Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Finding an Outlet

Typically I don’t like to reveal letters from a friend, but this one struck me as something I should share with everyone. This friend will remain anonymous out of respect of her privacy. Her words speak pain and they cry for help. Her agony of what she goes through reflects on what she paints on her canvas. She’s a beautiful person with so much passion. Her work is absolutely amazing. There’s a reason why a beautiful person such as herself goes through so much turmoil.

Here’s her letter to me:

"Hello Deb,

I haven't heard anything from you in a long time what have you been doing? I have decided to contact your friend’s gallery. I finally put up a real website, please check it out. I have been down about woman. I try to hide it but it like I keep being reminded how in little ways of the major disappointments I have endured in my last relationship. So I am hiding and hoping life won't find me. Maybe the feelings are good for painting but not much else. Anyway enough about how I feel. I hope life finds you happy and in love if that is what you want. I can't imagine anyone wouldn't want to be happy. I can imagine not wanting to be in love.

Peace
Me"

Here’s my letter back to her:

"Hi,

How are you? I'm glad you contacted the gallery. I know it's a small gig up there, but you never know. Plus, it's great for networking purposes. I truly believe that if we didn't go through the process of heartbreaks and other relationship issues, we wouldn't be creative. With the break up I endured three years ago left me depressed and hopeless. I started writing. It was supposed to be a private journal, which then ended up being a book that got published. In my opinion, pain and suffering is what we go through in order for learning processes to take place. If we don't go through these horrific ordeals, we may act in ways we wouldn't if we were perfectly happy. We'd be clueless on how to handle them and how to cope. Sometimes, when we see two people who are extremely happy, you really have to ask yourself, "Is anyone truly happy?" There are highs and lows to life regardless if your work, personal relationship and family life are absolutely perfect. We can't get away from "life" itself. So, yes, we all want happiness, but we should embrace the sad times and the times where aggravation and frustration leaves us with no other choice other than to be creative about it. And thank GOD you have the gift to be creative. Imagine if you had no interests in art? What would be your outlet? Think about all the normal 'cookie cutter' gals out there with absolutely no outlet. We are fortunate. Think of it like that. I'm not sure what you're going through, but I can say I have learned an awful lot from my past experiences, and I STILL have so much more to learn. I hope you're doing well. I'm going to check out your website right now. Keep me posted on stuff and let me know how you're doing. Email me anytime.

Enjoy your day!
Deb"

There are people who handle turmoil and depression in different ways. The sad thing is, there are many people without a passion for something. They don’t have a “hobby”, if you will, to create an outlet for all of their frustrations. Some people aren’t artistic. Some don’t like to exercise. (Which is another great outlet.) Others tend to sink into their depression letting it take their entire life over. Sadness in life can produce beautiful results. Most artists and musicians use their depression, anger, frustrations and other negative emotions to produce masterpieces.

“Why did this happen? Why did he/she leave me?” I used to ask this when my heart was broken. I didn’t understand it. I dealt with it in irrational ways trying to self-medicate myself with anxiety pills and alcohol. Thank God it was temporary and I found writing as an outlet. I wrote in a journal and kept it to myself. I included many biblical passages that helped me. Praying and meditating was an absolute lifesaver for me. It helped me see things in a different perspective. Many people aren’t religious – and that’s okay. I’m just telling you what worked for me. I found solace coming to God with my problems.

Here’s what I found in the Promise Bible (NLT)

The Lord is close to all who call on him, yes, to all who call on him sincerely. ~Psalm 145:18
The Lord invites us to make prayer our first response rather than our last resort. He always listens to those who are honest with him.

We can be confident that he will listen to us whenever we ask him for anything in line with his will. And if we know he is listening when we make our requests, we can be sure that he will give us what we ask for. ~1 John 5:14-15
While we may not know God’s specific will for every situation, we do know that his will is to empower our obedience, to overcome evil with good, and to equip us to be his witnesses. We can pray confidently for his power and guidance, knowing that we are asking for the very things he most longs to give.

Give all your worries and cares to God, for he cares about what happens to you. ~1 Peter 5:7
We experience freedom when we give a burden over to the Lord in prayer—even before the prayer is answered. The assurance of God’s love and concern refreshes us and renews our hope.

Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done. If you do this, you will experience God’s peace, which is far more wonderful than the human mind can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus. ~Philippians 4:6-7
There’s no limit on prayer. Big requests, small requests, and all sizes in between are welcomed by God. If something bothers us, it should be brought to God.

In fact, it’s not a shock when I hear, “Well I prayed and prayed and then this happened!” The more you pray, the more the evil one will tempt you and the more you are challenged. It’s the bad vs. the good. They’re both fighting for you. I kept on. I kept praying and after a while, things seemed to be taking on a steady pace. I know for a fact that if I didn’t come to God in my most depressive state of mind, I wouldn’t be here today writing this. So I thank Him for helping me through some rough times.

And to my friend who wrote, “I try to hide it but it like I keep being reminded how in little ways of the major disappointments I have endured in my last relationship.”

People will always disappoint us. That’s a given. That’s just life. But God will never disappoint you if you come to Him sincerely. We rely and expect too much upon people. We sometimes tend to think God’s just some mystical fairytale that’s nice to think about from time to time, but He has proven to me so many times that He’s real. When I sit and pray to Him, it’s never one-sided. After a prayer, I simply open the bible and read out the very first thing I see. This is one of the many ways I communicate with Him.

Let me give you an example:

January 24th, 2007, I had prayed to God to take away my anxiety and help with my depression.

His response: So I pray that God, who gives you hope, will keep you happy and full of peace as you believe in Him. May you overflow with hope through the power of the Holy Spirit. ~Romans 15:13

On that same day, I prayed for help in my writing and to help those with my book who are in need of guidance. Someone who they can look at and say, “Wow, she went through what I went through!” I still struggle, but that’s the human nature of the battle.

His response: When I am with those who are oppressed, I share their oppression so that I might bring them to Christ. Yes, I try to find common ground with everyone so that I might bring them to Christ. I do all this to spread the good news, and in doing so I enjoy its blessings. ~1 Corinthians 9:22-23

So basically, in my own interpretation of that passage, God was saying how I should find common ground with others and share my stories with them. With my book as well as my blog, I share my struggles of what I went through. I still struggle, but with God’s help and guidance, I feel uplifted and full of hope. When I become distant from God is when I start feeling the effects of the human emotions that plague all of us.

In conclusion, this is my outlet. Praying is a huge outlet for me. Writing is an outlet for me. Playing my guitar and writing Christian music is an outlet for me. This is “me” though.

What’s your outlet?

Sunday, January 28, 2007

My Rights

You have the right to remain silent. Anything you say can and will be used against you. Maybe not in the court of law, but it definitely plays a huge role in my life. I remain silent, because anything I say is always taken out of context. Anything I say is used against me for reasons of guilt, shame, discomfort and self-serving purposes. I feel trapped. I can’t speak a word. I can’t say what’s on my mind without thoughts of possible repercussions. One truth may lead to “this” disaster, and the other truth may lead to “that” disaster. If I can’t be honest then I have to remain silent. How long can I go before I finally burst? My worst fear is hurting someone. It also goes hand-in-hand with hurting myself in the process. I’m stuck.

“What’s on your mind?” A select few ask me.

I can’t. Fear rises up within me and I start to shut down. I tune everything out and go into my own world.

“Nothing.” I say.

I used to write such revealing stories on my blog. Now, it’s come to the point where many people who are close to me read this on a daily basis. Of course it’s my fault. I gave them the web address. My life has changed and things are different. The only sad part about it is, I have to be very careful of what I say and who I talk about. It’s tricky. I’ve had a lot of ups and downs this past year that led me to where I am today. I’m confused and I feel lost. I go to God and He says to me that I shouldn’t be afraid. He sends messages of love, hope and peace. I have love, but that’s where I get in trouble. It leads to hopelessness and a restless heart. How can love, hope and peace do that?

You still sit there and read me. You think, “What is she talking about?” Again, I choose to remain silent for fear that they may read me. I fear people judging and ridiculing me for things I say and the things I do. I fear the thought of my own turning against me. I can’t say that I lie. I’m honest, but with little information. Is it still the same as lying? When I choose to give out more information that needed, it gets tossed into this big bucket of misunderstandings. I can’t win. Someone always ends up getting hurt. I’m a bad person. I’m a “sad” person.

Pray. Pray. Pray. I do. And then the cycle starts over again. I still have faith. I still love God. So I pray, and pray, and pray some more. He eases the pain for a while. It subsides. Why does it continually come back to haunt me? Pray some more.

“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.”

God says promises this to me. Rest. What is that? Sleep has nothing to do with rest. My heart needs to rest. I feel bad and I ache that no one knows what I’m trying to convey to them. I’m misunderstood. I don’t communicate though, so how are they supposed to understand me? I can’t communicate. The last time I did, I was tried for murder. I either break someone’s heart or I hurt the people I love the most. I don’t mean to. But honesty sometimes gets me in trouble. So I remain silent, in hopes that someone…just someone may read my mind…may read my heart and not just this blog.

Friday, January 26, 2007

Baby It's Cold Outside!

It’s one of those days where the news guy is telling us, “Don’t go out there today! It’s going to be the coldest day in years!” Fine. I’m staying put. No one go to work or do any errands today! Do not go out to get your mail and do not even attempt to open your door if someone’s on the other side. We have to protect ourselves here.

If anyone is going to make a huge fricken deal about the weather, it’s the news. They want “big news” and they want everyone to know…you’re in it! Most people tune into the news just to hear the weather if it’s bad outside. The newscasters seem to hype it up a tad and make a fiasco out of it. “Blizzard conditions” and “wind chill” are exaggerated terms in order for the viewer to go, “Ooooh, wow!” What about the “heat index”? Another exaggerated term for telling the temperature. As a matter of fact, the newscasters don’t even bother telling you the temperatures anymore. They just hop on the screen and tell you the heat index or the wind chill temps. It’s kind of funny. And yes, I do realize that the wind chill and the heat index does make it ‘feel’ worse, but it’s just kind of funny how they have forgotten the exact temperature is all.

Then you have Mr. G. In New York and surrounding areas, we have this channel called CW11 formally WPIX. Mr. G is the weather man. In my opinion, he was bumped from being the sport’s guy and found himself doing the weather. He sounds like a football commentary when giving details about our local forcast.

“Anddddd we’re gonna swing over to Brooklyn!!! Who do ya’ know in Brooklynnnn??? Winds reaching up to 50 mph—that’s a record for this year! You won’t believe when we shuffle it back over to New Brunswick---major winds creating - and you won't believe it - tornadooooosssss!!!”

I couldn’t find a better clip, but you can kind of see how he is in this one video. (Never mind the pointed out racial slur.)

Thursday, January 25, 2007

Shattered Hearts

What’s the proper etiquette when a break up is taking place? What do we say to the ex or what do we expect from the ex? Do we say anything at all or do we simply just pretend nothing ever happened? I’d like to say it depends on the relationship and if the two people involved can engage in a cordial friendship. Can two lovers demote one another back to being friends? What if the relationship never started at as friends? See, there’s the problem right there. Any successful relationship has the foundation of friendship. Those who started right off the bat in a lustful and sexual way will most likely see negative results in the end. Or am I wrong about that?

The main question is, when do we finally let go of the ex? Do you remain in contact for a period of time before you part ways? Or do you linger on and torture yourself of what ‘could have been’ until you’re blue in the face? There are different types of people. You have your types of people where they hang on as long as they can. They don’t want to let go. Any communication from the ex will give them a glimmer of hope – regardless of how the ex feels. Is this self-torture? Or is it perseverance? They say love never gives up, but sometimes you have to walk away in order to keep your self-respect.

I’ve been on both sides of the spectrum. I’ve held on way too tightly when my ex and I broke up. I wanted constant contact. I wanted to be friends still. But, I wanted our friendship to go back to its original form. (That was only for me to know though.) But evidentially she knew that too. It’s tricky to try to nurture a friendship that was once intimate. There are a lot of complications that can lead to resentment. I’ve learned from past experiences that the only thing that helps with this is time. You need time to heal. The other person needs time to heal as well. Without that healing process, things that angered you before will come right up to the surface. You need all that static to wash away before trying to establish a friendship with the ex.

Stereotypical but true, most lesbians are best friends with their ex-girlfriends. It’s no secret that women have wonderful and close bonds with one another. I’m blaming it on estrogen. But the complications come in when the new girlfriend is like, “Well why are you always hanging out with her and calling her?” The girlfriend will insist that it’s “just a friend”. But how do they know that’s the truth? What if there’s an affair brewing? What if other things are being planned that’s not being told? Who wants to be jaded anyway? So our self-defense mechanism goes on and we start lashing out once the ex is in the picture.

The funny thing is, it’s rare to see heterosexuals still hanging on to the ex while with their new boyfriend or girlfriend. It has to be a very odd and rare situation if this occurs. But with the gay community, they have adapted this system of keeping the ex and they have it down to a science! Let’s admit it, we all have ‘baggage’ – who doesn’t? But when you start dating a packrat, then it’s time to reevaluate the entire situation at hand. I used to get upset when my girlfriend held on to precious photos and letters from her ex. But in reality, this is her past. Her past is what sculpted her to be who she is today. Who am I to tell her what she can’t keep from her past? I wasn’t in the ‘picture’ back then – so I can’t tell her to throw away old precious photos. It’s not right.

I seriously believe that insecurity plays a huge role when it comes to dating a girl who has an ex in the wings. What are you insecure about? Do you think your partner doesn’t love you enough and has thoughts of going back to the ex? Have you had past experiences that prove your theory to be true? We all have had our share of relationships that gave us grief due to cheating, verbal/physical abuse and/or lack of communication. Whatever the reason was for the harsh break up, never lose your self-respect. When an ex doesn’t call you, it doesn’t mean that you’re not worthy of being contacted. It means that the other person needs to heal. I used to think my ex thought I was a total loser when I tried contacting her. When I didn’t hear back from her, I thought, “She doesn’t think I’m worthy enough, does she?” And I was wrong. She was healing in her own way and on her own time. Eventually, we became good friends and started talking again. I totally understood once she explained it to me. I really learned a lot from her. Her maturity in keeping me at a distance was a great move. If she didn’t do that, I probably wouldn’t have healed as fast as I did. So I thank her for being strong.

So what’s my blabbering point here? I guess it’s just from my past experiences that I wanted to share with you today about break ups and how to handle them. I handled them wrong in the past. I couldn’t let go. But, if you truly love someone, you let them go; you let them be free. If they come back to you then you know it was meant to be. A friendship can develop from there and maybe…just maybe you can reunite as a couple again. You never know.

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Perchance to Dream

This is a letter from a friend who chooses to remain anonymous. Thank you for sharing your thoughts and your inner feelings regarding your experience, my "anonymous" friend!

Dear ~Deb,

I was wondering if you would post this on your blog. I typically blog about the Bee Gees, installing vinyl floors, and why the WNBA is not a commercially viable sport. You might imagine I have loads of regular readers, but I don't want to post on the subject of religion (for fear I might lose him, I mean them). I am an avid reader of your blog, and this subject seems much more at home with your blog. Plus, I don't want to be labeled a "kooky religious type" by my readers, so I would like to share these thoughts more anonymously.

I had a dream recently, and this one little dream has changed my entire outlook on life. How can that be, you wonder? I dreamt about my mother, and it was one of the most intense dreams I have ever experienced. My mother died less than one year ago, and if you have ever lost a parent, there are always "loose ends." I said goodbye, but not the best goodbye I could have said.

And I regretted it.

So I am dreaming about my mom, and she is telling me that every thing is okay, and that she loves me. I could smell her perfume, feel her touch and her hug seemed so real. I awoke, and the senses were so real. I lay in bed, wondering if I was dreaming or if this was real. I just could not tell the difference.

My dreams are not necessarily very real. I can tell when I am dreaming, so this dream shook me to the core. You see, I believe that my mother visited me in my sleep. I don't have words to describe the experience. Some would say that my mother was an angel, and you know, angel means "messenger." That makes sense. I was deeply troubled over this, and mom came to me to comfort me, to remind me that she was still in my heart.

I think a lot about my religious beliefs, and I believe in an afterlife. Until recently, though, my thoughts of an afterlife have not been concrete. I never thought people "crossed over." Or that there was a blurry line between this life and the next life. I don't believe we will be floating in clouds, strumming harps (though, I enjoy harp music). I just think the experience will be something we cannot comprehend as humans.

When we shed our skin, though, I believe that things will be wonderful, and I thought those who have passed before us have better things to do than to dabble in the affairs of this world. And I think I was wrong, very wrong. I truly believe my mother has communicated with me. And that may make me a "kooky religious type". Things sometimes seem better when God is a paper dragon, segmented in his own area. You know, think about him on the Sabbath, and spend the other six days worrying about the affairs of men. And I think I am wrong.

Thanks, ~Deb, for posting this, for hiding my kookiness in your wonderful blog.

God Bless,
A Friend

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

My Transformation

Does a clay pot ever argue with its maker? Does the clay dispute the one who shapes it, saying, “Stop, you are doing it wrong!” Does the pot exclaim, “How clumsy can you be!” How terrible it would be if a newborn baby said to its father and mother, “Why was I born? Why did you make me this way?” ~Isaiah 45:9-10

It’s hard to determine, but I can see patterns of my niece Sonya becoming more and more familiar to me. My entire family thinks my niece shares traits much like myself, in fact she’s a repeat of me when I was her age. My sister ends up blurting out my name while calling for her. She’s reminded of the days when I was that age, when my sister would baby sit me. I always poke fun at my sis and say, “You’re totally reliving my youth!”

Sis claims that I touched her stomach and put some spell on her, making her unborn child a ‘spawn’ of me. We laugh and joke about it, but in reality we find it oddly amusing that Sonya is a replica of what I used to be at her age. Not only does she resemble me in childhood features, but she’s also experiencing everything I did when I was her age.

For instance, I never wanted to be a ‘girl’ when I was four years old. This phase lasted until I was about twelve. She refuses to wear girl clothes and tells her mom that she wants to be a boy. She’s offended if you call her pretty or refer to her as a girl. When forced to wear a dress for a special event, she looks angry and disturbed. She becomes introverted and shy.

Going back to my childhood, I could remember how different I felt. I wasn’t like the other girls. They were all into their little ‘girly’ world, while I whizzed by on my three-wheeler motorcycle with the boys in our neighborhood. I started riding motorcycles when I was only eight years old. All the other girls rode their pink Huffy’s and gravitated in a small group planning their next slumber party.

When I was ten years old, the prettiest girl on the block befriended me. She saw how much fun I was having with all the other boys and wanted to be included. She rode on the back of my four-wheeler motorcycle (quad), and let me tell you how proud I was! She was my little biker babe! We would travel all over the paths behind our yard and hide out on some cliff with a waterfall smoking our cigarettes. (Which both of us are health freaks today & don’t smoke.)

Little by little, I noticed myself impatiently waiting for my new friend’s phone call. If she didn’t call, my mood would change and I didn’t want to bother with anyone. I didn’t know why this girl affected me in such a way. She’s just a friend – why would I get so upset about this? I had so many other friends to hang out with. My day was ruined if she made other plans to hang out with another girl from another neighborhood. It even killed me more if she stayed in the neighborhood, yet hung out with another friend and not with me. To me, it meant she was there ‘choosing’ not to hang out with me. I always wondered why I felt so strongly about her.

Then when I turned twelve, she and I would hang out all the time practically. She would try new things with her hair, while my hair was still too short. You really couldn’t do much with it. I still wore flannel shirts with jeans along with a pair of boy’s Nike high tops or a pair of work boots. Some people would mistake me for a ‘boy’. That didn’t bother me at all though. I knew I looked more like a boy than I did a girl. It was a compliment. As my friend and I were getting older (heading towards middle school) she started drifting away from our friendship. Her new friends were so pretty and feminine. I was an outcast. I was the boy- wait- the girl who looked like a boy. None of the popular and cool girls wanted to hang out with me because I was seen as a freak. The funny thing about this was, I had more little boyfriends than they had. The boys loved me because I was ‘one of them’. (Maybe they were gay too—who knows!)

As time went on and we were graduating from the twelve year old awkwardness into our teen years, I can remember my “friend” making comments about my clothes and my boyish ways. She said it in a derogatory tone and it made me feel really bad. I felt ugly. I remember thinking, “Oh…she doesn’t like the way I look!” It hit me – she wanted me to look like a girl. I was desperate to get her friendship back and wanted to be included in her circle of friends. I wanted to be the main focus though.

After a long summer, the first day of school was finally approaching us. We would all gather at the bus stop every morning and the girls would evaluate how everyone was dressed, what styles were being worn and how unfashionable some of the other kids were. It was more like a dress contest. I kept thinking about it weeks before the first day of school. That was it. I was going femme. I decided that if my friend, (which now I realized I had a major crush on), liked girls who looked like “girls”, then that’s what I’m going to be. I wanted to impress her. My hair got longer and my entire wardrobe changed from flannels, jeans and sneakers to blouses, long skirts and pumps. I practiced walking in these awkward and uncomfortable shoes. I looked like a drag queen gone wrong. But I kept at it.

7am I walked out to the bus stop with my feminine attire all gussied up. My hair was long and feathered back like everyone else’s. I had my little ‘80’s poof’, which was thought of as ‘cool’ back then. I wore eyeliner, blush and a little lip-gloss. The palms of my hands were sweating and my heart was racing as I slowly approached them, hoping I wouldn’t be made fun of. They all knew me as “Deb” the tomboy. I was more masculine than any other boy on the block. I had a total transformation.

“Oh…muy….GAWD!!! I neva’ thought I’d see the day! You are GORGEOUS!” My friend said, as she quickly ran over to me primping and fixing my blouse and touching my newly grown-out stylish hair. I could feel my heart thumping as her interest went from the other girls and focused straight onto me. We were back to being friends again and started hanging out like we used to. She would do my hair after school and we would have little ‘girly’ parties on the weekends. I still felt a bit awkward because I was still ‘me’ inside. I wanted to be out riding my quads with the other boys and planning our next bonfire party.

High school was a bit of a blur. Before I knew it, the boys started liking me more and I started dating. I dated the boys to show ‘my friend’ that they thought I was cute too. But what happened was, competition came into play. I was her enemy now. Totally not the way I wanted this to go. Back then, not one person was ‘out’, or known as gay. They would call people ‘gay’, but in terms of ‘not being cool’. If one was thought to be a lesbian, it was the most disgusting thought they could fathom up! “Ewww, she’s a lesbo!” That’s how they said it. Being gay or being a lesbian meant that you weren’t cool enough to date the opposite gender, so you resorted to being with a person of the same gender. A lot of closed-minded people still think like that today.

I didn’t come out of the closet until I was nineteen years old. I didn’t want to still be in school and have the kids shun me because of my orientation. I wanted to be on my own and separate from all of them. Hiding myself behind dating boys left me feeling empty and more insecure about myself. I knew this was wrong for me. Regardless what anyone said or how people emphasized that a girl should be with a boy, for me it wasn’t so. I resented the fact that people assumed I should be dating a guy. I loved all my guy friends because we had so much in common. We all played guitar, rode motorcycles and loved girls! I related to them.

Getting back to my niece Sonya though, I can see what she’s going through. I’m not saying she’s going to turn gay or anything like that, but it reminds me of what I went through. What saved me through my ‘butch days’ was the fact that someone saw me as beautiful once they saw me as a girl and not a boy. I finally felt comfortable in my own skin. I wasn’t an outcast or seen as a freak anymore. Some would say that it was influenced - and that’s okay. Maybe it was, but I’m so glad that it happened, or I wouldn’t have looked like “me” today. I know that my girlfriend wouldn’t have dated me if I still looked boyish. She likes feminine women. So because of my friend back in my childhood – I want to thank her for changing me. I still see ‘my friend’ occasionally because we still live close to one another. We always say, “Call me and lets get together sometime”, and never do. But one day, I’m going to let her know what happened. One day, I’m going to let her read this. One day…maybe.

Monday, January 22, 2007

Challenges

Taking a look of how my life has been back then to now, I now realize I was a huge hypochondriac when I was younger. (Okay, just a tad now too.) In my twenties I was able to work out every day of the week, drink without really feeling the effects of the hangover the next day and never really understood pain until recently. The only pain I have felt since I was 12 years old was menstrual – which I happen to get severely.

After 30 years old, I started feeling the pangs of getting older. First it started out with my first real experience with back problems. I remember I was in the shower putting hot water on my back, trying to relieve the ‘dull ache’ I had been getting for the past couple of days. When I got out of the shower to put my hair into a towel, BAM!!! That’s when my back gave out on me and I went tumbling over the tub onto the floor. Lying there naked, I screamed out to my girlfriend, “Help! Help! Help!” And thank God she was home that day. She had to remove this very large wet chicken from point A. to point B. I couldn’t move. If I did move it would spasm. If I didn’t move, it still hurt just trying to sit in the perfect spot. This lasted for three months. This also meant I couldn’t work out for three months. My muscle tone got weak and I put on some weight.

Moving on. This year has been especially difficult. From intense menstrual cramps, colds lasting up to one month, asthma and bronchiole problems to dizzy spells, heart palpitations and feeling the effects of the rain. Yes, I think I am developing arthritis! I find myself getting out of bed like a ninety year old. I now have an ice pack in the freezer and tons of creams you would only see in a geriatric home. This isn’t good. I can’t imagine even the thought of pregnancy, but they say that pregnancy does something to a woman in a positive way. For one, it takes away a lot of menstrual cramps. I have no clue why, but this is what I hear. My sisters who have had babies are in better shape now then they ever were! (If Ritalin was involved, I’m sure it would have been a different case.)

Now I could bitch and moan about this, however things could be a hundred times worse. I could be bedridden with some disease or paralyzed. I think of all these amazing physically challenged people who have proven time and time again that their problems don’t stop them from doing the things they love. I watched a family on a documentary who had a daughter without legs. She moved around with only her arms. She climbed on top of counters to get things by herself. She hardly asked for help. Then here I am saying, “Hon, can you grab me a mug from the cabinet?” Right there proves that I take many things for granted.

What about people who walk around with prosthetic legs? They’re excited over the mere fact that they have the ability to be mobile whenever they feel like it. They don’t have to use their wheelchairs all that much. They walk more than the average person sometimes! Then you have me, bitching and moaning about how some guy stole my parking spot that was closest to the handicapped one. Like I can’t walk! If anything, it’ll do me some good!

We have this CVS Pharmacy down the road. The thing that baffles me is they put the handicap parking lots further away from the doors. In front of the doors are regular parking spaces. The first time I pulled up to the pharmacy I thought, “Wow, I got a spot right in front of the store!” Then I looked at the handicapped section and felt like a total shit. Now when I pull up to the store, I park further away out of guilt. Now here’s another baffling thing I’ve noticed. There’s a local pub down the road that has tons of handicapped parking spaces. Aren’t we all physically challenged when walking out of one of these establishments? You have to wonder sometimes!

Friday, January 19, 2007

The Warmth of Winter

Finally New York, you have snow! I’m thrilled to see the beautiful white blanket laid across my property. Usually by the time Christmas ends I’m sick of this stuff, but it’s such a relief to see that winter is really here! Most people prefer the summer, however I enjoy the warmth of winter. I know, it sounds like an oxymoron. The thought of snuggling up to a roaring fire with my sweetie and pouring a nice cup of hot cocoa (with Bailey’s of course) makes me feel wonderful.

Enjoy your weekend everyone!

Thursday, January 18, 2007

Is It All a Façade?

You really have to wonder if what’s being shown on TV is actually the real deal. I’ve come across certain reality shows where I had to ask myself if this was serious. How can so much drama be drummed up in approximately one hour? (One hour = one day in TV land.) I have a good friend who used to produce reality TV shows. A lot is 'set up'. Yes, all in all it was real, but a lot was added, lines were added and more emotion was ordered from the directors.

My first gripe is the famous Rosie O’Donnell vs. Donald Trump match. Think about it, if these two were really fighting it out, Donald would just have sued her without commenting on any network, especially "Entertainment Tonight". Rosie O’Donnell has been cast out by her own people. She has a lot of controversial history. She needs to get back into the limelight. I thought "The View" would help that, but unfortunately, she needs to enhance it. What better person do to this for her than Donald Trump? But why would he want to do this for her? Think about this… He has his new season of “The Apprentice” coming out. It basically flopped last season and he needs much more ratings. The both of these people need major ratings! Publicity stunt? Or is this actually for real?
Moving along, I’ve come across another show that made me a bit curious. "American Idol" had its first season premier Tuesday night and last night. They were both two hours long full of people who were auditioning in front of the three tough judges. (Well actually one tough judge.) Anyway, they had the most bizarre people trying out to be the next American Idol. Not only that, the insults that flew across the audition room were so awful that you almost cried for these people. Some were eccentric looking, some were actually mentally slow or retarded and others were extremely overweight and were criticized beyond belief. A young kid walked in there auditioning who had big eyes and a very petite face. He was compared by Simon as a “Bush Monkey”. What also gave it away was the fact that some of these people sang so oddly loud and crazed, that you had to believe it was made up by the producers. This couldn't be for real. Anything for ratings, right?

Now Trading Spouses brought back the famous radical “God Warrior”, Margaret Perrin. How much you want to bet this lady has fun with her ‘role’? What do you think?

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Psychiatrists and AA Directors

This may come across as controversial or narrow-minded, but I have a strong opinion on something that I have absolutely no control over. Let me explain…

Take for instance an AA director. This person is required to have experienced a past problem with alcohol. He/she must know the hardships and the consequences that go along with being an alcoholic. They also must share the same experiences of breaking the habit of drinking. They have to be sober, yet have the history in order to fully grasp what the other former and current alcoholics are going through. The director of the AA meeting should be able to relate to each person and how hard it was to stop or limit their intake of alcohol. Stories and personal information are shared in order to establish that trust factor. They’re in it together.

What about the concept of the psychiatrists and psychologists? Of course they spent years in school studying about the human psyche, but how can they relate to people who have panic attacks, depression, bi-polar disorder or schizophrenia? How can they understand what it feels like to experience an anxiety attack without warning? How can they share stories upon how they felt when they were struck down with agoraphobia or heard voices in their head?

(I’m not putting psychiatrists or psychologists down in any way, I’m just thinking a little too much today.)

Sometimes when I’m sitting in my psychiatrist’s office, I often wonder if he’s really listening. I know many people say, “Well if he isn’t helping you, then you should see another therapist.” True. But every time I seek out a new counselor, they all do the same thing practically. Most of them all pill pushers and strongly believe that a pill will make it all better. For me, taking medication gives me awful side effects. Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) works best for me. It may not work best for some people, but through CBT and meditation, this is what suits me. Other people swear by a medication to make their symptoms go away. That’s okay. But it’s not for everyone in my opinion.

Here’s what does work for me though… Talking to my best friend and sharing personal stories that may upset me. I know she understands because she has gone through similar circumstances and she can relate to all of it. Some believe that talking to someone from an outsider’s point of view is the best way. Everyone should determine what works best for them. Anxiety disorder, depression, bi-polar disorder and other psychological problems should be taken seriously. They can manifest itself into another disorder. I remember when I first started getting panic attacks I literally thought that I was dying. It’s a scary feeling. The anxiety attacks manifested itself into agoraphobia, where I couldn’t walk into a grocery store full of people. I was afraid that I would get an anxiety attack in front of everyone and pass out. The embarrassment of that thought alone triggered agoraphobia, and then it trickled over into going to big department stores and malls. It was debilitating.

Without treatment (because I was too strong-minded for that), I started getting worse. I then began to be afraid of being home alone. It frightened me. What if I choke on something and no one knows? What if I die here and no one finds out that I’ve been dead for hours? What if I have a panic attack and it turns into a heart attack? Who will know? All these irrational thoughts plagued me. So now, I’m not only afraid of going into grocery stores, malls or even venturing out of my house, but now I have the horror of being afraid to be in my house alone! I can’t get away from “fear”. I started developing phobias that were so ridiculous. I stayed away from certain foods, believing they would make me sick or give me anxiety. Strange smells and strong scented perfumes made me gag and then an anxiety attack would come on. I finally realized that I needed help. I couldn’t live my life in fear anymore.

Little by little, I started driving out to get gas for my car and then come back home. I kept saying to myself, “If I get scared, I can always turn around.” Then the gas station led to going to the nearby stores. I started getting even braver- facing my fears. I started going on interviews. I didn’t plan to accept any of the jobs, but it was a start to interact with people and get out there. It wasn’t so scary after all. I prayed and prayed that I would get better somehow. I didn’t want to be this timid and scared person anymore.

At one interview, I remember standing in the lobby waiting for the boss’s secretary to come and get me. It was a job I have been dreaming about since I was fourteen years old. I couldn’t believe they had an opening, but I had to do it or I would just hate myself. They hired me on the spot. I took it. I couldn’t believe I said “yes”. The words, “Yes, I accept” came right out of my mouth. After that, I’ve learned all my irrational fears had kept me from doing so much.

Working for this company, I found myself accepting lunch offers, going out with the girls and even going to happy hour. I was beginning to feel like myself again. No one had a clue that I had a problem with anxiety disorder. I was ‘one of them’ in their eyes. Knowing that, I started to believe it. It’s amazing how powerful the mind really is. If you believe it, you can achieve it. There is nothing that’s impossible…and I say that with the help of God.

So my question is, how can a psychiatrist or psychologist relate to people who have mental disorders if they never experienced this before? If you say education and the right schooling, then let me ask you this… If a person who never touched a drop of alcohol goes to school for alcohol abuse, should they be allowed to be directors of AA?

Monday, January 15, 2007

Drudging Up the Past

It’s not a secret how my life has changed dramatically after a break up a few years back. I’ve learned a lot from it actually. Speaking in current times, I can envision myself from when I was still in that relationship. I handled things much differently. I was a complete different person, yet the same soul inside. I like to call it undeveloped. One thing I’ve learned is that old scientific saying- action causes reaction. I still have a hard time doing things “right” in my present relationship, but I’m no longer that resentful bitter person that I remember back in my old relationship. The learning experience was a blessing for me. It helped me to not take my partner for granted. It gave me the insight of how the other person may be feeling. Although I’m still nowhere from being perfect or ever will be, I know that some things may not be good for the relationship.

Trying to explore new options and ways to cope with difficult situations has been challenging, yet rewarding when I finally see the end results when making right choices. Still waving in and out of tricky decisions of how to handle certain things, I’ve come to the conclusion that arguing over something under the influence of alcohol is absolutely detrimental to the relationship. You say things that you normally wouldn’t and your entire “closed box” opens up. What’s a closed box? And yes, I did make that up, but it’s real. People can call it whatever they’d like to, but for me, it’s called ‘the closed box’.

The closed box is a secret little container full of things that are supposed to be hidden. It’s kept in thoughts and derogatory statements stored in this little contraption. It’s deep seeded location is the safety mechanism for a loving and successful relationship. What happens is, when alcohol gets dowsed into your system, you’re more likely to brew up an argument or say something that should have been kept within. I’m not saying that everyone should be so secretive, but there are some things people just don’t need to know.

Sometimes that closed box will reveal secrets that shouldn’t have been aired out. Other times, that closed box will reveal other people’s secrets which is worse. I’ve seen people gossip to the point of, ‘I really shouldn’t have said that’ type of scenario. I’ve been and still catch myself being one of those people. I have to stop myself and remember how bad it is to talk about someone else’s situation when having a few drinks- or even sober. My friend Tamar taught me a lot regarding this. When you gossip, you’re killing three people. You, the person you’re talking to, and the person you’re talking about.

You: You’re killing yourself because gossiping is considered sinful, and for you atheists out there, it’s just bad tactic. You’ll be seen as a gossip and no one will trust you.

The receiver: This person can choose to listen or ask to stop the conversation. It’s hard because you normally wouldn’t just say, “Oh please, stop talking about this!” Usually we listen. We can just walk away afterwards and pretend we didn’t hear it, but it’s hard.

The person being gossiped about: Their reputation was killed.

We all gossip from time to time. But have you noticed that the people who gossip constantly are the ones we never reveal a secret to or trust? Even when my girlfriend and I broke up, I never revealed the negative things that she had done or ruined her reputation with hurtful words. I wrote a book about the break up, but focused on how “I” could improve instead. I hesitated to write much about it on this blog, because it was all written in my book and revealed of how I could have handled things much differently. I didn’t want to rehash it and open up old wounds. There were some posts that I had to get permission by her to write. I respected my ex-girlfriend and still do. We shared a past together and today we’re still friends.

The most important thing I’ve learned is that we should all focus on the positive side of the relationship instead of harping upon what should have been done or how badly we were treated. (This excluding verbal and physical abuse of course.) I’m talking about your normal everyday relationships that went bad. There are many people having pity parties for themselves instead of trying to improve their character and improve their current and future relationships.

Here’s a bit from my book

“Even when someone we love wrongs us, we cannot expect them to immediately make it right or change their ways at the snap of a finger. We have to learn to accept them the way they are as well as adapt to them if we want to continue a relationship with them. The secret is, we need to make changes in ourselves in order to appreciate other people and the way they handle certain situations. We need to yield for others and allow them to be themselves. We cannot change people; only God can change people. If we truly love someone, why would you want to change them? I have learned a lot from each relationship that I was in. I do not regret one person that has come into my life whether they are in my life presently or not. Sometimes I can’t even believe how bad I reacted over certain things. My temper would flare up so high over the smallest things. Not only does this make things worse between you and your partner, but it also brings up your blood pressure a great deal. It’s so unhealthy to actually have anger in your heart like that. I have noticed that in certain relationships, I was jealous and very insecure.”

Insecurity plays a huge role in how we handle what we say and what we do towards the people we love. We don’t want to be hurt again. We’ve all been hurt. We’ve all gone through our share of bad relationships whether with family members or with partners and spouses. We’re human. But constantly drudging up the past in a derogatory manner only leaves you with the feeling of resentment. Let it go. I had a hard time letting go of the past for quite some time. As soon as I let it go, my demeanor changed. I wasn’t that angry and bitter person grumbling about every little thing. Don’t get me wrong, I still bitch and moan from time to time, but I forgave my past as well as forgave myself.

Forgiving yourself is hard to do. We’re so hard on ourselves that we don’t realize the pressures we put on our bodies emotionally and physically. It’s damaging when we don’t forgive ourselves for past actions and reactions. Once we learn to love ourselves more, forgive ourselves more and accept ourselves more, we can learn to do the same for others and be in successful loving relationships. How can we love others if we don’t even love ourselves?

Thursday, January 11, 2007

{S}hit and Run

Total waste of a roaring tiger (Bengal cat) and a big vicious dog (Golden Retriever). There’s a huge dilemma going on at my sister’s house. This crap is baffling and mysterious. The average person could have easily overlooked this. But it all came to a head when something obvious was found.

My sister walks into her house after a long day of work. She sets her keys on the counter and decides to grab some food to cook dinner. She notices that a few of her canned goods were gone. She thought, “Hmm, maybe I used them and forgot about it…” Whatever. She continued to prepare dinner and notices that there’s coffee left in the pot. She doesn’t make coffee in the morning and neither does her boyfriend. So who made the coffee? It then trickles back to the thought of, “Who took my canned goods?”

Okay, aside from that, sis has to use the “ladies’ room”. She calls it that because she forbids her boyfriend to use the one in the bedroom. It’s hers. She has claimed it. No man can enter her office. This is off limits to those who have a penis. Out! The one in the hallway is the “men’s room”. This is where her boyfriend finds solace and peace from the everyday stressors of life. This is his throne. But occasionally, sis will access it for better lighting to put on her make up. Not fair you say? Dare to tell her that.

Anyway, she makes her way into her bathroom, and discovers the most horrific thing someone can imagine. It was almost as bad as walking into a shopping mall restroom and finding a package of goodies wrapped up in toilet paper. Yep, someone crapped big time and ran. A case of a “shit and run”? If that wasn’t enough, she was repulsed over the fact that there was only one square of toilet paper used. So now we’re on the lookout for a man with skid marks hyped up on Columbian coffee and possibly carrying a few cans of baked beans.

I think it’s time for sis to invest in a Rottweiler.
We have a feeling the Golden Retriever may be the culprit.

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

Damaging Words

I like the rain, because no one can see my tears... ~Author unknown
For whatever reason, I’m learning more and more how people tick. Sometimes people do things in order for them to feel better. I’m reminded of a friend who told me about her relationship with her ex-girlfriend. With the constant put downs and insults regarding her appearance, it left my friend feeling insecure with low self-esteem. Why would someone who claims they love you want to make you feel ugly or make you feel less than attractive? Why would you criticize someone who you adore and love? If it’s an issue with health or hygiene, then yes, I can see where the little ‘sit down’ would take place. That’s understandable. But the fact is, my friend is the most attractive woman and yet her ex-girlfriend really damaged her confidence level.

Here’s my theory on why anyone would verbally abuse their spouse or lover. If the person dishing out the attacks is feeling unattractive, then there’s a great chance that they want to belittle their partner in order to feel superior or more attractive than them. They fear losing their partner to someone else. This also means pushing them under their thumb and making them feel worthless. The ironic part about this is, the person attacking their partner is usually the one who is cheating or the one who is less attractive than their counterpart. There’s this saying I heard a while back: “If you’re worried about your partner cheating on you with no real evidence, then you must be cheating yourself.” I really feel there’s some truth in that. (Unless you have a huge suspicion about who you’re dating.)

Feeling insecure in a relationship is the most horrible feeling. I was once there. I used to drive myself crazy with irrational thoughts. Why? Because I wasn’t faithful years ago. I dated a few people at a time. I was young and stupid. But what happened was, I blamed everyone else for cheating. I never once belittled my partners or told them they were unattractive. Hell, I found them attractive when we first dated, so why would I think differently now? It’s amazing what criticism will do to someone’s psyche, especially if it’s coming from someone you love dearly.

Think about it this way… when your lover or spouse feels beautiful, it shows. They feel confident. Most likely this will trickle right into the bedroom as well. When you put someone down or make snide remarks about their weight or lack of, most likely they’ll shy away from any intimacy with you. They’ll feel you’re judging them. 90% of people are so self-conscious about their bodies to begin with- whether thin or heavy. This is too big, this is too small, this doesn’t look the way it should…etc. Why increase the insecurities to a level where it’s going to affect your sex life? It makes no sense at all.

So bringing this post back to the point I was trying to make… My friend had feelings of insecurity and low self-esteem. After the break up, she now realizes how beautiful she really is. She goes out more, she made new friends and she came out of her shell. It was a huge step for her, because she felt so vulnerable to criticism due to her past experience with her ex. The long lasting effects of those hurtful words will never be forgotten, however they’re quickly fading the more she realizes how amazing she is inside and out.

Tuesday, January 09, 2007

Can You Believe This Crap?

As low as the price of coffee, you could estimate $100 for ten cups. If it wasn’t bad enough that Starbuck’s charges us $5 bucks a cup, we now have coffee that sells for $10 dollars, and you don’t get the bells and whistles like you do at the gourmet shop. It’s just a plain cup of black coffee.

What makes these beans so special? The process of how it’s brewed. No, not the coffee brewing type- the digestive brewing type. Let me explain. If you haven’t heard about this until now, very bored people discovered a new way to drink coffee. It’s called “Kopi Lowak”. The Kopi in Indonesia translates to “coffee”. The way these beans get processed is through a cat’s digestive system. No, I’m not lying. The cat literally has to digest the beans, and then crap it out in order for you and everyone else to get freshly ‘brewed’ coffee.

I’ve seen this on the Travel Channel a few times about different cultures and gourmet coffees. Now it’s all the rage in New York and other major cities. My question is, who thought of this? Who sat there and said, “Hmm, my coffee would taste so much better if my cat crapped it out!” Isn’t fecal matter full of bacteria? So the coffee may not be so good in Indonesia, but get it imported then! For the love of God, why would anyone drink this coffee?

Let me ask all you cat lovers and veterinarians and vet techs this question. What about the risk of getting toxoplasmosis? If a cat ingests infected meat of any kind, most likely, we’ll develop that disease too, right? Toxoplasmosis is generally contracted by cat feces. It plagues humans as well by eating raw or undercooked meat. The risk of eating spinach or any produce for that matter is high, no less tainted meats. Now we want to venture over to the cat’s anus for some fresh brewed java.

Talk about coffee that tastes like shit!

Monday, January 08, 2007

Grumpy Bloomberg & Gas Problems

Not for nothing, but if you’re going to be the mayor of New York, you’re going to have to deal with a million questions and be expected to dish out some serious answers. As you all know, I never get into politics all that much. It’s not only confusing with so many lying politicians, but the mere fact that each story changes its course within minutes frightens me to the core to even touch upon any political subject. It’s worse than talking about religion—and you know how I can go on and on with that!

Anyway, I’m sitting here watching CNN about the big breaking news of the smell of rotten eggs being spewed out all over New York City. Apparently there was a gas leak, or there was a release of the chemical mercaptan, the additive which produces an odor when the odorless gas is in the air. It’s a safety precaution for people.

“Close your doors, windows and central air!” But they say we’re ‘safe’…or are we? Why would they urge us to evacuate buildings and close off all our vents? Precautions, yes I know, but still very scary. If they start asking us to put on gasmasks and tape up our doors and windows, then I’ll know I have need to drink a martini or five.

Anyway, as I watched Mayor Bloomberg at the press conference assure us that New York was safe, he answered questions in such an abrupt way- as if he was annoyed with everyone. I’ve seen him do this before with many other issues. He doesn’t want to be bothered. Then why even go into office when you know that you’ll have to do a lot of explaining if something dangerous happens to New York? He lashes out at reporters who interview him and people who are requesting answers. His responses are rude and crass. I just don’t understand this type of behavior if you’re the mayor of New York.

To tell you the truth, when I first heard about the hanging of Saddam Hussein, I thought there was going to be plenty of terrorists attempts or successful tragedies around the area and nationwide. One incident that really had me concerned was the terrorists who were hiding in the Miami, FL ports. How many times has the news revealed to everyone that our ports were not secure?

Hello? Do they think that the terrorists don’t watch our newscasts? It drives me insane that reporters give out this crucial and vulnerable information and then not expect to have something like that happen. Is it me, or is the media that naïve to give out such dangerous information? There are certain things that I understand must be ‘hush hush’ in order not to panic the public. But when we tell the entire world how easy it is to target our ports, we’re basically pulling our pants down for them. No news is bad news for these networks. They’d rather see us suffer a terrorist attack than to have redundant news reports.

Getting back to Bloomberg… I personally feel he has done a great job for New York City, however his behavior with the public and the media is just baffling.

In any event, they say that the odor that engulfs New York City is nothing to be concerned with. For some reason, something doesn't smell right to me.

Thursday, January 04, 2007

Braving the Storm

Attention Worrywarts!

A lady whose friend was a chronic worrier said to her one day, “Do you realize that 80% of the things you worry about never happen?” “See,” her friend replied, “it works!” Seriously, Jesus said, “Don’t get worked up about what may…happen tomorrow. God will help you deal with whatever…come{s} up” (Mt 6:34 TM). Worry doesn’t rid tomorrow of its sorrows, it just robs today of its joy. Plus when you make a mountain out of a molehill you end up having to climb it. A salesman who usually drove an old car and wore outdated clothes turned up at his office one day in a designer suit, driving a BMW. “What happened?” his buddy asked. “Remember how I used to worry about everything?” he said, “Well I hired a team of professional worriers; now I tell them my problems and they do all my worrying while I go out and sell.” “How much do they charge?” his friend asked. “$5,000 a week,” he replied. “How can you afford that?” his buddy asked. Smiling he replied, “That’s their worry, not mine!”

Wouldn’t you like to have somebody to handle all your worries? You do; His name is Jesus, and He said, “If you are tired from carrying heavy burdens…I will give you rest” (Mt 11:28 CEV). God promised, “As your day is, so shall your strength…be” (DT 33:25 AMP). That’s because He only gives us today’s strength for today’s needs. Remember, it’s impossible to wring your hands and roll up your sleeves at the same time. So instead of wasting today worrying about tomorrow, “Give…your worries…to God” (1Pe 5:7 NLT), and get busy living the life He gave you to enjoy! ~The Word For You Today

These last few days I’m finding myself worrying much more than I have been. Everything from what tomorrow brings to what someone else may be thinking. I waste my time and energy over people’s judgments sometimes and I tend to worry about something that hasn’t even happened yet. “Well I might get an anxiety attack if I walk into that crowded grocery store!” Some days, I’m able to get a grip on my agoraphobia. Other days, it’s as if it never left me. At night, I can’t sleep because there are a million things going through my head. You wouldn’t believe the thoughts I have right before sleep. “Did I lock the door?” (That could be the OCD kicking in as well as the other questions such as making sure the oven’s off…ten times.) "If I turn the TV off when I try to sleep, will I hear any ‘bumps in the night’?” I’m like a child thinking she has a monster in her closet. I’m scared of the dark! When the lights go out, I freak! God forbid there’s a lightening storm outside and the electric fails. I grab a flashlight when I hear thunder. Seriously- major problems over here!

I never forgot the storm in March of 1997. We had some freaky weather over in New York during that time and La Nina was hitting us hard. It was always windy with gusty storms that were a force to be reckoned with. One early evening, my parents were barbequing. I was the only one with them, so my sisters can’t vouch for me. But, the day was sunny, oddly warm, with a few clouds in the sky. I walked out to talk with my dad as he cooked his steaks to perfection. We discussed how calm and quiet it was outside. The entire atmosphere was at a standstill. Then, I went to look up above, and there was this huge black cloud coming in slowly. The rest of the sky was blue. It didn’t look good. I said, “Dad! Shut the barbeque off and come inside for a few minutes- I don’t have a good feeling about this.” He just shooed me off and kept flipping his steaks. I worried so much that they ended up treating me like the boy who called wolf. Understandable, but this time it wasn’t an irrational fear. This cloud meant business.

As I kept staring at this black monstrosity, it started to develop a finger-like shape that began to try and touch ground. The winds whipped up a bunch of leaves and grass and I started screaming at my dad, “Get in now dad! Hurry! It’s a twister!” He stood out there laughing at me, as his thick silver hair was flowing in the breeze. “You gotta be crazy or sumptin’! It’s nuttin’! Youz are all crazy- you know dat’?”

Then the twister touched down in the woods, bringing up debris and uprooting trees. That’s when dad came inside. As he made his way through the door, the wind shut it so hard, that it felt as though the house had this suction effect to it. My mother ran to her little radio and turned on the news channel. It had the weather alert that there was a tornado warning for our area.

“Oh we don’t get tornados in New York Deb.” My mom pipes up from behind the counter.

The fact is, we’re right outside the city with flatland. It was the perfect environment for it. Yes, we lived on a hill, but any tornado can start somewhere, making its way down. Well that day proved that tornados do exist in New York.

After that day, I began to be deathly afraid of rain. Seriously, it didn’t even have to be a storm. Dark clouds would roll in, and I’m gearing up for the worst, making room in my little spot under the stairwell. We didn’t have a basement- it was just a crawlspace. So, I already knew where my spot would be. Forecast for rain? I was in panic-mode! It was getting so ridiculous, that I started fearing going out at all. I thought, “Well what if it starts to rain and I’m somewhere without shelter?” All these irrational thoughts took over my mind. It basically ruled my life.

At 23 years old, I shouldn’t have these irrational fears plaguing me day after day. So one morning, I prayed to God. I asked Him to take this awful fear away from me. It was literally preventing me from living a healthy life. I sat there for a moment waiting for His answer. The only bible I had at that time was one I received back when I went to CCD when I was fourteen years old. It was the Good News Bible with Deuterocanonicals and Apocrypha books added in it. (TEV) It even had illustrations of some of the events that took place in the bible.

I opened up the bible, and it went straight to Psalm 46:2 “We will not be afraid.” And there was an illustration of Jesus walking a young girl across the land while it stormed outside. Then I read the entire scripture.

“God is our shelter and always ready to help in times of trouble. So we will not be afraid, even if the earth is shaken and the mountains fall into the ocean depths; even if the seas roar and rage, and the hills are shaken by the violence. There is a river that brings joy to the city of God, to the scared house of the Most High. God is in that city, and it will never be destroyed; at early dawn he will come to its aid. Nations are terrified, kingdoms are shaken; God thunders, and the earth dissolves.

The Lord Almighty is with us; the God of Jacob is our refuge.” ~Psalm 46:1-7

After reading that scripture and looking at the illustration of Jesus carrying “me” out of the storm, I then began to realize that I was safe. I was always safe but didn’t know it. I then started to feel better about storms. I didn’t fear the dark clouds rolling in anymore. I didn’t get scared when I heard a crack of thunder from outside. And now, I enjoy watching a good summer storm come in because it reminds me that God is always with me…even when I’m afraid.

Tuesday, January 02, 2007

Who Has Myspace? Fess Up...

Lately, I’ve noticed that a lot of my own friends are signed up with Myspace. To me, I thought it was a juvenile website based on meeting friends and friends and more friends. True, you do meet tons of new people, but I didn’t get the base of it. It has blog options as well. It also has an area where people leave comments to you right on your web page. This I didn’t get- because I thought, “Well what are they commenting to?” They’re basically just ‘hellos’ and little funny cartoons they leave and just a reminder of who’s thinking about you or who wants you to comment on their page. Depends.

Anyway, I made fun of my friend for having this. I mean, we’re in our thirties and it seemed sort of ridiculous to even entertain the idea of putting a web page out there like that. Well, I signed up. Not only that, but I’ve came in contact with old friends from high school, and friends I haven’t seen in so long! It was kind of nice to reconnect. I’ve also met some really interesting people on there. There’s all sorts of musicians, artists and writers trying to get noticed and tons of creative people who just love to network. This Myspace isn’t bad after all.

Then I had a thought. Why not promote my book to those who I feel need to hear what I went through? Why not add some people on my list and see how they feel about their comfort zone about being homosexual? You can send bulletins out to all of them with videos or a message reminding them that God isn’t something to be scared of. A healthy fear of God is one thing, but to be too afraid to come to Him due to the pressures of being gay is something the devil wants you to think…as well as some people.

One nice girl named Tiff wrote:

“The concept of duality between homosexuality and Christianity has always perplexed me. Many arguments have been and will continue to be waged about the issue of homosexuality based upon Leviticus 18:22 where it says in the bible that a man lying with another man as he would lay with his wife is an abomination. This is where my confusion begins. In the eyes of God, or so I’ve been told, the way I am is an abomination. But, on the same token, it also says in the bible that God knows you and everything about you before you are even conceived. He knows every thought you will think, everything you will say and do, and he has a grand divine plan for your life. So taking this into consideration as well, it is confusing to me that God, in his divine plan, would basically set me up to fail in his eyes. It doesn’t make sense, from what I have heard about him, He doesn’t make mistakes like that. So to avoid all this existential confusion, I have chosen to refrain from spirituality in its entirety. That’s not to say that I’m a raging atheist, or that I don’t want to believe in God. It’s just that I don’t know where to begin sorting out the truth from all the homophobic religious hypocrisy that has plagued Christianity for so long that it’s become part of the very fabric of its beliefs.

Nice blog though, kind of uplifting.

-Tiff”

I honestly didn’t think I would people with such deep thoughts on Myspace. I didn’t think it existed. I basically judged the site due to it’s reputation for being “juvenile”. I was pleasantly surprised to see someone on there with such a great thought process who has an incredible opened mind.

I wrote back to her:

“And that's the whole entire thing Tiff- where Christianity gets so scary! People draw away from God due to what other people have to say about it.

Fact: Leviticus does say that homosexuality is an abomination, however, it also states that eating shellfish such as shrimp, lobster, clams, mussels, oysters are all an abomination to men. Even if you sit on a couch with a woman who has her period- that is detestable to God. That's all in Leviticus.

Here's where the line draws though... Leviticus is in the Old Testament. Christians and people who are not of the Jewish culture go by the New Testament. The old doesn't apply anymore. The Old Testament has books that due reference to history- so it's good to refer back to it for history and what mankind has gone through. But as believers of Christ, we go by the New Testament, due to the salvation and the forgiveness that God gave to us. We are all sinners. Not one of us are perfect in God's eyes, however, God's love for us is perfect. It's so perfect that He gave His only son to die for us on the cross in the Christian/Catholic beliefs. (As well as other religions that are based upon the trinity.)

What about premarital sex between heterosexual couples? That in itself is a sin in God's eyes. How many people do you know wait until marriage before they seal the deal? Some fundamentalists and other radical Christians will throw in the argument that sex should be between two married people- and sex outside of marriage is sinful. Well, I am sure that if the gay and lesbian community were able to get married, we would. But the state won't allow us. "People" won't allow us. And that's the big difference. Are we listening more to people? Or are we trying to tune into God more?

Through my spiritual experiences Tiff, I know that God accepts all of us. He knows our hearts and sees our motives. He made every little hair on our head- and you're absolutely right, He wouldn't set you up to fail. The devil does that. God loves you more than anything and He knows the struggles that we all have- whether we're gay or straight. We all have our cross to bear.

In my opinion and theory, the devil plants the seed of fear to come to God, because we're gay. "God will punish you!!!" That's something that the devil does, and it's something that people do all the time. If my own mom and dad accepts and loves me as a lesbian living with her partner, don't you think God is able to do the same? Are we saying that God's inadequate? He's perfect- He's GOD! So, hopefully you can another point of view regarding Christianity. People make it scary...not God.

Thanks so much for your comment!


~Deb"

Hopefully, my page will encourage those who are confused about Christianity. I also don’t want people to think that I’m trying to convert others into being a Christian- I just want those who are weak in faith and those who are confused to know that God loves them. There are so many people who are atheist and/or into Satanism on Myspace. I even tagged those people to be on my list of friends, hoping they will come to my site finding a little piece of mind. Maybe they can relate to the torment of struggling with life’s circumstances, being homosexual- being a sinner in general and having a love for God at the same time. Maybe they can relate to the pressures of others trying to tell you what’s right and wrong. Shouldn’t we go to God for approval? We rely so much on other people for approval, that we forget about the most important thing…God.

So if you’re interested in taking a peek at my page, click here. I swore I wouldn’t let any of my blogspot friends know about this page, but it’s not so bad after all.