didn’t see that Ollie was trying to help get me back to the trail. When I walked into my room that evening, I only saw chaos … I only saw lots and lots of hard work ahead … I only saw what seemed to me an impossible obstacle to overcome.

Impossible? Or simply the next big challenge in life? Hard work, indeed, but the question is, is it worth it? Is it worth it to feel better, to grow, to become the person you want to be? It is tough, really tough. But worth it for sure. As we face 2015, I’ve been thinking about that impossible task for me. Or maybe it’s a couple of impossible tasks. It’s different for all of us. It could be that yours is to run a marathon, to de-clutter (yikes, that seems impossible for me!), to spend less time thinking about work and more time thinking about how to raise the most incredible little humans. Is it to overcome a fear of public speaking? To lead without reservations? To be confident in decisions that affect your family? Or decisions that affect your work family? To stand up to someone who hasn’t been supportive? To finally speak your mind, even if you know you might lose some support or even friends.

My goal is to think about the impossible task for 2015 – and see if I can make it more possible through a different focus, a different approach, a different point of view. How would my best friend approach it? My dad? My daughter? I can guarantee those would be three very different approaches. What is your impossible? And how can you reframe the situation?

Here’s the thing about feathers … they don’t float through the air or move around unless something or someone disturbs them. It’s when the wind blows and the air starts churning around me … it’s when everything presses in on top of me and screams at me to give up … that’s when feathers fly and that’s when feathers get ruffled. And when all those feathers escape from their cozy, comfortable resting place and start flying around all willy-nilly … well … that’s when I am forced to acknowledge that I’ve got a serious feather problem that’s going to require some serious hard work to fix. I’ve learned that when I’m still … when I’m quiet … when I focus on removing one feather at a time and don’t allow myself to become overwhelmed or intimidated by the enormity of the task before me, that’s when I make the most headway. Healing is the same way, you know … healing of my mind … healing of my heart … healing of my soul takes stillness, quiet, time, patience, determination, courage and strength. Healing takes focusing on one feather at a time … healing takes understanding that feathers can be used for good, for growth, for grace.

I love the thought of one feather at a time. What can I do today to make a difference? To start to make that change? What a perfect time to reflect – the beginning of a new year. What will I do differently this year? What will be my goal for the year? What is my impossible task? And where do I want to be on December 31, 2015? If I have a year to get there, what will I do each month? Each week? Every day? How will 2015 be for me? Or better yet, how will I be in 2015? I get to choose. Sure I’ll have feathers to get through throughout the year, but I choose how I am, how I react, how I grow in 2015. I choose to conquer my impossible. 

A few days after I was absolutely sure I had finally found and removed all of the feathers from my room, I discovered how very wrong I was … feathers are still showing up even now in places I would have never expected feathers to be. It would be easy, you know, to just give up and resign myself to the fact that I will never be able to clean up all the feathers. It would be easy to throw in the towel and acknowledge that I will never again have a room without feathers … to stop trying to remove the feathers that continue to appear … to say it’s too difficult, too time-consuming, too humbling, too impossible to ever have a feather-free room. The truth is I really may not be able to completely rid my room or my heart, mind and soul of every single feather … but if I stop trying … if I give up … I let the feathers win. If I allow the feathers to totally invade my heart … if I allow them to completely consume my mind … if I allow them to blatantly overtake my soul ... then I’ve let the feathers do so much more than win. I’ve let them trample my will to go on … I’ve let them crush my desire to keep fighting … I’ve let them suffocate who I am, who I really, really am … I’ve let them bury the real me.

They say that with meditation, the answers come in the silence. If one can spend time ridding the mind of all of the clutter, answers will come, the answers that are right for me, will come. The feathers flutter away and the truth arrives.

Now for me, this is one of my impossible tasks. Meditation. Calming the mind. Allowing the real thoughts to develop and be brought to the surface. To choose the feathers I want, to be reminded by some of those feathers about what is important in life, and to get rid of the feathers that are bringing me down, not allowing me to be the best version of me.

I read recently that it would be a good thing to choose a word for the new year. I have but a few more hours to decide on the word, but for now, for me, my 2015 word is CHOICE. I make the choices to guide my 2015. To achieve what I hope to achieve by making the choices to be who I want to be. I will choose to take time to meditate. I choose how to face the day. I choose which feathers I pay attention to, and which feathers to discard. I choose to take the time for empathy. For listening. For making a difference. I will choose to put down the technology and engage with those I care about. I will also choose this for my teenagers who might not make this choice!

Choosing the gift of time, and more specifically, meditation, will allow me to more clearly focus on those I love. Choosing to take the time to meditate, and not choosing to sleep for 15 more minutes, will allow me to choose the feathers I want, and rid my mind of the ones I don’t. And you can bet there will be some days that I will certainly choose to sleep in.

What will be your word for 2015? Is it patience? Is it persistence? Is it love? Is it to keep on keeping on (this qualifies for one word in my book)? My word may change throughout the year, but for now, my word is choice. I’m choosing to make 2015 spectacular.

There’s a difference in my response to the feathers in my room now as compared to when they first overtook my place of refuge and retreat. When a feather suddenly and unexpectedly makes an appearance now, I smile. Every time I pluck yet another feather from my bed or my clothes or my furniture or my floor, I see my little Ollie … tail wagging, feathers flying … trying so very hard to remind me of what matters most. I see him reminding me not to quit when life gets hard, not to give up during the shredding, not to stop believing in myself. I see my feathered-covered little wiener dog begging me to remember I can choose … I can choose to love … I can choose to laugh …I can choose to live. Even when the feathers are flying, friends … even when it seems as if the feathers will never stop flying … I can choose.

130 comments:

Anonymous said...

Wow! Wow! Wow! Wow! Wow! Way to come back with a bang! So happy you're back and tell your bestie guestie she's awesome! You are back, right? You are going to start writing every day again, right? Please say you're back and please please please say you're going to write another post tomorrow and the day after that and the day after that and the day after that. Please?

Tech Mama said...

With tails wagging, we say, "Thank you."
Ann and the boys.

Speaker Selection Team said...

This post confirms what we were already certain of. Terri you are a born communicator fully capable of touching millions of lives for the greater good of all mankind. This is evidenced both in your writing and in your speaking as well.

I don't mean to sound harsh or bossy but it is time for you to return to your mission and the fulfillment of your purpose. A special thank you to your cowriter for pushing you to get back on the horse and a special request to her to use all means necessary to keep your butt in the saddle and your hands on the reins. you've got work to do and we intend to make sure you do it!

SST

Anonymous said...

Hip hip hooray! You're back and better than ever! Keep those words coming and keep em coming from your heart. And guest writer write more! You ladies gave me a Happy New Year treat this morning! 2015 is off to a great start! Jessica

Nate Phelps said...

My word for 2015 is feathers. Simply brilliant

Anonymous said...

Our pastor has challenged us to choose one word to focus on and not a new years resolution. I laughed at Nat e's choice. I will be stealing your word. Been missing you. ..glad you're back! We all need you. You Thanks for blessing us.

Anonymous said...

I got me some feathers flying around and they're swirling like there's no tomorrow. You know how many times I read your writings and think you must be writing from inside my head? A lot, that's how many. I'm glad you're back and that you brought that Be My Guest friend back with you. In case you were wondering, I need you to keep writing!

JRT said...

Praise God almighty, you're back at last! No more running away allowed. If you need me to come do a beatdown on whoever hurt you and made you stop writing just say the word and I'm in my car!

Anonymous said...

Does your guest blogger have her own blog? If she doesn't, she should.

Anonymous said...

I am commenting here because I want to be sure you see it and it doesn't get lost in all your e-mail messages. Fist off is isn't fair of you to stop writing all of a sudden like you did and leave us not knowing if you are dead or not. Maybe you don't know how many people like me look at your blog everyday of our lives for you to give me hope and inspire me to keep living. I'm not like a wierdo stalker thing but you need to remember how many people read your blog everyday and that we need you. To me your blog is my way to meditate about what is going on in my mind and you help me to think clearer. Second off your friend that wrote with you hits it right that you need to open up your eyes and ears and pay better attention to the people like me who need you to not stop writing again. Thank you for reading this and sorry if I sound mean but I only want you to come back and stay back for us who need you.

Sammie Jo said...

Abundantly radiant thankfulness to your friend for her "not-so-subtle attempt" in persuading you to write once again. And what a sacrificial gift for her to join you in writing and I hope she will do so much more often. The two of you are wonderful communicators together and I drink in the joint wisdom you impart.

I ditto the previous commenters in saying we need you!

Mark J. said...

Ladies you need to host a talk show together! You two are the bees knees!

Anonymous said...

Ha ha Mark J I love it!!!!!! Watch out Ellen there's some new girls in town!!

But really thank you both for writing such a touching and heartfelt essay together. And a special thank you to your guest writer Terry for helping you find your way back to we who look forward to your open honest real and transparent writing every day. Stay after her guest writer and make her keep that wisdom coming.

Anonymous said...

This is for the guest writer. I clicked the link and read your first post and want to tell you thank you for being such a friend to Teri. My family through me out of my home when I came out and my friends treated me like I had a disease and never talked to me again. That was four years ago and it still hurts everyday. I have a couple friends now that I started a new job last year but I still miss my family and old friends alot. Not alot of people are like you and I think it's good you are staying friends with Teri so she can help the rest of us not give up. Thank you.

johnboy said...

I can't tell if you're guest blog person is straight or gay and I like that I can't tell. That's the way it should be, it shouldn't matter and we just love each other the way we are. Sexuality shouldn't matter in friendship or family. If we could see ourselves as people who are here to help each other and see ourselves the way God sees us then sexuality doesn't matter. Straight or gay guest blog person it doesn't matter because you are obviously an awesome person!

Anonymous said...

Terre, it's so good to read you again and your many fans in Scotland say it's about damn time lassie! We are sitting round the pub chatting and I was selected to post a comment requesting if you two bonnie lassies might jot your fans a wee hello as a comment back? There's a pint or more of ale at stake!!

Anonymous said...

I think it's time for a voice of truth here. Terrie you struggle with depression because in your heart you know you are sinning against God by proclaiming your attraction to the same sex. If you truly wish to rid your mind of the feathers you write about then you must confess your sin and repent. Your depression will cease when you return to your walk with the Lord and denounce the stronghold you have allowed Satan to establish within you. I know many will rebuke me for my words of truth but I stand on the Word of God and the truth of Mark 13:13 "Everyone will hate you because of me, but the one who stands firm to the end will be saved." Confess, repent and return to the way of the Most High, Terrie, for He will heal you and restore you to favor with God and man. Praying for you daily, Reverend Augustus Brown

Anonymous said...

Voice of truth Mr. Brown? I won't call you reverend because you are no reverend to me. I think you're the one who needs to be worried about your own soul and not Terrie's. It is apparent her intention is to help and yours is to hurt. The Bible is about love and not hate. You're the one whose wrong here and you obviously have never had someone you love fight depression. How dare you say being gay causes depression? So why the hell are so many straight people depressed then?

Lady Elaine said...

I've always wanted to be a moderator for some famous debate so I'm stepping in and declaring there will be no more comments regarding Terrie's relationship with God or her sexuality. That is not what this post is about but instead Terrie's return to writing for all of us who need to read what she has to communicate. God almighty people, she shares her heart and her struggles and helps us all to be better people. Back off bitches. There are more of us who respect and love Terrie and her friend for what they have to teach us than there are of you. That's right I said back off bitches and I mean it.

Preacher Bill said...

You tell 'em, Lady Elaine! My son is alive today because he met Terrie when she spoke at a suicide prevention rally and she took the time to sit down and talk to him. This lady has heart and compassion and I choose to thank God for her friend's choice to get her back to writing.

Anonymous said...

Please keep writing Terie because my days are empty without your words. Bethany

Reed Smith said...

Terrie, sing along with me: Don't stop believin'!"

And remember the words of the great William Shakespeare: “Be not afraid of greatness. Some are born great, some achieve greatness, and others have greatness thrust upon them.”


Anonymous said...

what I want to know is why people like Reverend brown find it necessaryto continue reading Terry's blog in the first place.if you're so opposed to what she has to say or just who she is or to who her friends are then why waste your time reading what she writes?does it make you happy to know that you're hurting her? Or the rest of us to hurt with her? You must have a lot of time on your hands to go along with all that hate in your heart. Terry'san amazing writer and she's got an amazing amount of courage to write what she does and put herself on the firing line for people like you.you need to get a life Reverend brown.

Lisa M. said...

I've been reading your blog for years Terrie and I have been worried about you. Please keep writing even when it's hard. That's one of the things I love most about your blog is that you write through your pain. So many times I read what you write and I am feeling the exactly same things you are writing. I would like to ask you to at least post once a week and let all of us who read know that you're still with us. Much love to you and even more thanks for all the help you provide by sharing your journey.

Terrie Johnson said...

Gosh ... I am truly humbled by so many of your comments and want to thank you for your kind words of encouragement and support. I'm more than a bit overwhelmed today by the volume of emails and messages I'm receiving, but please know how much I appreciate all of you who are taking time out of your busy lives to read my blog and then to message me as well.

I hope I'm not too late in responding to the lads or lassies who commented from Scotland ... I'd hate to be the reason you lost out on a pint or more of ale! My co-author says to tell you we loved your note and are insisting that everyone address us as "bonnie lassies" from now on!

Again, thank you to all of you for the comments, emails, Facebook messages and tweets ... your words really do mean more to me than you will ever know.

Hugs,

Terrie

Anonymous said...

A friend sent me your blog to read yesterday. You freaking rock my world Terry. Are you single?

Anonymous said...

:) :) :) :) :) :) :) :) :) :) :) !!!!!!!!

That's me smiling all day because you're back! You've been missed girlfriend!

Anonymous said...

Yay for friends who help us do the hard work we need to do so we can help others do the hard work they need to do! Yay for you writing again and opening your heart to the rest of us! Yay for eyes to read and ears to hear and feet to walk and dogs with feather pillows!

Stacy with a Y said...

Just read last night's post To Those of You and wanted to tell you that you have no reason to apologize to anyone for anything. I've been worried too and wishing for updates but you deserve to take the time you need to heal. I'm glad to see you back and writing even better and with more heart if that's even possible! Love and prayers to you Teri and thank you for all you do to help other people.

Ele said...

Love you Terrie!

Anonymous said...

What Ele said!

Jimmy said...

You really don't have a clue how important and valuable you are, do you? How treasured you are by God and by countless others. How many people you touch every time you your fingers type those beautiful words of yours. How much good you are bringing to the world because you have your ears, eyes, and heart open to God's purpose and plan for you. Keep writing. He's using you despite the fact you don't have a clue. :)

Anonymous said...

Good day to you bonnie lassies! We thank you for the hello and raise more than a puckle of pints of ale to you this fine day as we're rounding at the pub! Come along across the seas and join us!

Betsy said...

Welcome home! I am so happy you are back!

Gary said...

Hi Terrie it's me Gary. I know we email every week but I wanted to leave a comment here for everyone to read. If people don't know who I am I was the kid you wrote about a long time ago who wrote to you after I read your Easier to Die blog. I had my suicide all planned out and then someone told me to read your blog and now I'm still alive. There's been a lot of ups and downs in the last two years but my life is on a good road now and that's thanks to you being so honest in Easier to Die. I'm going to college and I want to be a social worker or a counselor when I finish up school. I want to help people and especially kids to know things can always get better if you decide to live. I'm glad you're writing again because you help so many people like you helped me back then and still help me everytime we email. Thanks, Gary

Gary said...

I forgot one thing I wanted to say too and that is to say thank you to your friend for staying with you and getting you back to writing again. You know I know how it hurts when all your friends and family leave you when you tell the truth because it happened to me. So tell your friend she is a good person and I'm glad she didn't leave. Thanks, Gary

Anonymous said...

Yo bonnie lassies! There's your next blog post title for writing together!

Anonymous said...

I have never made a comment on a blog post before but I am tonight. Terri I started reading your blog last summer after my pastor sent it to me. My nephew Eric died from suicide on April 17 2014. Eric was only 15 years old and he was such a sweet and loving boy. We didn't know Eric was gay until he told us in his suicide note. He said he didn't want to shame our family because we are all active in church and my brother Eric's father is a minister. I am sorry to write so much but I thought you would like to know our story and know how much reading your blog is helping me. I have felt lost without being able to turn on my computer every morning and read your blog with breakfast. I can tell from these posts you have written the last few days you are still hurting and its hard for you to write. But Terri I believe that writing is the way for you to get better and heal. Thank you for helping so many people and I wish Eric could have known you.

Sammie Lynn said...

Terry I just want to say how glad I am you're writing again. And your friend is awesome for writing with you and helping you get back in the groove. It's hard for me to understand why people like you who help so many can't see how much you are doing to help. It's like you are so hard on yourself for some reason and can't see what a great person you are. I'm glad your friend sees it though and knows you should be writing and she's not the only one!

Anonymous said...

Reverend Brown is correct in his astute and wise commentary concerning the root of your depression. Homosexuality is an abomination in the eyes of our Lord and your only release of the torture of your mind and soul will come when you fall on your knees and confess your sin and beg for the Father's forgiveness. Repent and you will be saved. Continue in your walk of sin and you will be cast into the lake of fire.

Anonymous said...

God loves everyone and He commands us to do the same. Keep up the good, Terrie!

"For the entire law is fulfilled in keeping this one command: Love your neighbor as yourself." Galatians 5:14

Anonymous said...

Shut the front door!!! Terri is a grandmother? I can't believe it's true. When did she choose to be a grandmother? I can't believe it's true. Shut the front door!!!

Anonymous said...

So where's your Saturday post? You can't quit again. I need you.

Betty said...

Terrie, I am thrilled you are back to writing and I can't tell you how much I've missed reading your posts each day. The feather analogy is quite powerful and your word pictures of Ollie covered in feathers and proud of his accomplishment in killing the pillow made me LOL! I will never see a feather again without remembering this post and your wonderful analogies and insight.

Your guest writer's words touched me deeply and are motivating me to choose to make the new year one in which I start over and try harder to be a better person than before. I love what she says about choosing to be empathetic and to invest myself in other people and get rid of the technology (and I loved your following Flight Risk post that reinforced what she said). I haven't come up with my word for the year yet but I am leaning heavily towards ears wide open. I know that is three words but to me you have made them one.

I pray many blessings to you in the coming year, Terrie and to your guest writer too. Something tells me the two of you are going to do much to help many in the coming year.

Much love,

Betty

Jeffrey S. said...

Please don't stop now Terry. Once a week I visit my father in the retirement home where he has lived for the past six years. He enjoys me reading to him and I started reading your posts to him in 2012 because he has fought clinical depression for most of his adult life. Dad is 87 now and in feeble health but his mind is as strong as ever. Dad is a talker and he told his friends and the nurse staff about me reading your blog to him and how much you help him. He especially loves the stories you write about your children and granddaughters and always comments on the deep love you have for them and for other people. Anyway what started as me reading your blog just to Dad has now grown to a group of 27 other residents in the center and between 7 and 9 staff members who join as often as they can. I have been reading older posts to them during your break and I wish you could have seen and heard their reaction when I told them you had posted new blogs. You are helping people you will never meet this side of heaven Terry and you will never know how much. I'm begging you to keep on writing because alot of people need you including me and my Dad. Thank you for reading my note.

Gay Lady said...

Will you marry me?

Anonymous said...

Love you to pieces and am begging you to never leave us again. Please Terri we need you.

Anonymous said...

Thank you thank you thank you guest blogger! Thank you for convincing Terrie to write again and thank you for your incredible contribution to the post. You and Terri make a great writing team and should write together a lot more.

Anonymous said...

God hates fags. That means you and all your gay loving friends. Stop writing and go climb back under the rock you were hiding under. Now that will help the world more than your stupid writing will. You are living in a dream world if you think anyone gives a damn what you and the others queers have to say.

Anonymous said...

Hey previous commenter, do what Lady Elaine said and back off bitches.

Anonymous said...

Don't you listen to the haters Teri and you keep writing. They are proving their ignorance with their negative comments. Don't you listen to them and you keep writing. I need you to keep writing and so do a bunch of people I know. I say thank you to your guest writer for getting you to write with her. She's really a good writer and should write more often.

Anonymous said...

My brother Lucas tried to kill himself four times before he was 16 and the last time he did permanent damage to his eyes and he's blind. Lucas was bullied alot because he was always little for his age and was very shy. Our mom got to your blog from one of her friends on facebook and started reading it last year. She read back to the beginning and decided it would be good for Lucas to hear what you say about things. So every day since July me and mom takes turns reading it to Lucas and he really likes it. He is 18 now and I am 21. He doesn't go to school but I go to the college in my town so I can be here to help mom and Lucas. Our dad died when I was 7 so it's just the three of us now. Well and Lumpy that is Lucas's service dog who helps him. I know you're in a slump right now but I'm asking you to keep on writing if for nobody else but Lucas and me and my mom. Thank you, Larry

Dr. Thomas said...

Yay guest writer for getting her to write! Glad she listens to someone tell her what is best for her when she can't see it herself. Genius and strong will often coexist and she is a good expression of that.

Anonymous said...

Are we ever going to know the identity of the guest writer? And the other guest writer who wrote all three of you together?

Becky said...

I love the idea of a word for the year. How about everybody posts a comment with the word they are choosing?

Mine is patience. My husband chose priorities. Our son decided on respect. Our daughter picked truthful.

Anonymous said...

My word is be present.

Anonymous said...

Mine is believe.

Anonymous said...

Courage for me.

Anonymous said...

Love. Light. Laughter. Leaving the past behind. Living. Lean on me.

I like l words but I'm suck at making a decision.

Anonymous said...

What both of you need is a close personal relationship with Jesus Christ. Your guest writer's words smack of humanism and the you are God mentality. Terri you are simply lost in your sin and that is even sadder because you know the truth and have forsaken it. What you both need to do is go to a Bible believing gospel preaching church and be saved.

Bible Boy said...

Do not judge, or you too will be judged. 2 For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.

3 “Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother’s eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye? 4 How can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when all the time there is a plank in your own eye? 5 You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye. Matthew 7, 1-5

Anonymous said...

My word is don't give up.

Anonymous said...

You shall not lie with a male as with a woman; it is an abomination. Leviticus 18:22

For this reason God gave them up to dishonorable passions. For their women exchanged natural relations for those that are contrary to nature; and the men likewise gave up natural relations with women and were consumed with passion for one another, men committing shameless acts with men and receiving in themselves the due penalty for their error. And since they did not see fit to acknowledge God, God gave them up to a debased mind to do what ought not to be done. Romans 1:26 to 28

If a man lies with a male as with a woman, both of them have committed an abomination; they shall surely be put to death; their blood is upon them. Leviticus 20:13

Just as Sodom and Gomorrah and the surrounding cities, which likewise indulged in sexual immorality and pursued unnatural desire, serve as an example by undergoing a punishment of eternal fire. Jude 1:7

Though they know God's decree that those who practice such things deserve to die, they not only do them but give approval to those who practice them. Romans 1:32

The Bible is clear in its condemnation of homosexuality and what should be done to those who practice it and those who support those who practice it. God will not be mocked and the day of His wrath soon approacheth.

Bob said...

I can't find any verses in the Bible that say love all your neighbors except the gay ones. I can find lots that say love your neighbor like you love yourself. I think you need to worry more about hell than Teri and her other writer.

Anonymous said...

Word: patience.

Jessica said...

Hi Terri,

My name is Jessica and I want you to keep writing all the time. My youth minister read us your coming out blog a while ago and sometimes he reads them to us at youth group. But there are some of us in junior high who read you every week and you help us. Your storys tell us not to give up and to be kind to everyone. I think you have a good spirit and I hope I can meet you sometimes.

Anonymous said...

My word is heart. My mom's is love. My dog's is play. :)

Anonymous said...

Is your guest blogger gay or straight? Her positive energy is over the top but I can't decide from her writing if she's gay or straight. Do tell more guest writer!

Anonymous said...

Breathe is my word.

Ramer said...

My words are duck duck goose! :)

William said...

I'm a writer, Terrie. A successful writer. As in I make a great living as a writer and have for several years. I'm good at writing. I know it and my readers know it. I'm an arrogant son of a bitch and I rarely compliment another writer. Remember what you just read.

I am a successful writer but I do not possess the gift you have. You have the gift of heart. You not only write from your heart, you share of your heart. Readers learn facts from my writing and they enjoy interesting tales. But from your writing, readers experience your heart. My readers read, but your readers feel. You have the gift very few writers have and all writers envy. You have the gift of heart.

I'm a good writer. I'm a successful writer. You are a gifted writer. My heart is growing because of your words.

Don't give up. There aren't many people I think the world needs but it needs you. Heart. Remember that, kid. You have the gift of heart. Don't waste it or throw it away.

Anonymous said...

my word is friendship. thank you for the inspiration!

Candace said...

Terrie, I am a long time fan of yours and I have missed your words more than you know. Though you haven't known it, you have been with me through the death of both my parents and two of my beloved dogs. You have helped me to laugh at my own fear of thunderstorms and I rode an airplane for the first time in my 47 years of life just one month ago today (but I took plenty of anxiety medicine to do it). We shed tears together as our children moved to other countries and we walked the road of depression together. You have caused me to see homeless people on the street with eyes of love and compassion rather than judgement and disgust. You have walked with me as I have struggled with my faith and you have shown me that real faith means loving others as God loves us. Though we have never met and probably never will Terrie, you have helped me greatly on my journey through life. If I could take your pain, I would take it all to repay you for the joy your writing gives me. I am eternally greatful for you, Terrie.

Anonymous said...

Generosity is my word for 2015.

I love Jehovah God said...

It doens't matter how much good you try to do it will never change your definition of being a gay in the eyes of God. There's a reason you have so much shame and guilt and depression and that is you are a gay. The equal on marriage and gay right agenda is from the mouth of satan and is destroying the family as God meant for it to be. The people that say you're helping them will be sharing a caldron wiht you in hell.

Anonymous said...

My word is forgiveness.

Anonymous said...

Follow your heart Terri and write what it tells you to write. Ignore the haters for the ignorant people they are. Anyone who knows you knows you are one of the most kind, selfless, loyal women on the planet. Hugs and much love to you friend!

Anonymous said...

Kudos to the guest writer for your advice on making this a great year! And Terrie the feathers lesson is brilliant and powerful. Welcome back!

Anonymous said...

I choose it gets better for my word because I need to believe it will.

Rocky Balboa said...

Not trying to be bossy but you need to write everyday right now so you don't back up to not writing again. You have to fight to stay out of the cave. I know it's hard because I'm a cave dweller myself but you have to fight!

Anonymous said...

Love your courage and brave spirit. Don't let the haters bring you down. They're just jealous because they know your heart is purer than theirs. I believe in you, keep at it!

Anonymous said...

I agree with the comment saying you just don't get it or have a clue how important you are to so many people. But I also understand how hard it is to battle back again and again when people shove you down and treat you less than them. That's why you have to believe in yourself and in what you do to help all of us. We need you Terri please keep writing.

Anonymous said...

Everybody needs someone to rescue them from time to time. Thanks to your friend for rescuing you Terrie. Hope she knows rescuing you means she's rescuing many others. Thanks to your friend.

Mike said...

Wake up and smell the coffee Terre. You are a damn good writer and we miss you. Screw the haters, they are just stupid jerks. Keep it up because we are watching everyday. :)

Follower of Jesus said...

Wake up and smell the burning fires of hell because you will smell them for all eternity. You and your homoloving friends with you.

Bess said...

Love you Terrie.

Anonymous said...

My word is chosen.

Alex said...

Hello Teri. I am not a good writer like you but I want to try someday to be like you and write books for teenagers who are bullied and help them know to ask for help. My friend Kevin was bullied about being gay from when we were 8 years old and called names like fairy, pansie, facggot, sissie boy just to name a few. I am 15 now but Kevin jumped off a building last summer and he didn't live threw the jump. There are a lots of teenagers who are bullied and a lots that have seen your vidoe about having your ears opened and that it gets better. My momma reads your stories in here and she has let me read some after when Kevin died last summer. You are a very good writer and I like your friend writer who wrote this story with you and all about the feathers. Love Alex

Anonymous said...

Just be you. Awesome you! That's my word for the year: awesome!

Anonymous said...

So two nights without a post, just sayin'. :)

Anonymous said...

Every human being is entitled to respect and acceptance, including those who are caught in the grip of sin. But I must emphasize that while we are expressing compassion to homosexuals as individuals, we are morally obligated to call sin by its name and to oppose the radical agenda of the gay-rights movement. What activists are trying to accomplish in the culture is wrong, and it must be resisted.

That agenda includes teaching prohomosexual concepts in the public schools, redefining the family to represent "any circle of people who love each other," approval of homosexual adoption, legitimizing same-sex marriage, and securing special rights for those who identify themselves as gay. Those ideas must be opposed, even though to do so is to expose oneself to the charge of being "homophobic."

Fight back, Christians, for the battle is the Lord's.



Fred R. said...

Don't pay attention to the hateful ones such as the previous commenter who hide behind their twisted view of the Gospel. My Jesus cursed the religious leaders and loved the ones the church cast out. My Jesus loves me and He loves you, Terrie. Keep the faith, girl, you are doing His work.

Anonymous said...

Thank you for opening up your heart Terri and thank you to your guest writer for helping you find your way out of the dark. Don't give up, there are lots of us who need you and your amazing ingsight and wisdom. Thank you for giving us you.

Elise said...

I've been thinking about my word for the year every since I read this post. I'm choosing friendship for my word and hope I can have a friend like your friend is. Thank you guest blogger.

Rhonda L. said...

Dear sweet Terrie,

My friend Carla sent me this post to read on New Year's Day and I have now read all of your posts back to 2008 and watched your Ears Wide Open video. You are so caring and brave to share your joys and your struggles so openly in an effort to help others.

I lost my best friend Lois to suicide four years three months and fourteen days ago. Not one day passes that I don't think of her and of how I missed the signs of her depression. I blame myself daily for her death; I should have known more, listened to her more often, and spent more time with her. I should have paid more attention and seen her pain. I own a successful company and I live a very busy lifestyle. I would trade it all away for just one more day with my friend.

Thank you for writing, Terrie, and thank you to your sweet friend for her encouragement and support to you. I trust she knows that in helping you, she is helping all of your readers and all those you touch in your life as well.

God bless you,

Rhonda



Anonymous said...

Amen to what Rhonda said, Teri. You are helping so many people. Teri's writer friend, please push, pull, drag, slap her into writing more. We need her (and you)!

Anonymous said...

So answer the question, chick, are you single???????

Anonymous said...

My word for 2015 is live. Thank you guest writer!

Calvin said...

I've been reading your blogs for quite some time and you are a brilliant writer and the world is a better place because of you. I say we help Teri reach her dream and start a campaign and get Teri on the Ellen show!

Cammie said...

Lookie! Lookie! Lookie! I'm the 100th commenter!

I'm a longtime fan Terri and it's good to have you back! Keep writing sister! You have things we all need to hear!

I'm the 100th!

Marissa P said...

Marissa P said...
Ellen! Ellen! Ellen! Let's get this going and get Teri on the Ellen show! Copy and paste the link below and nominate Teri. And put it on facebook and twitter and get everyone you know to nominate her too!! We can do this and Teri deserves it!!!!!

http://www.ellentv.com/be-on-the-show/889/

MatthewandMike said...

Terry,

My brother Mike killed himself two months ago. I came home from school and found him. He hung himself in the closet. He made a video on his phone and said he was dying in the closet because it was where he had lived his life. I hate myself because I didn't know Mike was gay. I hate my parents because they didn't know either. I hate my church for making my brother feel like he would go to hell for being gay. I hate that my brother thought dying was his only way out of the closet. My counselor at school gave me your blog and told me to read it. I started with the one when you came out and have read all of them since. You need to keep writing Terry even if it's hard right now. I want your friend that wrote with you to keep making you write even when you hurt. It's you telling about your hurting and the way people treat you and being with depression that helps alot of people. Matthew

Anonymous said...

Oh how I've missed your beautiful words! Keep writing Terrie, you are bringing hope to millions!

we are roomies said...

I chose sincere for my 2015 word and my roommate chose truth for his. Great idea guest writer and we say thank you for sharing it with us and for bringing our Terrie back to what she does best. Hold on to her and don't let her stop again! xoxoxoxoxo :) :) :) :)

Anonymous said...

What's your word for the year, Terrie?

Grateful parents of an LGBT child said...

Dearest Terrie, my family is so grateful for you every day because without you we would not have our beautiful daughter. As the parents of an LGBT child, we understand the devastating effects hate can have upon gay, lesbian, bisexual or transgender youth and adults as well. Our daughter has been bullied and beaten because of her sexuality. She has been tormented by those who do not understand that her sexuality is not a choice she has made but rather the core of her being just as God created her to be. In 2013, she attempted suicide three times because she felt it was the only way to escape the abuse. Two weeks after she was released from the hospital following her third attempt, someone emailed your video to my husband. As we watched it together, we wept because we knew it was our daughter you made the video for. We waited patiently for our daughter to reach the point when we thought we could show it her and when we did, we knew we had made the right decision. She now works with other LGBT teens as a peer counselor and just began training to become a suicide prevention hotline volunteer. She has shared her story many times and each time she does, she mentions you and the people of Ears Wide Open? and says you are her angels. We had tried many different channels for several years to help our daughter accept her sexuality and fight the depression. But you are the one who reached her Terrie and we will be forever grateful to you. Our daughter is a changed person because of you and I believe our daughter is alive because of you. Please do not stop writing and speaking, if for no one else for those of us who are parents of LGBT children. Thank you and God bless you. Lois and John

Anonymous said...

Amen and amen, Lois and John. We are also grateful parents of a beautiful LGBT son. Love to you both and know you are not alone in your sentiments and gratitude.

Anonymous said...

Do you really believe you will go unpunished for your blasphemous words advocating the homosexual lifestyle?

Jordan said...

Stay strong Terri and keep writing and telling your story. Friend writer stay after her and keep her writing. Thank you Terri and friend writer!

Anonymous said...

My word is strength.

Anonymous said...

You haven't posted since Friday. You should write. Just saying. :)

Anonymous said...

Terrie I have been out of the country with virtually no internet access and have been catching up on your blogs. All I have to say is you must continue to write from your beautiful soul. Even if your soul is wounded and your heart is hurting, your beauty continues to shine through and touch all of us who read your words. You must continue writing, if not for you, for me. Thank you, Terrie, for sharing yourself so openly.

Anonymous said...

“A word after a word after a word is power.” ― Margaret Atwood

Remember when you first starting walking with your dog JR? You didn't think about how many steps it would take to get you where you are today with your weight loss and health. You only thought about taking one step at a time. I know it's hard for you right now, I read it in your words and am sure if I knew you personally I could see it in your eyes. Just do a word after a word after a word and you will find your strength again. I'm so glad you have your friend to push you, good job to your friend. Don't give up, Terrie and don't give up on her, friend.

Anonymous said...

I know you feel like you've been kicked in the gut and the wind is knocked out of you. Take a deep breath and stand back up and fight. Remember the people who are counting on you and need you back.

Peyton said...

You know what you need Terry? You need a good old-fashioned girls night out! Why don't some of your friends there in Kansas take you out for a night on the town? Come on ladies, get with it and help Terry get some cheer on. If I didn't live in California, I'd be setting something up pronto! Like Terry says alot in her blog, step up and step in!

Anonymous said...

In the words of the wonderful Truvy from Steel Magnolias:
"I have a strict policy that nobody cries alone in my presence." I want you to know I cry every time I read your blogs. You speak to my heart Terri and I hope you keep writing!

Anonymous said...

You cant turn your heart away from the Lord and not expect punishment in return. Homosexuality is a sin and an abomination before God.

Anonymous said...

Love thy neighbor jerk.

Jack K. said...

Hi, Terrie. My name is Jack and I am currently a student at Vanderbilt University in Nashville. My mother heard you speak at a women's event in 2011 that she attended with her best friend. Mother has been reading your blogs since then but I began reading on January 1, 2013 - your coming out post. Mother forwarded your post to me and asked me to read it and I've been a fan since.

I think you don't know how much you help others, Terrie, or how many lives you have saved by telling your story. Your post accomplished what Mother hoped it would - I came out two weeks after reading it and I also confessed my own suicide plan to my parents as well. Like you, the church where my family had attended since I was a baby rejected and condemned us. They even went so far as to publicly ban us from the congregation and forbid the members (many of whom were close family friends) to have any contact with us or they would be removed from the church as well.

These two years have been difficult ones for my family and especially for my younger siblings. But I am blessed to have their unconditional love and support and they stand behind me through the good and the bad alike.

Please don't stop writing, Terrie. I know what it is to be ashamed of who you are, to be ridiculed and treated as a lesser person in society. I know great strides for equality are happening but I also know much hate remains. Be strong, Terrie and know that you have an army of students in Tennessee that are pulling for you and standing with you. We need you, Terrie - we need your wisdom and your leadership. Stay strong! Regards, Jack K.

Anonymous said...

Seems its time for your friend writer to push your want to write button and get you going again. Its been a few days and where are you?

Anonymous said...

Missing your heart Terri. So sorry for the sadness in you and wish I could bear it for you. So many need you, love, and I am praying for your heart to heal.

Anonymous said...

This morning I prayed for you Terry. You've been on my mind constantly since I read this post a few days ago and I sense that your soul continues to be troubled by the feathers you so articulately described. I hope some day you will feel comfortable in sharing your current struggle with your readers and allow us to minister to you the way you continue to minister to us. God bless you Terry and give you courage and strength to walk the path He has set before you. Many thanks to your co-writer friend and may God bless her as she journeys with you as well.

MITCHELL said...

KEEP WRITING!!!!!! IT'S BEEN TOO MANY DAYS AGAIN!!! THE LONGER YOU DON'T WRITE THE HARDER IT WILL BE TO WRITE AGAIN. BELIEVE IN YOURSELF BECAUSE LOTS OF PEOPLE DO TERRIE. WRITE WRITE WRITE!!!!!!

Anonymous said...

You are loved by so many Terry. I know its hard for you to see that right now but its true. Keep your head up and don't give up.

Anonymous said...

Did you get the gift I sent you? The necklace with the feather in it. You don't know me but I am your biggest fan and I live in New York. From your pictures I can tell your eyes are a beautiful blue and the necklace will make them look even bluer. I hope you wear it every day and remember what I put in the note because I mean it. You need to start writing again because I need you to help me get through my days. I hope I can meet you in person someday because you are so great and I am your biggest fan.

Anonymous said...

Purely phenomenal writing from both of you ladies! Do it again and again and again because you two writing together is dynamite!

Freda B. said...

How did I miss this post? Thank God for your friend and thank God for you Terry!

Anonymous said...

My comment is for the guest writer. What can we do to get you to get Terrie writing again?

Jimmy said...

I just became a reader of your blog last year Teri so I missed this post. Thank you to your guest writer for bringing you back and we're all hoping she can do it again.

Anonymous said...

Sounds to me like Terrie's got a feather problem again.