vrijdag, januari 28, 2005

Granetta, Carol, Nancy and Rachael

I've never had a male mentor, but I've been tremendously touched and influenced by four strong, smart, compassionate women who have guided me.
My grandmother was excentric. She insisted on being called "Granetta" (her name was "Netta"). Chewing glass would have been preferable to her being called "Grandma" or "Grandmother". She just was not your typical grandma. At 80, she rode her first camel, and could still do the plough pose in yoga. She believed there was something she called a "golden link" between me and her. I understand now that she was right. She gave me music; so much music that I frequently rebelled and resisted her gift. She sent me to Europe when I was 15 because she saw that something inside of me was dying and that I needed to see there was something more out there. Although no one knew it but her, that trip probably saved my life. I was fortunate to be with her when she died, and I am sure she'll be next to me when I go.
Carol Konek was my next mentor. I met her while I was in college. She was an Associate Dean of my college, and also eccentric. Although I spent 7 years in college and had way more hours than were required, were it not for her, I don't think I would have graduated. The crap they wanted me to go through to get what I considered to be just a useless piece of paper was just too much. Besides being a friend, Carol led me through all of the administrative tasks, constantly telling me that I had to understand that the real problem with the world was that it was filled with people who had very tiny little assholes, and that made life so difficult for them that they had no choice but to make life difficult for others as well.
Nancy Maxwell, who is still a law professor, got me through law school. She told me, when I considered dropping out in my second year, that I really should finish, mainly because I had unfortunately already learned too much to ever be fit for decent human conversation again. Nancy and I became very good friends after I graduated. I worked for her and she supported me (both psychologically and through referrals) after law school. She also introduced me to Ian, who she met while at an international gay law conference in Italy. I miss working with her.
Finally, there's Rachael. When I moved back to Wichita, Rachael kept me sane and taught me everything I know about how to be a good lawyer. She's the best. Smart, honest and very compassionate. She's made the world better and I know, seeing her and her husband with their kids, that her two boys will do the same. I don't regret much about leaving Wichita, but going through life without knowing that Rachael is 10 minutes away leads the list.
She wrote the letter, above, to help counter the current push to modify the Kansas Constitution, which, if passed, will grant the state the power to use the Constitution to deny lesbian and gay persons rights that all heterosexuals take for granted.
If you need a good lawyer, she's your gal. Tell her I sent you.