Thursday, March 29, 2007

Foot Fetish

It’s been a long time since I’ve shared one of my ‘scary’ doctor visits with you all. Being that I have OCD, among other anxiety-related manias, the mere thought of sitting at a doctor’s office is somewhat unnerving. Usually, it’s the issue of touching those magazines, which many sick people touch. Not only do they touch these magazines, but also, they feel the need to lick their finger upon opening each page. I look over, give a little curled up lip snarl, and look the other way. Never, will I touch one of these magazines ever!

It’s not the issue with this doc that I visited yesterday. You see, I’m a foot person. No, I don’t have a foot fetish, but I’m very into keeping my feet nice and well kept. I love pedicures and wearing sandals in the spring and summer. I love putting pretty toe rings on, just as I would with my fingers. When my manis and pedis are done, I feel dressed up even if I were to wear pajamas out in the public.

The doctor I visited yesterday is my podiatrist. Stop gasping, I go for cosmetic reasons. During the winter, my feet hibernate. From pounding the surface of the treadmill, (would sound much better saying pavement, but I’m a big sissy), my feet have developed a callus on each big toe, which ultimately needs to be filed down. They say I have an instep when I walk, which makes me put all my weight into my big toe. Don’t worry- no bunions or corns or fungus among us.

When March rolls around, it’s time to prepare for warmer weather. I head down to the podiatrist and get those puppies chiseled and ready for my first pedicure of the year. Now, some of you may not be aware, but during the course of the winter, your feet develops an extra layer of skin, which hardens a bit from the cold months and walking in boots and heavy footwear. After buzz sawing my precious feet, I realized that there was a huge mountain of skin piled up before him. I was even a bit perturbed by it all. Why do people decide to go into podiatry? I guess the same reason people become gynecologists—the money. I just never understood those occupations, but I am so unbelievably grateful for them.

Here’s what went through my mind though, as the podiatrist was buzzing off my calluses. See, a long time ago I knew this guy who liked me. He was a very good-looking wealthy man who kept asking me to date him. I tried to go on a few dates, but the bulk of his conversation was all ‘shop talk’. He was a stockbroker. There seemed to be no depth to him, other than the love for money. That’s fine. But, I needed more. Eventually, I got him to talk about himself some more. I wanted to see what he likes, beyond the stock market. I fed him a few glasses of wine and he opened up. I asked him to tell me something of a personal matter- a secret even!

“I have a foot fetish.”
“What?”
“A foot fetish.”
“What?”

I’ve always heard of some men having foot fetishes, but I didn’t know what went beyond the fetish. Okay, so he likes feet- big deal, right? This went beyond appreciating a woman’s feet. With lots of truth serum made with the finest grapes, he told me a bit too much of what I was trying to get out of him. He mentioned he’s been in love with my feet for some time now. He especially loves when I paint my toes red and garnish them with jewels. I still didn’t get it, I just thought it was cute and sincere. So, a ‘thank you’ followed after his statement, until I delved in deeper.

“I would absolutely love to tickle your feet.”
“What?"
“I would love to tickle them.”
“What?”

Okay, another thing I didn’t understand. I’m a slow learner, but pretty much open to other people’s enjoyment. He asked if he could massage my feet.

PLOP!!!

My feet fell down on his lap faster than you can say “Blahniks”! I was in heaven. Who wouldn’t want to get their feet rubbed by someone who appreciated them? I thought this was the perfect idea, until something ‘came up’. I felt uneasy and evinced the awkwardness that I felt. Then he started tickling my feet. I laughed and said, “Stop it!” But he kept on. It was like ‘foot rape’! I couldn’t get my feet out of his grips. He began to hold them down and tickle them.

This has reached its limit. “STOP!” I yelled, laughing and mad at the same time. I didn’t know what to do. It wasn’t as though he did something ‘perverted’…or did he? He stopped, and began to rub my feet again. Apparently, I fell asleep and by the time I woke up, it was 7am. He was rubbing my feet for over ten hours. His pants were still too short and the gleam in his eye looked as though there wasn’t something accomplished yet. I needed to end this morning glory and end this peculiar date.

So back to my podiatrist visit. The good-looking doctor was filing down my feet with this little saw, but it tickled. It felt awkwardly familiar to another place in time. I laughed. The doctor looked at me and smiled. I jolted. The doctor looked at my face again, tickling me in the same spot...followed by that weird smile.

Do foot fetish men become podiatrists?

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Quizzical Tithing

It was a beautiful spring evening when Madelene and I were driving down the road. She was upset, due to what the doctors had told Madelene about her mother’s health. The doctors stated that she has a mass on her pancreas. They need to do some testing. “It’s only what the doctors told her. God has already healed her.” I said, trying to reassure Madelene that God’s power is much stronger than the doctor’s diagnosis. Her mother has been through a lot, between back surgeries, having fibroid myalgia, to even losing her husband due to a stroke, back in 2003. Between the emotional distress and the excruciating physical pain she endured for some time, my heart went out to her. Can’t she just have a break? Can’t her life be peaceful for even just a week?

I decided to pull into the parking lot of this magnificent Catholic Church, which I used to attend before I became a born again Christian. There was a section in the church, dedicated to those who just wanted to light a candle and kneel at a private alter to pray. I thought it would be a good idea if we talked to God about it, instead of having negative thoughts being inflicted upon us.

We walked inside the beautiful church. The cathedral ceiling and the awesome architectural design were amazingly overwhelming. Each sculpture was hand crafted to perfection. We walked over to where we saw glowing flickers of light that sat nearby the private alters. “Come on, let’s go over there and pray.” I took Madelene and led her to the alter. I went over to what seemed to appear as candles. Instead of real candles, they had dim lights with a plastic cover on each of them. The sign read, “Please give a dollar before pushing the light.” A light? It wasn’t even a real candle! The mere thought of paying to push an electric light to pray was absolutely inscrutable and outright rude! I’ll tithe at my own will, thank you. What happened to the days when we could walk into a church, light a candle and say a prayer without someone nudging us for money? Money wasn’t the issue here, it was the principle of the matter.

When I was little, my mother and I attended this very church. Instead of the fancy building they built on the grounds, we prayed in a church that was also converted into a gymnasium. I used to also attend their CCD classes after school there. One Sunday morning, my mother and I sat in the front row during mass. The priest went on about how his friends were coming over to stay with him, but he didn’t have enough room for all of them. He asked the members of the church to donate money, so that he could build a separate house on his property for his guests. My mother laughed, as she tried hiding it with a loud cough. “Is he kidding? He wants us to pay for a house?” Meanwhile, there were people sitting among us, sharing a one bedroom apartment with five different roommates. Lovely, right?

The priest then continued to tell us about how he needs funding for new chairs in the church. Well that was it. My mother got up, and said, “Let’s just get out of here, Deb!” I followed her. As I followed her while she was trying to make a stormy exit, she tripped upon one of the chairs.

“See! See? This is why we need funding for more chairs! Mrs. Pasquella, are you okay?”
“Yes Father, I’m okay.” She said, dusting herself off from the embarrassing fall.
“Do you want a shot of scotch for the pain? I have some in my office.”
“No, I don’t. Thank you.”

That was enough. My mother and I never attended that church again. This same priest was charged with molesting children at his parish. When I was on a retreat with the rest of my CCD class, we had to stay inside a cement building with rooms which had little cots as beds. It looked more like a jail. At confession, there weren’t any booths with a black mesh gate to separate you and the priest. You went inside one of their ‘bedrooms’ and sat with the priest on a cot.

“Come in dear.” The white haired priest said, while tapping his hand on the cot. I stared at him. It wasn’t normal. I looked in his eyes, and then looked down at the cot- the bed he was sitting on. I saw him motion for me to come sit next to him. His actions were urbane and almost reassuring that nothing of an inappropriate nature would take place. But something told me to leave right away.

Years later, this priest was charged with sexual molestation of young boys. I guess I was safe since I was a girl, but to think how many boys- actually how many men came forward to admit their horrible memories to the authorities.

I’m very leery about extravagant churches begging people for money. I do realize, in order to have a church still standing, tithing is necessary, however, the reasons indicated why they needed donations from people less fortunate than them was unnerving. This Catholic Church left a very bad taste in my mouth. And the other night, it left another negative experience looming within my thoughts.

With all that being said, would you keep Madelene's mother in your prayers? It's the best donation we could ever ask for!

Monday, March 26, 2007

Bartender Casanova

As most of you probably already know, I love to pick people’s brains. I love to know what they’re thinking and what makes them tick. I especially pick the brains of people I already know- or think I know at least. The most fascinating thing to me is, people are so unique and so different from one another. They think differently, react differently and want and need different things in life. When we stereotype certain ‘men’, we think of a sport’s fanatic, beer drinking muscular (or not) kind of guy. He’s got a pack of wolves he calls ‘friends’ and basically howls at any Sue, Jen or Jane. Okay, that’s a bit extreme, but let’s focus on those types for a minute.

There’s this one guy, who’s name I won’t mention, that constantly plants the idea of including himself in my girlfriend's and my relationship. He’s the bartender of a local pub in the area. Now, granted my girlfriend and I flirt and give each other googly eyes at the bar, but never anything risqué or inappropriate, but it’s totally obvious we’re a couple. We’re very friendly with him and tolerate whatever innuendoes come flying across the bar along with our beers.

Since I’ve experienced the task of being a bartender myself, I know that it’s important to make your customers feel as though they’re number one. Yes, I admit it- I flirted with my barstool warmers. They took care of me. The majority of my money was made through tips. Sure, I would give a nice friendly smile and some bedroom eyes while treating them every third drink, but it paid off. Don’t think men don’t do this either! This bartender flirted big time, so I played the game. I, as the customer flirted back. Why? To get free drinks. So the flirting can be finagled at both ends of the spectrum. And what better way to flirt with a guy who’s bartending at a straight pub while he’s looking over at two lesbians in need of some liquid medication? Perfect, or is it? It got a bit complicated as he ran outside after us giving us his phone number. “Come to my house and watch the game with me!” I’d only do that with The Boys at the Jammy! Totally faithful to those guys!

Think about this… What if I was straight and I walked into the same pub with a good-looking man at my side? That bartender would have never hit on me. Now, another question is this- and maybe my straight male readers can help me… Say if a man sees two lesbians (who he know for sure are together) walk into a bar or restaurant. The two of them are cozy in a corner talking and having a few cocktails. What makes them decide that it’s “okay” to approach them or buy them a drink? He would never do this if it was a male/female couple, but for some reason, he feels less intimidated by a female couple. Do you think it’s out of disrespect? Or do you think that most men feel that two women together aren’t as serious as a heterosexual couple?

If a man bought a woman a drink while she was with her boyfriend or husband, that would be totally disrespectful, right? Seeing a lesbian couple, you then have the possible scenario of a man trying to get one of the girls to jump on the other side of the fence. He feels that somehow, he has this magnificent power to make them straight after she’s been with him. “Well after you’ve been with me, you won’t want another woman again.” I’ve heard that so many times. I even took a man up on that once...or twice. It failed. I tried. Nothing. Nada. I’m still a dyke!

I’m not trying to implicate that I’m a manhater of any sort. I’m just trying to reason with men who have this type of mentality. Is it out of conceit? Or is it the whole ‘man should be with woman’ type of thinking---the Tarzan one brain cell concept? My opinions may be coming off very strong right now, but I’ve been hit with very strong ‘suggestions’ and ‘innuendos’ to the point of no return. Sometimes I feel like saying, “Get over yourself!” But other times, I play into ‘the game’ and make the guy feel what it’s like to be played with. Is it disrespectful? Maybe. A tit for tat? Possibly. Is it right? Probably not. But, I will say that it makes me perturbed when I see some buffoon trying to ‘get in’ on a very loving relationship. And that’s where the misconception of promiscuity and homosexuality comes in. Do they think we’re promiscuous just because we’re lesbians?

Friday, March 23, 2007

Your Message

With tons of hobbies that people are able to do, the one I find we all have in common is the ability to write or to speak our minds. As for the people who blog as well as myself, we all want to be heard. Isn’t that the reason why we write in the first place? We want our beliefs, opinions and stories to be out there– we want to make a point. That’s why we think this way or that’s why we think that way. We agree with some and we disagree with others. Sometimes our beliefs come off as the ‘truth’ and we disregard the views of people who comment.

Now here’s my opinion about bloggers. I have a few of them. Okay, okay- I have quite a few!

1. Bloggers are people who wish to be published writers. If you really think about it, whether or not they’ve published an article in a magazine or have published their own book- they're published regardless, due to them hitting the ‘publish’ button on the blogger option once completed with their post. So, we’re basically all published authors. We have written work for millions of people to see. (My site stats tell me differently though.)

2. We all want to vent- let it out- let off steam! But, in my honest opinion, what we truly want is to be able to vent, and hopefully the person(s) who needs to read it will open up to our blog page. Sometimes writing our frustrations down is more beneficial than verbalizing it.

3. Practice. If you’re an aspiring writer, you want to brush up on your grammar and punctuation techniques, etc. We want our stories to flow and sound easy on the ears…or in this case, easy on the eyes.

4. Love. Some of us have blogs for our significant others. (Shush, don’t look this way, I’m not that romantic!) Exchanging “love letters” through a blog is a great way to log the history of your relationship.

5. Memories. People post photos and write details about their children from birth on. Now, the only thing that concerns me about this is that they’re posting photos of their children. There are so many internet predators out there. It’s scary these days. When I see a family blog with a bunch of photos of their child on there as well as their city and state, I’m just baffled. Isn’t it our number one priority to keep our children safe? Do it anonymously if you wish to log your family memories down. It’s not worth the risk.

So if we’re being heard by millions of people out there on the internet, what’s our message? What do we want to convey to everyone that they haven’t heard before? What if we reiterate the same thing over and over? Do we mimic the words of others or do we simply state facts that generate from our own minds?

Of course you all know my message. My faith in God and the fact that I’m a lesbian contradicts everything most “Christians” cannot tolerate. I’m sick and tired of misinterpretations, judgments and the arguments of which sin is better than the other—and the fact that I believe homosexuality isn’t a sin. My message to people out there is this… Love God, love yourself, be content knowing that there’s not one person who knows your destination in the afterlife. Only the personal relationship you have with God can determine that—not any ‘religion’, ‘ritual’, or ‘good deeds’ will ever cover you. Your close relationship with God is your insurance. And that's "my belief". To you, it may be totally different. And that's okay!

What’s your message you’re trying to send out?

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Tampering With God's Creation

Even the conservatives are a bit upset over this matter. They’ve just discovered that there is biological proof that being gay at birth is possible. The conservatives are outraged because it would go against their beliefs that homosexuality is a choice and not a gene. The twist in this case is whether or not a pill to ‘correct’ or ‘counteract’ the gay gene should be given, so that the babies will be born heterosexual.

In my opinion, if medical treatment were given to babies while they’re in the womb to change their orientation from homosexual to heterosexual, then they would be going against God’s wishes. God is the one who creates all of us. Do they really want to alter how God made them? Do they want to tell God that He’s wrong?

The Rev. R. Albert Mohler Jr., a preeminent evangelical leader, supports the medical treatment to correct homosexuality of unborn children. So if it is in fact, a gene, then it isn’t a choice. He’s be tampering with God’s creation.

Notice the way God does things; then fall into line. Don’t fight the ways of God, for who can straighten out what he has made crooked? ~Ecclesiastes 7:13

Everything on this earth was created for a reason. If God were to make everyone the same, earth itself wouldn’t exist. There are reasons why people are different from one another. There are reasons why things that exist here on earth are so challenging to us. If you fight the ways of God, you’re fighting a losing battle. It’s useless. Why do they still have holy wars? None of those wars were ever completed or finished; none were ever conquered.

This “foolish” plan of God is far wiser than wisest of human plans, and God’s weakness is far stronger than the greatest of human strength. ~1 Corinthians 1:25

Do we doubt God’s power? Do we think God made a mistake while creating us? Does Rev. Mohler think his ideas are much better than God’s?

Small mindedness runs rampant in the Christian community…not the gay & lesbian community.

Friday, March 16, 2007

Confused About Who Attacked Who...


When I first watched this, I was confused over the story. Did the people abuse these cats, or was it the other way around?

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

The Stigma of Homosexuality

Too many of us assume why we are the way we are. We do this, because something tragic happened to us in the past. Does our past manifest our actions later on in life? Do we counteract whatever it was that hurt our hearts so deeply from the past? Do we rebel and keep resenting it over and over again? Or do we go along our paths as if nothing happened? If nothing ever happened to us, then we have nothing to counteract; we have nothing to rebel against.

As I said in my previous post, I truly believe that I was born gay. I believe every person who’s gay was born like that due to genetics. Other people think it’s simply a ‘choice’. For some, as Miss 1999 pointed out, it may have been a choice for shock value, rebellion and for many other reasons. But the people who knew and grew up being gay have this stigma of being abused when they were younger, or being abused—period while being in a bad relationship. And yes, that happens a lot.

I have a page on Myspace where I connect with old friends as well as new folks. I advertise my book, I post bulletins about new blog posts that I think are important to read and I like to know about new happenings around my area. The majority of my ‘friends’ on Myspace are gay or lesbian. It was initially to set out for connecting with old friends, until someone told me that this site was a great source for advertising. I do it for both.

A girl emailed me through this site and explained to me the reason why she’s into women is because her ex-boyfriend was physically abusive to her. So basically, the fear of men has led her to go with women intimately. I would like to think that just because one man was a jerk, doesn’t mean that all men are. I feel bad that she turned to the gay lifestyle, because it’s much harder than living the heterosexual lifestyle. Or is it? In her case, it’s easier to live the gay lifestyle due to what she’s been through. Some women have a knack for picking out abusive men. One of my old friends kept picking out her boyfriends one by one—each being more abusive than the other. It’s not like she wanted to get abused, it was just her selection of men she chose to date.

I went to this female therapist who happened to be gay about seven years back. She was into relaxation techniques, relationship problems and stress management. She focused on the gay and lesbian community mostly. She dealt with the issues that arose within the community. She had asked me, “Were you ever abused in your childhood?” And I explained to her that I grew up with the most loving parents. They treated me kindly, never hit or spanked me and never abused me in any way. They’ve never separated or divorced either. She found it hard to believe. Then she hit me with this question:

“Were you ever sexually abused, either by your parents, siblings or cousins or someone close to the family?”

“No!” I said, in shock that she even attempted to ask me this. Now, keep in mind that this female therapist is gay too. She was abused, and assumed that everyone else who’s gay was in fact, abused too. This made me very angry, but most of all, it made me sad to think that ‘one of us’ thinks like this! I explained my relationship with my mother. She was my best friend, my caretaker and someone I looked up to. Never once did she ever hit me or abuse me. My father was always joking around with us, giving us lavish gifts and always protecting us from any danger. Sure he yelled and his temper flew off the handle, but he was gentle and never, ever harmed us in any way. My three older sisters treated me as if I were their own child. There was nothing but love within my family while growing up. I don’t remember anyone close to the family abusing me. I don’t recall any abuse whatsoever.

“Well you may be blocking it out Deb.” She said, as she kept staring at me, trying to find a glimpse of a secret being held.

“I’m sorry. I’m not going to tell you what you want to hear. I don’t have any past experiences like that.”

And just because someone was abused in their past does not mean that their sexual orientation changes. Take for instance a heterosexual woman who was abused by her ex-boyfriend or ex-husband. What explains her remarrying another man? See, people are different. For whatever reason they do what they do, it’s “their choice”. Being a lesbian isn’t a choice, unless it’s fear of men. That’s different. But to categorize all gays and lesbians into this file of abusive pasts is ridiculous.

So, does our past manifest our actions later on in life? I’d like to think so, but in a positive way. It’s nice to think that our past is what makes us who we are today. We can learn from it all and whatever it is we don’t like, we can change. We can learn from our past and try it differently, or we can keep running in circles making the same mistakes over and over again.

As Einstein once defined insanity:
“Insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.”

Please take a look at Dawn’s bio on her website. It explains her life as a Christian lesbian. I just found it this morning and thought it was quite interesting.

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Hormonal Confusion

It’s there. Lurking behind the door, sneering at me through the cracks of the walls, echoing down the long corridors, calling my name, whispering the threat of something all too familiar.

PMS:
Bloating, ranting, crying, laughing, Lifetime watching, soup inhaling, salt absorbing, water retaining, tissue throwing, five pound weight gaining, fighting, whining, horny & always complaining, ten million more zits and clumsy like a bull in a china shop—I feel like a complete mess!

Rocking back and forth like a mental patient in a psyche ward, I’m craving red meat and wine. I want the rest of the chocolates in the pantry. I want something salty- something marinated. My cravings are worst than a pregnant woman. My sexual drive is worst than a pregnant woman! Anything will suffice.

Last night I made the oddest combo of food. I sautéed garlic, onions, mushrooms, fresh parsley and basil into olive oil with a splash of white wine and lemon. In the other pan, I fried up chicken liver in olive oil. I mixed the two together into a beautiful dish. A garden salad full of spinach, beans, onions and tomatoes as well as smoked salmon rolled up with cream cheese, capers and red onions on top of tomatoes. The mixture was weird, but it totally calmed down my cravings for salt, iron and greens.

I wonder if men go through similar symptoms? Do you guys crave weird things? Do you ever have moments of outbursts or a fit of depression at certain times of the month? I know our anatomies are different, but we all have hormones and different fluctuations of them, depending how our chemistry is. Estrogen will just drive you up a wall– but does testosterone do similar things? I’ve always wondered about that. The thing I’ve noticed we all have in common during my PMSing times is that I’m horny and I’m craving red meat like a man. But seriously, do men get depressed and act manic at certain points in their lives? And don’t even go there with the midlife crisis theory. I think we all go through that once we feel we’re getting too old to be looked at as ‘a catch’. We feel unattractive, and so we compensate by buying a beautiful sport’s car or something that’ll make us look younger. That’s totally different.

Here’s something I’ve always wondered about. What about gay men? They seem more emotional and sensitive towards things the typical masculine heterosexual wouldn’t. Now, some will debate that it’s not a gene that makes a person homosexual. But then tell me how some gay men can completely act, talk and hold themselves better than most women? How do you explain the behavior of Nathan Lane when he played the part of Albert Goldman in the movie, “Birdcage”? There are so many men that act like women, who walk like women, who think like women and who have the emotional wackiness like women. So, my question is, how is it NOT a gene? Being homosexual has to be genetic.

What about a family who has mostly gays & lesbians? Of course there's heterosexuals in the mix, but I know of a particular family who are mostly gay. Did all of them “choose” to be gay? I mean, the thought of “choosing” to be gay is ridiculous in my opinion. Who wants to live a harder lifestyle? Who wants to go through the process of ‘coming out’ to your family members? The possibility of them disowning you is great. Society is still iffy about being ‘gay friendly’ at their establishments. A heterosexual couple holding hands across the dining table is seen as ‘sweet’ and ‘loving’. But if they see a homosexual couple doing the same, it sort of holds a different meaning all together. Some people would think perversion. Others would think, “Oh, she’s such a pretty girl – she could get any man she wants. Why?” I’ve had someone say that to me once, and I honestly didn’t know how to respond to that. I know their intentions were sincere, but their ignorance showed right through. Okay, so this lady called me ‘pretty’ and that I could get any man (she was quite generous with that compliment!)-- but she’s also saying that I’m settling for less, just because my preference is to be with another woman. I see where the compliment lies, but I also see the double-edged sword of this old fashioned way of thinking or their close-mindedness.

So then, are we merely humans loving other people we fall for? Or do we choose to pick the opposite gender because we’re told to do so? Do people really feel that we prefer to “choose” a harder lifestyle?

Between all the hormones that go throughout our bodies, I think we have a lot in common. Genetics, hormones and chemistry have a lot to do with the way we act, feel and how we love. Our hearts only know the true meaning of it all. But our chemistry make up and the fluctuations of it all make us quite similar – hetero or homo. Some people will say that acting upon those emotions (gearing towards homosexuality) is what makes it a sin- or “unnatural”. But are we denying ourselves out of love when we don’t act upon our emotions?

My body craves red meat or liver when I’m PMSing. It craves iron – which is a vitamin we all need. It craves salt, sugar and protein, which is essential to our diet in moderation. So does that mean I shouldn’t act upon what I feel my body needs?

Friday, March 09, 2007

True Happiness

Is it true? The more we get, the more we want? Are we ever satisfied with where we are in life? Or is it a constant quest to find true happiness? What is true happiness? Some say it’s finding the perfect love – our ‘soul mate’. Others claim it’s finding stability in career and money and to be able to establish great wealth. There are people who believe that having great faith in God is true happiness. Many will say that finding love within family and friends is what makes life.

But, what if you don’t have all of these at once? If the person who gains wealth doesn’t have their ‘soul mate’, will they ever be happy? And if a person finds they don’t have many friends or loved ones, will getting rich substitute for it all?

Recently, I heard “a certain someone” say that their neighbor has a nicer house than they do. "This person" who said this has a gorgeous home. It’s filled with love, beautiful things they obtained over the years and quite a few luxury items. But, their neighbor has acquired many more luxury items in their home, plus it’s bigger than theirs. I was quite surprised to hear “this person” go on about other people’s wealth. When I looked around “this person’s” home, I even caught the ‘I want more’ bug too. I said to myself, “Wow, it would be nice to have a great kitchen like this! Look at the island in the middle of the kitchen they have to chop and prepare food on! Wow – look at this living room! I can’t believe the size of this hot tub! Check out the beautiful dining room – I could have so many people over for dinner! Whoa – a two car garage?”

I stopped myself. I recalled a passage from Ecclesiastes.

Those who love money will never have enough. How absurd to think that wealth brings true happiness! The more you have, the more people come to help you spend it. So what is the advantage of wealth—except perhaps to watch it run through your fingers! People who work hard sleep well, whether they eat little or much. But the rich are always worrying and seldom get a good night’s sleep. (Ecc. 5:10-12)

“The person” I speak of works their butt off. They’ve worked for many years and had a great life full of love, family, and most of all, faith in God. They’re fortunate in not only material things – but also the bond that comes from a close-knit family. Their house is full of laughter, relatives, friends, good food and wine. I looked over at this person and said, “You know, I’ve been to the other house. It’s cold and uncomfortable. It lacks the love and contentment that I feel whenever I walk into your home. Your home has warmth. Even the pictures on your wall give me a sense of “home” – it brings back memories. The other house has contemporary art hanging on its walls. It doesn’t have warm photos or paintings that bring a sense of love and ease. It shows dollar signs and brags about its whereabouts.”

“Thank you.” This person said, as I tried to show them how lucky they are.

Then I looked at my own life and realized how lucky I was. I felt confident knowing that my faith in God is huge. I don’t feel alone and scared when I pray and know God’s right there. I feel fortunate that I found love and friendship. Even if I won the lottery, I’d be lost without my family, friends and loved ones. It would be a dark and lonely wealthy world if love didn't reside in my home.

There are three things that will endure—faith, hope and love—and the greatest of these is love. ~1 Corinthians 13:13

Tuesday, March 06, 2007

Challenging Someone In Love

People can manipulate their ways of criticizing someone. It’s simple - it’s like false advertising. People fall for it all the time thinking that it’s sincere or that it's the truth. In reality, it’s basically a scam. With the right stream of words and steady consistency of warmth, as if they care, they will judge you according to what they think “their God” wants. (Even if you pray to the same God.) If you’re smart enough, you can basically brainwash a person into thinking the way you want them to. If the person is weak enough, they’ll fall for it.

Where's Deb going with this?

Okay, well take for instance a person who says to a gay man or lesbian, “Well, I will never judge you, but I will challenge you in love.” Is this the ‘safe way’ of criticizing someone? And I know that there are some Christians and/or other religions, that will challenge you in regards to what the religion teaches, however, it’s disrespecting one’s beliefs about a certain religion that they practice and what they believe to be right or wrong. To me, there is no love without acceptance. To “challenge someone out of love” means that you don’t accept the way they live their life, even if the person who is being challenged feels it’s okay. It doesn’t mean you have to live the way we do, it just simply means to not ‘challenge us in love’.

In this Scripture found in Romans 14:1-4, it says this:

"Accept Christians who are weak in faith, and don’t argue with them about what they think is right or wrong. For instance, one person believes it is all right to eat anything. But another believer who has a sensitive conscience will eat only vegetables. Those who think it is all right to eat anything must not look down on those who won’t. And those who won’t eat certain foods must not condemn those who do, for God has accepted them. Who are you to condemn God’s servants? They are responsible to the Lord, so let him tell them whether they are right or wrong. The Lord’s power will help them do as they should."

When I used to attend church on a regular basis, it left a very bad taste in my mouth. The people were so nice and so warm, until they found out about ‘your sin’. “Oh I’ll pray for you.” And most of the time, I am grateful when someone says that to me. The difference is, when someone says it as though I’m lost and confused, I get offended. Pray for me, but don’t pity me or think I don’t have a personal relationship with God. It sounds so hypocritical for these people to do these things. The ironic part about this was, the people who said this to me were the ones who were divorced or committing adultery, or having premarital sex, thinking that their sin was better than mine. They would be more likely to be saved.

If we can all picture ourselves locked up in this huge glass jar, we can choose to do a few things…we can accept one another and make peace, ignore one another or fight till the bitter end. We’re going to sit there and compare our lives to each individual and who lives a better ‘wholesome’ life. We want to come out looking prestigious to God. We don’t want to look like the dirty, filthy sinner that we all are. But the truth is, no beautiful garment or gorgeous hair style is going to hide our sins. We all sin – we’re human. But to judge one from another is ridiculous and pointless. We’re all going to the same place, so why fight? Let’s enjoy our time in this huge glass jar as we wait for our creator to pour us out ‘in love’.

When I was seventeen years old, dating this guy who my parents absolutely loved, we came into a weird situation. First of all, my boyfriend was Pakistani. He was such a great person with a huge heart. Everyone immediately liked him. He was well dressed, well groomed and always presented himself nicely. He was twenty-five, but looked more my age because he was smaller built and had such a baby face. His English was good and his ability to make it here in the U.S. was amazing! He owned several businesses around the area and made a life for himself.

One day, while my parents and their friends were having a barbeque outside, my boyfriend and I walked over to join them. We were all talking and getting along. When we left, my mother told me what had happened. Her friend said, “You’re going to let your daughter date someone like him?” My mother didn’t know what she meant by this.

“Well what do you mean? He’s so nice and he's so good for her.”
“But look at him! He’s middle-eastern and foreign! Don’t you think this looks bad for you and your family? And the way he dresses – he looks as though he’s selling drugs!” My mom’s friend said.
“He dresses that way because he can afford to. He owns three businesses and does well for himself. What about your sons? They all don’t have jobs, they’re over eighteen and always dressed in ripped jeans and concert t-shirts. Their hair is down to their waist and you can’t tell if they’re a man or woman from behind!”

It turned out to be a vicious judgmental battle of who’s ‘son’ was better based upon prejudices. (Even though my boyfriend wasn’t my parents’ son, they loved him the same.) The woman judged my boyfriend based upon stereotype, skin color and appearance, however thought her sons were more presentable just because they were white.

The funny part about this whole thing was that my boyfriend got along with her sons. They all liked one another. They didn’t see my boyfriend’s nationality or religion - they saw him as ‘this cool guy’ who was friendly towards them. My boyfriend saw the two sons as a couple of cool guys who got along with him as well. They were always laughing whenever they sat out in the driveway talking about cars and ‘manly stuff’ that I couldn’t relate to. I thought it was great. I’m surprised their mother had that type of mindset though. My mother’s words towards the two sons were out of defending my boyfriend. But, all in all, it was all unnecessary. They were both out of line in my opinion.

It’s sad to think that there are people who are so caught up in the judgments of not only the gay and lesbian community, but the judgment calls upon those of a different race. As if being a different race was a sin! I've never understood it, however, I grew up around it a lot. My parents were old fashioned and grew up in the Italian part of Brooklyn. I basically grew up with the mindset that I should only befriend those who were like me. White. But, as I went to school, I realized that there are so many people with different backgrounds and nationalities who I grew to like. Why can’t I hang out with them? Why can’t my friend come over? Why am I getting in trouble because the kids that rode their bikes with me in my neighborhood had names that ended in the letter ‘z’?

I remember I had a birthday party and all my friends were coming over. I was turning fifteen. Kids were mingling and eating pizza, drinking soda having a good time socializing. My friend Tom came over, because I invited him. Tom was a tall black kid who was apart of the football team. He was soft-spoken, well mannered and just had this great personality. Even though he was only around seventeen at the time, he was an old soul – the sweetest guy ever! He wasn’t into drugs or alcohol – he was all about sports and health.

“Come here!” I heard from the crack of the door. My mother wanted to know who the ‘black man’ was that walked inside our home.
“He’s a kid that we all go to school with.”
”I want him out!”
“What?” I replied, surprised that my mother is making me kick someone out for no reason.
“Get him out of here!” I was shocked. What am I going to do? Oh, Tom, please leave because this is only a ‘white party’. No! I refused to do anything about it and went on socializing with my friends.

Of course I got in trouble after everyone had left the party. The following weekend I invited Tom over. Yes, I was very very brave. I forced my mother to talk to him. I knew that if my mother were to get to know him, instead of just basing his entire being on his skin color, that she would just love him.

And she did.

All I heard was, “What a sweet kid! He’s soooo smart and intelligent for his age!” etc…etc…etc.

Because of that one day that I forced my mother to do this, her entire outlook on people is based from within – not from appearance. Her old ways of thinking were something of the past. It no longer applied to her anymore. My parents grew up thinking blacks were bad, that Spanish people were trouble and “whites” need to be with their own. There was never a time my mother spoke about gays and lesbians though. Interesting, huh? But, the day I came out to her, she did ask me to see a psychiatrist about it. (I needed a shrink for much different things than that!) I told her no, and that just like with any prejudice she had, she needed to either accept me or disown me. I’m glad she accepted me. I knew where her negative feelings stemmed from.

My entire long-winded post is based upon what we grow up learning. If we grow up learning that this is bad, or that’s bad, then we’re most likely to remain in that frame of mind. Parents teach their kids at a young age that being gay or being a lesbian is something of a perverted nature. They never mention anything about loving unions between same sex couples. It’s all about ‘sexual perversion’ to them. It’s a sin!

So what happens? Everyone puts in their mind that being gay is a sin – that it’s wrong and you don’t want to associate yourselves with those types of people. People twist and manipulate the scriptures in the bible in order to confirm their judgment calls. But if you read the scriptures carefully, it speaks of the promiscuous nature of people. The bible says nothing about the union of two people of the same sex. There are tons of scriptures upon sexual promiscuity within the heterosexual world too. Premarital sex, divorcees remarrying while the ex is still alive, looking at someone in lust, incest and infidelity. All of us have at least done one of these ‘sins’. Looking at someone in lust – I think that’s a given. We’ve all looked at someone and said, “Oooh, look at him/her!” Or thought about sex while looking at a particular person of interest. It’s called being human.

So, if you’re “human” and yet you live the absolute perfect life – please – challenge me “in love”.

Friday, March 02, 2007

Rain

Today it feels like spring. I woke up to the sounds of rain tapping on my windowsill. I miss that sound. My bedroom was dark, the shades were pulled all the way down, and a dim light from the overcast sky sneaked its way in. I was tucked away under my goose down comforter thinking about similar mornings like these. Madelene would be sleeping soundly with her little satin eyeshades. I’d wake her up by tickling her nose with a light cloth or a tissue and she would think it was just an itch. She’d scratch it, wiggle her nose and then she would fall back into a deep slumber. I’d tickler her again, but this time, I’d tickle the soft part of her lips. She’d squish and rub her lips and then fall right back to sleep. I would relentlessly do this until she would wake up and laugh at me. I wanted to spend the morning with her, but at the same time, I wanted her to rest. It was a toss up. I guess the feelings of nostalgia hit me hard this morning. It was nice to hear Madelene’s voice over the phone today.

The rain also brings back memories of fear and pain. I remember when I was about ten years old, my mother was sent to the hospital. She had to have an operation. She had an infection in her blood and was close to dying. My father would bring me in to visit mom, but the nurses wouldn’t allow me in due to any risk of my mother getting sicker from the outside elements and people. My father yelled at the nurses, because he thought it would be the last time I would ever see my mother again. They looked at him in fear and let him through the doors. I had a huge lump in my throat as my mother laid there helplessly. My mom always took charge and ran things, but seeing her lay there sick and listless gave me a feeling of fear and hopelessness. I was scared. Who would take long walks with me? Who would greet me when I got off the bus? Who would clean up my wounds if I fell off my bike? Who would I go to if I was scared at night? My mother used to let me sleep with her if I got scared in the middle of the night. She’d pat the end of her bed to let me know it was okay to sleep there. She’d wrap her arms around me, as I’d fall asleep feeling safe and loved. All those things were disappearing in front of my eyes. I looked out the window and saw the rain pour against the pane.

Pain. That’s what I felt.

Happiness…hearing the doctor tell us she was going to be alright.

Rain triggers memories of mine, whether they’re good or negative. When I was working for this cheese factory nearby, it was pouring out. The company had a problem with their nitrogen tanks and had to let people go home until it was resolved. I remember I had a horrible headache and couldn’t drive. It was Madelene’s day off. She came to pick me up and we headed over to this little art village to grab some coffee. I recall drops of rain splashing into large puddles, creating round circles everywhere on the pavement. We ran through all of them and found a little nook at the corner of the street to take cover. We both enjoyed our gourmet hazelnut coffees from a café across the street and talked for a long time. I remember wind chimes blowing in the breeze. The music coming from them was so comforting. Random days like these are what I treasure and miss the most.

When a storm hits in the summer over here, it’s the most beautiful sight. The lightening show it provides is simply amazing, along with the sounds of crashing thunder always makes me feel excited and warm at the same time.

Whenever my mother and I say ‘it’s a beautiful day’, we laugh, because we feel like the only people who think dreary and rainy days are gorgeous. She said, “We sound like the Adam’s Family!”

I’m not sure what it is about the rain that makes me feel so alive, but I’m not going to complain about it.