Callie: [00:00:00] Big shout out this week to hippopotomonstrosesquipedalion, Claire, Bethany, Eron, Sosh, Russel, Fil, Liam, Linda, Philip, Anna, Crass, and Noelle for becoming new patrons. Heroes and Legends, all of you. I love you to bits. My name is Callie, Wright, and this is Queersplaining.
Raise your hand if you’re in dire need of some wholesome content.
I know the fuck I am. I’ve talked about my mom on the show before and I love her to pieces. I think she did a fantastic job raising me, and we have a great relationship to this day. And I’m sure we always will. If you like me, you’ll love my mom. So this week, how about you get to know her a little bit?
Callie: [00:00:42] Hi Mama, Bear.
Mama Bear:: [00:00:43] Hey!
Callie: [00:00:44] So thanks for doing this. I know this kind of thing is not normally your thing.
Mama Bear:: [00:00:53] No, it’s not.
Callie: [00:00:55] Thank you for humoring me
Mama Bear:: [00:00:57] sure.
Callie: [00:00:58] uhhm, so
Mama Bear:: [00:01:00] Paybacks are hell though, remember that…
Callie: [00:01:01] ohhhh fuck, okay…
Callie: [00:01:04] So, I’ve been on this sort of journey lately of trying to, I dunno like better understand myself try to figure out like, parts of my personality parts of myself where that came from.
And you know, I did this big long episode about the whole saga that was like meeting my dad and all of the issues that came with that and all of that kind of stuff and like obviously that. Having a parent who was absent and that way and having a stepdad that I never really got along with like that shaped a lot of, you know, who I am now and those those are things that are normally associated with people being like maladjusted right, but I don’t.
I don’t really feel like I am. Like I have issues like everyone does but I’m mostly pretty happy healthy well-adjusted adult and there are lots of people in my life that I have to think for that. But if I can pick the one person most singularly responsible for that, it’s you thank you my name and I feel like I know you I know your personality and I know like who you are as a person, but I was thinking about it and I don’t.
I don’t know that we’ve spent a lot of time talking about like your life and what experiences shaped you that therefore shaped, you know, how you raised me and helped, you know mold me into the person that I am. So tell me a little bit about like, like what are what are your earliest memories growing up?
Mama Bear:: [00:02:44] We used to call ourselves The Brady Bunch because that was a big show back then. You know, of course there were four boys and two girls, my stepdad who I called my dad because he’s the only dad I knew had three sons and then I had a brother and a sister so we got along pretty well pretty well growing up in the early days.
It was, it was good. And then I guess it’s just like kind of like everybody else, you know, once you start growing up and trying to be yourself. Being independent then, you know that’s when like clashes started and you know, my dad became a drunk so I kind of lived with that as well. You know, your grandma was just such a fanatic about going to church.
We weren’t really allowed to have our own thoughts and opinions. We were expected.. Of course that was the times back then as well. You know, we were expected to follow what they said and you know do what they said and when you didn’t then that cause problems so um I guess that’s where the problem started.
Callie: [00:03:44] Yeah, how did you handle that?
Because I’ve never known you to be a person who is comfortable with like, feeling like you’re like being told how you have to do things. I’m interested in stories about that.
Mama Bear:: [00:03:58] You know, I mean I didn’t get in trouble a whole lot because I’m also a quiet person. So, you know, sometimes it just takes a while to get me going and stuff and and plus I had brothers and sisters who are getting in trouble as well.
So sometimes you could kind of like slide underneath the radar because somebody else is doing something worse than you were, but then you know, you start acting out. You just don’t do what they tell you to do and do your own thing and you know, and then you get grounded and…
Callie: [00:04:24] I don’t know that you’ve ever told me that specifically before but just in some of the conversations that we’ve had. I’ve kind of gotten the sense that that was the environment. And one of the things that like I always brag on you about was that you were kind of the polar opposite of that as a parent growing up. Like I always felt like like as long as I had the important stuff squared away, like I was like showing up to school like not getting in trouble and my grades were good.
Like I was kind of allowed to do whatever I wanted and I feel like that, that really helped me form not just like like a sense of my own self identity. But also like just like figuring out how to handle shit on my own and like like I always knew that I could come to you if I needed something but, I didn’t feel like I like I had to come to you. Like I learned a sense of Independence.
And is that why? You parented that way or is that just something that was sort of intrinsic to your personality? Do you think that informed that at all?
Mama Bear:: [00:05:16] Oh, I think it ho had a whole lot to do with the way I was brought up because I was bound and determined I wasn’t going to parent the same way my parents parented me.
And I mean, I think that’s what makes a person a person is you have your own thoughts and you have your own desires and you don’t do things the same way I do even though we do the same thing. We don’t do it the same way and I think that’s important for everybody to find out themselves. And I think everyone has to figure out how to handle problems, and even the good times, you know, you have to learn how to maintain those and you just have to learn how to do that yourselves and you can’t do that. If someone’s constantly telling you what to do and how to act definitely yeah the way I was brought up definitely had a lot to do with the way that I tried to bring you kids up.
Callie: [00:06:05] Talk me through finding out you’re pregnant with me.
Mama Bear:: [00:06:12] You know back when I was pregnant with you, it wasn’t commonplace for people to be single parents and and things like that, but I just, it just it is what it was, you know, and I I never considered an abortion or anything like that.
It was just your dad was like, well, you know, we’ll just we’ll kind of see…
His parents… And I don’t know because its… I don’t know. It’s kind of bad to say I guess and hopefully it doesn’t reflect badly on me, but, you know, I really didn’t know him that long. Before you know I became pregnant but I think his parents had a lot more control over him.
I don’t think he was quite as independent and I I don’t know because I think his parents had a lot to do with the way he reacted to finding out that I was pregnant. You know, it was just kind of like well and you know, if I got to do this myself then I got to do this myself. So I don’t know that I was you know, like ecstatic over the moon jumping up and down, but it was just like well I’m pregnant and I’m going to have a kid and let’s see how this goes, you know, and it just…
Callie: [00:07:18] I don’t think that I ever heard. Your side of the story because I feel like like growing up, I got the sense that you are still very angry at my dad and I’m like, it’s probably valid whatever it was. But like I spent a lot of time like kind of afraid to ask. And and I also felt like especially in the time before I decided to meet my dad. I like it wasn’t even really sure that it mattered because like I had my family and that was like what I cared about
But the night that we met the first time basically, you know, he kind of boiled the story down. Is that like. Like he just got scared and ran off
Mama Bear:: [00:07:50] well, and I don’t even know that that’s the the truth because my take from it was when his mom and dad found out I was pregnant, his mom and dad had him committed.
Callie: [00:08:02] Wow. I didn’t know that.
Mama Bear:: [00:08:05] Yeah, I don’t know if there were other issues before that and I’m sure there were because I you know, I’m sure you just can’t walk up and say, you know commit my son. Yeah, but I don’t know if they were valid or and I don’t like I said, I don’t know what his home life Dynamics were I don’t
Callie: [00:08:21] right,
Mama Bear:: [00:08:22] you know, so he was out of the picture just about the whole time and then when I took him to court for child support his dad actually showed up he didn’t.
And like I said, I don’t know but I think at that point he was happy with that. He was happy letting his parents control him or control his future.
It’s just me and you kid!
Callie: [00:08:42] Yeah. (laughs)
Something that I always credit you with is that like, I feel like I was, I was pretty old before I realized that our family situation wasn’t like quote-unquote normal, you know. Because for the longest time it was you me and Aunt Tracy and like I knew Tracy was my aunt and I know like most people live with their mom and dad.
I don’t have that but I never liked went without food and I like I always felt safe and I always felt loved and I felt taken care of, so it was just like as a kid, I had my basic needs met so I wasn’t really worried about anything else. Um, I don’t know if I’ve ever told you the story before because it’s kind of embarrassing.
I was in fifth grade, and I remember standing in the lunch line. Because I remember they had just like redone the lunch thing and we were standing in a new place and I remember the the cinder block walls like freshly painted white and I’m standing next to this kid. For some reason,I remember he was wearing a South Park shirt. I have no idea why that detail sticks out in my mind.
We were just like talking about our families and I was like, “yeah, I live with my mom” and they’re like, “where’s your dad?” And I was like, “I don’t have one” and he was like, he’s like, “well everybody has a dad.” I was like “no like I think my mom just got pregnant. I think that’s something that happens. Like I think. Yeah, I think that’s what happened. I think that like my mom just got pregnant and like I just have a mom because I just didn’t know any better.”
Mama Bear:: [00:10:12] It was cause I loved you so much! I did! And it’s different. It was just so different because when you’re pregnant you just I don’t know. I’m pregnant. I’m going to carry this thing around inside me for nine months, but when you have a baby when you actually have that living human being because you were my first child, and I didn’t know all that stuff, you know, and but so so when you have that it was just it was really neat, you know.
Because it was just and I think I told somebody it was it was nice having you so young because I just felt like we kind of got to grow up together and I got to appreciate things all over again. Just watching you discover things.
Callie: [00:10:49] How old were you when you had me?
Mama Bear:: [00:10:51] . I was 22.
Callie: [00:10:54] Like for a long time when you have a kid like it’s a person but it’s really just like a pooping crying yelling eating mess, righ? And there comes a point where kids start to actually develop personalities and become people quote unquote, talk to me about that. Do you remember any fun stories from that period?
Mama Bear:: [00:11:12] I, I really think you had you had a personality I think from the moment you came out because you were just… Seems like from the moment I brought you home from the hospital, you had your days and your nights confused. So it was like you wanted to sleep more during the day than you did at night and it was just oh Lord.
It was it was a difficult time. But it was that was you, you know, you were just being you so I I really think that you just. You came out with your own little strong-willed ” I’m here” personality type thing. You know, you were always kind of you were you were always a sweet kid. You really were and you were you were a good baby you you were except for that little for that little instance, but you were just always you were just always curious and you know wanting to try new things or and you were always excited to go someplace.
And it just really wasn’t hard keeping you entertained or you finding something to keep yourself entertained. So
Callie: [00:12:21] and what about, what about you during this period of time like, you know, when you have a newborn and you have a kid, obviously that consumes probably most of your life, but probably not all of it. Right? Like what did you have going on and life at this point?
Mama Bear:: [00:12:34] I, um, I did hair before I had you but when I got pregnant with you I quit doing hair because I just couldn’t be on my feet all day long, so it was kind of like “so what am I going to do to support myself and you? So I did I went back to school for a while.
And then I started working for your Uncle Jim which kind of made it easier because I kind of maybe stroll in a little bit later, you know, check out a little bit earlier something like that. But you know, I and I did I had I really did have a good supportive background, you know, I mean because you know, your grandpa was your grandpa was.
furious with me that “oh my God, how dare I could be pregnant not get married and stuff.” But you know when you came into the world, I mean your grandpa was just like fucking. (awkward pause)
Callie: [00:13:26] No, you don’t have to, you don’t have to censor yourself. We can we can cuss
Mama Bear:: [00:13:31] your grandpa was head over heels for you. I mean, you know, you were the light of his life.
So, you know, I had you know, he always volunteered to watch you, your grandma volunteered to watch you. I had your Aunt Tracy to watch you. So I could, I could go out and I could have, you know, like if I wanted to go out at night or something, I could go out and I could do things. I guess in a way I did have it a lot better than some people do because I wasn’t tied down
Callie: [00:14:01] well especially as a single parent, right? Because if there’s two parents you can just go like hey like “Dad’s staying home with the kids tonight so Mom can go out or vice versa.” But and so you had to rely on my grandma and Aunt Tracy
Mama Bear:: [00:14:12] and you and so that gave you a broader supportive system, you know. So you had more people. And I think that might have been something that kind of.. Cause you’re so outgoing and you just you know, no strangers, you know, and you’ve always been like that but you know, and that might have been something because you weren’t it wasn’t just me and you you know what I mean, and we weren’t locked up in a room 24 hours a day, you know, we went out and we did things but you had other people that you went out and did things to so Grandma was watching you one day, you know, you guys went shopping and so you had that whole new experience plus you were seeing all these other people and seeing all this out of the things and so yeah, so I think that really had a lot to do to uh to help shape you and your personality and things too.
Callie: [00:14:56] I mean, I have lots of great memories of like. Like I loved going aunt Tracy’s because she had HBO. So like, you know, we’d post up on the couch watching movies. That was awesome. My grandma would always cook.
Mama Bear:: [00:15:09] Coffee. You got to drink coffee.
Callie: [00:15:11] Yeah, and I hated it. Like I drank it because I was like, well, apparently this is a thing adults do so, I’m gonna give it a shot. This is disgusting, but I’m gonna keep… (laughs)
Callie: [00:15:24] Talk to me about the role of religion in your life.
I mean obviously, you know, Grandma was and is like super super religious and I get the feeling that you got a lot more of that pressure than I did, obviously like being her kid. She didn’t quite have the same power over me. And I always thought that it was a really interesting dynamic that when Grandma would talk to me about like going to church and religion and God it never felt coerced.
Which like given the religious tradition that she comes from I find weird. Because that’s kind of their thing. And I wonder if that was just maybe because like I mean, I don’t feel like Grandma has ever been like super super good with boundaries but like, I wonder if, I wonder if that was maybe like.. She was trying not to cross a boundary by not being so pushy because I never really felt like she was overtly pushy like she would bring it up.
And sometimes we would like argue and have conversations and stuff like that. But like I never felt like she was like disappointed in me as a person like especially when I came out and said like yes, I’m an atheist.
I’m curious what your experience with that has been because I remember I have one memory in particular if you getting really mad at me about doing something with a Bible. And like and I remember thinking that was weird as a kid because I was like, I don’t think she’s really religious. Why is this a big deal to her?
Mama Bear:: [00:16:51] I wasn’t really religious and you know, I’m not really really just now, it’s just, I just think that the Bible is and and maybe it’s just because I’ve been taught that my whole life is just a sacred book and you just don’t do things like that to Bibles but I don’t think you should treat other books that way either.
Yeah, you know, so I just I I’m a book person, you know that. But you know, I grew up with religion shoved down my throat and like I said, you know you you weren’t really allowed to question why or how or why should I believe this. It’s because I said so. And so as a teen you just well, you know, I don’t have to accept this and so you want to think your own things.
And so when you don’t have the answers then you just it’s like well, you know, “nobody’s going to give me an answer. I don’t believe in it” and that’s kind of where you go with it. And I don’t know, maybe that’s why she didn’t try to. But I don’t think she had to impose on you. I mean you went to church with her we were when you were young and and things like that, but I… I don’t think she learned her lesson with us kids by trying to jam it down our throats. But none of us, well, except one now,
Callie: [00:18:02] right
Mama Bear:: [00:18:03] but for a long time, none of us were church-going people and living the life like she does or says she does.
Callie: [00:18:12] Do you think that’s maybe a somewhat significant part of the reason that you and her super close now?
Mama Bear:: [00:18:20] I don’t think that that religion really had a whole lot to do with it. I put up with a lot growing up, you know, you overlook it. You know, I thought “that’s, that’s my mom. Family’s unconditional love. You forgive and you forget.”
And you can do that for a while, but after a while it’s just like. “I don’t have to take it. I don’t have to be talked to that way. She has no right to talk to me that way, she has no right to treat me that way and and I don’t have to…” I mean, it’s not that I hate her but I truly have no desire to talk to her. Because in her mind she’s done nothing wrong, you know, and and if anything was ever said to her, I’m sure what she would say is “I never said those things.”
That’s just kind of how I am, you know is this I choose, I choose not to be around you because you’re not going to talk to me that way, and I’m not going to argue with you over that, you know. So you be your person and I’ll be mine and we’ll just do it.
Callie: [00:19:23] You got married when I was, was I 7 when you got married?
Mama Bear:: [00:19:29] Oh Lord. Oh gosh, maybe. Yeah,
Callie: [00:19:32] I mean, ish, like in that vicinity
Mama Bear:: [00:19:34] right
Callie: [00:19:35] talk to me about that.
Mama Bear:: [00:19:37] It was, it was exciting. But then again it was just kind of like a little scary because you and I had been you and I forever. And then you try and bring somebody new into that mix so you don’t really know what’s going to happen, you know. So it’s kind of exciting but then it’s kind of terrifying as well. you know?
Callie: [00:19:53] How did you meet Rick? I don’t think I ever heard that story
Mama Bear:: [00:19:57] your Aunt Tracy and introduced us, he worked with, he worked with her. And he wanted to take me out for a long time. And I refused to go out with him. And then it was just kind of like I was just like “fine. Okay, I’ll go out with him one time,” you know, and he was I mean, you know, anybody talks to him now. He was a super nice guy. And he would do anything for you. It’s just he has his priorities so screwed up that it just didn’t work.
Callie: [00:20:31] We were living with Grandma when you met him if I remember right
Mama Bear:: [00:20:34] right
Callie: [00:20:35] and I mean, I remember that moment when he came in and like he reached out to handshake me and like. When I’m that young there are few like, clear memories that I have but that’s one of them. And I just remember “who the fuck is this dude? Like like I got Grandma I got Mom. I’m fucking good to go. Right? I don’t need anything else, right? But I, but I mean I remember being excited because I remember how happy you are and I was like, “well if it makes mom happy, that’s cool. Like I’m I’m good with that. I can I can make this work.
Mama Bear:: [00:21:05] Right, right. Yeah, and we tried. Yeah, we tried sometimes things aren’t successful.
Callie: [00:21:12] yeah, that whole thing was so weird because I just feel like… And I, you know, I’m the kind of person like, I always try to give people the benefit of the doubt.
And I actually feel like that’s something that I learned from you because I remember when I was a kid, like I would make really quick judgments about something and you would always present an alternative like “well, maybe this is what’s actually happening” and it was just like kind of forced me to think through possibilities.
And so like I always want to give people the benefit of the doubt and I’m like, I know of very shitty things that he did. But like I mean, I’ve done shitty things in my life too. And like everybody has. And the thing that I always wonder is like did we not get along because he’s an asshole or do we not get along just because we’re two completely different people? I don’t know!
Mama Bear:: [00:21:56] I don’t know either. I know why I didn’t get along with him. You know, it was probably a combination of the both. I mean, he’s just a super nice guy to anybody and everybody except those that he needs to be a super nice guy too and to be super helpful to.
And I’ll just I’ll never forget it was kind of like the beginning of the end. Dinner was ready, and he just came home and we were sitting down to eat dinner and Bob called him
Callie: [00:22:29] Bob’s a longtime family friend
Mama Bear:: [00:22:31] and Bob wanted him to help do something.
Oh he was on his way! And it’s just like. I just put dinner on the table, can’t you sit down and eat? “Oh, Bob needs my help.” So but it’s like we’re your fucking family. and it’s probably not the first time that happened, but I think that was the first time it clicked that it was just like. Yeah, he’s a super nice guy. But his priorities are so screwed up and but that’s who he is and it’s never going to change.
Callie: [00:22:59] Yeah, and you know, and I remember noticing things like that as a kid. Because I remember talking with you about his family and how like his family was super closed off. And you know, like he was taught like you don’t talk about your feelings and that kind of stuff.
Like I don’t know that I ever thought of it this deeply before but I’m like I’m thinking about it now and it makes sense. I remember seeing a lot of things that is like in some ways, he was a people pleaser.
Mama Bear:: [00:23:24] MmHmm.
Callie: [00:23:24] So I feel like you know, he’s got family at home. So he’s married and he’s got a kid that he’s taken care of. So like that’s locked down and that’s taken care of. A friend calls him and needs him. Families on lockdown. I’m not risking this, but if I say no to him, I might be risking this so I got to go take care of this. And like and I can see priorities getting screwed up that way right and that’s and it’s like it’s like an infinite regress right?
Because it’s like well his parents fucked him up. And so it’s like, so like, so you can’t, maybe you can’t necessarily blame him for it entirely but it’s still a shitty thing that he is responsible for. And so like, who are you mad at? And maybe the answer is everyone
Mama Bear:: [00:24:04] but you know, I just, I am and I guess that’s true for some people, but I just, I just don’t buy into that. “My parents fucked me up. So now I’m fucked up and I’m going to fuck everybody else up.”
I think everybody has their own mind and I think everybody can make their own decisions and I think everybody has it in there somewhere to change things if they really want to, yo know?
Callie: [00:24:32] Well, my take on that is that it can be an explanation, but it can never be an excuse. Right?
Mama Bear:: [00:24:37] Right,
Callie: [00:24:37] right and so like. You know, I could I could point back to an issue that I have as a reason I reacted badly. But I still have to take responsibility for acting badly. And whatever hurt or harm caused is something that I’m still responsible for right? And so that’s like, so like I’ve identified a “me” problem that I need to work on fixing.
It’s not like like “oh, I like I had a shitty upbringing therefore everything I do is not my fault, right?” It’s “I had a shitty upbringing therefore I have issues I need to work on and take care of.”
Mama Bear:: [00:25:06] And that’s why I don’t want to treat somebody else that way because I know how it feels to be treated that way
Callie: [00:25:11] exactly. So, something that I’ve that I’ve always wondered about. And this is something that I don’t like, I always think through and like I’m not sure that I even have a hypothetical for this – is that I feel like…
I feel like things, things seemed like they were pretty good between you and him for like a couple of short years. There were definitely times where like I could feel that there was tension. And then, eventually I feel like oh like this is not really a thing anymore. But I always feel like I’ve had a pretty healthy view of like, like dating, and human relationships and stuff like that. Because like I’ve dated people and like things turned out badly , but like I feel like I’ve always been able to recognize that and see that and like I’m not sure where I learned that.
Mama Bear:: [00:25:58] I don’t know that I can say that, that I gave you that. You.. like I said you, you have always been a very compassionate person and you really, you’ve always thought about other people’s feelings. I’ll never forget, never forget. We were with Carolyn and her kids and
Callie: [00:26:17] Carolyn’s my aunt and her kids are Mark, Monica, and Melissa my cousin’s
Mama Bear:: [00:26:22] I don’t know if it was just me and you or I don’t know if there was some other people. And we were we were taking a walk and mark stepped on a bug, and you lost it you do you remember that?
Callie: [00:26:32] (laughin) I do
Mama Bear:: [00:26:33] (laughing)You lost it and
Callie: [00:26:34] it was an earthworm. It was an Earthworm. he stepped on an earthworm and I lost my shit.
Mama Bear:: [00:26:39] Yes, but it’s just, you’ve just always been that way. It’s just always, you just always, you knew what you cared about and you cared about those things.
So like I’m, I just I don’t know. I I don’t know. You’ve always been that way.
Callie: [00:26:57] So there are differences between child-parent relationships, romantic relationships, and that kind of stuff. But like I guess maybe…I can look at like, yours and my relationship as, as a model of like, I feel like we have a healthy relationship.
and I feel like that’s just because like, I mean we communicate with each other right. And I mean like there have been some times where I like I’ve had to work a little bit to pull stuff out of you, and you’ve had to work a little bit of pull stuff out of me. But I mean, that’s just like, I mean that’s just human stuff.
Right? Right. And so maybe it’s that .Like maybe it’s just recognizing the things that are healthy about our relationship that I’ve liked tried to apply to other things in my life.
Mama Bear:: [00:27:31] That could be. And it maybe it was just because you know, you just, I don’t know like… I just let you be you. It wasn’t like I tried to to put you in some kind of like little box and say this is how my child supposed to behave. I think maybe later in life I tried to do that to you maybe a little bit too much but…
Callie: [00:27:51] I remember some moments.
Mama Bear:: [00:27:54] Yeah, but you know, I mean, I just well that’s a whole nother episode.
Callie: [00:28:00] No, that’s literally this episode!
Mama Bear:: [00:28:03] But I think when you were young you just, you really did. You just got to experience things and be who you were and you really did have a whole lot of people around you that really loved and cared for you and I think you felt that because you weren’t like a happy kid.
Callie: [00:28:25] An so you said something earlier that made me think. You were talking about how. You never like tried to force me into like, doing one thing or another and then you said like well, “maybe I did a little bit more of that later on.” What did you have in mind when you said that
Mama Bear:: [00:28:41] I think the one thing that really sticks out in my mind was when you wanted to do a reverse Mohawk. Was that what was in your head too?
Callie: [00:28:50] No, it was not that’s a great example.
Mama Bear:: [00:28:53] I was just like. I mean we did. It we let you do it. But I was just like “oh my God, you got to wear a hat, when you’re with me you gotta wear a hat, you know,” cuz I just thought it was so awful. I really did, you know. But that that’s what comes to mind when I said I tried to put you in a box. Because it was like you were being creative, and I’m sure and people were doing weird stuff, and people still do weird stuff and I did weird stuff with my hair.
You know, but that was just so off the wall.
Callie: [00:29:26] I actually don’t remember you pushing back really hard on that. I remember you being like kind of skeptical and being like “Oh, come on, really?” I don’t I don’t feel like that pushback was super hard on that.
Mama Bear:: [00:29:37] Like when I told you you’re gonna have to put a hat on if you’re going….
Callie: [00:29:40] I don’t actually remember that. (laugh)
Mama Bear:: [00:29:42] Good! I didn’t scar you then! see?
(both laugh )
Callie: [00:29:46] what I remember is, Is when I told you that I didn’t want to play sports anymore, and that I was going to play music instead. When I decided I wasn’t going to play football. The, the last year that I played football was in ninth grade.
And I said that I wasn’t gonna I wasn’t going to play football or wrestle anymore because I wanted to focus on music. And I remember you being very unhappy about that.
Mama Bear:: [00:30:10] I was unhappy about that but I wasn’t unhappy, I don’t think because of the reasons why you think I was unhappy. Because I really thought you enjoyed. It and I thought that the reason why you were quitting playing sports was because you didn’t want to play because of who the coach was and I thought “you’re letting one person stop you from doing what you really enjoyed doing.” That’s why…
Callie: [00:30:31] I don’t remember disliking my coach
Mama Bear:: [00:30:33] who was going to be the high school coach… You couldn’t stand him, and that’s why I thought you wanted to quit playing sports.
Callie: [00:30:40] Why don’t I remember that??
Mama Bear:: [00:30:42] And I can’t remember what his name was, but you weren’t the only person who didn’t like him. And didn’t like the way he coached and things like that. And and I was and I thought and it was just kind of like. “You’re letting one person and of course, and he was a big person because he was the friggin coach, you know. But I thought you’re letting someone stop you from doing something that you really enjoy doing and. That’s why I was… Because I mean, you know me, I mean, there are few things that you know, if that’s what makes you happy then that’s what makes me happy.
Callie: [00:31:15] Well, I think that’s, I think that’s why I was so surprised. Because, because I had spent like almost like… “Cool. That’s what you want to do. Like I’m fucking here for it. Let’s do this,” you know, and, and I think that’s what it was. I think it was like kind of shock. I was like doing, like, switching switching up what I want to do in life.
Like that’s never been a big deal before like, why is… Why is it all of a sudden different?
Mama Bear:: [00:31:37] Yeah,
Callie: [00:31:38] I completely don’t remember that. What it was for me at the time was that getting into high school like, that’s where like the sports culture starts to get really really toxic, right? And I was already uncomfortable because I was like, like people were already smoking and drinking and there was even a little bit of drugs going on and I was just like…
That was not too long after I started kind of feeling some gender feels at the most basic of levels. Like I was not thinking about things in terms of identity or anything that way but like I think I was starting to recognize that like I didn’t I didn’t relate to people in stereotypically masculine ways. Like that culture started to feel kind of alien to me, but also I was like, like I, that was at the point where like I started to get close with Eric and Dusty and Johnny Peelman. You probably remember him.
Mama Bear:: [00:32:29] Yeah,
Callie: [00:32:30] and like that was all about like music and creativity and expression and I was really into Star Trek. And nobody on the football team ever actively like made fun of me or like made me feel bad.
Mama Bear:: [00:32:44] Cause you were a fucking bad-ass on the field!. They knew better!
Callie: [00:32:48] It was just more like… It was very very clear that. I was not among a group of people that I had a lot in common with.
Mama Bear:: [00:32:55] Right
Callie: [00:32:56] and I just didn’t feel super comfortable in that environment. Because everybody’s chasing girls and I’m like “I’m interested in girls. But like I’m trying to go on dates. I’m not trying to go back and like have sex with girls. Like all of these dudes are” because I was just not like I’m not going to pretend like that’s was completely out of my mind, but that was certainly not “I’m just trying to get laid” like that was not my attitude. Right?
Mama Bear:: [00:33:19] Right.
Callie: [00:33:20] And so and like. Music and that is like it just felt like more like “I’m with my people when I’m over here.”
Mama Bear:: [00:33:26] Yeah
Callie: [00:33:27] .And so, I mean that kind of started this whole music thing which I mean kind of ruled my life from the time that I was like 14 until the time that I was like 26.
Mama Bear:: [00:33:38] mmhmm
Callie: [00:33:39] Tell me about your thoughts as a parent in that whole thing like… I mean, I don’t remember ever feeling any like… Once we got past that initial like “I’m bummed you’re not playing football anymore” like I don’t. I don’t remember it ever being a problem.
Mama Bear:: [00:33:52] I thought it was cool, you know, I mean, I really did I thought it was cool. Because it just it takes somebody who’s very creative and very talented. I tried to learn how to play the guitar and I gave up very quick because I just couldn’t stand the calluses on my fingers, you know,
I couldn’t, I couldn’t play long enough to get them calloused enough to where it didn’t hurt. So I was you know, I was impressed. I was. I was really worried because it’s just you know, not everybody can make it as a rock star.
Callie: [00:34:17] Yeah, that was definitely where I wanted to be
Mama Bear:: [00:34:19] right. I know that. That so I still tried to encourage that and not discourage that. But I also tried to get you to, you know, like maybe go to college, or to think about other things. And, and I know I’m, and I don’t know if you remember this or not. You were in your bedroom one day and I kind of like walked in and I was like, “you know, you’re just so into music. Why don’t you think about maybe going to school to like be a music teacher in the music field and that way you’d still have your Summers off and you could tour and you know,” and you just looked at me like I was just like this alien,
Callie: [00:34:58] I don’t remember that!
Mama Bear:: [00:35:02] Yeah and the look I got… I was just like “I had to say it. I just had to say it!”
Callie: [00:35:05] For sure.
Mama Bear:: [00:35:11] that really was my only concern because it was just like, you know, that’s that’s great because you did you you enjoyed it. You were good at it. You really weren’t good at it. You know, and you were enjoying yourself and when you’re that age, that’s all that matters. But I was trying to get you to look towards the bigger picture, you know, and like I said, you just weren’t having any of it for a while (laughs) .
But you’ve just always been good at anything that you’ve decided to do. You know, anything that you’ve put your mind to. You just seem like you either pick it up, you know, just really super quick. Or you’ve already got some kind of little bug inside of you or something that you’re just like.
“Oh heck. Yeah, I can do this. Yeah. It’s now we’re going to do it,” you know.
Callie: [00:36:08] I feel like I picked a really bad time to come out. Because it was
Mama Bear:: [00:36:13] shoo
Callie: [00:36:14] (laughs)
Mama Bear:: [00:36:14] It was a bad year
Callie: [00:36:19] right
Mama Bear:: [00:36:20] Couple months. right. We’ll even shrink it down to a bad couple months. Yeah. Well and I just, and obviously like me coming out was at the beginning of most of that and I had no way to see the that was coming. Right
Mama Bear:: [00:36:31] right, absolutely,
Callie: [00:36:32] but it was just like like “hi, I’m trans. Also your house getting foreclosed on, you have to move back in with your mom that you don’t get along super well with. Here’s all of these giant life changing things, you know,
Mama Bear:: [00:36:47] And Grandma I didn’t have that bad of a relationship until I moved back in with her.
Callie: [00:36:51] Yeah,
Mama Bear:: [00:36:51] and that’s really kind of like where it like, came to a head. Because your grandmother just, she just refuses to recognize that people are people and people can have their own thoughts and you know, I was an older person at that time and I didn’t need, nor did I want is someone telling me what to do all the time.
So that’s, you know, it wasn’t that bad. it wasn’t that bad until I moved back in. but yeah, that is, that, it still wasn’t good news
Callie: [00:37:21] right, talk to me about what was going through your head when we had that conversation. We went out to Santa Claus, Indiana. And I remember it was supposed to be all of us. And Brad and Ambur couldn’t make it. I don’t remember what it was. And that was like, I was like, well, it’s going to be just me and Mom. This is like, it’s fucking now or never.”
Mama Bear:: [00:37:43] And (laughs) I don’t know that I want this on the air… Because when you first told me that you were transgender, I didn’t know what you meant.
I really didn’t. I, you know because I remember asking you “what’s that mean?”
Callie: [00:37:57] Well, what I remember is, you asking me if, I if I had gotten involved with someone that I wanted you to meet. And that’s why I was telling you now. Because I think at the time you thought I was telling you that I was bisexual or that I was gay.
Mama Bear:: [00:38:12] I don’t remember asking you that. I just remember, I remember being very confused.
Callie: [00:38:19] Yeah (laughs) that’s fair.
Mama Bear:: [00:38:21] So I think I was confused for a while because I just. Like I said, I wasn’t really sure what that meant. But I think after I kind of like understood what that meant… It really could have had something to do with all the other things that we’re going on in my life at that time, but I just I remember just being so panicked.
But it wasn’t, because I mean you’re you and I’m going to love you whatever you decide to do, but people aren’t that accepting. The world is not that accepting. And people do mean things to people who are you know, transge… They do mean things to people who are gay or just people who are just different, you know. Somebody who just looks different than them. People are mean. And there’s vicious, mean people out there and I was scared to death. I was scared to death that something really bad was going to happen to you. That that’s really kind of where I was at the beginning. I was, I was really confused and then I was terrified. Honestly, I was terrified.
Callie: [00:39:28] Well, you know the two people in our relationship that I was afraid I would not have a relationship with after coming out..
Mama Bear:: [00:39:34] Right…
Callie: [00:39:34] I never, never had that fear with you. I was like, I was like, “I’m sure she’s gonna have a bunch of questions and she’s probably a struggle with some of it. At the end of the day I have no fear of it being a big problem
Mama Bear:: [00:39:42] right
Callie: [00:39:44] but I just, I remember, you know, like when you’re doing something and it’s that big of a deal, like you play out a million different ways that that conversation goes in your head, right? And I’m just trying to think through all of the things that I’m going to say. And I want to make sure I’ve got all my talking points in order. And I want to make sure that I can explain things.
Mama Bear:: [00:40:00] Right
Callie: [00:40:00] and literally the one thing that you said is like “people are really mean and I’m like afraid that like something bad’s going to happen to you and I was like, I was like, “you’re fucking right and that’s the one thing. I don’t have an answer for because you’re fucking right.”
Callie: [00:40:15] What do you…
It’s so weird to ask this question in this way, but I can’t think of a better way to word it. What do you think about me?
Mama Bear:: [00:40:40] Hmmm… Well, you sure you want this recorded”
Callie: [00:40:44] I do!
Mama Bear:: [00:40:44] Nooo I’m just teasing you! You’re a good kid.
Callie: [00:40:51] awww shucks. Thanks, mama bear.
Mama Bear:: [00:40:55] Oh, wait a minute. Wait a minute, here. Can you stop that for a second?
Callie: [00:40:58] Sure. Is this something that I want to stop? Because I have a feeling you’re about to show me something that I want to get my reaction to on tape.
Mama Bear:: [00:41:05] no, i’m not gonna show you anything…
Callie: [00:41:07] So at this point, my mom has jumped off the couch and run into the kitchen. She comes back with this scrapbook she’s been working on. One of the coolest experiences I had as a kid was taking a student ambassador trip to Europe. My mom’s been working on this super badass scrapbook of my pictures from that trip for months.
Mama Bear:: [00:41:25] (baby talk) Let me find it goose girl! Gots to find it!
Callie: [00:41:29] And she’s now…
Mama Bear:: [00:41:30] then you can repeat that question…
Callie: [00:41:32] Baby talking to one of her dogs.
Mama Bear:: [00:41:34] the hell is it?
Callie: [00:41:36] She’s flipping the pages for a second until she finds what she’s looking for.
Mama Bear:: [00:41:39] Okay, and as turn it back on
Callie: [00:41:43] I never turned it off (laughing)
Mama Bear:: [00:41:45] oh shit! Callie!
Callie: [00:41:47] that’s what editing is for Mom!
Mama Bear:: [00:41:50] oh, well okay…
Callie: [00:41:51] It’s a page with a picture of 14 year old me. I’m wearing some kind of Austrian hat. And I have a giant cowbell around my neck, and the biggest, silliest, most ridiculous grin on my face. The page the picture is attached to has words printed on it.
Mama Bear:: [00:42:07] So what do I think of you? Okay?
Callie: [00:42:09] and she reads the words that are printed on the page
Mama Bear:: [00:42:12] artistic, passionate, bubbly, curious, rebellious, adventurous, caring, confident, outgoing, enthusiastic, tenacious, sensitive, persistent, talented, bright, amusing, shining, courageous, strong, active, gifted, thoughtful, loved, kind, imaginative, unique, generous, joyful, considerate, gentle, determined, adorable, derby girl! And you’re mine.
Callie: [00:42:43] Thank you so much for listening, friend. I love and appreciate you. As always I hope this finds you well, and if it doesn’t, I hope things get better for you soon. If you like the show and you want help support what we do. Tell your friends! As long as you’re not driving or anything, stop right now, think of at least one or two friends you have that might like the show, and shoot them a text message to tell them about the show. The more we grow this thing, the more important queer stories we get to tell. Thank you for all your support my friend. I love you.
Before I go, I want you to know that if you’re lost, you’re hurting, you’re scared, If you feel like no one cares and no one understands – you need to know there’s a community out here that loves you, cares for you, knows that you’re capable of amazing things, and that you are worthy of love. If you’re struggling, please don’t be afraid to reach out. Until next time friends,
my name is Callie Wright and this is Queersplaining.