Saturday, September 27, 2014

What a Wonderful World… Is it? (WARNING: Graphic photos included.)

It hit me just this morning: I don't care. You know, as a part of my faith of being a Christian and trying to wrap my head around all of these horrific events that are taken place in the world, my thoughts on this is, I really don't care anymore. It sounds very 'gloom n' doom' -- but it's not supposed to come across that way. For instance: this world we live in is so very temporary. We're only here for a fraction of what it's like to be on the other side (whatever you deem to be the other side), so why does this place, this earth, this world, matter? I'm speaking in terms of being feared by terrorists, or getting freaked out by ebola becoming airborne and hitting the United States. What about Anton Nolen who just beheaded a co-worker after he had just gotten fired. He was trying to convert them to Islam and failed miserably. ISIS is here, or -- they've been living among us for a very long time. There are Muslim extremists who plan to behead as many Americans as they can. The threat is very real. Live beheadings can be seen on Youtube. Young children taken by the sword -- a genocide which is taken place right at this very moment. There's a cop killer survivalist lurking around in our backyard right now. Cops can't seem to find him. He's like the new domesticated bin Laden. I hope he has a camera so we can see it on some reality TV show. That'll make for good ratings. People love seeing that shit.

Out of all the venues that social media has to offer, I am obsessed with Twitter. And I'm not talking about posting up all of my inane puppy and food pics, but I do a lot of research on there. You get to hear from the general public what's really going on around the world. I watched a terrified woman on her way to work in Israel when she had to stop on the side of the road and hide, because bombs were flying toward her area. She recorded the entire thing. I can see live streams of demonstrators protesting something important and get a glimpse of what it's like to be in their world, even if I'm in my bed at midnight safe and sound. Maybe this is why I have insomnia and anxiety. I'm like a human sponge. I take it all in and wonder: wow, imagine if that happened here? I knew about the ebola outbreak months before my friends and family ever even heard of it.

Images too graphic for you? THIS is what's happening in our world. Look at it.

"Oh that's not true -- that's on the internet. Never believe the internet."

I read about earthquakes that are happening 'at that moment' -- I can literally ask the world, "What's going on?" It's not a platform for recycled puppy and kitten videos or inspirational photo quotes. It's much more than that, or at least, the way I utilize Twitter. You can go 'head and shut down my Facebook, my Youtube and my Instagram account, but don't you dare touch my Twitter…as obscene as that sounds. I rely on Twitter for my news, for my entertainment and engagement with other Twitter users. I rely on that platform for anything I need -- even finding out about dog food recalls and other related news on how to take better care of your pets.

Okay, enough of that. Getting back to "I don't care" -- I really don't. You can bomb me, behead me and pump all the chemical warfare crap right into my pipe -- I'm checking out regardless. We all are. All of these fear mongering idiots are just trying to make our lives lived in complete terror and chaos. I'm ready to go. Think about all the people you had to bury or see turn into ashes. Dust to dust… How many people do you know living with some terminal illness or who are living their lives in chronic pain?  How many people do you know who are like myself who suffers so terribly from anxiety and depression? That's a prison you never want to be forced into. But we still have to live our lives here on earth like a big movie played out until the end, or at least, the end of our part.

My thoughts on everything that I have spoken about is so brilliantly put into words by the great George Carlin.

Let me tell you about endangered species, all right? Saving endangered species is just one more arrogant attempt by humans to control nature. It's arrogant meddling. It's what got us in trouble in the first place. Doesn't anybody understand that? Interfering with nature. Over 90%, way over 90% of all the species that have ever lived on this planet, ever lived, are gone. They're extinct. We didn't kill them all. They just disappeared. That's what nature does. "We’re so self-important. So self-important. Everybody’s going to save something now. “Save the trees, save the bees, save the whales, save those snails.” And the greatest arrogance of all: save the planet. What? Are these fucking people kidding me? Save the planet, we don’t even know how to take care of ourselves yet. We haven’t learned how to care for one another, we’re gonna save the fucking planet?

I’m getting tired of that shit. Tired of that shit. I’m tired of fucking Earth Day, I’m tired of these self-righteous environmentalists, these white, bourgeois liberals who think the only thing wrong with this country is there aren’t enough bicycle paths. People trying to make the world safe for their Volvos. Besides, environmentalists don’t give a shit about the planet. They don’t care about the planet. Not in the abstract they don’t. You know what they’re interested in? A clean place to live. Their own habitat. They’re worried that some day in the future, they might be personally inconvenienced. Narrow, unenlightened self-interest doesn’t impress me. “Besides, there is nothing wrong with the planet." Nothing wrong with the planet. The planet is fine. The PEOPLE are fucked. Difference. Difference. The planet is fine.

Compared to the people, the planet is doing great. Been here four and a half billion years. Did you ever think about the arithmetic? The planet has been here four and a half billion years. We’ve been here, what, a hundred thousand? Maybe two hundred thousand? And we’ve only been engaged in heavy industry for a little over two hundred years. Two hundred years versus four and a half billion. And we have the CONCEIT to think that somehow we’re a threat? That somehow we’re gonna put in jeopardy this beautiful little blue-green ball that’s just a-floatin’ around the sun? The planet has been through a lot worse than us. Been through all kinds of things worse than us. Been through earthquakes, volcanoes, plate tectonics, continental drift, solar flares, sun spots, magnetic storms, the magnetic reversal of the poles…hundreds of thousands of years of bombardment by comets and asteroids and meteors, worldwide floods, tidal waves, worldwide fires, erosion, cosmic rays, recurring ice ages…And we think some plastic bags, and some aluminum cans are going to make a difference?

The planet…the planet…the planet isn’t going anywhere. WE ARE!

We’re going away. Pack your shit, folks. We’re going away. And we won’t leave much of a trace, either. Thank God for that. Maybe a little styrofoam. Maybe. A little styrofoam. The planet’ll be here and we’ll be long gone. Just another failed mutation. Just another closed-end biological mistake. An evolutionary cul-de-sac. The planet’ll shake us off like a bad case of fleas. A surface nuisance. You wanna know how the planet’s doing? Ask those people at Pompeii, who are frozen into position from volcanic ash, how the planet’s doing. You wanna know if the planet’s all right, ask those people in Mexico City or Armenia or a hundred other places buried under thousands of tons of earthquake rubble, if they feel like a threat to the planet this week. Or how about those people in Kilauea, Hawaii, who built their homes right next to an active volcano, and then wonder why they have lava in the living room.

The planet will be here for a long, long, LONG time after we’re gone, and it will heal itself, it will cleanse itself, ’cause that’s what it does. It’s a self-correcting system. The air and the water will recover, the earth will be renewed, and if it’s true that plastic is not degradable, well, the planet will simply incorporate plastic into a new pardigm: the earth plus plastic. The earth doesn’t share our prejudice towards plastic. Plastic came out of the earth. The earth probably sees plastic as just another one of its children. Could be the only reason the earth allowed us to be spawned from it in the first place. It wanted plastic for itself. Didn’t know how to make it. Needed us. Could be the answer to our age-old egocentric philosophical question, “Why are we here?” Plastic…asshole.

So, the plastic is here, our job is done, we can be phased out now. And I think that’s begun. Don’t you think that’s already started? I think, to be fair, the planet sees us as a mild threat. Something to be dealt with. And the planet can defend itself in an organized, collective way, the way a beehive or an ant colony can. A collective defense mechanism. The planet will think of something. What would you do if you were the planet? How would you defend yourself against this troublesome, pesky species? Let’s see… Viruses. Viruses might be good. They seem vulnerable to viruses. And, uh…viruses are tricky, always mutating and forming new strains whenever a vaccine is developed. Perhaps, this first virus could be one that compromises the immune system of these creatures.

Perhaps a human immunodeficiency virus, making them vulnerable to all sorts of other diseases and infections that might come along. And maybe it could be spread sexually, making them a little reluctant to engage in the act of reproduction. Well, that’s a poetic note. And it’s a start. And I can dream, can’t I? See I don’t worry about the little things: bees, trees, whales, snails. I think we’re part of a greater wisdom than we will ever understand. A higher order. Call it what you want. Know what I call it? The Big Electron. The Big Electron…whoooa. Whoooa. Whoooa. It doesn’t punish, it doesn’t reward, it doesn’t judge at all. It just is. And so are we. For a little while.

For more of Deb's articles, please visit: www.debrapasquella.com or join her on Facebook and Twitter. Check out her cooking blog for some of her famous recipes!

Friday, September 26, 2014

My Letter to Kathryn Knott: Will You Publicly Apologize to the LGBT Community?

Before I start my letter to Kathryn, let me just say that it's very disappointing to see so many people still committing hate crimes. It's truly terrifying, because I look at these folks who allegedly had beaten up two gay men while walking down the street and they look like people I would hang out with -- they looked normal, well dressed and friendly. Was it because they were in that wolf pack mentality? When large groups are together, if one lashes out, usually the others follow. I guess humans do it too. I wonder if the situation was a bit different, say two women holding hands walking down the street -- would they have attacked them too? Gay is gay, right? But in my opinion and experience on being a lesbian myself, I find that gay men and transgender people get the worst responses from the general public -- or should I say, the ignorant public -- the hateful public. And not to say that lesbians don't get their share of idiots crossing their paths, but there is a slight difference in the quantity of these crimes and actions. Some you can blow off, while others are extreme -- extreme enough where it impacts an entire community. It's sheer terrorism. Is that term too extreme? I don't think it is. To have people who are gay, lesbian, bisexual or transgender be afraid to walk the streets of Philly because a few assholes decided that it was a good idea to attack them is in fact, terrorism. The fact that Philly doesn't even have a law to protect their citizens from such a crime -- oh wait -- just the LGBT citizens, is considered terrorism in itself, by itself. You are telling your LGBT citizens: you are not protected because you live a different lifestyle that isn't approved by…us.

Dear Miss Kathryn Knott,

I've read what happened and I also read your tweets.  I'm sorry you had to delete your Twitter account. It exposed a lot on who you truly are. One of them was quite interesting:
I have to wonder, if you saw my wife and I walking down the street, would you feel the need to attack us? We worry about that a lot when we're in public. We don't believe in PDA - but if we were to be holding hands, would you "ew" at us and make antigay slurs?  The fact is, you look like someone we'd hang out with. I guess going by looks alone doesn't quite hide the ugliness inside. What if I was your sister? Would you shun me the same way? Would you beat me up just because I liked someone of the same sex? Or, are girls different? What was it about these two men that offended you? Did it bring up issues about your own sexuality? Were you mortified seeing a happy couple who were holding hands in public? Do you ever wish you could hold a girl's hand in public? Yes, I said "a girl's hand", because I truly believe homophobia is a result of hidden desires to be homosexual. People hate what they see in themselves. 
Alcohol is like Pandora's box. Once you reach a level of intoxication, the box opens up and all of your truths are out in the open. With the combination of your homophobia (or closet homosexuality) plus the alcohol -- your truths led you to assault these two men. Didn't you get enough hugs when you were younger? You had a really nice job over at the hospital too. It's a shame you betrayed them by posting photos of patients' x-rays. That says a lot about your character right there. How much hate do you have to have inside you to treat people so inhumanely?  What about your poor father? You've embarrassed not only yourself, but your dad must want to hide under a rock. Is Daddy getting you out of this crime? Probably not. I hope he lets you pull up your big girl panties and do this all on your own -- like an adult -- like a "civilized" adult. Hmm, one who has civil rights, as opposed to the LGBT community not having that luxury in your state. You're pretty lucky…until now. There are consequences to each action. I know, because I'm far from perfect. But in the same breath, I truly hope you learn how much pain you have caused your community and your family. 

Why am I only picking on you and not the other gay bashers? Because it's clear through your tweets that you're an ungrateful, spoiled little gay bashing homophobe who has no respect for anyone else --- not even your own father. Your character throughout the years has proven to everyone how hateful and dangerous you are to society. Go 'head -- roll your eyes at that last line, but you know it's true. Your father, Karl Knott worked his ass off for 30 years with the Abington police who was hired as Chalfont's chief of police just recently. All the claims you made about kicking down a door at a raid that your father brought you to, was a lie. Your own father basically called you a liar. How many people got 'anonymous tickets' because you told a lie? Someone cut you off, so you took his license plate number and Daddy made it all better…am I right? 

How can you do this to someone?
You're young. You have so much to live for. You're obviously intelligent, in terms of education and work ethics, But life itself is much more than school and careers. It's common sense, common courtesy, respect for others, the ability to relate to every type of person in our society. It's about being humane, it's about making a difference. It's about making people feel good with a genuine heart. Don't you think the LGBT community has a right to live their lives without the threat of being beaten up in the streets? There has to be deep seated issues brewing underneath that pretty face. When I look at you, I see a hurt child. I see someone who has been denied the right to be herself. Who are you? Why do you hate gays so deeply? Who hurt you? Because this wasn't a normal everyday fight on the streets -- this was revenge on someone in your past, or someone who's hidden inside "you". It would be interesting to check back with you later on, like in 10 plus years to see if you're still living life as a heterosexual. I believe God put us on this earth as a casting crew. We're all in this big movie where God puts scenarios and tests us to see what kind of character we are. I'm hoping that this incident gives you a better character in the future. I hope that you learn from this huge mistake (among others) and realize that people like me, my wife and other gay couples who just want to live a peaceful, happy life just as you do, deserve the same respect. 

I don't wish bad on you. I wish happiness, peace, love and development of character. I hope you can truly look within yourself to see where all of this hatred is stemming from. Remember, people are inspired by how others live, not by what they say. Set an example and come forth and apologize publicly to the entire LGBT community -- in every single state --- and show them your sincerity. Will you take the challenge and publicly apologize?  I know words may be meaningless, because actions speak louder -- but by your action of getting up there and publicly apologizing speaks volumes. And hopefully, just like that -- you'd be forgiven and there would be some level of hope left. 

Wishing you the best, 
Debra Pasquella 

For more of Deb's articles, please visit: www.debrapasquella.com or join her on Facebook and Twitter. Check out her cooking blog for some of her famous recipes!

Thursday, September 25, 2014

The Chicken Flew the Coop

There are so many reasons why couples fight and quarrel with one another. Some spats have nothing to do with the topic they're arguing over and some are quite explosive and targeted towards an "offense". Anyway, it's always one spouse thinks they're doing absolutely everything while the other thinks they're doing the same, when actually, they're really not doing diddly squat. The only reason why I'm letting you in on one of our spats this time is because…it's kinda funny. Being that work from home and have time during the late afternoon to clean, shop and cook, etc. - I usually start preparing dinner the night before, like defrosting meat or just prepping the veggies for a pan of something or other. I get up early in the morning with my wife, cook her a full breakfast - nothing 'continental' like muffins or pastries along with her coffee. I really cook healthy breakfasts for her. When she gets home, she is usually served a gourmet dinner - for the love of God, even my burgers are gourmet - nothing you'd see at a diner. Well, at least I try. This week it's been Chinese takeout food because I have had the biggest bout of insomnia due to my nocturnal seizures. I've been so wiped out that I nearly burned the house down the other day by leaving the burner on a high heat with the pan and a spatula which was made out of plastic. The plastic on the handle burned and melted off. The entire kitchen was up in smoke. We both ran toward the kitchen area. Luckily everything was fine.

So the other night I took out an 8 lb chicken to defrost. I wanted to make a nice roasted chicken dinner with fresh organic greens. I was all set and ready. I even moved one of my meetings over an hour earlier so that I could have a good 3 solid hours of cooking. Madelene works a. lot. I mean, a. lot. In fact, she doesn't have a day off for the next two weeks. Her late nights are sometimes brutal, because she sometimes has to stay even later than her "late night". (She's there, no affair or weirdness going on I think.) We've been arguing over her schedule for the past, umm, 18 years or so. She doesn't have quality of life. She lives an hour away from her family and doesn't get to visit them as much as she should. It makes for a very unbalanced life - but whaddya' gonna do? This is her job. This is what makes her the highest amount of money.

I flipped out once I heard that there was going to be another late late night. The first hour of lateness, I didn't even get a call - or - I did, but it went straight into voice mail. So by the second hour of lateness, she received a text that said, "Where the bleep are you?" The chicken was resting in the refrigerator all snug and ready to be roasted for tomorrow's big dinner. So when she came walking in, we fought the same fight we've been fighting over for the last 18 years. It gets exhausting because I already know my lines and so does she. It's like, "SHOWTIME" and basically, a really horrible rendition of every other fight we've ever had in the past.

Long spat short:
"I don't work because I like it!"
"I don't cook breakfast, lunch & dinner for you 'cause I like it!" (Well, I kinda do.)

Now entering the creepy third person narrative phase.

Deb marches into the kitchen, digging her high heels into every fiber of the new hardwood floor they worked so hard for. She opens the one year old fridge by the edge of the door and not the handle, because Miss Madelene keeps putting off calling the company to fix it or replace the missing part. Deb's eyes gleam at the chicken resting so peacefully in it's corner. She grips it firmly, picks it up and marches over to the sliding glass doors and out onto the deck. The deck is about 20 feet high. The poor chicken is catapulted from Deb's grip, straight into the night sky, eventually making a big "THUMP" onto the grass below.

"Chinese?"

The chef quits.

For more of Deb's articles, please visit: www.debrapasquella.com or join her on Facebook and Twitter. Check out her cooking blog for some of her famous recipes!

Monday, September 22, 2014

At What Age is Considered 'Too Young' for Gender Transitioning?

Me at 8 years old.
Mom caught me kissing a girl one day after school. I was only 8 years old. We were playing "house" and well, I was the husband and my friend was the wife. We played this a lot. "Stop that!" Mom shouted. Soon enough, my friend's mom found out and we weren't allowed to play together anymore. "Normal" kids rode bikes and played kickball. "Normal" kids played with their Barbie Dolls and played "dress up". At the age of 8 years old, I rode ATVs and hung out with a lot of boys. I had a few female friends, but I was never interested in the things they were. I played video games and went off to the sandpits to jump off ramps with our motorcycles. We did pretty dangerous things. One night, I prayed to God asking for something strange. I wanted to wake up with a "pee-pee" - a boy's "pee-pee". I always remembered Mom saying, "Ask and you shall receive - pray to God about whatever it is you want." I took that pretty literally. So, knowing God would answer my prayer, I went to sleep with high hopes. The moment I woke up, I ran into the bathroom - almost as if it was Christmas morning. I checked. My prayers were not answered.

I overheard my teacher talking about how gays and lesbians were not welcomed into heaven. So, my biggest fear was God not loving me because I liked girls. See, I was a girl and I liked girls 'that way' - so I must be a lesbian, right? But in my mind, in my heart, in my entire being - I was all male. I didn't want to be a lesbian when I grew up. I wanted to be a straight man married to a straight woman. But, I wasn't born that way so it must be wrong to dream that…right? Back then, nobody, and I mean, nobody spoke of transgenderism or even the ability to have your sex changed. It wasn't an option for us. There were drag queens and butch lesbians - not. the. same. thing. I didn't want to be neither. I just wanted to be a normal straight man…I wanted to be, "me". 

Although those feelings and desires were very real, it wasn't until I was 13 years old that I discovered being a girl wasn't so bad after all. My friend used to do my hair and make up and tell me how pretty I looked. I began liking myself more…as a girl. I began dating boys too. I developed a lot of friendships in high school and managed to be content with being who I was at that time. I changed. And it seemed like I changed every single day. Nothing was constant - not even my little relationships with boys. I even had a little girlfriend too. So, was I bisexual? Was I a lesbian? Was I bi-curious? I had no clue, even when I was 18 years old. At that time, I was also engaged to a man who loved me deeply. He was handsome, had his own business and treated me with respect. He opened doors for me, we went to church together and planned to marry one another one day. But, I had to let him go because I wasn't "in love" with him. He was like a best friend to me. It was then that my desire to spend my life with a woman took over. 

I changed, once again.

Through my experience comes my opinion on whether or not young children should be able to transition before the age of 18 years of age. 

"My son wants to wear pink sneakers."
"My daughter only wears boy clothes."
"My son loves to put on make up." 
"My daughter refuses to wear a dress." 

Let it go. Let them wear what they want until they find out who they are. That's the only way. Nobody ever said anything to me about wearing work boots and flannel shirts to school. I had short cropped hair and I was always mistaken as a boy. I didn't care. But if I were to have transitioned during those crucial years of "figuring it all out", I probably would have regretted it today since I embrace every single part of my femininity. But, I had to grow up first. Kids at the age of 12 - 18 are still in that awkward phase - still trying to sort things out. Some people don't even know they're gay or lesbian until their 50's. They just didn't put two and two together. But when they look back, they notice certain patterns. That's a bit different, but yet the same concept. 

I am a huge transgender advocate. I think people should be who they are. The only stipulation I have is encouraging children under the age of 13 to suppress their hormones so that it'll be more of a better assimilated transition. It's so that their breasts don't develop and they don't develop a menstraul period. I guess in many ways, it would just be easier on them so that they don't have to go through certain medical procedures and surgeries. In the same breath, I also believe there are a few people who actually are 100% positive that they're living in the wrong body since birth. But how do you know since there are people like me who used to be like that and now have embraced my feminine side? I remember at the age of 4 years old, I demanded everybody to call me "David". I even stuffed socks down my pants so I could feel like a real boy. I knew ever since I was a tiny little tot. I wanted to be a boy - not a lesbian. Now, I want to be my naturally born gender (cisgender) who happens to prefer the same sex. To be completely honest with you, I'm not sure what I agree with or if I even have a 'right' to agree here nor there. It's up to the parents to decide on the final outcome at a very tender age. I'm just concerned that they may one day say, "Hmm, maybe I shouldn't have done this…" 

Arin Andrews taken from iVillage
The hardest thing about writing this post is that I have quite a few transgender friends who may disagree and/or get offended. The thing is, I'm not speaking out of my ass with this. I'm speaking through my own personal experience. I remember a former transgender friend of mine who was always extremely combative with me used to tell me, "Your situation is different. That's like saying you want to be a black man." I never quite understood what that meant, but nevertheless, she downgraded my desire to be a boy since birth because I changed my mind after the age of 13 years old. The point being: I was way too young to really be sure if I did want to be a boy. And if you want to state that it really wasn't an option back then so that's why I drifted over to my feminine side - then you're wrong. Those feelings would have still festered within me today. I have all the means to transition just as my friends have done who are all over the age of 50. I just want to be "me". I realize that it was a simple matter of just changing my mind. I just hope that other kids who have these same feelings as I once did have the opportunity to either transition (at the right time) or have the ability to change their mind if need be. It's only fair. 

What do you think? 

For more of Deb's articles, please visit: www.debrapasquella.com or join her on Facebook and Twitter. Check out her cooking blog for some of her famous recipes!

Friday, September 19, 2014

What Happened Once We Became Adults?

On a clear day, without a cloud in the sky, we'd run over to the sprinklers in our one piece bathing suits, hopping around carefree. It was usually while waiting for the pool to officially open. Grandma would be plucking peas out from their pods in a huge cast iron pot and husking corn outside on the patio while watching us all play. It was a simple life. Our greatest concern was running out of iced tea. Mom would be inside preparing dinner and getting everything ready by the time Dad came home at 5pm. Dad would start the barbecue grill up and if you weren't already sitting around the picnic table, you'd hear him yell, "C'mon! It's gonna get cold on yaz'!" After dinner, we'd usually wash up and get into our PJs and then gather around the living room television set to watch All in the Family, Carol Burnett and Happy Days.

Happy days…
I don't remember a sad one back then.

I wanted to grow up so bad. I wanted to drive a car and do adults things. I didn't want to be a kid - I wanted to be their equal. I was the only baby - the youngest of four siblings. So to me, everyone was an adult, because the next oldest was by seven years. I'm not saying it was bad, but it made me want to be older before my time. I never thought my adult 'me' would ever want to exchange ages. Now I sit and wonder, wouldn't it be nice to be 5 years old again? No worries. Nobody getting cancer. Nobody leaving. Nobody dying. Nobody hurting us. I remember the days when I would get an 8 hour night's sleep. I felt so safe in my bed, tucked in, all warm and cozy excited to see another day.

Another day…
Another day meshes into another.

And of course, I'll have another.
Well, I guess one of the many perks about being an adult, is
that we get to "have another". The soothing affects of the alcohol numbs us temporarily. We self-medicate, we seek ways to relieve our anxiety and emotional pain as adults. Anxiety as a kid meant that your cartoon got interrupted by a briefing from the president. Our relationships get more and more complicated. We become more complicated with developed opinions and beliefs that sometimes separate us from the people we love and of course, those we don't particularly care for. We find ways to avoid certain situations, events and people. As kids, we had to face the music whether we liked it or not. We now have a choice. And sometimes, having that choice alone can make you feel pressured and guilty. What if others don't like your "choice"?

What if…

What if the choices we made yesterday brought us into a life we don't want today? Well then, change it…right? With change comes sacrifice - something we learn as an adult. Ask any career person what they majored in college and 90% of the time, it's not what they're doing as a career right now. It's not uncommon or unheard of. People change their minds. People change their career paths. People change their marital spouses. People change…period. We're not fickle - we are ever evolving, discovering and searching. It's when you stop searching that becomes the problem; when you stop asking questions and taking chances on whatever it is that interests you. They say that in heaven, one day is equivalent to 10,000 years here on earth. 10,000 years! We are wasting our time with the wrong people, the wrong jobs, the wrong living arrangements and the wrong mindsets.

Mindsets…

It's easy for someone without anxiety or depression to say, "Hey, life's too short to be depressed! Get out there!" And that's where I'm at right now. My anxiety disorder has really gotten worse these past few months. I'm not gonna lie - my mother being diagnosed with the big "C" freaks me the hell out. I think part of my anxiety and depression right now is due to this whole fiasco. When I was just a child growing up, my worst fear was losing my mother or watching her get sick. And even though her prognosis looks good, I cannot fathom the "C" word over her head. I can't. She's my everything. She's my best friend. I. just. can't. deal. with. it. But I have to. I have to be strong for her and for my family. So, the mindset has to be "full steam ahead and ready for anything" at this point.

At this point…
What's is my point..? 

I'm at the point where I'm trying to take good care of myself, mentally, emotionally and psychically. Some days, I can't even get out of bed. As a child, I didn't even know what the word, "emotionally" meant. "Oh, put on a happy face? Okay! Cheese!" (And I still do that oh so well.) As an adult, I'm riddled with emotion every single day of my life. I have a lot of stifled anger issues that need to be resolved. The other day, I went to a new therapist who sat up forward, put her notepad on her lap with her hands pressed together and said, "Wow. You seem so 'put together' and very personable. I can't imagine you being depressed." I have a strange coping mechanism when I feel nervous. I start smiling and becoming very sociable - more than I'm comfortable with. I laugh a bit harder, smile a little wider and I'm conscious of my body language at all times: never fold arms or tuck them under my lap. I've been trained to never, ever, ever, even if I'm on my deathbed, to give a limp, dead fish handshake. I can look you straight in the eyes, appearing to pay full attention to you as I'm daydreaming about the end of our meeting. Even on the phone, I've been trained to "smile as you talk" by various seminars. I've become a robot.

I've been programmed to be strong for everybody else. I've been programmed to take care of everyone around me. I've been programmed to "not cry" or at least, in front of other people. I have been programmed to not. be. myself.

As I was sitting on the couch watching Sesame Street, I heard the sounds of my mother's flip flops coming toward the living room area. She brought me a chicken roll sandwich, with cheese, lettuce and mayo on white bread along with some Hawaiian Punch to wash it down with.  It was my favorite lunch. As soon as I heard her flip flops - I was already sitting on the edge of my seat. I didn't care what was in the chicken roll - it was just good and Mom made it. So how can it be bad? I didn't care about all the sugar in my fruity drink. Mom made it…or at least poured it. I didn't worry about the white bread - in fact - nobody did back then, until the "food rules" changed when we became adults.

When we became adults.
How ironic.

For more of Deb's articles, please visit: www.debrapasquella.com or join her on Facebook and Twitter. Check out her cooking blog for some of her famous recipes!

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Hellish Bout of Misery

"There's nothing wrong with you. It's just anxiety." Those words linger inside my mind, "it's just anxiety," as if it were nothing - as if it doesn't keep me up all hours of the night to the point of being nonfunctional the entire following day and eventually, tearing down my immune system. So, I'm left lying in bed for the next week or so sick with a fever. I've asked a million and one times, "How do you fix it?" They all want to throw pills at me, but they don't want to work for their pay - I mean, really work, like helping me cope with this disease. And it is a disease.

Crying hysterically to my psychiatrist, "I. just. don't. want. to. live. anymore."

They usually jot down onto their notepads, "She's very 'put together' and knows how to deal with this. She'll be fine. She's just venting again."

"Again." 

The seizures keep me up at night. The sleep study techs all confirmed that it was anxiety-induced seizures. They assured me that psychogenic seizures aren't real seizures. When I look at my bedroom, all I see is a torture chamber - a place that I'm mentally and physically tortured by my own mind. I wake up, jolting up into the middle of the bed and then start seizing, sometimes even stuck paralyzed because I can't get any air in or out of my lungs. My dog crawls up next to me, to see what's going on. She lays with me until the shaking stops. When I fall asleep, she resumes into a little ball cozied up under the covers with us.

My poor Madelene wakes up with me too. She doesn't know what else to do other than snuggle up next to me until I fall asleep…if I fall asleep. The jolts are so shocking that it scares her out of a deep slumber. I'm not sure if she even has deep slumbers anymore since these have started. Neither have I. I'm so sleep deprived. There are times when I am so sleep deprived that I can't possibly drive the next day. It's become debilitating. Nobody ever understands it.

It's affected every aspect of my life: work, social, leisure, hobbies as well as trying to help my mother the best to my ability. But I'm so tired all the time. I feel so incredibly weak that I feel like the insides of me are shaking. Even just to play fetch with my dog has become a triathlon for me. Just to pick up a ball and throw it is my biggest source of exercise because I. just. can't. move.

For the past few weeks I have been on a strict Paleo regimen. It has helped me lose a bit of weight, but not the fatigue. I come down with the strangest ailments too - to which I ignore now because all of it is somehow psychosomatically related. At night, my face turns bright red with my chest flaring up in a strange rash-like something or other. My blood pressure is 110/70 - perfect the doctor says. My blood work is fine.

So then…what?

I have been called "selfish" and "self-absorbed" because I finally want to start living life with my wife. We were trying to have a baby, with two failed attempts. My body just can't hold onto 'life'. My hardest efforts to help my family in a now crisis situation usually goes unnoticed. From cooking meals, to helping out financially. It's all I can do right now. Our lives have changed since Dad fell ill with cancer and passed on. Now, Mom has cancer and it's all we can do to try and get her to her appointments. It's also very difficult to deal with this while walking on eggshells and avoiding loose canons by emotional outbursts from other people. I cannot emotionally handle that and it has become my biggest fear, so I avoid it at all costs, even if it means pushing away certain family members.

I have had to decline (or perhaps delay) some great projects with other amazing writers and also had to decline a few business opportunities with my video production part of work because I just can't focus. I don't have the time and when I do, it's trying to play catch up on sleep, which is impossible as you know. So please bear with me as my posts are lessening as the weeks go by, but I'm still here hoping that this hellish bout of misery subsides.

For more of Deb's articles, please visit: www.debrapasquella.com or join her on Facebook and Twitter. Check out her cooking blog for some of her famous recipes!

Monday, September 01, 2014

But Isn't That What Marriage is Supposed to Be?

In a recent conversation I had, the person looked at me in amazement and said, "Wow, it must be so cool to live with another woman!" Although it wasn't an insult, I sort of felt the need to poke her ribs a little. I asked her why she felt that way since I view it as any other marriage. She said, "It's great, because it's like having your best friend be your spouse."
"But isn't that what marriage is supposed to be?"
"I mean, it must be really cool to share everything with your wife."
"But isn't that what marriage is supposed to be?
"You know what I mean, girls communicate more and do things together more."

If you're straight and reading this and thinking, "Yeah, she's right," I have to beg you to reevaluate your own marriage. Marriage is supposed to be two people, two best friends, two lovers, two people who are able to communicate with one another and share everything together and plenty of heated arguments. (Had to add that one in there.)  By no means do I have the perfect marriage, but I honestly feel that if you can't be your spouse's best friend as a foundation of your relationship, then your entire 'structure' will eventually crumble. I realize I could have avoided the obvious ignorance, or maybe I should say, the lack of understanding for all couples who are married, but I couldn't help it. I am so tired of hearing, "Oh that's so cool you're with a woman," because I rarely go around saying, "Wow, it must be super cool to be with a man!" (I think men are great, mind you.) But can you imagine me saying, "Must be cool to see him chop wood outside and plow your own driveway without calling someone. It must be so cool to have him build an extension onto your home without the help of carpenters." You get it. And of course, some men don't do these things. And in the same respect, some women don't communicate or share everything. Marriage is the same for both sexes.

Or is it? 

Many people feel that marriage should only be between a man and a woman and that it ruins the sanctity of marriage. I think the sanctity of marriage was ruined way before gays and lesbians. I have heard the most ignorant remarks about why gays and lesbians shouldn't get married and it led me to believe that there are a lot of people out there that need a little more schooling if possible. One reason was, "Well, we were here to procreate and that's not possible with dem' gays." Procreation has nothing to do with marriage. There are ways of making a family, through artificial insemination or better yet, adoption. Another reason was, "Well, a child needs both a male and female role model."
This basically tells me that all of those hard working single parents are ruining the concept of a "traditional life". What about heterosexuals who cannot reproduce? If marriage is about procreation, then what happens to those people who can't have a baby? Do they have to get a divorce before they ruin traditional marriage?

I'll never forget another sad moment I had with experiencing small-minded people who were so sheltered from the outside world that they didn't even realize that it was finally legal here in New York for gays and lesbians to be able to marry. My wife and I were going to another couple's house for dinner (heterosexual couple) and they were having a few friends as well as their parents who were attending. I called my friend up to see if she needed any extra wine or dessert, that sort of thing. She said, "Oh, before I forget, can you refrain from saying that you and Madelene are married or, even a couple for that matter? My parents don't understand it and are against that sort of thing because their religious views are very different from ours." I suggested that maybe we shouldn't go. I also reminded her that Madelene and I aren't the sort of people who scream, "We're here & queer" while walking into a dinner party. She understood and knew that we were very conservative in public -- not "in the closet", but not all up in each other's snouts trying to make some political or "equality" point. Although I understood exactly what my friend meant and how she truly felt, I was still slightly taken back and offended, yet expected it in some strange way.

This morning when I logged onto Facebook while having my coffee, Ryan Nickulas had posted an article from Raannt that truly touched my heart. It was about Indiana's gay marriage ban. Peter Ronn wrote this beautiful piece about his own marriage. Part of it reads: "And the really sad part is that all I want to do, is protect the person I love the most. After all, isn’t that what love is all about? I just want to grow old with the person I love and know that we can protect each other and our home for the rest of our lives. But apparently, that’s terrifying to some of these people."

He also explains his daily life with his husband, which is no different from any other heterosexual husband and wife I know.

He writes, "Before starting, let me explain a typical day in my life. My husband Alex wakes up and takes the dogs out before leaving for work. He always wakes me up and kisses me goodbye. This is something we started long ago, always kissing as we say goodbye, because we never know if it will be the last time we see each other. We don’t have the same luxuries as some couples. He goes to work and I usually go back to sleep for a few hours. I get up, clean the kitchen and get ready for work. Alex and I run a business together, outside of our “normal” jobs, so by the time I wake up, he has usually already emailed me or texted me several tasks needing completion. After doing these things, I leave for work, always stopping by Starbucks on the way. The barista I usually see at Starbucks typically asks me 'how are you guys'. I go to work and meet with my clients. In discussing relationship problems, I share similar issues Alex and I have had and how we have worked through these relationship issues. None of my clients have any difficulty comparing their heterosexual marriages to the same details of my marriage. It is all the same." ---read more here.

On a personal note, I remember years ago my father stopped me in my tracks and said something so beautifully in his botched up Brooklynite accent. He held up his hand and said, "Yanno' sumptin', Deb? You n' Madelene have it made. You do! Youz' two do everyting' tugetha'! You both help one anutha' all da' time. It's like an old fashioned marriage. Nowadays, couples do everyting' apart and wonder why their marriages go to shit. You two are sumptin' boy!" Then he paused for a moment and let out his wiseass comment of, "But I still think yer' fuggin' crazy kid," as he laughed and gave me the "go away" hand motion.

(Mad's gonna kill me for posting this one!) 
Without even acknowledging people who ask, "Well who's the man and who's the woman in the relationship" --- our relationship definitely has certain 'male' and 'female' dynamics generally speaking. I guess you can say Madelene has her share of "manly" duties, like lifting heavy things and fixing things around the house. (See photo on left.) While Madelene works outside of our home in sales, I work from my home office doing freelance work. I have more time to do things around the house, like clean, do laundry, cook and do the grocery shopping. I don't mind it --- I love our arrangement. As soon as we wake up, Madelene walks our chihuahua outside while I make breakfast and coffee. We always have our breakfast every single morning so we can talk and connect before she leaves for her 8-12 shift. When she comes home, I make sure she has a drink waiting while dinner's brewing. After dinner usually on a week night, we'll watch our favorite shows together, hop onto our iPhones and social media and go to bed at a reasonable time. We spend time with family, go to our friends' house together on weekends or have dinner parties at our place. We also do things separate from one another, such as hobbies and things of interest. On our days off, we love to go to the dog park and local farms to get fresh produce. We can talk for hours upon hours because we have the same spiritual faith and love for God. If this offends anyone or if you think our relationship may ruin the sanctity of marriage, then I beg you to look at other heterosexual marriages…


  • Marriages that have infidelity.
  • Marriages that are abusive.
  • Marriages that divorce within a year.
  • Marriages that demonstrate hate to their children.
  • People who have more than 5 divorces under their belt. 


Judge them. Otherwise, stop trying to justify your bigoted views on people who just want to marry the person they love.  And that's all we're trying to do -- to love one another. Isn't that what marriage is supposed to be? (And I didn't even get into religion on this one.)

For more of Deb's articles, please visit: www.debrapasquella.com or join her on Facebook and Twitter. Check out her cooking blog for some of her famous recipes!