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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“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.

 

 

 

 

 

Just A Simple Happy Day

I’m sitting in my bed, with my red dog Lexi lying across my lap, I’m watching her breathing as if she was a newborn. The day is thinking about turning to-night but it is not there yet. The sky is white with gray in the background, leafless trees sway softly in the sky.

My husband is in his office working on a project. My daughter is home from college, in her room, most probably watching a series on her laptop, her door, closed and I am smiling.

There is nothing extraordinary about this day and I love that. I took the dog in the car for a long ride. She loves to stick her head out and see the world, she smiles, people smile ather, joyful. It doesn’t take much to make her happy.We headed to the bakery, I heard that they were making mini jelly doughnuts which I must buy and one big chocolate chip cookie for my daughter. We’ll be there again Sunday too for the big, puffy

huge ones and we will buy another jelly doughnut for our son. If there is one food that brings me back to a happy childhood memory it’s a jelly doughnut. My dad and I loved them and we would have them every New Year’s Eve. I’m just carrying on the tradition…and practicing early. He would be so proud.

My son will be arriving in a couple of days, I really don’t know when. I think  Saturday but you never know with him. I like not knowing so the wait does not produce anxiety at all but rather a sweet, low excitement that i can look forward to when he arrives.

It feels like Thanksgiving was half a year ago but it was only a matter of weeks. Parents everywhere are enjoying having their children home. I feel for those parents who have lost their child, I could cry with their pain even imagining it.

We are blessed. Let’s all keep those families in our hearts and prayers.

I should be folding laundry, or washing the floors or organizing the presents that Santa’s helper gave to me to wrap. I’m doing none of that right now. I’m feeling happy as the day turns into early evening.

After many years I am reading again and I am thrilled. I don’t know why couldn’t read a book for so long, I always read. For years, though, I couldn’t read anything and now I can which is a great relief. That treat fills my soul full with hundreds and hundreds of candy canes kissing.

I refuse to focus on the bad news in the world, there will always be bad people and poor judgment and horror. Sometimes I get involved and feel the pain, today I am not focusing on it. While I probably can’t do it every day, I will try to remember this calmness.

My stomach grows for dinner, plain and simple leftovers, nothing fancy here, we don’t have the money to go out. Leftover pizza, salad, eggplant parmigiana, garlic cheese bread.How can you not look forward to THOSE leftovers. And of course, after dinner, my own small, roly poly jelly doughnut, its sugary film, sitting in my delicate fingers, turning it this way and that, taking that small first bite. Happiness is real, especially today. I wish all  days could be so peaceful for me and for everyone else. I’m trying to remember what it feels like, I know it feels good.

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.

 

 

 

How The Movie “Boyhood” Is My World And Possibly Yours Too

If you haven’t seen the movie, Boyhood, jump off the couch, grab the car keys or head to your local bus station and go. Now. This is a movie you don’t want to miss. Trust me. It is possibly the best movie I have ever seen and yes, the most realistic one as well. You may see your own life pass before your eyes, especially if you are a mom and have kids. It is everything you have felt, understated. No, it isn’t a tear-jerker, a comedy or a romance. It’s pure genius.

 

It is sad just because it has been a week since I have seen the movie and I am still thinking about it and relating it to my life. It’s a film about growing up so I cried because my children are not children anymore. They are both adults, wonderful adults, yet my daughter left her pink doll at home, the one she used to sleep with but now sleeps in a room at her sorority house and my son it seems, he just graduated high school will be graduating from college in May.

It’s about time passing so quickly that you almost can’t believe it has really happened and yes, I cried because I miss my dad. I had a really great dad, not those horrible step-fathers in the movie. My dad, died twelve years ago and my memories are fading and sometimes I can’t even remember what his voice sounds like anymore yet the pain, once in a while, seems brand new and raw.

Grieving is a long and hard process and just when you think you are past the worst of it,   out of no where, it knocks you out again at unexpected times. Times you can’t prepare yourself for, just like the ocean washing out sand castles at the beach that the sweet children built so lovingly. It attacks you from behind, it blindsides you.

I am the mother in the film, (though luckily I have a great husband)  but it scares me to see her alone. Her kids go off to college and she is left, not knowing what on earth she is going to do with her life. I am not glorifying her role as a mother, believe me, she makes incredibly poor choices but in the end, her children have left her and she sits in the kitchen, crying and alone.

Her son, her boy, whom we have seen grow up, physically and emotionally, heads off to college and while the ending is a little too perfect, we want it to be for him. We want a happy ending for all our children but we also want it for ourselves and that’s not the way real life works.

There is a part of us who wants our kids to miss us, to turn back for a brief second, to be their four-year old selves who “loved us best” just one more time. That is only for us and certainly not what they need or want and its pure fiction not reality. As they dash out the door with a grin and a wave we know that we have done a wonderful job parenting our grown up children.

All we want is for our children to be happy, we love them unconditionally but it does hurt every time they leave us. The movie is so magnificent  because we know that everything in this movie is so darn true. We love our children more than they will ever know, but from their eagerly awaited first step we also know, that at every turn, they are leaving us, as they should.

Happy 4th of July, Independence Day

English: The Boston Pops Esplanade Orchestra p...

English: The Boston Pops Esplanade Orchestra performing at the Hatch Shell in Boston. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Arthur Fiedler & The Boston Pops

Arthur Fiedler & The Boston Pops via last.fm

When I was growing up, every 4th of July, my family would be glued to the television set to hear the Boston Pops and to watch the fireworks burst and boom on our television set. It was a tradition set in our middle-class red brick apartment building in Queens.

We were the last family in the neighborhood to get a color television set. I had already glimpsed the wonder after seeing The Wizard of Oz at my friend’s house and still remember the feeling of awe, not knowing there was color in the movie.

My parents finally bought a color tv during the Olympics after seeing Dorothy Hamill skate like a swan at our dear friend’s house.  I “worked” for Lore for many summers in her gourmet chocolate shop, oh, I KNEW my chocolates!  She sent me care packages in college, she spoiled me but most of all, she always understood me, my fellow Libra. I miss her every day.

My dad loved to watch soccer, he would yell and scream at the television enthusiastically, you could hear him shout from any room. He also loved watching any type of ceremony: parades, marching bands and all celebrations.

Yesterday, I talked to my best friend and after and we hung up, I reached for the phone to call my dad. I wasn’t feeling sad or morose, it just seemed natural until I remembered that he has been dead for a very long time.

Fireworks July 4th Independence Day 2013 Polo ...

Fireworks July 4th Independence Day 2013 Polo Field Fort Sill Oklahoma (24) (Photo credit: HiRez Dude Colin Henderson ch@cnhender.com)Today, July 3rd,

Sometimes, I will watch a show or listen to music that I know my dad would love, it makes me feel like we’re listening to it together.

A memory just popped into my head: the first bad heart attack my dad had, had been on Father’s Day when my son was 6 months old yet he refused to go to the hospital until I was so upset I started crying.  My mom and I took him to the Emergency Room. My father’s complexion was pasty and green and I remember he was sweating but he never clutched his heart, he just felt a little unwell.

After blood tests, the young, snippy doctor told him “he was a very, very sick man.” And, he was, he needed quadruple by-pass surgery which back then was definitely out of the ordinary.

My husband and I had a six month old son that I had never been away from but I was the one who stayed so I could help my mom and be near my dad.  I hate driving in the city but being with my dad was just too important than my own fears.

Luckily, my father was able to be transferred to the city for the complicated  operation and my mom and I waited in the hospital for 7 hours.  Saying good luck to my dad right before the operation, was one of the hardest, most gut wrenching things I have ever done and I know he felt the same way. Don’t let anyone tell you NOT to cry, it’s really okay.

It felt like a hammer was breaking my heart in pieces. Thank G-d it was a success and he lived many years after that.  It occurred to me today my dad was allowed to go home from the hospital on July 4th, Independence Day. I remember making a sign for him.

Mending a Broken Heart

Mending a Broken Heart (Photo credit: Free Grunge Textures – http://www.freestock.ca)

Certainly, it was a day to celebrate.

 

 

auntie cherye: I call him son

” You suck ass” that’s what my nephew told me was the top derogatory phrase these days. and no, he does not know the meaning of derogatory because he is just turned 10 and his name is Jason D. but he knows what’s right and what’s wrong. he knows how it feels when kids are pickin on him about his old clothes and shoes and say horrible things to him like that. i wont let him repeat that nasty phrase. kids pick on him and say mean things that’s for sure.

he knows his mama and daddy are both looking for jobs every day and night and that’s why hes been staying with me so I can take care of him properly. he’s angry at his life and his friends who live in big houses and whose parents are rich.  Our boy, well really my boy wears old clothing and shares a room with his auntie, me, nothing to be ashamed of at all.

American Mailboxes - Hope Street ... Tired Of ...

I see he gets to school on time because i drive him thru this dusty land  with no paved roads and eats his eggs n toast for breakfast and not grab some stupid sugar bar like he wants. i wont even start with that in this house. we have real food, not fancy rich people food but it is real food in this house.

i love that boy as if he my own and in a way he kinda is. been caring for him since he was a toddler and now look, he still living with me. Mostly we all hang together here. this is my family, i sure like to think and mama comes and we cook together and sing and laugh and talk about the ol days.

On Sundays that’s when jason’s momma and papa come for sure to share a meal or two and he knows he is loved by everyone, and that they are trying so, so hard to find work.

jason looks at all of us like we are nuts but he grins and he knows we are happy to be together, so what if we don’t have money or nothing, we got great love in the family and with our church. they’s family too.

It's been the ruin of many a poor girl, and Go...

we’re grateful for what we got and we all try not to complain as best we can.

Everyone in this family learns sooner or later that fightin is not the answer no, it really isn’t. but when times are tough, like not havin any money to buy food or pay rent or to go to the doctor when you are sick thats just plain wrong but we pray a lot, hold hands, eat lots of spaghetti with ketchup and soup stock, brown bread i make in the oven.

i found a local hospital just yesterday an they said we could come if there was an emergency anytime, i didnt know some people could be so kind. you look hard enough and u do good enough stuff youself, you will find those people. and those people will sure enough find you.

food

if i didn’t believe in that, i would have been dead a very long time ago, believe me. i’ve had my hardest times, i have shed many tears when my baby girl died an i wanted to kill myself but thats for another time, not now.

I’ll keep waking up day after day as long as i have somethin to live for. right now its cooking and raising my boy jason d.

Thursday’s Thoughts

Rain

Rain (Photo credit: Moyan_Brenn (back soon, sorry for not commenting))

The rain is dripping from the sky but the sound it makes, splashing across the window, is comforting. Talking (no texting) with my son makes me smile. My husband is doing day labor work for a friend, today he is a Plumber’s Assistant and he is proud. I am proud as well.

Yesterday I talked to my mother; when my mother feels scared she gets very nasty, especially to me. Why I am her whipping post I’m not sure, but I have to deal with it better than I do. It takes me 12 hours for me to get it right and she never remembers what she says. I should know that by now but while it happens I seem to forget it and regress.

My son is about to meet with the President of his University to go over the recommendation letter that the President is eager to write for him for Graduate School. My son is a rare combination of brains and sweetness.

My daughter is beautiful and brilliant, I had not viewed her as an adult until we visited her last week. She will always be my baby in my heart but seeing her in her suite with her friends made me look at her like an accomplished savvy adult. “My baby” is all grown up. I was always known as “the little one.”I would give up anything if only I could hear my father say it one more time, with just one more hug. I miss him.

Father & Daughter

Father & Daughter (Photo credit: Enigma Photos)

When I picked up my dog, Lexi, she ignored me. She would not look at me and hesitantly jumped in the car, not with the same excitement as usual. She did not give me kisses. Once inside the house, she sauntered over to her water bowl and drank it all up, not giving me so much as a glance. After a while, I went upstairs to lie on my bed where she always keeps me company; she hid under the bed. I just gave her space. I understand getting used to changes, I’m the same way.

In a couple of hours she warmed up and forgave me for leaving her at her favorite sitter’s house while we were away. She jumped on the bed, circled around until she found just the right spot, her body touching mine and fell soundly asleep. It was a very deep sleep, she sighed with relief, I felt her body relax, she was home, we were safe, then she gave me kisses.

 

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Popcorn, Previews And Fruit Cocktail

English: Unpopped corn kernels, prepared for p...

English: Unpopped corn kernels, prepared for popping. – Studio photo of Popcorn. Taken in 2011. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

For years I was the type of person that would not start eating her popcorn until the movie started, the official movie. I would wait out the commercials, the “Exit” sign warnings, the “Please Do Not Disturb Your Neighbors” and “No Smoking” announcements. I didn’t even start eating my popcorn during the previews which to me, are almost as good as the movie itself. I had rules, my own strict, self-imposed rules.

Until last night where I saw the movie “Gloria” and as soon as we sat down and immediately I began munching on the popcorn and sipping Diet Coke. Hey, look at me! I surprised myself and then thought, “what on earth have I been waiting for all these years?”

Delayed gratification is fine when you are young and you want to save the best for last. The way I used to eat “fruit cocktail” or “fruit cockentail” as one of my kids used to call it was representative of my style. I would eat the most banal fruits first, picking out the pears and eating them first. Then I would sequester the peaches and eat them after that. Next to last would always be the plump, juicy grapes, it was a close tie for first and second but really who could not have the fake cherries as their number one favorite. I mean really, I was a kid.

I think if I would have it now (and don’t put it past me) I would take a spoonful of everything right up front, maybe sequester a few grapes for the end. The squishiness in my mouth is utterly delightful. But, the cherries? No big deal anymore. They don’t elicit the same excitement as they used to do when I was little. In fact, they have no taste.

Maybe growing up and getting older you realize you don’t have to wait to the end to enjoy the best things last. Why wait? I’ve always been surprised when my daughter used to read a book’s ending before starting it. This to me was unheard of but you know what? I kind of understand it now.

I don’t think I could ever do it, it’s just not my style but I understand her now, apparently she was a better teacher than I was. She always wanted to see her birthday cake as soon as it came in the door unlike her brother who wanted to wait until the last second, when I would come in with the candles lit. I admit it, I am more like he is.

I’m learning from my two kids, more and more. I love it.

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