All right. Welcome back to shout your cause. Everybody. I've got a great guest today. This is Deb who I met on TikTok. Hey Deb, how are you doing?
I'm doing great. How are you?
I'm good. I'm good. It's a beautiful day in Nashville. And I hear that you're not too far from me.
Not too far. I'm just Northeast of Nashville.
Cool. Well, we're going to have to meet up in person at one of these days. Okay, absolutely cool. Now, recently you changed your TikTok name, which we met on TikTok because I noticed your name had Tennessee in it, but you've changed that name. Why don't you tell us what your new username is on TikTok? Absolutely.
So my original name was leftbraintennessee and I, it was one of those names that I just kinda grabbed out of the air as I was making my account. And you have to have a name. So I just put it out there. I remember quite sat right with me. And so I spent a considerable amount of time thinking about what I, what I really wanted my name to be because I wanted it to be indicative of who I am as a person. And so the new name is the_realistic_mystic and there are two underscores in that. So it's the underscore realistic underscore mystic. And, and that really felt authentic to me because I think like a lot of people, it doesn't make me unique, but I have these kinds of two you know, these two sides to myself and one side can be quite mystical and quite willing to accept things because it rings true in my spirit and my intuition. And then this other side that's pretty pragmatic and science oriented and all that stuff. So that's kind of what that speaks to.
Would you say that the mystic part maybe aligns with spirituality?
Absolutely. So I yeah, I am. I'm currently the, one of the co interim ministers at unity of music city. And this spiritual journey is one I've been on most of my adult life where just, just kind of a general seeking out truth with a capital T, right. The, the truth. That is true, no matter what. And so I, I do public speaking for, for them. I'm also this you don't know, since we last talked I am starting an interfaith ministry program this fall. So I'm kind of making that a little bit more official, but [inaudible] after fighting it for years and years, but, but my spirituality is I call myself a hummingbird. I get nectar from a lot of different flowers. I, I value what I learned from, you know, from, from Islam. I learn a sense of reverence and generosity from Judaism. I learn a sense of history and literature and culture from Christianity. I learned grace. And then of course, Hinduism, I've been to India twice. So I have a real soft spot for, for Hinduism and Indian spirituality.
I absolutely love that when I was a little girl, I grew up in west Tennessee in a really small town. And I heard, you know, like, well, this church does this and this church has these rules and this church does this. And I always felt like, well, can't, we just have a few for everybody. And let's put these people on this row and these people on this row, because I mean, we were really ingrained in our Methodist church growing up and you count it down. The ninth row from the back was ours, and that was the Dunlap row. And that's just how it was. And we were there. My uncle would sit on the end and he would lean on his elbow and fall asleep. And then after he died, my dad scooted over and leaned on the, his elbow and fell asleep. And then my uncle now sits in that spot and he's the last one left, but I always thought there's a place for everybody. I don't understand how you can punish someone or leave someone out or expect to be able to force them into something else, just because of the situation they were born
In. Right. You know, it's, it's, I think we fell into a delusion long ago as human beings that different inherently demands that there has to be a right and a wrong. And so, you know, people look at their own tended to look at their own spirituality from the perspective of, well, if, what I believe is right than anybody who believes something different must be wrong. And I think we need to break out of that.
Yeah, we do. And I think that, you know, because we met on TikTok because I liked your content and I reached out to you and I thought, you know, this gal has a lot to say, and I feel like that's a great platform. Social media has been kind of this double-edged sword for us because it's been used for good, but it's been used for evil as well. And we've gotta be able to, to find how can we actually bridge the gaps between people and create some sort of glue there that doesn't allow us to let the bridges wash out. And so I really appreciate that. That is your perspective as well. Now, as far as the realistic part of it, you're saying the science part of it, or the, the reality of things, or maybe the data, whatever that is. What do you mean by that? Like, what are you into that gives that part of, you know, your spirit?
I'm an academician. I I'm a college English professor, so my colleagues are scientists and mathematicians and very pragmatic hard science kind of thinkers. And I so appreciate what they bring to the table. I mean, there's, there's a place for both of it. I used to say that my spirituality is the gospel of the paradox because I, I think that the sweet spot is sitting between two seemingly opposing things and gently holding them both up as, as having some validity. So there's this very mystical side where, you know, I can light my incense and meditate and believe in things that I don't see and, and have a deep faith. But at the same time, you know, when a scientist tells me, I should take a vaccine, I believe the scientist, you know? And so there's this very pragmatic kind of thing. You can go too far, one way or the other. I think you can go so hard science that you give no credence to those things we can't explain, or you can go so far to the depths of spirituality that you're saying, well, you know, for instance, if you think about people who say, well, I am such a deep believer that I don't even need doctors. Well you know, I'm going to the doctor. That's where I, I'm not going to judge you one way or the other, but I'm going to the doctor. Yeah.
Well, I think we have to strike a balance between, and we have to give credit credit. We have to give credit where credit is due because, you know, if we believe in a higher being and we believe that we were all created equal, if you will, in the eyes of God, then, then of course, that means that we have to give validity to the people who are able to measure and look at things and chart things and be able to say, this is, this is going to help us to survive as a society because no one really knows what happens after we're gone. Right. And everybody has different beliefs around that.
That math and that science it's its own kind of divinity. I mean, it's kind of a, it's kind of a beautiful miracle in and of itself.
Yeah. I agree with you. I like that. So why don't you tell me a little bit more about your writing. I'm really interested in that. I'm a writer myself and I'm actually writing a book. And I feel like every week when I write a chapter or a story, I feel like, goodness gracious. This is going to be 10 books. So let's get into that a little bit. What is it that you like to write about or what are you working on?
So I read a lot of poetry and I do some essay work. I'm currently working on a memoir about my father. My father was a minister and there's this kind of, quite a story around him. He was a minister. He was also probably a narcissist. And he was an incredibly loving and wonderful human being who made so many mistakes. So he, that's what I'm working on at the moment, but, but I also do a lot of poetry. Most of my writing can be found at deb-moore.com which I'll plug in there. The dash is really important because I think you, I think you land on far right. Fundamentalist ministers page, if you don't put the dash in there. So
Do you remember, and I know it was not too long ago, but somebody was running for some sort of office in either Nashville or Davidson county. And which I know you're not in Davidson county, but her name was very close to Marsha Blackburn, but it was something else like Martha Blackburn or something. It was so funny. I went to one of her fundraisers at a friend of mine's apartment downtown here in Nashville. I lived downtown and it was just around the corner and he was doing a fundraiser in his apartment, her, his condo down here, and I showed up and I was like, oh, it's so nice to meet you. I'm gonna vote for you. Thank you, blah, blah, blah. And then her ads starting coming out and she sang a song that was all about her being like Martha or whatever her name was. I can't remember. But it was, she goes, I'm not that one. I'm not that [inaudible]. I'm this one. And it was just hilarious to me. You know, just to be able to see that commercial. I don't know why I thought about that. Absolutely. I mean, yeah, yeah.
Poor guy out there. Who's named John Wayne Gacy, right?
Well, the Jeffrey Dahmer's parents did change their names. So did they? Yeah. Yeah. They changed their last name. I'm pretty sure I heard that somewhere. All right. So without going too far off into any direction I wanted to bring up a TikTok that you had posted a little while ago. It's a story about you I keep messing up the name. It's Carmella, Marcella Garcia at the gay bar church. He called it the gay bar church talk, the gay bar church. So
There's a story about when I was in a gay bar in probably 1990, somewhere in the 89 to 91 92 area. And it was a bar in Nashville called the warehouse 28. It was on the west side of Nashville and anybody who was part of the LGBTQ community during that era knows the warehouse. So I was there one night for an aids fundraiser. And this was still in the days when there wasn't a lot of public support for those who were, who were victims of aids or suffering with aids. And so the gay community had accepted the fact that this disease was out there and understood how it was transmitted. The gay community, moved into high gear with education and support because nobody else was doing it for us. So there was an aids fundraiser at the warehouse this particular night, and that there were a couple of young men who had aids, who were there sitting on the front row.
They looked pretty [inaudible] in those days we didn't have the treatments we do now. And so they were visibly ill and they were kind of sitting in the front the little spread of the Footlights or the spotlights there and this drag queen named Carmella Marcella Garcia, who was actually the emcee of the show. And she was known for that. She was very funny and she would do a lot of MC work, but she'd been emceeing the whole show. And at one point she sat down at an upright piano, which was a little odd because most drag shows, at least in those days were all lip-sync, but she sat down on a piano and she asked the crowd, which was about oh five or 600 people. Probably. How many of you here were raised in the church and every single hand shot up. I mean, I really didn't see anybody who didn't raise their hand and then Carmela said, well, I hope that this doesn't bother you, but I'm going to sing this song for my mama. And for all the boys we've lost and maybe even for you, and then she proceeded to sing a hymn
Oh, you've cut out. Are you there? Yes, I'm here. If you go back to, if you go back to say, and she proceeded to sing a hymn and then start,
Right. She sat down on the piano and she proceeded to sing a hymn called the old rugged cross. And there's a line in there that says the emblem of suffering and shame. And it was just amazing how well that song fit with the kind of shame and suffering that so many in our community had endured during that time. And by the time she finished there, wasn't a dry eye in the place. I mean, and so I finished the TikTok by saying, you know, that's the story of how the best church service I ever attended was in a gay bar. And I think that's part of it speaks both to my my role as a member of the LGBTQ community, but also touches me because of my spirituality, the idea that God and the presence of God can be found anywhere.
I love that. And I bet there wasn't a dry eye in the room. I can imagine that the love and the pain and the memories and everything would all come together and come out in that moment.
Especially with a spiritual song like that, that everybody knows. Hmm.
Right. Yeah. I had people on that TikTok, who were, I got quite a, quite a few views and quite a few comments. And I had people say, first off, we wanted to get in the comments and just mention the name of someone. They knew who they had lost to aids, just to kind of bring their memory and their name back up. But also I heard from people who who weren't familiar with the song, they'd never heard it before, but they, they were still crying because they understood the emotion of that moment.
And you know, that most of those people, especially being from the south, if they were in Nashville had probably heard the song. And then it just brings you back to those childhood memories of like, this is great being a kid everything's wonderful. But then you grow up and find out that, oh, well maybe I don't fit into the same box as most people, or as what's acceptable. And then you had this love and connection to the church, but then all of a sudden, the church looks at you as an enemy. Absolutely.
And in 1990s, even so much more than today those people in that bar who were raising their hand, having been raised in the church, I guarantee you that almost every single one of them had in some way, shape or form been ousted or felt unwelcome or had left because they didn't, they didn't feel any sense of being welcome or validated or loved.
And that's what it's all about. Yep. Exactly.
Validated, loved, welcomed, not ignored or admonished.
Exactly, exactly. And not tolerated, but celebrated. I, you know, I had a person on one of my TikTok the other day comment made a beautiful comment. I'm going to remember this always. She said, it's always interesting to me how she said, when, when someone from the church says, now I'm saying this with love, what's getting ready to come as a whole lot of hate. And I thought that was a pretty pertinent statement.
Yeah. Wow. Yeah. So as far as your hope about what's happening right now, I mean, I feel like we're in this paradigm shift or some sort of entrance into a new era, which is what I've named this, this second season of my podcast, a new era, what's your hope around that? About what's to come and what's your cause or your platform that you want to be a part of?
Well, you know, we are in some kind of era aren't we, and my hope is that you know, new creation always comes out of chaos. So hopefully we are in the business of creating something new. And my, at the underlying, all of my causes, whether I am advocating for the LGBTQ community advocate, advocating for black lives matter, advocating for anyone's equality at the, at the heart of it is a sense of equality and mutual respect. And I hope I don't always succeed at this, but I hope to be a source of that kind of mutual respect in the world. You know? One of the things that, that currently is pretty bothersome to me is the ease with which we've become named callers.
And I was going to say that, yeah,
We we've just gotten to a place where we just so at ease with calling people, horrid, horrid things. And, and I love freedom of speech. I'm never one for censorship, but I do believe in a kind of self-censorship for myself to grow as a human being. Then I have to be very careful with the words that come out of my mouth. And because I believe that words become our reality. We speak our reality into existence every day. And so yeah, learning to just, and that mutual respect, if we're going to have mutual respect for each other, then that's got to include speaking kindly about each other, even when we disagree, you know,
It's really, it's really hard when you're in the comments section and you don't know who this person is, they could be anybody and they start with some incendiary remark, or sometimes don't people don't even realize that their labeling is so offensive until it comes back to them. Right. And yeah, that's hard and we're not having those conversations face to face. That's why that is the whole entire reason that I even started this podcast is because I wanted to be able to say, you know what, maybe you're taking someone out of context. Maybe you're not hearing the whole story. Maybe you should listen to the backstory and the reasons why people feel the way they feel and realize that the more you fight against that, the more people are just going to their heels in. And it's so much better to just open up. Absolutely.
And even when you know the backstory, if it's something you disagree with that still doesn't mean you have to be nasty. You know? So, I mean, I did a post yesterday about Senator Marsha Blackburn from Tennessee. And I probably as much as anyone on the planet, I disagree with absolutely everything she has ever claimed to stand for. And when I speak about her, she's going to be Senator Marsha Blackburn because there's, I can disagree with her and I don't have to be nasty and call her names. It's one of the things I require of my students in the classroom, we sometimes start talking about politics or social justice issues or anything, things of that nature. And my only rule is that you refer to people in a respectful manner and using their titles. So it's president Trump, it's secretary Clinton, it's vice president Harris. Whether you agree or disagree with any of them, you talk about them respect.
Well, I would have failed on that because I even commented on that video of yours. And I said, she's the most vile woman ever.
There's a line there, there's a line between nouns and adjectives, right? Oh, okay. Sometimes it is truthful to say that someone is lying about something. I love the work. I don't know if you've read Ebro X Kendi, how to be an anti-racist,
But not, but I've heard about it. It's a fantastic
Book. And one of the important distinctions he makes is the difference between it's a person and I'm summarizing. So let him speak for himself. But basically the person is not racist. The behavior is racist. So it's like the same thing. When a person lies, well, you could sit there and go, well, she's a liar. And I suppose there's some truth to that. Or she said a lie in that moment, you know, by focusing on the behavior as being what is pro or con, because the person is always the person and sacred and holy in some sort of way, but the behavior can be vile.
Yeah. That's true. Yeah. It's a nice, maybe it's just semantics or the way they put words together
And I'm still working on it myself. That's for sure.
Well, don't, we all, we can't all be polite. Right. That's exactly right. I did apologize for one of my videos the other day. I, I, I said a cuss word at the end of it. I said, now I don't normally cuss like that, but goodness, that just made me mad and I'm debating if I should take it down because it just does it, you know, whatever.
Yeah. Does it reflect you? Is that truthfully authentically?
Not really. Because when I'm in front of people, I want to be the same person on social media that I am in front of people face to face. I want to be able to be brave enough to say what I think, but polite enough and kind enough to realize that the person in front of me is a human being.
Yes, absolutely. Yes. Yeah.
And it's hard to do that when you can't look at somebody, it is
It. Yeah. And it's really hard to do that when people are spewing stuff in your face. I mean, one of the, I've always dealt with social media from everybody's welcome kind of viewpoint, and I can handle it. And you know, it's, the kitchen is not too hot, so whatever, but I was TikTok. I have started a little policy where if someone gets into my comments and says something unnecessarily vile about me or about anyone else I'm deleting and blocking right. And left. I don't have energetic room in my life for that. Yeah.
I don't either. I don't either. And I tell you if I feel the stress rise up in my chest or in my throat or somewhere in my body, I pay attention to that much more now than I did ever before.
Well, thank you so much, Deb. I've thoroughly enjoyed this. We're definitely going to send people to look at your poetry, your writing on deb-moore.com and anything else that you want to give me after this, I'd be happy to put in the show notes. So thank you so much for being here everybody and see you next time.
Great, Sally, thank you so much.