Glee Episode #4: Preggers

Word of the Day (not so much a recurring word, but a theme): Honesty. In this episode, the characters don’t talk about honesty, but instead demonstrate how difficult it is. Though lying and deceit seem so much easier, they only complicate matters in the long run. Honesty will win eventually, and some of the characters realize how much better life is when lived honestly.

Kendra: What do you think he’s going to do when he finds out you lied?
Terri: Oh God, I don’t know. I’ve got to tell him the truth. I’ve got to tell him and I’ve got to deal with the consequences.
Kendra: Are you insane? Dishonesty is food to a marriage. It will die without it.
It gives me hope that Terri has some sense of morality. She recognizes that the right thing to do is be honest with her husband, though there are consequences for her lies and she may run the risk of losing him. I lose a bit of hope in Terri (and humanity) to see people like her sister Kendra, who think that dishonesty can do anything positive for a marriage, let alone sustain it. Dishonesty is what kills marriages and relationships (though Kendra probably uses it to trick her husband into staying married). Successful relationships, whether a marriage or a friendship, have a foundation of honesty. I can say from experience that the vulnerability required to be honest with someone is very difficult, but it allowed me (and the relationship) to emerge from that moment stronger than before.

Kurt: Finn, I needed to ask you something.
Finn: Thanks, but I already have a date to the prom. But I’m flattered. I know how important dances are to teen gays.
Kurt: I’m not gay.
Finn: Oh.
The ability to be honest is based on trust. You have to trust the other person not to hurt you in that moment of vulnerability. Glee has allowed Kurt and Finn to develop trust in one another, but the social mechanics of high school carry an inherent distrust between classes. Kurt has yet to build enough trust in Finn to be honest about his sexuality, though after this episode that might change.

Sandy: It is so wonderful to finally have some Sandy time. I have my bridge game on Fridays, Saturdays I am fully committed to the local cat rescue…
Sue: Sandy, let’s cut the crap.
Sandy: *sobs* I’m living in a cocoon of horror. Yesterday, I ate nine cans of aerosol whipped cream.
It can be hard to admit the truth, especially if it is somewhat shameful. But being honest with yourself is the key to moving forward. Others cannot help or comfort you until you can be honest with yourself.

“I hear this poor girl is so ashamed that she can’t tell anybody. Can you imagine having to hide something like that? All that effort covering that up?” – Will
It takes more muscles to frown than to smile. In the same way, it takes more work to maintain a lie than to confess the truth. When will Will realize how much effort Terri is putting into covering up her own mess?

“I’m just somebody who wants to help.” – Terri
Half-hearted promises of benevolence can be some of the most damaging lies, because they lead people to develop trust in those they shouldn’t trust. These are the kind of lies that lure children into shady vans and trap people in toxic relationships.

Kurt: I have something that I want to say. I’m glad that you’re proud of me, but I don’t want to lie anymore. Being a part of the glee club and football has really showed me that I can be anything, and what I am is… I’m gay.
Kurt’s Dad: I know.
Kurt: Really?
KD: I’ve known since you were three. All you wanted for your birthday was a pair of sensible heels. I guess I’m not totally in love with the idea, but if that’s who you are, there’s nothing I can do about it. And I love you just as much. Thanks for telling me, Kurt. You’re sure, right?
Kurt: Yeah, Dad. I’m sure.
KD: Just checking.
When a child is different from the parents’ hopes or expectations, it can be hard for the parents to accept their child’s decision. Not all parents are so accepting as Kurt’s dad, whether the matter at hand is careers or sexuality. It was so heartwarming to watch the conversation between Kurt and his dad, to see the unconditional love the father had for his son. My favorite part of the conversation was when Kurt’s dad thanked him for coming out to him, because his sexuality wasn’t really a secret. The conversation was more so a demonstration of Kurt’s trust in his own father.

“To them I say, shake it up a bit. Get out of your box! Even if that box happens to be where you are living… It’s not easy to break out of your comfort zone. People will tear you down, tell you you shouldn’t have bothered in the first place, but let me tell you something. There’s not much difference between a stadium of cheering fans and an angry crowd screaming abuse at you. They’re both just making a lot of noise. How you take it is up to you. Convince yourself they’re cheering for you. You do that, and someday they will.” – Sue
This doesn’t have anything to do with honesty… Normally, everything Sue says is offensive to some people group and can be ignored, but I understand what she says here. Perspective has a way of changing the negative to positive. And Sue Sylvester quotes can be more meaningful when you omit the bit about how homeless people should try not being homeless for a change.


High Hopes

There is something inherently open and trusting within Residence Life relationships. Though we have only been a group for two whole days, I can see how well our staff was chosen in terms of the dynamic we have already established. New staff members feel welcome to share their own residential experiences, returners share the wisdom that comes with specific Boston Ballet experiences, and we all have demonstrated a willingness to learn with and from one another. What is interesting, however, is that such willingness extends beyond the topic of our common summer mission into personal life experiences. Though a few people may dwell on the quieter side of the spectrum, I cannot say that our group has been exclusive in any way, which I find rather amazing. Sure, cliques may form. But as we learned in our training session with the consulting psychologist, cliques have a purpose and we should not try to separate them. If they did not have a purpose, they would have never formed in middle school. They give us a group to feel secure in because of the commonality. It is when cliques become malicious that they are dangerous.

But back to the inherent trust and openness… I am quite excited to see how the rest of the summer turns out. I have high hopes for our staff and what we will become because of the openness and acceptance I already see. Tonight was a particularly interesting (in a good way) night. After dinner, a group of us – five new staff members who are still new at navigating Boston’s public transportation system – decided to find a Dollar Tree based on some hurried directions from a veteran RC (Residential Counselor). It was quite an experience involving missed stops, landmarks with changed names, guidance by the scent of fried chicken, and directions from friendly strangers. But we got there with great joy and excitement, bought a bunch of stuff to use for our residents, and perhaps a few things for ourselves (including a $4 Red Sox shirt from A.J. Wright, which I will wear when I go to the game at Fenway Park in July). I think our successful excursion, without any bickering or catty “I told you we should have gotten off at that stop”, is a testament to the trust we have in each other and perhaps also in ourselves to make it through. When we returned, we decided we would stay at the dorm while the other RCs went to a karaoke bar. We thought we would watch a movie while preparing door decorations, but cell phone calls and missing DVD players canceled that plan. While I waited for the others to finish catching their loved ones up on our adventures, I turned on the tv and watched a special about teenage pregnancy. Reconvening in front of the tv, we ended up having a lengthy conversation about sex, society, and faith. While religion may normally be a topic that is avoided among unfamiliar company, it somehow became a very comfortable conversation. We knew that we were in a safe space to share our beliefs and opinions without judgment. And that, my friends, is a wonderful experience.

I wasn’t quite sure at the beginning of this week what life would be like outside of the Messiah bubble. For once, discussions of diversity during training did not center around race. There is an obvious variety of religious and political views. Just being in the urban setting of Boston presents its own set of differences. But I was most interested in seeing how the dynamics of faith and spirituality change outside of the bubble. I was quite intentional about omitting Messiah College’s classification as a Christian college from my introductions. In an environment where it cannot be assumed that everyone is a Christian, would my faith remain evident through the way I live my life? I have had friends at Messiah tell me that they can see Jesus in me, but sometimes I wonder exactly what they see. Is that just a Christian way of saying someone is really nice? Will my fellow RCs see a nice person, or something more?