Waiting for Monique Harlowe

A hot brunette walks in and takes a seat at the end of the bar. She orders a drink without so much as a glance around and immediately starts to sip it. Savannah pokes Emma in the side and nods towards the brunette.

“What d’ya think?” Savannah prods.

Emma looks over at the girl and finishes the last of her beer. “I’d joust her,” she smiles.

Courtney Act - First Joust of the Day one the "Waiting for Monique Harlowe" Facebook page

Courtney Act – First Joust of the Day on the “Waiting for Monique Harlowe” Facebook page

A good friend of ours has been working on writing a screen play for a short film and Jamie and I are so happy to be able to watch her dream come true. She’s worked in theatre for years in NYC and has witnessed plenty of others play out their on-stage fantasies – now it’s her turn.

The film is called “Waiting for Monique Harlowe”. Monique is a celebrity living in New York and is rumored to be a closeted lesbian. Two of her biggest fans, Savannah and Emma, have made it their mission to catch a glimpse of Monique in a lesbian dive called Vera Cruz. Every Tuesday night they show up at Vera Cruz in hopes of meeting the great Monique Harlowe…and wait.

I am so excited. It seems like it will be the perfect combination of comedy and drama – lesbian culture in a nutshell!

There is currently an active Kickstarter account for the film. Please help spread the word for this unique short film and if you can, give a few bucks to the project. I know it would mean the world to my friend Miranda to see this creation become a reality.

Monique Harlowe

Monique Harlowe

Find her on Facebook, Twitter (@waiting4monique) and Instagram (@waitingformonique)…and please share!

Note: The opening dialogue above is not taken from the actual screen play – but I sure am having fun imagining what it will be like!

All The Things She Said

Today I saw 146 students take a seat in my classroom throughout the day. As each class excitedly sat down, looking nervously around the room for some clue as to what lay ahead, I found myself preparing my words carefully. I had thought long and hard about how I wanted to conduct my classes today, but now that it was actually time to go through with it, I couldn’t help but feel a little nervous. At one point, I even thought I was going to chicken out. Today was the day I came out to my students.

A few months ago, I wrote a post entitled “My Fear Landscape” – a kind of flash-forward to today. What’s interesting is that today went very similar to how I had predicted in that post. When I wrote it, it seemed like a lifetime away. It felt like I had all the time in the world to prepare for today – and now it’s already gone. As I said in that initial post, I didn’t want my coming out to feel like an announcement. Basically, I started every introduction today the same way I always do: “Welcome to the 7th Grade! I am Mrs. Chappell and I will be your Homeroom Teacher for the entire year!” But this time I didn’t move on. For all 6 of my classes I walked over to the board where I had written my name: Mrs. Chappell. I referenced the “Mrs.” in my name and continued, “I am a ‘Mrs.’ because I got married last year. But my last name ‘Chappell’ is the one I was given at birth. My marriage is a little different than most because I married a woman, not a man. I may end up changing my name someday to match my Wife’s last name, but for now I’m ‘Mrs. Chappell’.” When I said this for the first time, I felt myself get a little red in the face and my heart started to race. But as the day went on, it got easier and easier.

As I said, I saw 146 students take a seat in my classroom today and out of those, 5 were in the wrong room. I made my little announcement to 141 students altogether. 4 of them never looked up from their desk. 2 made some sort of snickering noise. 14 smiled at me. 3 of them clapped  (I’m not kidding – they literally clapped). 11 of them turned to look at a friend. 1 raised her hand. And 106 didn’t react at all. I guess you could say it went well!

The student that raised her hand was in first period. I got a little nervous when I saw it – this could go very wrong. “My Fear Landscape” popped into my head again. I called on her and she said, “Could I ask a question that I hope won’t offend you?” I laughed a little and said, “Let’s hear it.” She asked, “What does that tattoo on your arm mean?”

Isn’t it funny the things we fear?

Today was just day one and I do anticipate some bumps in the road ahead. But with all I have learned about myself and the world around me, I wouldn’t trade today for anything.

9th Time’s a Charm

Today was the first day of my ninth year of teaching. For the ninth time, I walked into a newly painted school. For the ninth time, I got a fresh class list and all the possibilities that came with it. Nine times I’ve set up a classroom. Nine times I’ve sat through orientation, cracked open a new grade-book, put inspiring posters on the walls. Even after all these years, it all doesn’t seem to change much. But tomorrow, when the kids show up for the first time, I will do something I have never before done.

Over the course of these last eight years I have learned a lot…from the kids, from other teachers, and from my experiences. But I never could have guessed how much I learned from myself while writing this blog. When I first started writing, almost one year ago, I set a goal for myself – come out to my students. I have to admit, I didn’t really think I’d be able to do it. It’s not that I didn’t really want to – I just believed deep down that I would never find a comfortable enough place in my own heart to make it a reality. Well, it’s been a whole year of self-discovery and I couldn’t be more ready!

Wish me luck. Tomorrow, I come out of the closet….yet again.