The luge, asian ladies and selfies……

Recently i decided to venture out one evening to attend a friends birthday gathering. Before i get started, let me be clear that i was more than looking forward to ringing in my friends birthday for he’s one fine fella…..he’s smart, he’s funny and he treats my friend like Mary Poppins. Wait…..that doesn’t make any sense….. Mary Poppins was a “magical nanny” (what the hell’s a magical nanny) who comes to the aid of a British family and various adventures ensue. P.S….her mode of transportation was an umbrella…as if we’re supposed to believe that Poppins gets around by umbrella….first off…barring a windy day how would she get lift? Secondly….in order to fly at a cost saving altitude you’re lookin at thirty to forty thousand feet….you mean to tell me that she did that in a sweater? It’s negative fifty below zero at altitude…it didn’t happen, you know it and i know it. My point is…..he’s a fantastic guy and i wouldn’t have missed his birthday gatherin for nothin…..

When i was in my twenties and early thirties i was all about goin out and showin off my AMAZING dance moves. I couldn’t get enough! Between my Pencil Spin and my Suicide Corkscrew i was burnin up clubs all over Maricopa county….if your wondering what those are, Google….i was dizzy and confused as well but now it all makes sense……

I arrived at the club around nine, way past my bedtime. This particular establishment was in Scottsdale. All i wanted to do was park, not a lot to ask as a patron. I use the word “patron” in place of “customer” because it sounds more important and at the end of the day, we all wanna be important right? After my third lap i finally stopped and asked two kids in a golf cart “Where the hell does one park in these parts?” He said “Follow me!” We drove a couple blocks away and parked in what looked like an abandoned office building parking lot. Two things came to mind….1. This parking lot wouldn’t be abandoned if it wasn’t for corporate corruption. 2. Later, as i walk to my car,  am i gonna get chopped up into tiny little pieces to never be seen again? Larry offered me a ride in his golf cart back to the bar….he was a nice kid. After exchanging some silly banter i said “Are you hitting on me??” He laughed and said “No”….we exchanged a friendly hug and that’s the end of that part of the story…..

The place was nice and it wasn’t crowded as i walked over to meet my friends who were bellied up to the bar. I ordered a vodka club with a lime….simple yet refreshing. The girl that got my drink was dressed like a misplaced Hooters waitress. Her little boobies were so bunched up in her tube top that my little boobies felt sympathy pain. As she turned to walk away her short shorts were so short that i could almost see her nether regions. Two things came to mind…..1. Perhaps they were 100% cotton and she accidentally dried them down to the size of a keychain. 2. Perhaps she likes to show her nether regions for the sheer fact that she likes the words nether and regions…..i think i might be onto something with the ladder…..

Its now eleven o’clock and the place is turned up! When i googled young people slang, “turned up” means “the parties gotten started!” For stories sake it makes for a better read to be on the down low. Anyway…..the place was pickin up and people were muploadin their ish’s everywhere….confused? You should be. Turns out, “muploading your ish” means taking a selfie….who knew? I’d never seen so many tube dresses and Ryan Gosling wanna be’s. We found a safe spot to people watch by the exit to the outdoor patio…..Axe Body Spray and hair products are highly flammable….the way that place was heatin up it was imperative that we stay near a fire exit…..

At some point i had to go to the bathroom….snakin your way through a crowded bar to get the toilet can be a tricky experience, between the “Excuse me’s” and the elbows to the temple its a wonder we make it in unscathed. Once inside i was greeted by a bubbly little asian lady. She was handing out paper towels and squirting people with stuff.  She zoned in on me immediately and asked me why i was wearing a neck brace. I told her i was in a high speed Luge accident….my suit was too loose which threw off my aerodynamics making it impossible to withstand the G-forces going into the high speed turns. She looked to be very confused as she shoved paper towels in my face. Just as i was about to leave i decided to mupload my ish at the sink realizing later that asian lady had photo bombed my ass…..i really needed some distance from her……

Snakin my way back thru the crowd to my safe place i decided it was time to go….it was way past my bedtime. I gave my friends a hug and a couple fist bumps and i was on my way. The moral to the story is this…..wearing Depends Adult Undergarments when your out on the town isn’t such a bad idea….although cumbersome they’ll save you alot of time and frustration….. AND…..

Before taking up the Luge for sport get yourselves fitted…..i can’t stress that enough. One miniscule air pocket in your suit can lead to disaster….trust me…..

 

 

 

 

 

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“”Ohhhh….he’s just a kid.” Really? I don’t get it, maybe i’m missing somethin….

I saw something yesterday that made me scratch my head. Truth be told, i see it all the time these days so i’m constantly scratching my head….for those that have noticed and think i need Selsun Blue…..nope, i’m just scratching my head out of sheer befuddlement. Let me set the scene…..

Yesterday, on my way to a friends house i stopped at Circle K to get some gas. Realizing i forgot my water, i went into the store to grab a bottle….side note here: I grabbed some “Smart” water. At the risk of sounding like a skeptic, ten bucks says it’s just regular water with a “Smart” label attached. We pay an extra buck thinking that somehow we’ll take a sip and our I.Q will go up a notch or two….i’m not buyin it!! Although technically…. i did…. and later when someone asked me who the tenth president of the United States was i yelled RONALD REAGAN!! See what i mean…bogus!! Anyway….back to the story. So i’m in Circle K with my bottle of Smart water waiting in a line about ten people deep. The lady in front of me had her two children with her…for story sake i’ll refer to them as Samantha and Felix. They looked to be around the ages of eight and ten. Two things became instantly clear to me. 1) Samantha and Felix had just polished off two packs of Fun Dip before entering the establishment. 2) Mom had absolutely no control over her kids….clearly she wasn’t the Alpha. Samantha and Felix were running around the store, weaving in and out of the isles screaming and swatting at each other. At one point i saw Samantha grab a bag of Cheetos, she opened them and proceeded to eat one then she threw the bag on the bottom shelf. All the while, mom was standing in line texting on her cell phone throwing out an occasional “kids….knock it off!” That’s when it happened…..right as she was about to pay out, with one older gentleman in front of her, Felix ran up and bumped him from behind. Frustrated after witnessing what i myself had witnessed, the gentleman (in a polite way i’ll add) simply turned around and asked mom if she would get control of her children, in which she replied “Ohhhh…..come on, they’re just being kids!”……

Before i go any further lemme share a few things. I love kids, i love their energy….their minds fascinate me. I love being around them, their innocence and unconditional love is a gift. When i hear stories of kids being stripped of those things it sickens me. I made a personal choice many years ago to not have children. It wasn’t an easy choice, throughout the years i’ve spent time thinking about my decision but at the end of the day, i know i made the right one. At the risk of sounding generic…. to be the mother i would have wanted to be would have required a level of selflessness and responsibility that i wasn’t ready to give. That doesn’t make me selfish, it makes me someone cognizant of my own reality. Bottom line, i didn’t want the responsibility it takes to bring a child into the world in a responsible manner….i wanted my freedom to have my own journey without being responsible for another human being. With that said, my hope was to be the cool aunt! My brother and his wife blessed me with that privilege and i love it! I’m also Aunt Bindy to my cousin Ashley’s kids as well as friends of mine. Whenever i hear them say “I love you Aunt Bindy!” it makes me unbelievably happy:))) I would never pretend to know what it truly feels like to be a parent….i’m incapable for never having had the experience. This is why i am extra cautious when woman share their child birth stories……i never say “I can imagine!” NO I CAN’T IMAGINE….which is why i never say that!! Also, if they’ve just given birth their hormones are all over the place and the last thing i need is a black eye!! Those things take forever to go away…trust me. One time i took a nasty spill and blacked both my eyes. I had to wear really large sunglasses for a month….and….in the winter time i wore my glasses and a ski mask and got the cops called on me twice!! They thought i was a robber! When the cops got there i explained to them that i was innocent and had just takin a nasty spill. They went on about their way realizing i was harmless and thinking i was a battered house wife. I did have two black eyes but there’s a chance that there’s no truth to that last part…….

I’m fully aware that raising children is the hardest job in the world….again, why i chose not to do it. I’m also aware that it’s the most important job in the world which is why i find myself so perplexed when i see these behaviors. I’m writing this because i have a lot of questions, in hopes that someone will join in the conversation and shed some light for me. Some might ask why i care and that it’s none of my business. To those that say that….we can agree to disagree. Your children are my future. In my eyes it becomes my business when your child is disrespectful and, for lack of better vernacular, disturbing the peace! If you allow Samantha and Felix to act that way in the privacy of your home….that is your business. However….this is where the confusion sets in for me. My only point of reference to anything remotely similar to child rearing is puppy rearing…..dog ownership. Before you take offense, i by know means am comparing children to dogs but in terms of discipline, structure and boundaries…. they do have some similarities. Fido comes into this world full of innocence and curiosity….much like a child he knows no boundaries, why would he? Once Fido becomes of age it’s up to the owner to teach him the difference between appropriate and inappropriate behavior. That starts as a puppy. If you don’t discipline and set boundaries with him at a young age Fido will become Alpha and you will become a loving pawn. You’re life will revolve around embarrassment, making excuses and trying to correct Fido’s bad behavior when it’s too late. In other words….unless you put him outside, he’s sure to ruin your next cocktail party and you only have yourself to blame. You can’t lock kids outside….well….i guess you could, at the risk of Felix telling his kindergarten teacher and next thing ya know CPS is at your doorstep, but who wants that embarrassment. It doesn’t take being a dog owner to know that if you don’t teach Fido not to jump, Fido is gonna jump…..that’s common sense! However….here’s the disconnect…..

Much like Fido….as humans we all come into this world full of innocence and curiosity, its human nature. We test boundaries to see what we can get away with. In the case of Samantha and Felix, common sense tells me they have ruined a number of cocktail parties. It was very apparent to me that those kids are the Alpha….they had no boundaries, they exhibited absolutely no respect for their mother not to mention everyone else in their surroundings. When Felix bumped the gentleman, there was no apology nor did his mother make him apologize. Instead, when she was asked to get control she acted annoyed, put out that he would even ask such a thing! Where does that come from? I’m truly stumped by this behavior, not of the children but of the mother…… please tell me if i’m wrong or misunderstanding something. I think Samantha and Felix’s mother is well aware that her children are out of control….society and her surroundings have told her so in one way or another. I’m sure at some point her family, her friends, the school etc have brought it to her attention but for whatever her reasons she has chosen to turn a blind eye. It’s as if she thinks that one day when the kids turn eighteen they’ll wake up one day, don a pair of magic underwear full of manners, respect and effective tools to navigate the real world. Done……let society pick up the pieces of my shortcomings, they’ll figure it out! To me….that’s lazy and selfish…i’ll even go as far as to say a bit cruel. If she truly loves her children and wants them to succeed then wouldn’t she try her best to prepare them for the real world? Society isn’t going to put up with her entitled creation….life is going to eat them up and spit them out. Why would she want that for them? Clearly those kids live with no consequences, here’s how i know. After the episode happened they each had a handful of candy. She told them to put some away…..neither listened and proceeded to put it all on the counter. She did nothing but shake her head in frustration, get out her wallet and reward them for bratty behavior!! So basically….her kids walk into a store, completely disrespect their environment by tearing things up, they disrespected everyone in the store by running around like wild animals, they disrespected the gentleman in front of her by not apologizing and they disrespected their mother by not listening to her the first time she told them to settle down. They did all of this with no consequences that i could see AND they actually got rewarded!! After i left, i was thinking about what would make a parent choose that path with her children….to me it is a choice, some may disagree so feel free to say so. From my naive, non-parent perspective here are a few things i came up with…..

1) Perhaps her child rearing techniques are a reflection of how she was raised….after all, we’re all a product of our environment to some degree. Maybe growing up she didn’t have boundaries. Maybe her parents didn’t demand respect and manners. Maybe she was allowed to exhibit any behavior she wanted with no consequences. Perhaps all of those things are the case…..however….she’s paid a price to some capacity. Life consists of rules, consequences and boundaries…..it demands respect. If your not taught those things from a young age you will pay a price….that price looks different for everyone but its there and you’ll pay it. As an adult you figure that out quickly so why would she pass that on to her kids? Why wouldn’t she take what she’s learned and turn the tide with her own children?

2) Perhaps she’s in a bad relationship and her mind is elsewhere? That could be the case but at the risk of sounding unsympathetic…..get out and go solo for awhile! I’m not saying it’s easy but i have a hard time understanding that one. When you make a choice to bring a child into the world shouldn’t their well being be your number one priority above anything else. If she’s so distracted by her love life then maybe she needs to take all of that energy and focus on her kids instead.  Her kids see her dysfunctional lovecapades….who knows….maybe that contributed to Samantha stealin the Cheeto! You may laugh but there could be a snipit of truth in that!

3) Perhaps she’s recently divorced, the kids are going back and forth so she allows bratty behavior out of guilt. You hear this one a lot. Well….that’s scary to me when you consider the divorce rate. Lets say it’s fifty percent. Could you imagine if fifty percent of married couples with children let their kids go wild after the divorce out of guilt!! Again….that sounds like an excuse to me. What are you guilty for? I certainly understand the temporary grief and adjustment but I would venture to guess that young minds ultimately want both of their parents to be happy, kids adapt. Common sense tells me that they pick up when you’re not….my parents are still married but I certainly remember times when they were angry at one another. If that was an everyday occurrence imagine what that could do to them. She did the right thing by getting out! Is it possible that being single and raising children comes with its own stresses and at the end of the day she’s mentally exhausted so the thoughts of disciplining her children feeds the exhaustion so she just lets em run wild and uses guilt as an excuse? Was that a run on sentence…..probably. My point is…..why can’t mothers and fathers just admit it and ask for help? When they say they feel guilty….a lot of us aren’t buying it.  Nobody is saying its easy which brings me to my last thought…….

4) Perhaps it’s her ego? I’ll say this….i certainly understand that your children and your relationship with your children are a very personal thing that you hold close to your heart. It’s a relationship that is like no other and you protect it…. as you should. Anyone without children couldn’t possibly understand that connection, that part i get. However….there’s a couple of things that i’ve observed, so help me out here! I’ll use an example of something that i experienced years back. So….i’m sitting at a table with a bunch of women, all of which had children. I was the only one that was without child. Three of them were divorced, one was still married and i was in a long term relationship not allowed to get married….wait….WHAT? Anyway…..they were all talking about their children, exchanging stories of triumphs, frustrations and behavioral issues. At one point i chimed in to offer an outsiders perspective….this didn’t seem o.k with one of the girls. She didn’t get mad but she made it clear that she had no interest in my opinion for i didn’t have children, so how could i possibly understand? I remember thinking that was odd, i didn’t understand that logic.  It’s as if she was saying that i didn’t have any experience with children and was completely ignorant to anything remotely sensical in terms of child rearing. That makes absolutely  no sense to me. Whenever i’m struggling with something i crave an outsiders perspective….when they have no experience and are not attached in any way to my delimma i crave it even more! When you’re emotionally “in” something….like child rearing, a relationship, an addiction etc…..it’s hard to see reality sometimes. Your mind is fulla too many things, it’s distracted and clouded which leads to irrational decision making. In those times you need to gain perspective from sources both in AND outside your world. It doesn’t take being a parent to offer up advice….when it comes to behavioral issues, anyone can give advice…. we’ve all been children ouselves! We all play a role in our own individual families ….some people that are without child have even helped raise their siblings, or nieces and nephews! For you to say to somebody that you don’t respect their opinion because their without child is bogus to me and perhaps an excuse. Sometimes i question whether or not its about failure for them.  When they encounter an issue with their child they may look at it as a failure on their part and because the parent/child relationship is one that is so personal they don’t want to address it for fear of personal judgement. On a cellular level that’s about personal ego and we all have one. My point is…..the old saying, “It takes a village to raise a child” is true. At the risk of sounding cliche aren’t we all in this together…we should be. Maybe if we all sat our ego’s aside and actually asked for help we would start to see some positive change. Like i stated from the very beginning, raising children is THE HARDEST JOB IN THE WORLD!! You don’t have to go at it alone….it’s perfectly understandable to admit you need help or a different perspective……

These are just a few of the reasons i’ve thought of in terms of what would make a parent choose that parenting style with her children, i’m sure there are millions more. We all have a story, we all come from different circumstances and navigate our lives a million different ways. Please know that this is not about judgement for me, i truly am trying to understand this mother which is why i’m giving her the benefit of the doubt. Truthfully…..when it comes to child rearing there isn’t a right or wrong per say, everyone has to find their own path. However…..if the path you’ve chosen is one that manifests Circle K episodes then you can’t be surprised if it’s questioned….not judged, but questioned.

Lastly i’ll say this…..there is definitely a trend (for lack of a better word) going on and i can’t be the only one that has noticed it throughout the years. Some kids now days are being thrown out into the world with a sense of entitlement….totally clueless as to how the real world works. We turn on our squawk box and smart phones every day and listen to people talk about the economy, gun control and the latest politician’s sexcapades….i think we need to start talking about what’s going on with our kids. It needs to be brought to the forefront…..to me it’s a serious issue. It shouldn’t just be talked about in the midst of the latest school shooting. These kids are our future. It’s talked about in small settings but i would love to turn on my squawk box and hear somebody say…WHAT THE HELL IS GOING ON WITH OUR KIDS, LETS DISCUSS??!! Recently Elliot Rodger went on a killing spree in California, i’m sure you have all heard the story…if not google it, it’s interesting. After hearing what happened i went on UTube and watched a number of videos that he had made prior to the shooting. I even went as far as to download and read the 140 page manifesto he had written. Clearly this was a disturbed kid….without question he was a narcissistic sociopath. However…lets put that aside for a second….one of the things i surmised was that this was a kid who came from extreme wealth, nothing wrong with that part that’s a beautiful thing! From a young age he was probably given everything material he wanted in life. I stress material because he may have lacked visible love and and attention from his parents…they may have showed their love by never saying no, this is the part i question.  Some of his UTube videos were shot from his BMW. I would venture to guess, without knowing of course, that this was a kid who had all the latest and greatest without earning any of them. Next thing ya know he graduates high school and goes to college….this was possibly his first experience in not getting what he wanted. In the videos and manifesto he talks clearly about his frustration in not getting the attention he desired from women. He asks…”how can they not want me…look at me…i’m good looking and i drive a BMW!” He felt rejected….for the first time in his life he was told no and he didn’t know how to handle it. To me, a part of that stems from a life filled with things and a warehouse full of yes’s. I’m not at all saying that every child that grows up that way is capable of doing what he did….i am saying that both nature as well as nurture play a hand. Maybe i’m wrong…if so feel free to explain otherwise. Regardless it was an example, albeit extreme, of a lost kid who took his frustrations out on society…we hear it more and more every day. Shouldn’t we collectively try and figure out as well as work together to strengthen and better prepare our kids for a challenging and sometimes unforgiving world. They need to be able to put their big pants on in order to navigate in a healthy manner….correct me if i’m wrong but doesn’t that start at home??

Let’s discuss……

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Judgement……

I have alot of time on my hands……i knew that going into all of this so i decided early on that i was going to use this time to the best of my ability. Time looks different for everyone, for me i want to grow. I’ve been in need of a growth spurt for quite some time…..i’m ready. I’ve used the term ordinary to describe myself the last few years and i don’t want to feel ordinary…..none of us should. In truth, we’re all extraordinary in our own individual ways….we just need to realize it and tap into it, i haven’t been doing that and i know better. At times i have a hard time expressing my thoughts and feelings verbally…..i find writing much easier for me (another thing i’m working on)….. with that said you don’t have to read any further, these are just some thoughts i’ve had recently on judgement……so, if Fido needs a bath, by all means go give him a bath! Or if Junior has his head stuck in the stair railing…..myyyyy gosh, help the feller out. Crisco works like a charm……trust me……

I’ve been thinking alot lately on Judement….how i’ve done it, how we all do it and how it’s such an instinctual part of who we all are. Those who claim not to do it are wasting their time on an imaginary ideal of who they think they are…..they need to dig a little deeper. Perhaps i just judged? Judging is a natural instinct that as humans we all have…..like swallowing. The key i think, is realizing when we’re doing it. That’s the hard part…..much like swallowing, we do it without thinking about it…..but unlike swallowing it’s not something that we always have to do to survive. I learned this recently after my surgery, i had to consciously think about swallowing, the thoughts of it made me cringe for it was painful….that was a weird feeling, actually having to think about something that comes so natural….it was odd!! Again…..the tricky part, learning how to consciously stop ourselves from doing something that comes so natural…..especially when we’re hurt by something or someone, instinctually it’s the first place we go. What prompted me to get my feelings out was a recent piece i read, on of all people, Monica Lewinsky…..

Who hasn’t heard of Monica Lewinsky right? However…..i hadn’t heard her name mentioned in years. It wasn’t until recently that the talking heads on both sides have resurfaced a part of history in hopes of discrediting the character of a possible presidential candidate. A quick side bar here: what i’m saying here has nothing to do with politics ( i actually subscribed to the Republican way of thought in those days) it’s in reference to judgement….if Lewinsky had had an affair with George Bush my thoughts would be the same. I learned awhile ago to not subscribe to any party affiliation anymore…they’re both a disgrace. Is that judging….perhaps! Back in 1998 when this story broke, i probably shared the same views on her of most. Although….i remember thinking that alot of politicians have probably had affairs he just got caught. I don’t honestly remember having a whole lot of thoughts one way or another, other than knowing it was about power. With power often comes entitlement and recklessness. The leader of the free world got a blow job in the oval office…..disgraceful perhaps, but shocking? No…..

Due to her name being once again splattered all over the media, she decided to get ahead of the game and she wrote a piece for Vanity Fair on her experiece and what her life has been like over the last sixteen years. Out of curiosity i read it…. talk about eye opening, it got my already spinning wheels spinning even harder. Boy…..talk about a lesson in judgement. We all know what happened so there’s no need to recap, but here’s a cliffnote version of what i got from it. Here was a twenty four year old girl, briliantly smart who was ready to make a change in the world. She headed to Washington in hopes of using her intellect and Washington experience as a vessel for positive change. Once there she got some “extra attention” i’ll call it from a charismatic politician who just so happened to be the leader of the free world!!! They started having an affair and naturally got caught. Again…..we all know what happened from there. Luckily for her there was no Facebook or Twitter at the time….we relied strickly on news outlets and smut magazines to emerse ourselves in such scandalous affairs. People couldn’t wait to see her mug flashed all over People Magazine….what was she wearing, how much weight had she gained, if the president was to have an affair why would he pick the fat chic?!! I don’t remember much, but i do remember some of the vitriol that was thrown her direction. In the past sixteen years she has had every name you can think of thrown at her, in the beginning she couldn’t even leave her apartment, she went into hiding and moved out of the country for awhile, and till this day she can’t make it through a job interview (even though she is over qualified and has her doctorate degree) because people are afraid to hire her due to the stigma attached. All of this due to a mistake she made and OWNED sixteen years ago. She has been asked numerous times throughout the years, and offered millions upon millions of dollars to go public and say that President Clinton was a pariah and that he took advantage and forced himself on her. She refused…..instead she took full responsibility for her part in the affair and does to this day. I have alot of respect for that. In 2010 after hearing about Tyler Clementi taking his own life after being outed as a gay man via social media, she decided to go to work on helping kids who are being cyber bullied. She is using her personal hell to help kids…..in my humble opinion she should be revered for that. Instead of being a victim….she took a bad choice that she made sixteen years ago and turned it into something that this culture, in the advent of social media, desperately needs. My point is this…..

Why do we judge and focus on failings verses triumphant endings? I know of not a single person who has not made a number of mistakes throughout their life, yet we continue to judge people based on those mistakes…..there’s something to be said for moving on. You can’t walk into a hotel that’s under construction, hand them your credit card, use their amenities for the night and then write a scathing letter the next day bitching about the noise. You saw red flags walking into the joint and chose to stay anyway. They are well aware of their temporary shortcomings, your scathing letter helps no one. Perhaps you should tell them that they did a good job with what they had to offer and when they finish the project you’d be more than happy to come back? You can’t start a relationship with someone that you know isn’t right for you from the very beginning but for whatevever your reasons you choose to stay anyway then turn around when things hit the fan and judge them for all the mistakes they made. They are well aware of the things they need to work on…..judging and pointing those things out to them helps no one. We should stay in integrity, wish them the best and move on. Take your own personal responsibility for staying in something that wasn’t good for you to begin with. I’m learning that it’s about taking resonsibility for ourselves, that’s all we’re put here to do…..they’re on their own jouney and our journey’s don’t always have to look alike…..and they definately shouldn’t be judged. I’ve spent my life trying to do the right thing, trying to make people happy and trying to help people. It has caught up to me in the last few years and i’ve gotten reckless in my own personal way. I’ve learned that sometimes i carry too many things…..things i have no control over. Sometimes life throws you something that forces you to get quiet. For me….this surgery and all of this time off is forcing me to get quiet….i’ve needed to get quiet for a long time now and figure out what direction i’m going. I’ve thought alot lately about the conversations i used to have with my parents from the time i was old enough to remember. Looking back they probably had no clue what i was talking about, yet we talk about it to this day. I’ve always felt different…..i used to tell them that i was meant for something big, i felt it as a young kid. I had no idea what that meant at the time, i still don’t to a certain degree but i’m figuring it out one day at a time. All i know is that i wanna make people laugh and be the best person i can possibly be….i’ve got a ways to go and i’ll have to carve my own path, this i’m aware of…..but i’ll get there. In the meantime i’m gonna scratch Fido on the belly and open a Wonka Pop….who knows…..i may get crazy and go on my first walk through the neighborhood post surgery with headphones on wearing my NASA neck brace…..i don’t care what people think…..remember…..thou shall not judge….

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Coming Out & Duran Duran

Recently i experienced a situation that rattled me to the core. It’s not always easy but when i can, i try to turn bad situations into times of growth and if possible i share my experience in hopes that someone else will learn from it. I suppose you could say i pay it forward. In this particular situation in order for me to pay it forward i have to tell my coming out story. To those that know me well…..you’ve already heard it. To those that don’t, maybe i can shed some light on a few things and collectively we can open minds and together be a part of positive change. Truth be told i had an idyllic childhood. I was blessed with an amazing family, i even had a stay at home mom in my younger years….what a gift! I had a typical Midwest upbringing. Throughout the years i have spent many a man hour retracing my steps to make sense of when this all began. My earliest memories date back to elementary school. To this day i have a hard time articulating exactly how i felt……all i can say is that as far back as then i knew that somehow i was different. Right around the fifth and sixth grade my girlfriends started developing crushes on boys. All i cared about was soccer practice! I chalked up my non-interest in boys to the fact that i grew up in a neighborhood fulla boys…..they were my buddies, my partners in crime, to have a crush on one of them woulda been incestuous!! It’s not that i didn’t question why i didn’t have a crush, i most certainly did. It was at this point in my young life that i realized in order to be like the others i had to pretend to be someone else….this was my introduction to Acting 101. During this time i would get invited to sleep overs at my friends houses. I paid close attention to detail…..i looked at their bedroom walls and made mental notes of all their boy posters. Mom would buy me the latest Teen Bop magazine and i would rip out the latest Rob Lowe pic and pin it to my wall…..all the while i wanted a room that looked like my brothers. I somehow knew i couldn’t tell anybody because it would set me apart from my friends so i continued to pepper my walls with the Brat Pack and Duran Duran pics. To this day i still think i shoulda been in the band. I woulda played a mean cowbell…..Union Of The Snake could have sounded SO much better in my humble opinion…..

Right around the seventh and eighth grade, friends started experimenting with boys….simple stuff like holding hands, kissing, you know “going around the bases”. Just the thought of it made my stomach do somersaults. I couldn’t understand for the life of me why anyone would wanna ruin what we had!! Actual physical contact……WHY??!!! This was when i learned of a game called Spin The Bottle. Up until this point a bottles purpose was strictly to hold fluids…..when it was empty it was meant to go in the trash, it wasn’t meant to be turned on its side, spun around a table of youth only to land on someone that you in turn had to kiss!! Weren’t our relationships fine the way they were? Why did we have to kiss each other?!! However…..at this point i was well into my Acting 101 class, i had become quite good at it AND i had created a safe place in my head that nobody knew about. I figured that as long as my eyes were closed i could pretend that i was kissing Christie Brinkley and nobody would know the wiser! Also…..i learned early on that if you were the “funny girl” guys wouldn’t take you seriously but the girls would always want you around…..WIN WIN in my book!!

Fast forward to high school. Up to this point i had heard the term “gay” but in my young mind i wasn’t even sure exactly what it meant. Again…..I knew somehow i wasn’t like the others but i was confused as to why. Homosexuality was never brought up from what i can remember. However, this was my first introduction to terms relating to gay people such as faggot, lesbo and the infamous queerbait. All i knew was that whenever these terms were used it was always to poke fun and show disgust. Somewhere in this era Rock Hudson announced he had A.I.D.S. Up to this point nobody had heard of A.I.D.S. However…. word on the street (not my house) was that he was gay and that A.I.D.S was a disease that God had created to rid the world of gay people…..a punishment if you will. Everybody seemed to buy into that including me…..i didn’t know any different. At this point i started asking questions. I wanted to understand what being gay actually meant. Deep down i suppose i knew what it meant…..was i in denial, yes. The more info i gathered the more unsettled i got, surely this couldn’t be me? I was a good kid. I hardly ever got into trouble aside from occasionally talking too much in class…..but i had alot to say!!! I received fairly good grades. I told my parents that getting straight A’s would make for a boring report card so i peppered it with all kinds of letters! By the way…..this went over like a turd in a punch bowl! Putting that aside i was a fairly good athlete and good kid…..how in the world could i be this disgusting and bad thing that people talked about? Clearly i was mistaken…..i needed to step up my game. Seeing that i had conquered Acting 101 it was time for me to take the next step and start polishing my skills. The more i polished the bigger my safe place in my head had to become. As far as i knew nobody knew my secret and nobody would ever know. What i was feeling felt so isolating. I convinced myself that somehow as i got older it would disappear….i just had to wait it out. In the meantime, i had a couple of boyfriends here and there, most of which broke up with me because they couldn’t even get to first base let alone round second! I used the excuse that i was a “good girl” and that kissing leads to “other things”. There was no way i could tell anyone that the mere thought of sucking face gave me the scoots…..i woulda been labeled a weirdo or worse yet a lesbo. I was petrified of being labeled anything that ended in “O”!!

Fast forward to college. Who knows….maybe i shoulda done what my brother did…..stayed focused, lived at home, commuted to college, worked full time and graduated in four years without taking out a single penny in student loans. I must mention here how much i looked up to him and how proud i was of him. But…. ooooooooh no….i wanted the full college experience so i packed my bag of secrets and moved on campus. I’ve never had a hard time making friends so i instantly met a few girls (shout out to Annie and Holly!) and we hit it off right away. Suddenly i was surrounded by people of all different ethnicity and backgrounds….i loved it!! I came from a town of mostly white folk so needless to say this was a much needed dose of the real world. It was also the first time i had been exposed to any “out” gay people. I remember a couple of gay girls in my classes who were feminine. This both intrigued me and confused me all at the same time. I was naive and thought that all gay women looked manly….i didn’t realize that they came in all shapes and sizes. On one hand i felt a sense of comfort….i had met people that were like me….on the other hand i was scared to death because it forced me to secretly deal with the fact that i was in fact gay. If this was true, i told myself that i would have to live two seperate lives for the rest of my days and at this point i was starting to grow very tired.

All of this time i was going on dates with guys trying desperately to be like everyone i was close to. Basically, i convinced myself to think that i would somehow grow out of this. Naively….i couldn’t wait for the day that i would wake up and be like everyone else. Living two lives is exhausting. Knowing that you’re close to people yet they have no idea what’s really going on in your head makes you feel like a fraud. It’s an extremely lonely and isolating place. On one hand i knew that i was good and descent, yet on the other hand i felt alone, less than, and incredibly isolated…..being alone wasn’t fun. However….as far as i knew nobody knew the wiser and my secret was still safe.

I spent the next few years fumbling around in college. I had no idea what i wanted to be when i grew up. I was having a hard time focusing on anything other than perfecting my facade. I knew that as long as i was having fun it took my mind off of my reality. Eventually during one of my many college breaks i found a sales job. On the outside my life looked perfect…..i had perfected my game. I made friends easy at my new job (shout out to Jonelle, Kelly, Terri and Donna). I was making good money, i was totally self sufficient…..my parents were proud. On the inside i was exhausted and it was starting to show. One day i had finished up a sales call and was on my way to meet my mom for lunch. All of a sudden i started getting tunnel vision which led to a severe panic attack. I pulled off to the side of the highway and was as frightened as i had ever been…..i thought i was having a heart attack. I called my mom and collected myself enough to get myself to the hospital. She took one look at me and knew that something was terribly wrong. After they ran a battery of tests the doctor came in and explained to me that i had had a severe panic attack. He asked me if something stressful was going on in my life. Seeing that my mom was in the room i couldn’t be honest i felt, so i chalked it up to sales quotas. This was the start of many visits to the emergency room. On top of the panic attacks my hair was starting to fall out as well as turning grey. I was losing weight rapidly and not sleeping. My friends had no idea any of this was going on to my knowledge….however….my family knows me well. They knew something was up and kept asking me what was wrong. You may find this hard to believe but i come from a family of talkers!! It was not like me to not talk to them…..my silence was telling. Although i was miserable on the inside and completely exhausted i continued to play it straight, until……my last trip to the emergency room.

Up to this point i had had many conversations with God. I was raised by two spiritual parents and i myself believe in a higher power. I had spent numerous nights begging him to help me. Sometimes late at night i would drive to a nearby church parking lot….i would sit on the hood of my car and bawl my eyes out. I somehow feared that he would be disappointed in me….i begged him to give me some sort of relief. At this point i desperately wanted to just be ME for once. He listened to me and his message came in the form of a nurse. To this day i regret that i didn’t get her name because she changed the course of my life. Because of my frequent visits to the emergency room some of the nurses knew me by name…..how embarrassing!! On this particular visit the nurse walked into the room, pulled up a chair and said she wanted to talk. I immediately knew that this visit was gonna be different. She made it clear to me that i was in a safe environment and asked me what was going on in my life. I immediately got nervous and started spewing out my usual rhetoric. She interrupted me and asked me to stand up. She proceeded to walk over to me and give me the tightest hug (not as big as my mom’s she gives the best hugs on the planet…ask anyone who knows her!). When she pulled away she grabbed my face in her hands, looked me straight in the eyes and told me that i was beautiful and perfect ….just the way God made me. Every emotion you can think of was going through my head. She then told me to say it out loud. It was the first time the words “i’m gay” had ever come out of my mouth. It’s hard to articulate how i felt other than to say i was relieved and scared all at the same time. She had a gay son…..her advice to me was to tell my family. Going through the experience herself she knew that my family was probably confused and worried about me. She sympathized with my situation but knew that was the only thing that would set me free. As relieved as i was to say it out loud….this created a whole other set of stresses. I had held this secret close my whole life. How do i go to my family who have done nothing but love me and tell them something that i felt would turn their world upside down and disappoint them. Like anybody….i always wanted my family to be proud of me, we’re a tight bunch. They had given me a beautiful life. I felt they were not deserving of this.

It would be impossible to tell the entire story of our family journey….besides i’ve already taken up enough of your time, so i’ll summarize here. I told my brother and his wife first. I couldn’t have asked for a more supportive response. My brother actually shed a tear….he was upset that as close as we were i didn’t feel like i could tell him. That hurt him and i don’t blame him. My sister-n-law said “IT’S ABOUT TIME!!” We laugh about that to this day. He wanted to be with me when i told mom and dad which meant a lot to me. That day is a day i will never forget. I was about to drop a bomb on the two people i loved the most. I felt horrible inside….the last thing i ever wanted to do was hurt them…..the two kindest and most beautiful souls i know. When i told them they both cried. They were shocked, confused, hurt, scared you name it. However….one of the first things that came out of their mouth was that they loved me and they needed time to educate themselves. Like any parent their fear for me was that i would have a harder life. I understood that completely. The next couple of years were spent talking alot…..they asked me questions, each question they asked made me feel good, it showed me how much they were trying. We were patient with each other…..any parent that learns they have a gay child goes through a grieving process. They have to grieve their idea of you. All of the things they’ve dreamt about are now going to look different…..that takes time. As they started to dig deep they learned the extent of my struggle, they learned how long i had been dealing with this on my own. They felt bad and couldn’t understand, much like my brother, why as close as we were, i didn’t feel like i could tell them. To this day that is my one regret…. i wish i had been truthful with them from the beginning and not gone about it alone. As time went on things got easier and easier. They met and liked the first couple of girls i dated. I ended up meeting an amazing woman that i spent nine years of my life with. They loved her like a daughter. All they needed to see was me happy. I’m incredibly blessed to have such a supportive family. Even my extended family have been amazing. Not a day goes by i don’t realize that i’m a spoiled gay…..if there is such a thing! I’m loved every day by my family, my amazing friends….even the company i work for, how lucky can one get!! Until just recently not once had i experienced any hatred thrown my way….notice i said until recently which brings me to the point of this novel…..

I can’t get into the details but recently i was involved in a conversation where two men started making fun of gay people, they were mocking them and saying that gay people burn in hell. They didn’t know me therefore they didn’t know i was gay. I was disgusted by their behavior and didn’t want it to go any further so i told them i was gay and asked them to stop. One of the men told me that i too was going to burn in hell and then asked me if i had excepted Jesus Christ into my heart…..which was ironic seeing how he was acting. I could see where he was going with this….clearly he wasn’t the type to have any sort of meaningful conversation so i again asked him to stop. Before he was through he repeatedly told me that he wouldn’t be seeing me in Heaven and to basically have fun rotting in hell. I later found out that the other guy agreed with him and bragged to him about how his brother is gay and he hasn’t spoken to him since the day he came out to his family five years ago. There is much more to the story but that’s as much as i can say…..however…..here are my thoughts….

That was the first time in my life i have ever had such hatred thrown in my direction. It hurt me to the core. Here were two people who knew nothing about me throwing hateful things at me and getting a kick out of it. Even though i know that everything they said was ignorant it still bothered me something awful. That night i went to bed and started thinking about what that experience taught me…..i tried to find a piece of it that i could turn into something good. What i realized is that even though that experience was awful….i’m an adult who is comfortable in my own skin therefore i can take it. I’ve already lived my hell when i wasn’t living an authentic life. But i started thinking about how that would have effected me in the Duran Duran years. Think about all of the kids that are out there who have those things thrown at them everyday. That would be hard to handle when your still hiding who you are….fearful of acceptance. I can’t even imagine. It’s no wonder gay kids kill themselves. There are some things in life that we have no control over but the one thing we do is our words. If your a miserable and hateful human being i feel sorry for you but that doesn’t give you the right to project your hate onto others. Hiding behind the bible is pathetic and a disgrace to all the good people of faith i know. I can’t pray the gay away no more than one can pray the straight away and i shouldn’t have to….my God wouldn’t want me to. When someone tells me that my being gay was a choice, they’ve completely diminished my lifelong struggle down to something as simple as a decision. To me that is nothing but blatant ignorance. I shared my personal story here to show the human side of what one goes through when they’re dealing with their sexuality. It’s a very difficult struggle…..what one needs is compassion and a place to feel safe. If your around a child or an adult for that matter who in your heart you know is struggling try to show them nothing but kindness….maybe even open a door for them to walk through…you could be that one person who changes the course of their life for the better just like my nurse….an angel. If in sharing my story i opened up just one set of eyes then it was worth it. If i opened up just one eye then i’ll be confused because why wouldn’t you just open your other eye unless you don’t have another eye and you have to wear one of those eye patches in which case that would make perfect sense. Anyway….if your still reading this thank you for hanging in there and i hate to cut you short but i need to go pee……

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