On our podcast ‘Tales That Tethr’, tethr Founder & CEO Matt Zerker interviews entrepreneurs, experts, thought leaders, and regular people about what is means to be a man, the challenges that modern men face, and how to overcome challenges and live life in a more connected and authentic way.
Welcome to tales that tethr, a series written by and for the tethr community. If you’d like to share your own story of strength and support, click here. Today we’re honored to share Addison's story. A tale for #NationalComingOutDay.
Our Dinner table was long and brown solid wood. It had been passed down, re-stained, and shared by families before us. It wasn’t pristine and it didn’t seem like something in a Stepford museum of interior design. My mother or as she wants to be called one-day “Glamma” loved that table for all of those reasons. She loved that our second-grade homework was carved into it from the times we worked at it without anything under our lined paper. She liked the scuff marks that lovingly marked my brother’s seat at the table from his years with a metal back brace. That table was safe for us to nurture ourselves, discuss, disagree, spill milk and live.
Our table has come to represent so much more to me. To my surprise, I have met so many people in my life that were unaccepted or even outcast for finding love. Whether it be to someone of the same gender identity or an "unsuitable choice" - it is lost on me that parents would forbid the one thing that can carry us through it all - love.
In our house we just had dinner. And at our table everyone was welcome. You brought a girl to dinner - we ate dinner. You brought a boy to dinner - we ate dinner. You came alone - we ate damn dinner. You brought someone who identified as non-binary, the only question you had was whether or not they could pass the mashed potatoes.
As I meet more people who did not share this upbringing - I wish everyone who never had a table like this that allowed them to just “be” while they safely refueled and nurtured their minds could sit at this table now. No longer in our family- I hope whoever sits at it now rubs their fingers on the markings our family left on it and feels the love-based platform it was for us all.
It was for us to find freedom and even fluidity in our lives and how we love.
My spot was on the right-hand side at the end of three chairs. And eventually at the head of the table. I grew up at that table, but also had every opportunity to be a kid.
Homework. Drawing. Funny stories and jokes. Hard conversations. Frustrations over spilled milk and who made dinner by when. Beer Pong. Hours of games. We had our first Board meeting ever at that table. And it was circled by love at the wake of my brother and father. Anyone was welcome. As I said, it was a platform for love and a support group for fear. Not just a table.
What’s kind of table will you have in your home? Will you be able to allow your children so much more than a piece of furniture. I never thought furniture could be story-driven - able to connect us to our past and guide us in shaping our future.
And to my future children; I can’t wait to see whom you bring to dinner, to love them as you do... to learn and grow from them. I hope you feel our table was more than just a place to eat- but a safe space to digest, refuel and connect.
Update from Addison:
The tethr network allows men, like Addison, to be given the chance to be heard and listened to by others. Not only are men given the chance to share their stories, but they are given the experience of what it feels like to be supported by a community.