It’s Okay To Be Queer At The Academy

 

My name is Matthew, I’m standing in the Director’s office in the Academy waiting for my release papers. I always imagined that the sky from this room would be a baby blue but what little I can gleam through the shuttered blinds is not blue but a mixture of gray and white. Nothing is as you imagine it to be.

I’m 22 and there are things that should make sense to me now but they don’t. My parents, well, my dad, insisted I go to this Academy to “toughen me up”,  I don’t even know what that means but to him it means  “becoming straight.” As if. I am who I am, who I have always been but he won’t accept that, he thinks a therapist or a school could change me. I AM me.

My militant father refuses to accept all gay people, as if we have a choice. We were born this way! Hey, it’s a lot easier to be straight with prejudiced people like him than it is being gay.

Once, when I was younger, I challenged him about his narrow-minded views. He looked at me for one second and then pummeled me so badly I was black and blue for a week.  I looked so bad my mom called the school and said I was in a car accident. She tried to stand up for me but I said it was okay, I didn’t want him to hit her too.

My mother accepts me being gay and loves me for who I am. I have confided in her and while she worries that it is a hard life (and it is) she has accepted my choice and she loves me and supports me. My father is a mean bastard, when I first told him, he threw chairs around the room and would not let me even say the words out loud, ever. I tried to tell him that I was still his son but he viciously replied “I have no son, I have a faggot. You are not part of this family anymore.” How could he do that? I haven’t seen him since.

I love men, not women, is that such a crime? I wanted to go to college and be free but my dad forbid it. He sent me to this stupid Academy “to make a man out of me.”  I guess he thought the Academy would make me straight and I would start liking girls. I had the last laugh though, all the other guys were there for the same reason.Their parents sent them there to “toughen up” too. My father had no idea that most guys in the school were gay. I guess the joke was on him.

We call each other “queer” here in the Academy, it’s used as a term of endearment, I don’t understand how a parent can just stop loving a child, I really don’t but a lot of the guys here have had the same experience. I envy the men and women whose family love and support them no matter who they choose to love.

My mom has tried to talk to my dad many times about accepting me but he won’t budge. Fuck it, I guess I’m better off without him. I don’t need his lectures, his abuse and his screaming. All i ever wanted was his love. But, I knew, I always knew that I would never get that, ever. Yet, deep down, in a child-like way, I still hope that one day he will change and he will accept and love me for who I am. Yeah, I know, keep dreaming.

Dedicated to the LGBT community who do not feel loved by their families.

No photos due to Zemanta broken.

Advertisements

Happy Yellow Friday # 12

 

Pure Beauty in Yellow. Princess Diana.

 

Bonnie Raitt And Me

Saying Goodbye to 20014

I listened to this song a lot last year and now I am sending this song to my brother-in-law

Stu B. and his cousin who are in my thoughts.

Please send some white light to and healing thoughts to his family.

Thank you.

 

 

“The Reason”

For you, I will play “The Reason” less often but I will never stop thinking of the look in your big sad, brown eyes after the fight with your dad. You were younger than thirteen, I think. My heart breaks for you every time I hear that song, it reminds me of your hurt and deeply saddened face.

It captures a moment in time, not all moments have to be good, I know you think they should but you will learn later in life that the bad moments teach us things as well. We get past them, we appreciate when they have passed, we learn from them.

I know you don’t like confrontation, except when you delight in starting it, your dad, will run miles to escape anything even slightly confrontational. I’d rather he yelled and screamed but his family brought him up to ” sweep things under the rug.” They don’t fight, they don’t express their feelings, they hide.

I’m so glad you and your sister have parents with different styles but I’m afraid your sister is definitely like dad. She makes dad seem like a beginner; he is emotional compared to her. There are layers and layers of this beautiful young woman and even if I try to delve inside a bit, try being the operative word, she closes up like a clam shell in a matter of seconds.

You and I wear our hearts on our sleeves, but your sister hides her emotions, I think she shows you the most emotion she shows anyone and I am so glad for that. The fact that you and your younger sister are best friends is better than winning the lottery for me, I never had that relationship with my sister. I don’t know what that feels like but I’m sure it feels wonderful. You have a built-in best friend.

When I was pregnant with your sister (or brother at the time) I swore I would do anything and everything to not have the kind of drama and angst that my sister and I have. I am not going to assign specific blame here, part of it was our parents’ fault, part our own. But, in any case, it is not a healthy relationship and seeing you and your sister together makes your dad and I so happy.

Luckily, your two cousins have a close relationship too. The four cousins loving and liking each other is incredible, growing up we had nobody. I take great joy that the cousins have each other and will always have each other. I’m sure my sister feels the same way.

When the grown-ups are gone, I know you, your sister and the cousins will be close, maybe your kids will spread the icing on the cinnamon rolls at Christmas.

We indulged this morning.

We indulged this morning. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

 

 

 

Certain memories get stuck in our brains for different reasons. Why I reacted so strongly to you sitting in your room, playing that song, I’m not sure but it is one moment I will never forget and I know you know that. Luckily, it was one of the rare sad moments of your life.

I remember more, you’re smiling face, you being the prankster, tricking your gullible mom ALL the time, your enthusiasm for food and your kind and sensitive nature. We know each others’ mood over the phone, the breath before we say “hello.” I’m here for you always, I’m sure you know that but once in a while it’s nice to have a reminder, for both of us, I’m sure.

 

 

 

 

 

Dear Daddy,

I’ve meant to write you for a couple of days but now I NEED to write you. You were always there for me when times were tough, especially when times were tough. You were the only person who really knew me because our personalities were so similar.

I know I’m just having a very bad day and they happen from time to time but this one is unusual. I feel like I’m getting beaten up by everybody

and I don’t know why. I don’t have you here to defend me or to want to get back at the people who are making me sad. I do know that if you could, you would although I’m not so sure you would defend mom.

No matter what she did, you defended her but her tone today, I know, you would have been the one to say “take it easy” and she would have listened. Her ordering me around like she is the commander and I’m the soldier was horrible. Something is not right. Does she think that the holiday season is only hard on her?

Losing Lola and Don and Ellen were tragic losses, believe me, I know. I went to the funerals of two of them with her. Anna went to one of them so she was always supported. There’s not much else anyone can really do. Both Emma and I call her every day, she boasts about that to her friends but sometimes  it seems I can do nothing right. At least that’s how it feels to me.

I’m not in their club of two, my sister and mom, they are so similar and our club, you and me, doesn’t exist anymore, talk about grief. Yes, I know it’s a rough time of year, with you dying on New Year’s Eve

and you and mom’s anniversary on New Year’s Day! Not such good timing, Dad. I  remember our last Christmas but the grief comes back in waves of sadness and anger. You should be here, playing Santa and ringing the stupid bell you always rang. If only you could come back for just one minute to ring that bell and to give me a hug that I so desperately need from you now.

Well, the day is almost over, I’m hiding in my bedroom, yeah I know, not the right solution but that’s okay, I just need a little time to myself. Your granddaughter is out having fun and your grandson will be home tomorrow. At the moment he is the one worrying because, like me, he is so intuitive and he heard my voice on the phone. I know I worry too much, oh stop laughing, but I try not to do that. I can’t help it if I read headlines and get scared. As most parents, I worry about my children.

You know I love you, of course you do, thank you for the signs you send me (I could use one soon, please.) Do I wish you a Merry Christmas in Heaven? It’s been so many years  you would think my grief would have mellowed but today it is raw. I don’t understand that at all.

I’m going to play some music now and settle down, I know I’ll be fine in a few minutes. You know I’ll be fine, I always remember what you and Mom said: “That beneath the mushiness, deep down, I am steel” and I know that’s true. I’ve had to be many times in my life. I love and miss you so much but I am glad you are not in pain anymore, that’s for sure. Say hi to Lore for me, quite a prank she pulled on us at her funeral. It seems like Diane and I both thought we were the sole “Augusta.” Only Lore could get away with that. Please tell her I miss her too, I really do.

All my love,

Your little mouse

PS The dog just pushed the door open, jumped up on the bed and kissed my whole face which she generally doesn’t do. She knew I was sad, I feel better already.

“Nobody Bothered To Even Listen”

Dear Dr. Nancy,

It’s me, Amy, I hate you, I hate you. You lied to me and you said you never would. You told me that I was going to stay at an Inn, I thought it was like a Bed and Breakfast and it turned out to be a damn mental hospital. It’s been a long time already and I’m still here at the hospital and I want to get out. I am mad at you, you broke your promise. You said it was only for a few weeks and it’s been a ton of weeks now, like months. How could you do that to me? I trusted you.  You betrayed my trust and you were the only person I trusted.

You sided with my parents and I will never forgive you or them. I was not a danger to myself no matter what anybody says. I sure don’t think I was, besides I know myself better than anybody. You should believe me, not them. I’m in a room all by myself in this stupid, antiseptic smelling hospital, it is very small with thick green padded walls. I couldn’t hurt myself in here if I tried. I think about trying all the time but only sometimes.

I told you and everybody else that I did not want to kill myself, I know what it LOOKS like but I am telling you the truth. Ok, sometimes I do and sometimes I don’t. Happy?

I know that there were open, bloody slits on my arms, I know I cut myself but does that mean I automatically wanted to die? Nobody even asked me. Nobody cared enough to ask.

I was so alone and had nobody to talk to and then four men shoved me into a van wrapped with an old flowery blanket around me and locked my arms in back of me. I tried to scream for my parents but they ran in the house like the spineless snakes they have always been. Precious older sister Julie of course was spared the scene.

If people would have just listened to me instead of ignoring me, putting me aside because I was “different.” Yeah, I was different, I had to be different. Everyone gave Julie all the attention with her blonde hair and blue eyes and perfect scores in school. Yes, she did get the academic award every year, so what? Wouldn’t you know she even played the piano like a saint? It was always Julie, always, My parents never had time for me, they never MADE time for me, so I had to get attention some how.

When I got my first tattoo my parents didn’t talk to me for a good month, well, at least they noticed, I sure got attention even though it was negative attention. It felt good. So, I continued

and did all the bad stuff that I knew they would hate. I did drugs, I drank, drugs, took all kinds of drugs, yeah, I even shot up heroin, I did whatever I could. shooting up whatever I could do, I did.

That angelic older sister of mine, Julie, would never even try anything bad, the goody two shoes,

My mom and dad never saw me as a person, they looked away from me, I was just Julie’s little sister. Julie was the only one they cared about. But, I thought you were different, Dr. Nancy and now I know you were not. You were part of my family’s plan to destroy me, to wipe me out and extinguish my flame in this world. Hey, why am I talking about a flame?

Snuff-Movie (film)

Maybe you are right because I plan to extinguish myself one way or another, the last remaining spark that is alive. So help me God.

By the time you get this letter I will be dead. I swear, I hope this makes you and my parents very happy. PS Tell my sister that I really did hate her.

From,

Amy D.

The Art Of Changing


Every time my two college kids come home for a visit, in this case, Thanksgiving, I forget, that it takes 48 hours for all of us to get used to each other again. I wish I could remember that beforehand because it would take the sting out of the inevitable: regression,

dirty looks, initial combative behavior and sibling rivalry. What is it about coming home that automatically brings out old behavior patterns?

I remember this happening when I visited my parents when I was in college so I am not sure you really can stop it. I think you become child-like when you go home to visit your parents and old habits die-hard. To this day, it is never a good scenario when my sister and I are alone with our mom, together. I never liked being with two other friends, it’s not a good combination for me.

But, after two days of settling in with our children it’s wonderful, just like old times. It feels like they have never left and you wonder how you can let them go, again? The house will be so quiet without them. There are four of us now drinking coffee in the morning or snacking together at night, sitting on the bed together chatting and laughing, interrupting each other and rehashing the mini-dramas of Thanksgiving.

I know it won’t be like this forever, they will get married or move away or we will move so I cherish every second. I’m putting these memories in a special place in my heart, tucked away, like the memories of their childhood. The difference is that I have photographs of when they were young and sweet and innocent. I have a mountain of photographs of each stage of their lives.

But this, this one memory, lasted ten minutes, it is like a snapshot in my mind and I try desperately to hold on to to it, in my heart, hoping it will last a very long time.

The four of us all sitting together laughing and reminiscing, back and forth, happy, conversing, joking with no hint of displeasure or dismay. All of us being in tune with each other, bantering, back and forth, replaying the day, interrupting each other and finishing each others sentences.
The thought of them leaving in a couple of days just seems incredible, and lonely and sad. And yes, it will take another 48 hours for their laughter to die down, for my husband and I to get used to the solitude and the quietness and enjoy each other and the peace, all over again.
Change is inevitable, get used to it, it never goes away.

Living With Sweet Denial

I refuse to believe that in the next few days snow is in the forecast. Yes, I am in the ultimate denial stage. I’ve heard from multiple sources that the temperature is going to drop quickly and that the predicted heavy rain will fall and turn into snow. Yes, SNOW.

I am not going to believe it nor will I think about it.  Instead I am going to live in my world of fantasy for a few minutes, at least, and dream or reminisce about something nice that happened in my past. Let’s see how long I last with this new coping technique…

I once went on a trip to visit my grandparents with my dad in Vienna, Austria. ( Remember we always had free airline tickets.) Do I remember the time I spent with my grandparents? Honestly, no.I remember that my Opa was grumpy but he did love me best and Oma made incredible, moist schnitzel, the best I’ve had in my entire life. Naturally, I remembered food. I also remembered the desserts that my dad and I shared. Both of us had the worst sweet addiction in the world.

I can’t remember what I had for dinner last night but I do remember desserts I have had when I was a teenager. On that trip to Vienna we had a red currant pie that when you took a bite the currants would explode in your mouth. I’ve looked, searching for something similar now for forty years. The other dessert we called “The Swan” filled with vanilla cream, a delicate white meringue, shaped into a swan, covered in aluminum to take home.

Roasted pear creme brulee tart.

Many years later we would look at each other and just say..”remember the swan?” My father is long deceased but when I think of these moments that we shared together they make me feel close to him.  I have not disappointed him in my pursuit of sweets. In fact, I have carried that trait on to my now grown-up children.

My daughter is a chocolate fan, definitely inherited from her dad’s side of the family. It’s chocolate, dark chocolate and nothing else. It could be ice cream or cake but it has to be chocolate, once in a while they will have coffee mixed in but that’s all.

Ah, but my son comes from my side of the family with the love of fruit, custard tarts, crème brûlée and all things vanilla. Sure, we won’t turn down a brownie but our main focus is definitely NOT on chocolate, just the opposite. We like pear tarts and apple crumbles, strawberry fruit tarts with vanilla custard, blueberry pies and for me, anything with coconut or lemon.

Dessert makes a sad day or a bad day happier. It doesn’t have to be big, and it doesn’t have to be a large serving but in our family it does indeed have to exist. My husband and I, since the kids are in college, have a new ritual in the evening: after dinner and cleaning up, working/writing for a while around 8:30 we start to watch television on our bed. Our dog, Lexi is always at our feet. A half hour goes by and instinctively we look at each other and smile.

We know by our stomachs, not a clock, that it is time for dessert. My husband goes down to the kitchen and prepares two small bowls of ice cream, frozen yogurt or a combination, maybe a cookie with it and a few M & M’s. I think we both get the same amount of pleasure from it, I am thrilled with the anticipation and he is thrilled that he is doing something so incredibly kind and I appreciate it. (Not to mention the fact that we are about to have “D” the nickname for dessert in our house.)

We continue watching our show, we eat our desserts slowly (well, I do) and that makes the world a little brighter. Compared to some people it’s not a big deal but for us it’s not only  enough, it’s heavenly sweet.

In memory of my dad.

The Family Of Foodies

When our kids come home from college for a visit, suddenly our kitchen is bursting with the smell of my freshly baked banana bread with raisins and chocolate chips, soon afterwards dark chocolate brownies are left to cool waiting for me to slather on the thick, creamy dark chocolate frosting.

Their dad and I have both gone to the supermarket to stock up on their favorite foods, they could stay four weeks, even though they are only here for four days or is it one day? It doesn’t matter. We pack the leftovers so the kids can take them to share with their friends.

 

I stood in the freezer section getting frost bite while choosing six quarts of ice cream, all different flavors.  We have Ben and Jerry’s Coffee, Coffee Buzz, Graeter’s Black Cherry Chip,

 

Graeter's

Graeter’s (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

 

Black Raspberry Chip, and Chocolate, Chocolate Chip. We also have Mango Sorbet, Blood Orange Sorbet and Haagen Daas’ Pistachio ice cream (which to me, is a great disappointment, vanilla with a couple of shelled pistachio nuts in it. I won’t buy it again.) Any suggestions of another brand of pistachio ice cream?

 

 

 

 

 

We have rainbow cookies, molasses cookies.

 

 

amaretto cookies, and of course, Double Stuffed “Oreos.”(Thank you, Nabisco)

 

We don’t live like this all the time, believe me, we only stock up when our college kids come home to visit. Our daughter’s description of the ideal break is: “watching, (streaming episodes) of her favorite television shows on her computer and eating her home-cooked favorite foods and I quote.” Isn’t that what coming home is all about?”

My husband made a delicious eggplant parmegian/ parmesan, I made guacamole, and a tomato, mozzarella, olive oil, basil salad, we had

 

English: Guacamole in a bowl. Photograph taken...

 

chips, pizza, huge salads, creative salads with lettuce and arugula, cranberries, goat cheese, string beans, grapes, and cucumbers (and anything else I found) with no meat (for our daughter “the vegetarian.”) Yes, she DOES get plenty of protein, she never liked meat and never ate it as a baby. I’m anticipating the questions that will follow…

BOTH of my grown-up children came home a day early as a surprise and I consider myself deeply blessed. I am truly grateful to be able to have one night together with my whole family, where we eat will be up to them, with our approval, and bound by price range and affordability.

Tonight, we will eat leftovers with no complaints and if there are complaints, that’s okay, the only other option is…no other option. I do regret how lenient we were with our children when they were small. I felt like a short order cook, a grilled cheese for one, spaghetti with meatballs for the other….the things you learn in hindsight.


We all make mistakes as parents but if that’s the worst mistake we made then I think we did pretty well. We have super nice, polite kind, kids, independent, loving, street smart and compassionate. What more could a mother and a father want? NOTHING.

Are they perfect?  No.  Are we? Heck no. Do we wish they would change certain things?  Sometimes. No, I am NOT going to argue with you about this!! (you- know -who) I know that they wish the same for us. We’re a family, we all need to work together. Every single one of us needs to learn how to compromise and accept not always being right. Accepting someone’s difference is harder than deciding to disagree. Respect another person’s position without judgment. Try.

What would you rather be, a very old friend asked me thirty years ago, right or at peace?

My answer thirty years ago was” right,” I changed my answer in the years to come. The kids will learn that, in time. Or, they won’t. That is entirely up to them. It took me a long time to see it, peace wins for me now, every single time.

We all grow-up, we make mistakes, we fall down, we get up and we fall down again. Children, like adults, learn, from their mistakes. Let them make them.

When our kids went back to school a few days ago my husband and I went right back to eating very simple meals. Scrambled eggs with cheese and toast, pasta with meat sauce, home-made pea soup, chunky with carrots, ham, spices and a salad and french bread. A roasted chicken, rice and freshly cut vegetables with a yogurt dill sauce. After dinner, we often go upstairs, lie on our bed, watch our television set with a small (ok, medium) bowl of ice cream in our hands (with rainbow-colored sprinkles for me) to watch the Jimmy Fallon show from the night before. A simpler life, quieter, we accept what we have, what we can’t change and that’s okay. Love what you have today, understand and accept that you will see your children less, yesterday is gone and we don’t know what the future will bring.

Enjoy the moment. Be Thankful. Breathe.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

6 Weeks

We were told by his adult children that he was supposed to die from an inoperable, aggressive brain tumor within six weeks, that was at least three months ago. I thought, for sure, he would die when he was told his wife had passed away but, again, he was so relieved, so grateful she was out of her pain that he actually felt and looked a bit better. Nobody could change or help his diagnosis, he had an inoperable brain tumor but his spirit was so relieved that the love of his life was free of pain and free of suffering, he felt just a little better. They knew his wife was going to die in one or two days and they were correct. You could see relief sketched on his face yet he was not allowed to go to her funeral, he was in hospice care.

Many years ago, when my father laid, by himself, in a hospital room, in another state I called at the exact time when a freshly minted unsettled female voice said:”something has just happened and that the doctors are working on him now.” I didn’t understand, I had no idea what she was talking about but I remember calling my mother. I never thought about it like this but I guess I was there at his death as well. We were together and I still left him that sacred message, so did my mom. “It was okay to go, it was okay, we would take care of each other…”

The cardiologist called me and I asked him if I should come? His voice was gentle, I remember that, and he said “Sweetie, you won’t make it in time, don’t come.” ” Do you promise?” I asked through wracking sobs? “Yes”, he promised. Moments later, my father was dead. I didn’t know until a few days ago my mom had made the same call and was told the same thing. She was ready to drive there alone, in the dark, even though she was terrified to drive.

He had crashed in the hospital while under observation with a fatal heart attack. He had suffered heart attacks before. I still see that digital clock in my mind, the one my dad had given me so many years ago, well, “sold” to me even after all these years. My own children were across the hall, mere babies. I see their sweet, innocent faces, me in my bed, a moment, frozen in time. It was 10:20 pm.

I thought I would never be able to feel happiness again but I did though it was different. I was different as well. Before and After Different. That’s how I now measured my life, in a lot of things.

There are always new phases in our lives, new beginnings, new endings, new chapters, the closures, doors slammed and opened. Right now we are in the middle of a chapter and can’t seem to go forward or back, we are stuck, like dead birds smashed against a windowpane.

Eventually, we will move on. It may take some more time but life does not have to be stagnant forever although sometimes it feels that way. Turn that attitude around and enjoy what you have instead of what you don’t know. Nestle in comfort for the time being. Luxuriate in proximity, memories, familiarity and family.

Change will come, whether you are ready for it or not, it will sneak in like a softly padded black cat stealthily coming in the darkened bedroom, with only green cat eyes following every step you take.

.