4 Reasons to Write your Epitaph Today… Yes, Really

It’s pretty clear that none of us are getting out of here alive, so while we have this limited amount of time to consider what kind of impressions we hope to leave in this world, perhaps a little dose of silly with our sacred will light the path this week.

Four Reasons to Write your Epitaph Today

Epitaph_Funny1. Life, as we know it, will end in death. – Yes, it’s true for every one of us, that we all die in the end and staying connected to that grave reality (of course pun intended) is one of the reasons I was able to produce and publish Enlightened-ish this year. In 2011, I saw firsthand how death affects the living, first in March when I witnessed a suicide and the second time, in September, when my father passed away. I’ll tell ya, nothing makes traffic jams, gossip, relationship trauma, church hypocrisies, and self-imposed drama look more like a waste of time than having the crushing reality of one’s mortality thrown in your face. In the end, there is an end. So why not give some thought now, to how it’s going to sound to those who are still here after you’re gone? Legacy. Think about it.

2. Life, as we know it, is sometimes very dark. – Yes, it’s true that we are all building great castles in the sky, with our dreams, books, blogs and highest intentions, but we also are equally aware of the “darker” side of the human experience. Writing your own epitaph gives you that moment to consider the “ick” and perhaps even the “negative” parts of the human condition. Indulge in it just a little bit… it won’t kill you, will it? (Damn the puns are too easy.)Epitaph_Poignant

3. Life, as we know it, requires insights. – Good heavens, we are missing the mark when we fail to reflect on our own lives. Of course, there is a balance to this and we need not become narcissistic in our self-evolution, but imagine how much easier your life would be if you could access your internal hindsight wisdom before it becomes hindsight! Reflection is good for the soul… it may not be like this “on the other side,” but as far as being human goes, the more aware we are of our own motives and obstacles to peace and self-accountability, the better!

epitaph_mg4. Life, as we know it, is meant to be lived. – Epitaphs represent the silly, the complicated, the direct and the meaningful experiences in the human condition. Ultimately, they represent that a person’s life was in fact, lived, and hopefully, with abundance and with every ounce of passion, determination and vulnerability that we can muster. So… writing your epitaph is a way of creating a mantra that can anchor you personally, in all that is going on around you so you remember what you’re all about when it’s all said and done.

Having said that… I took a stab at writing my own epitaph… and here’s what I came up with:

Gail Dickert: 1978 – ?: “She loved like her life depended on it… until it killed her.”

Namaste, lovelies 😉

P.S. (If you’re a Bible-friendly person, you will recognize my epitaph as it relates to I Peter 4:8. It’s been a personal mantra since I first read it, at age 12. I expect to go out making sure people wonder how this Bible College Grad became a hippie, lesbian Turtle Whisperin’ homospiritual 😉 )

By the way, speaking of legacies, I have the honor of sharing a review of my first book Coming Out of the Closet without Coming Apart at the Seams, here. It’s really powerful for me, to know that my coming out memoir would make my tombstone proud 😉

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Gail Author PhotoGail is the author of Enlightened-ish and Coming Out of the Closet without Coming Apart at the Seams. She is a hippie pre-school director and advocate, as well as spoken word artist and general badass. She also co-facilitates an online community for survivors of fundamentalist perspectives on homosexuality.

Waving the Freak Flag: Part 2

(Here comes part two in my “Wave your Freak Flag” series which is aimed at celebrating my wacky homospirituality and my gay pride at the same time… because I can. Happy Pride Month!)

I was scribbling a poem about love (and how it disappoints if intimacy isn’t in its proper place) and the sentence that tripped me is, “She teases me with virtue and pleases me with purity.” How much of a burden do I feel now knowing that I shared such a cheesy line with my readers?

Cheesy, first because I’m writing love poems and it’s not even February.

Cheesy… mainly because I used the word “virtue.”

Virtue? Who uses that word? It sounds like a religious buzz word, some kind of gunk in your teeth or at best, an accusation. (Virtue? Why, I never!)

I can’t think of a more sexless word than virtue and I was immediately frustrated to see it pop up in a love poem. I thought, “Am I trapped in a medieval poetry contest… and losing?”

Much to my chagrin, it turns out that the word virtue isn’t nearly as obscure as I originally thought. I sat with it for a while and decided that if I said it over and over again, it would start to fill in its own blanks about its value.

I wrote “Virtue is…” on a piece of paper and waited for the words to flow. As the thoughts came, I discovered something revealing about myself, my understanding of a feminine god and my spirituality. As I wrote, I recalled the only place in the Bible where I remember the word “virtue” and it was in relations to Proverbs 31, which is grossly overused by Christians as the description of the perfect woman.

Turns out, I can do one better than the writer of the 31st chapter of Proverbs. Go figure. (What did Solomon know about virtuous women? Let a lesbian take a stab at this topic…)

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Virtue is exploring sexuality with a rose in one hand and your integrity in the other.

Virtue is working hard when no one is watching and hardly watching when nothing is working.

Virtue is running out of ink and deciding to dance.

Virtue is knowing when to read between the lines and when to blur them.

Virtue is a willingness to be wrong but compassionate when you’re so very right.

Virtue is having a clue and a cause and the means to not only take a stand but take a knee.

Virtue is not a word fit for a poem, but a trait fit for a queen…

Ahh, to my beloved Queen, the goddess, the one from whom all blessings flow. This creature here, down below, is deepening her connection to the beautiful world she has been given but learning boundaries that one could never have attained were it not through loss and pain. And so I bow to your wisdom and say, “You tease me with virtue and you please me with purity.”

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Whoa, all that said and suddenly the writer of Proverbs 31 sounds like he is rattling off a task list while my words come out rushing out from the soul of a love-sick feminist hippie.

Yes! Taking a little red pen to the Bible is much more enjoyable than I ever thought possible.

But here’s the thing that is tripping me up and I’ll share briefly then leave you to ponder it. If this is virtue, in all its esoteric glory, what say ye on the matter of purity?

And pray tell, what does love got to do with it anyway?

Well, I’ll leave you Tina Turner fans on that happy note and close by giving a shout out to a peculiarly sexually progressive yet purity-driven lil’ group called Les Be Pure (www.lesbepure.com) Their work on the Facebook site www.facebook.com/GayChristians is interesting and promotes healthy sexual purity and while I’m not 100% sure what that means as defined by the Church, I’m diggin’ their approach. This isn’t an official endorsement of their theology because I’m way too liberal for that but it is a place to go if you’re looking for some purity in your life and you think you can’t access it because Christianity has the market cornered on it. (Which we all know it doesn’t…)

Namaste and Happy Pride!

-gail