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.

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How To Raise A Flower

 

Life is tumultuous and as you age, the days turn into months, months turn into years and decades.  Take a look over your shoulder for just a minute, let your eyes gaze lovingly and the memories will swell from your brain straight up into your soul, reflecting many emotions into your misty, knowing eyes.

Love is a flower that you plant, gingerly, as a seed. You caress it, you whisper encouragement to it, place it with a couple of brother and sisters, gently into the little opening you have made for it, prepare it for it in the warm, raw, earthy ground.

You feel the warmth of the soil through your fingers, meditation, for your mind and your body, you gently cover the mound with loving fingers, with sensitivity and quiet blessings.

You learn patience, consistency, respect, work ethic. You must nurture every day yet give these flowers the opportunity to blossom on their own.

Allow them every chance to help grow with some assistance from Nature’s wily forces. You are a caretaker now.

The sun chuckles and smiles brightly, water is given to quench the Earth’s soil, keeping in mind, the right amount of water, not too much, not too little. Life, as you are learning, is about balance.

You talk to the buds starting to flourish with gratitude, thanking them for their presence in your life, for their gift to you, as they murmur their silent thanks to be alive.

Everybody brightens, the flowers flourish and your soul is filled with happiness and gratitude. Every day you say hello and good-night. Take a photograph, show your loved ones, perhaps sit next to your flower with your favorite book. You already know that it will only last a short time so enjoy every second it is alive. Their lives, like ours, live for only a short time. Embrace that time with gratitude.

Soon, when the buds dry up, we understand things don’t last forever, in your heart you will carry a picture of your journey.

Loving the process all the way through, knowing you helped nourish it, all along, having a friend.

Thank you, dear flowers for your place in our lives, in many people’s lives, for the absolute joy of watching you grow, for the perfumed smell of sweet ecstasy that slips into our hearts and whose memory lasts forever.

so, so tired i’m not looking at the keyss

this is one of those random, no punctuation, stream of consciousness blog posts that i sometimes do with my eyes closed. thanks to my junior high school teacher who taught me how to type and bribed me with multi colored jelly beans.

A bunch of Jelly Belly jelly beans resting com...

mu head is back lying on the pillow and i just finished a lot for dessert, chocolate covered cherry and small lorna dunes.. i am so tired that mh ehes are thickenening with sleep and conjuring up stories’\\that make no sense. christopher robbin and winnie the pooh, a sinister man in a closet and in the background thart i can’t see but i can hear is the ocean, roaaring with an forceful tide.

i know i love the ocean so it doesn’t scare me at all//. tomorrow my baby girl of 20 comes home i can’t wait, her brother coming home on saturday i think. i have to rememver  the  3 day adjustment period we went through over thanksgiving that i totally forgot about. this time, prepared, maybe it won’t happen. i long to see them sometimes, my heart aches and yet  dan and i are happy to be alone together which is nice.

another year ending, i won’t be wsorry to see it end, it was a rather tough year but i i guess we didn’t notice that when you re young but, likr s rainbow after a thunderous cloud and rain storm, we get through the storms, one afrer another yet the rainbows are hard to find now.  rainbows are very rare, but if one day you see one it will stayu with you forever.

i’m tired so i need to go to sleep on my newly washed old flannel sheets that i haven’t used in yers.they have a dog and cat pattern on them and they are cheerful. they have been sitting in my closett scrunched in a ball,aching to be used. i thought theyw ould be too warm for mme…what on erth was i thinking? maybe that was pre fibromyalgia or pree aging but to me now they are a gift of softneww. i rub my feet against their  velvety surface.

now i must go, my eyes will remain shut. i will open them just to shut down the computer to turn off my pjone and my bedside light. i’m looking forward to putting m y head on my dancing dogs and cats pillow aand tht first cup of my morning strong cup of coffee with cocoa powder mised in. anothers night brings nother day. there’s hope.

Blah Humbug

Dear Friends,

How are you? I’m fine, really.  I just want to clarify something. Sometimes I vent my feelings on this blog and people worry but please realize when I vent its my way of getting a release.Of course I have pain sometimes but I live with that and work through it. I don’t suffer 24/7. I promise. Trust me, if I did, you would hear me scream at your houses.

You can always ask me any question. My way of getting RID of negative feelings or pain is working through them and writing about them, I don’t want anyone to be concerned. If you feel worried, ask me any question.

Also, remember I’m a bit sneaky. Many times I weave fiction and non fiction together, so you may not know who is writing what. As I say in my blurb: “There’s a little fiction in non-fiction and a little non-fiction in fiction, you decide.”

So, today I’m not depressed, physically I feel fine. I don’t hurt everywhere, my kidneys are hanging in there and my anxiety level is low. I saw the sunshine for a brief amount of  time, for me that is always good! The cold seemed less cold in my kind of new green jacket that was handed down from my sister to me. I love it!  It’s a beautiful shade of green/purple that shimmers, hard to describe, I know.

I’m not happy or sad, not melancholy or enthusiastic. I’m just plain blah. (I am amusing myself, as my children know I do, very often, by the witty title of this blog) and it is making me laugh.)

I wonder if my mood is the same for me every year and I turn to my husband and ask. “Pretty

much” he says because he knows that this is a rough time of year for me. Why do I forget this every single year? Do I just block it?

My dad died on New Year’s Eve so these holidays hold pain, genuine heartbreak, along with joy. My children are not children anymore, they are grown-ups with lives of their own, they sleep and eat at our house during college breaks, but they don’t need us like they did when they were young. I miss (and don’t miss) the very young years, the affection, how they loved us and needed us and how we were their world.

I am also incredibly PROUD of the independent young woman and man they have become. Truly, I am beyond proud of my two kids, “we do good kids” my husband and I say to each other a couple of times a year. We do a lot of wrong things and have MANY faults but our children are good people, people the world will be happy to have.

We are not young anymore or really old.  We’re not grandmas or grandpa’s yet (sometime, I hope) nor are we the current generation. We are the almost but not retiring boomers. We can’t retire, we don’t have enough money. We need to take care of our living parent (s) and are still responsible for our not yet independent adult children.

I don’t feel anything really strongly, certainly nothing dramatic.This is not a bad thing at all. It’s like a vacation from the drama that goes on in my life. I think I will try to make this last as long as possible. Blah: The New Vacation, A Cheap And Safe Alternative To Flying. You Don’t Have To Leave Your Home, Or Better Yet, Your Armchair.

Rejoice, Blah is the new Awesome.

Who could ask for more?

 WISHING ALL MY READERS AND FRIENDS A WONDERFUL HOLIDAY SEASON AND A HAPPY AND HEALTHY NEW YEAR!!! (Hey, it’s ME, did you really think I would put a bottle of bubbly instead of dessert?)


Amaretto, raspberry, champagne, and pear choco...

 

Happy

Mother and three children, oil on wood, 38.5 x...

Our family’s circumstances stay the same, unemployment, unwell but managing,regular stuff, nothing has changed. There’s been no formal job offer or no magnificent leap in good health.

My husband had skin cancer removed from his eye brow that required several layers scraped off until there no cancer cells were detected.Yes, it was another bump in the road. We both handled that in stride, well done!

 

I guess we are so used to the ups and downs of life that they don’t quite startle us as much as they used to, maybe that’s a good thing. Maybe that’s the lesson that we are supposed to be learning. If it is, it has taught us well. I know we can handle anything thrown our way, I’m not asking to be tested again and again but we have been tested and we haven’t fallen apart or broken down. We have stuck together, even stronger in our bond. It’s comforting to know.

 

Which means, parenthetically, that on the very (very) rare occasion we hear good, actually GREAT news, it feels FANTASTIC yet very, very new and foreign. A feeling that we both haven’t felt in such a long time that it feels brand new. And, yes, we certainly appreciate it more, now more than ever.

 

So, when our son called me, breathless, to tell me he got into medical school,

 

 

I was at first, speechless. “What?” I said because I wasn’t sure of what he said. He said it again, slowly, my voice rose two octaves ” WHAT?” I squealed and started shrieking, and felt for the first time that all was good with the world and that I now knew what happiness felt like.

 

 

It was brand new and intense and it was a feeling I was not used to. I remember in my mind thinking ‘  so this is happiness’ like bubbles floating inside my head.

But, it was a feeling that you can’t even imagine or dream about because you can’t wrap your head around that feeling and you certainly don’t remember when you felt like that before.

 

When you are a parent, the size of your joy or sorrow doubles when you have kids. If they hurt, you hurt twice as much. But, hearing the joy in their voice, that is better than anything in the world because you are so much happier for yourself because they are happy. I kept reminding myself of this feeling and still do to remember what happiness felt like. It’s so fleeting like a butterfly dancing by you, a wisp of a thing but if you concentrate, really concentrate you will remember, at least part of the feeling.  HIS joy and your own are inseparable. It’s the mommy quotient.

 

Nothing else has changed; it’s all perspective. I’m trying to remember that. Look at your situation in a different way. Express gratitude. Be happy for all the good things in your life, smile as much as you can even if you don’t feel like it. It makes a difference, I know.

 

 

 

#Free Write Friday, Kellie Elmore

Well, little one,” said a Tree to a Reed that was growing at its foot, “why do you not plant your feet deeply in the ground, and raise your head boldly in the air as I do?”

 

“I am contented with my lot,” said the Reed. “I may not be so grand, but I think I am safer.”

 

“Safe!” sneered the Tree. “Who shall pluck me up by the roots or bow my head to the ground?” But, it soon had to repent of its boasting, for a hurricane arose which tore it up from its roots, and cast it a mere, gigantic and useless log on the ground, while the little Reed,
bending to the force of the wind,  back and forward, soon stood upright again when the storm had passed.

 

Moral of Aesops Fable: Obscurity often brings security.

Nobody felt safe, we knew the world had changed and the power of us poppies were strengthened by the support of having one another. Sometimes, close friends would whisper their fears amongst themselves but mostly, we walked with our heads lowered, burrowed in heavy winter jackets as if their jackets were shields, our hoods covering our faces, of course they were. We hid beneath as many layers as we possibly could because deep inside we are scared to death, our new reality. We couldn’t lie, we were all in this together and that brought comfort to us.

Even when we didn’t watch the news or read the papers, the news would slip out like oily black ink and it would stain our petals, our brains and those images never, ever would go away. Fear was imprinted on our souls and there was nothing we could do to forget what we had seen or heard.

It was the devil’s handshake, some people called it, those who thought they knew better or pretended that they weren’t afraid, those boasting about how much money they had, their egos, over-inflated, grown-up bullies.

One old, grand big tree, we called “the monster” was mean to everyone,

English: a tree

a child, an elder grandmother, sweet white puppies. There was no excuse for that, the fat cow could not ever explain that away even if anyone wanted to listen but nobody did. Her justice will come in her own way, in tepid waters of muddy grass, sloshing through messy brown mud endlessly, never finding her way back. Homeless. Alone. Thinking she was smarter, because of her size and depth, stronger, more powerful than everyone else. All bluster, self-deprecating to hide the cruel reality of knowing not who she really was but how others truly saw her.

It escaped no one but herself. One day, even she, would look up from the ground and see herself, still strong, roots planted, with wildflowers all around her, petals of rose, pink,

yellow, and blue, laughing together, the sound of sweet angels in a club, chirpy birds were invited but the club had no room for her.

The tables had turned, it taken a long time but eventually karma had caught up. Our soft willows, loose wildflowers, dancing in the wind, singing songs, perhaps not in harmony, but with delight and passion, having fun, we felt sorry for that big old maid, that over-critical stump.

Alone, all alone in the middle of the forest, away from everyone else, while the rest of us could bend with the wind, smile at the sunshine with the lovely wind and whistles as a mere game of promise and friendship and love.

English: Old tree stump, Beaulieu Wood The rem...

We were all friends, together, except for Her, that snobby tree, who criticized everybody, yet never looked inside her rotten, ugly, stump, its decay on the inside visible to those outside, its scent slowly, insidiously, reeking of week old trash, of judgment, of her.

The fragile willows, we,  bent together, laughing, this way and that, in abundance, we knew we were all equal, all the same not better than one another,

that kept us together, happy. We trusted one another.

We were one united bunch of laughing flowers,our heads gloriously pointed to sun. The old, big tree stump, callous and mean, sat in shambles on the ground, broken, alone. we walked over its pieces and never looked back.When it rained all of us just bent a little lower and in the distance you could hear us not breaking but singing, quiet songs, happy songs in unison.

 

 

 

My Intentions

Here it is, on paper. I want to live in a state where there is much more sun

than there is rain. When the thought of Winter is a warm sweater or a light jacket. I don’t want to worry about sliding on the ice and breaking my bones, I can do without the word snow and wind chill for the rest of my life. Truly.

I will not miss the harsh wind howling through the trees and knocking furiously at my windows, tree branches attacking my house. I know that wherever I live there will be compromises I will have to make. There is always a trade-off.

Maybe there will be tornadoes that will scare me or hurricane season that I am certainly

not used to, I am pretty sure I would cower with one of those. I would want a safe room, stocked with canned items and a can opener and frozen bread I could defrost quickly, cereal and small boxes of milk.

It’s funny, when I pictured that I saw myself surrounded by my two little children but I don’t have little children anymore. Sometimes I miss that. My children are perfectly wonderful grown-ups and I am not thirty anymore. I am closer to sixty.

I probably should look for a town that has an active “Senior Center” (sorry, I just threw up in my mouth for a second) and good hospitals. It would be nice to be in a college town so I can be around all age groups.

The MOST important part is that I need to live by water, some coastal town. I don’t mean swimming pools, sorry hon, a desert town does not count. Anywhere along the coast

English: Beach at Sullivan's Island in Charles...

English: Beach at Sullivan’s Island in Charleston, South Carolina, USA. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

where it is warm (‘wrong’ Freudian slip.) I don’t want to leave my mom….but I will know when the timing is right. It doesn’t have to be tomorrow, it can be in five years, we will work something out. I will FEEL when it is right.

Something will come up, something always comes up. Eventually. Deep breathing and mindful meditation. My heart is open to new things. I’m not sure my husband is as ready as I am but when he is, when we both are and the opportunity presents itself, we will know. Well, one of us will for sure, and the other one will know when he takes time to get more comfortable with the idea. There’s nothing wrong with that, I wouldn’t have it any other way.

We have been married for twenty-six years,  we’re a team, we are going to stay that way.

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.

.

#Free Write Friday, Kellie Elmore

SEASONS CHANGE, AS DO I

Strangers in uniforms, hospital workers and cops, are bringing me here to this dark brown building, against my will. There is force, extreme force, holding me down and if I try to get away, their grip on me gets tighter, the cuts hurt more, blood-soaked white bandages. I tried to escape, I slit my wrists in the bathtub.

I had no way of knowing that my mother would be arriving home after her flight to France was cancelled. I wanted to die, I don’t deny that. Why is that a crime? I was hurting myself and no one else. I know, I cannot win. I know this particular dream is over but I wanted to be by myself and not face the bitter reality of my drunken, crazy world. How many times did I have to hear “you’re no good” until I really believed it? This is a solution for me. How dare they stop me. It should be my right.

If someone else says “the world does not stop for you” one more time I will slap them hard against their smug cheeks. That is how I feel when I have no choice. More likely, I would put my hands around their wrinkled, pale necks and squeeze, hard. I don’t like when all my options are taken away. Do you?

I live on the East Coast with my friends and we talk about Winter incessantly with the same passion and hatred. We hate winter and ice and snowstorms. We can sense, to the day, when the last shiny, glorious day of Autumn disappears and that first startling chill of ice

strips your body naked and you know in your gut that there is no turning back. You are stuck in this season for a very long time. You feel trapped, like in a “solitude” room where they most likely are taking me in the hospital, the room with the  padded green walls so small you feel you will just suffocate from madness.

Our lives for the past twelve weeks had been mostly glorious in bold colors, people, the blue sky, birds, gardens, flowers

is about to turn into a mixture of black and white. Different shades of gray, from pure white to gritty black, for me, suicide producing thoughts. My friends talk about a vacation in Florida, they don’t want to off themselves like I do. Come on,  don’t tell me you’ve never thought about it? Really. Well, I have, many times. I’d be dead before I lived in Seattle, Washington although at least marijuana is legal there. Maybe it helps, maybe it doesn’t but I would need more than that to get through those arduous, long, gray days and the constant drizzle of rain.

 

I cannot live with gray or black and white, I need color to sustain me, I consider myself to be an artist. I need the sun to smile at me, to touch my skin, to stroke my hair. I need to see color for my sanity, the ocean, the garden in my neighbor’s yard, playful dogs outside, children laughing.

I will live no longer in this world of dark, don’t underestimate me, stupid fools. If I want to go, don’t doubt me. There are plenty of ways which I can leave, you just won’t know from which door I will exit…. or when.

Convos With An Addict, A Food Addict

Shhhh.  Quiet. My fantasy is about to come true.

I’m lifting the triangular tip of my slice of pizza right up near my mouth, slowly. It’s always the anticipation that makes it so exciting. The savory smell of the tomato sauce and oregano, garlic,starts wafting in the air, that smell that draws you in, the one you’ve longed for. You breathe in the luxurious scent with one long breath, you moan with happiness and then, finally, you pick it up and feel the rough, grainy texture in your hands that you stroke with pleasure.

I lift up the heavily anticipated slice (or 2 or 3) of pizza, blow on it gently, I want warm pizza not too hot to burn me, a little spicy, adding extra garlic salt and I open my lips and taste that first amazing bite.

This is only the first slice of pizza of the two or more I will eat tonight, my husband and I have looked forward to this night for days. We only use one pizzeria in town even though there many other options. But, this one, is our favorite and we have tried every one of four or five places, sampling each, several times.

In the past we ordered a slice of Sicilian pizza and a regular slice for each of us of us but I’m not sure which direction we will go tonight. We’ve taken chances on the Sicilian slices before, sometimes it’s a bit too doughy and the ratio is wrong.

I know what you are thinking there is no such thing as too doughy yet when it comes to Sicilian pizza there needs to be a balance and sometimes from this place, the balance has been off. It depends on our mood, we are never disappointed with their regular slices, plain or mushroom, I have a feeling I know what we will do.

I lick my lips in anticipation. They also serve (sorry if this is a bummer for pizza enthusiasts) the most amazing salad, (stick with me here) with kinds of lettuce, craisins, goat cheese and slices of avocado .Believe me I am not a salad lover but this seems like it should be outlawed it is SO good. It comes with some sort of silky raspberry dressing and we are not counting calories here.

This was yesterday’s dinner, I would happily eat the same thing today. This is one of my favorite (and most comforting) meals. It speaks to me of my youth and happiness, and Dani’s House of Pizza and André the Pizza maker and of course, the owner, Dani. It was a tradition when we were old enough to walk from school and go there for lunch. For one dollar we got two slices, a drink (grape, no ice) and had leftover money for candy.
Just thinking about it makes me nostalgic and very, very hungry. Maybe I will have the same meal again, Saturday.and toast to the old times when we were young and life was easy and uncomplicated.