Tuesday, July 29, 2008

The Unknown

The unknown: it’s scary to some and yet exciting to others. Anything and everything can be the “unknown”. Whatever one is not used to or accustomed to in their daily lives, is the unknown. People either fear it or embrace it. There’s really no other way to go about it. There’s no gray area, although there are stages where a person has to adapt sometimes, and therein lies your exception: the learning process.

I’m somewhat disappointed in the lesbian community. I say “lesbian community”, because the story I’m about to tell only has to do with lesbian women that I’ve come across regarding this particular topic. I’ve been doing a little research of my own on how accepting lesbians truly are to other people who are different than them. My end conclusions left me in disbelief.

In the past, I’ve written before how I absolutely detest “lesbian support groups” or anything of that nature, due to the fact that they leave other groups out. Naturally, right? If it were a perfect world, we’d all be “getting along”. I know certain groups and races need that kind of support. I also know that the minority groups need a safe haven to go to for conversation, to relate with other people of the same lifestyle as well as talking about their experiences. I totally get that. What I don’t understand is why the majority of those lesbian groups (not all of them, mind you), feel the need to think it’s okay to discriminate against other people who seemingly are the outcast of society too.

You won’t gain respect if you don’t give it.
And I’m not saying that we all must adapt to whatever.
Should we love those who only love us?
Should we accept those who only accept us?

(The photo on the left is me at the age of 10 years old. I was already motocycle racing and ready to take on the world as a boy.)
Recently, I’ve encountered a few lesbian women who “ewwed” at the concept of transgender people, whether male or female transitions. I feel I can relate to those who are transgender, because as I’ve written in a previous post, as a child I felt as though I was a boy trapped inside a girl’s body. I didn’t feel like a girl, nor did I act or dress like one. I was different and everyone knew it. This had nothing to do with my sexual orientation either. I’ll get to that in a moment. The only thing that made me believe I should act and dress like a girl was the one girl I fell completely head over heels with. She decided to gussy me up with make up and girl clothes, as well as “feather back” my hair. Yes, sadly enough this was the style in the 1980’s. She stood back and said, “Oh my God, you are just beautiful!” I’ll never forget those words coming out of her mouth. From that point on, I’ve remained feminine.

I still wonder if it weren’t for her, would I still be dressing and acting like a guy? Would I want to go through the whole ordeal of transitioning? I still have it in me, yet it’s not exposed in many ways. People assume upon first meeting that I’m a feminine heterosexual woman. The types of women that I’m attracted to are straight looking feminine girls who are usually drawn to the same type, so I’ve found. Would it be easier if I did transition to become a man? I would then be considered a straight heterosexual man. Confused? For example: a man who transitions into woman and still prefers to date women will now be considered a “lesbian woman”. She is no longer a he. If you want to get really accurate: she was always a she. The identity of the person does not define their orientation. For some people, it’s hard to fully understand. That’s where the gray area comes in. I’d like to reference that as “the learning process” or “adapting” to the unknown.
I have a very close friend, Patty who is a lesbian woman (transgender) who will be writing a post for me and her experience with her transition. She is post-op and has gone through excruciating extremes to finally be herself. Ever since I’ve been friends with her, she has shown me nothing but respect, love, understanding and most of all, true friendship. We have much in common, more than others may think. I treasure this woman and can’t wait for her post!
Are you scared of the "unknown"? Or are you the type that embraces new things and tries to understand fully, before making a judgment?

Friday, July 18, 2008

We're Getting Married---Legally!

In May of 1994, a woman named Madelene changed my entire life. She’s unlike any other woman I have ever met. Her love is unconditional and consistent; never changing and always giving the benefit of the doubt. I’ve always wondered why she stuck around so long, and always feel grateful that she did. We pulled through many tough times, but had much more good times above all. How did I get so lucky? She’s beautiful, smart and so caring. She comes from a close-knit family, which enhanced her ability to love people for who they are and care for others in a way that most people cannot. She treats my family as if they were her own. She calls my mother, “mom” and my father “dad”. They love her. I love her.

In a peaceful town in Massachusetts, I asked her to marry me and presented beautiful matching diamond rings. She almost fainted because she never thought I would surprise her like that. It was October 10th, 2005. We’re now planning our wedding at the same place on Oct 11th of this year (since it falls on a Saturday), and I will be having my best friend Lisa and her partner Ana there, as well as our dear friend Patty & her girlfriend to witness our ceremony.

Madelene and I are signing legal papers October 11th, and they will be presented to us 3 days afterwards. I couldn’t think of someone better to spend the rest of my life with. I am madly in love with her; I love every little thing about her, from the way she lights up a room to the way she sneezes a gazillion times in one sitting. She makes me laugh and always sees the good in everyone and everything. She makes me realize that life is good. I always said to her that I truly believe God has sent His angel down to heaven to spend her life with me.

I couldn’t be happier.

And happier that my friends and family will be there to share our moment.

I love you Madelene. I give you 100% of me. I give you my love, my honor, my faithfulness, my total commitment to you for life, in sickness and in health, for richer or for poorer. We’ve been through a lot together and I want to take this a step further and have God bless our union. I want to share my life with you, share with friends and family, travel the world with you and give you everything you need in order for you to know how loved you are. You have my heart---always have. There’s nobody better than you for me. We share the same views and values in life. We share the same faith and beliefs in God & the Trinity. We don’t argue over politics or religion because our views are exactly the same. I love that!

You give me the giggles when you see that I’m sad. You take care of me when I’m feeling sick or down and I do the same for you. Our time together goes by too quickly. I miss you when you’re gone for 8 hours, I always look forward to each and every night you return home. We always have such interesting conversations during dinner. It’s never boring with you. I never find myself yawning in your presence---I’m still intrigued after all these years.

I still find you the sexiest woman on this planet! You’ve managed to always keep my eye, present yourself like a lady and keep yourself nice and healthy. It’s not just your physical beauty that I’m so attracted to---it’s your heart. I love the person inside. I will treasure you for years to come. I want to grow old with you. I can’t see it with anybody else.

You are…the love of my life. You are…the one thing I look forward to when I wake up. You are…my best friend in the whole world.

You are…simply amazing.

I love you.

Forever.

And now...I wanna kiss the bride!

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Are We Selfish?

A very good blogger friend who goes by Neers, brought up an interesting thought: are we all selfish from the result of being human?

She writes, ”… it IS indeed about people and not a subset of people ... it used to baffle me, how people kill/rape other people (doesn’t it even HURT to see someone on the screen being hurt??) and then i reached theory -- everyone is a part of god, but then, since there are lots n lots of us (mankind) ... god got divided into so many parts ... now if it was just any of his other creations ... it would have been easier .. like animals, who only prey on what is necessary ... to maintain the food chain, balance ... but the chemicals inside the things called human brains ... makes him prey, esp when it's un-necessary (there are some in number of lines, I have on that) and hence, the mankind has lost the specialty of being a man ... a favored child... 1. Because there are just too many of the original good thing. 2. And also because we let ourselves believe that everything else (the nature around, which bears the brunt or the care silently, because it cannot communicate in our language) was created for us.... and then slowly, we become selfish... we don’t even think about ourselves... we think that we DO... but really... do we??”

She speaks about chemicals inside human beings that cause us to prey on mankind; our own in order to survive to whatever extent that may be. Psychiatrists will insist on a chemical imbalance, but is it really? Maybe the people without chemical imbalances just have a higher spiritual consciousness of God, instead of just having balanced out levels of neurotransmitters floating in and out of their receptors that make them “normal” or “sane”---whatever that means. We then throw in a mixture of chemicals called, Prozac, Lithium or some other kind of mood stabilizer in order to contain our animalistic instincts to run wild and free.

Is it mental illness vs. spiritual illness? If scientific evidence is contradictory to spirituality and faith-driven beliefs-- then what about mental illness? Isn’t that related to scientific evidence and discovery that one’s mind is chemically imbalanced? Some religions would say that the person needs an exorcism; that demons somehow entered their body and they’re in need of a “spiritual cleansing” of some sort. Maybe I’ve watched way too many documentaries on Taboo, however there are many countries who still do the exorcisms and cast out those evil demons, when in fact, it just may be a case of schizophrenia or bi-polar outburst. Who’s to say what’s what? Is it real? Is it mentally and chemically induced? Or, are there actual demons that slip inside of all of us from time to time making us seemingly crazy? You have to wonder.

Are we selfish?

We’d like to appear giving, compassionate, generous and loving to all, but when it comes down to the final last crumb on the floor where you have to feed your family and yourself or it’s a matter of life or death---which will you choose? Look what happens when there’s a catastrophe like the one that Hurricane Katrina brought into New Orleans.
Our primal instincts come right out of the woodwork because we’re just that: human----------animals------------scared-----------competitive.
It’s you or him in polluted waters reaching for that last bottle of formula for your newborn baby. Which will you choose? Your baby or his? We all become "crazy" when faced with a catastrophic event. Sometimes, and this is also planned, the government will cover up a foreseen tragedies to come or a terrorist attack not to cause “panic” for the public. Panic can drive people crazy and out of their minds.

Fight or flight?

Live or die?

Are we selfish? Or is it just our make up?

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

The Lack of Spirit in Religion

As Christians, we’re taught at a very young age how to be a “good person”. We’re taught not to be “bad” and the consequences of bad behavior. What “religion” defines as “bad” can have various meanings. First of all, “the spirit of religion” is a total contradiction. To me, religion has no spirit. It’s rigid teachings of what people expect others to do, in the name of God. They don’t go by the spirit of God; they go by what they were taught as a child. It becomes robotic and redundant. There’s no “life” in their teachings. Many people are turned off by what religion has taught them. They’re scared and terrified of being human, which results in eventually drawing away from God out of pure fear. In my beliefs as a Christian, God brought His only Son down to earth to experience what it means to be human and to save all sinners – which means – all people. He suffered just like us, He was tempted just like us, and he knew what it meant to be oppressed and hated…just like us. People, who have been taught a certain way, will not see it any other way. They can’t step out of the box and see beyond their small world of “religion”. Rules and regulations have taken the place of love and worship. Set religious standards have pushed aside love and tolerance. The world has become a place full of religious hatred. Holy wars have consumed many of us. People kill for religion, as well as take their own lives in sacrifice for their God(s). What’ve we done to ourselves, as a nation under “God”? We’ve conformed God into this hateful, wrathful being that only wants to punish and put us to death. Have we done this? Or have the radical fundamentalists who still hold up the Old Testament like a torch and twist the scriptures on us put us through this?

The bulk of my life while growing up still had the raging thoughts of the devil crashing through my floors to come up and get me because I was gay. Fear took the place of my relationship with God, and eventually I became distant and withdrawn, having absolutely no desire to seek God. Why should I seek God if He’s going to punish me for my sexual orientation? “Repent and give up your sin!” Most Christians and other religious people will use this term in order for a homosexual to become an “ex-gay”. Repent for your “sins”. I’ve even been invited to a fundamentalists’ home, where they've asked me to stay with their family in order to teach me the “right way”. They already had a husband set up for me, so that I didn’t have to burn with lust. I’ve been told that it’s unnatural and unclean to be a homosexual. Most people who like to sit and judge others usually have a wild past of their own, or currently live a life full of hypocrisy. They’ll usually focus on one thing (homosexuality) and preach from there. Why not preach to others who murder, rape, steal and lie? Why are they preaching to those who love other people of the same gender? My thought: because religion has taught them to do so. They’ve been brought up to use “righteous judgment”. As long as they’re not committing the “sin” of homosexuality, then it’s okay for them to chastise those who are gay and lesbian.

Stop judging others, and you will not be judged. For others will treat you as you treat them. Whatever measure you use in judging others, it will be used to measure how you are judged. And why worry about a speck in your friend’s eye when you have a log in your own? How can you think of saying, “Let me help you get rid of that speck in your eye,” when you can’t see past the log from your own eye; then perhaps you will see well enough to deal with the speck in your friend’s eye. ~Matthew 7:5

There are Christians that are so focused on homosexuals, that their relationship with God has been completely diminished. They’ll even go so far as hold picket signs outside of gay soldiers’ funerals with antigay semantics. “God hates fags!” How can another Christian even say this kind of stuff? It baffles me. I know those are extreme cases, but that’s where it sometimes ends up when pressed upon the issue. Religion has ruined many relationships, friendships and unions. It destroys every foundation of love, if allowed. For instance, someone once told me that they’d be my friend if I wasn’t a lesbian. They also said in the next sentence that they would be my friend if I didn’t claim Jesus as my Savior, and yet still practice homosexuality. They’d rather me be a “Pagan lesbian”, rather than a Christian lesbian. It’s known that anyone who turns another believer away from God is committing one of the worst sins of all. If you guide someone to God, be confident that God can handle the convictions of a broken heart, or someone who really needs help. We all need help. We’re all in this together.

What does it mean to be religious? To me, it means rules and regulations. It means structure and no excitement for our Lord our Savior with no “spirit”. When I used to attend the Catholic Church, they were so ‘monotone’, without any enthusiasm. Everyone had a grim look on their face and treated mass as if it were the most boring class in school. No one was dancing, praising God, singing or crying out of pure happiness. People were praying along as if they were sleepwalking. I couldn’t bear it any longer. Is this the way we’re supposed to worship our great Lord? I know each and every individual is different, but this was ridiculous. The nun who had been there for 30 something years would look at me if I coughed too much. She’d snear at me and remind me that silence was apart of their prayer time. She didn’t care if I was suffering or offered me a glass of water. When I was a child going to CCD classes, the nun would smack my hand with a ruler because I had raised my hand to go to the bathroom. It was barbaric and abusive. This isn’t what spirituality’s about. This is definitely what “religion’s” about. I didn’t want any part of it anymore. I wanted out. I wanted to worship God the way I felt fit- the way God wanted me to talk to Him.

Here are the differences I see between spirituality and religion: spirituality has no set time for prayer. You make the time to pray and it’s up to you to decide whether or not you want to develop a closer relationship with God. God gave us “choice”, and we have that right to make certain decisions. We seek a relationship with God, not specific rules, times and set schedules to pray or think about God. Remember, God is everywhere. We can pray at any time and at any place. God hears us all the time. He hears our thoughts. It’s building a foundation of love between you and your creator. If you have no foundation, the relationship with crumble due to poor building structure. God doesn’t want us to kill others over different beliefs in religions. Again, He has given us freedom of choice, which means anyone can do or believe anything they want. We cannot force people or belittle them, just because they believe something totally different. We can share our beliefs in God with others, but we cannot force it upon them. Jesus never forced it---He shared it. He displayed His loving nature to all people, even the ones who were thought to be immoral and not fit for the Kingdom of Heaven. He never discriminated and always showed His love for all. We’re supposed to be “Christ-like”, which means, trying to live the way Jesus did back then. He was tolerant, loving and accepting of those who truly were seeking the word of God. Most “Christians” and other religious people will argue over that concept and tell you that God is not tolerant. They’ll even tell you that God hates a lot of people. God does not hate. God is all love.

I’m not preaching some kumbaya sermon here, because I know in my heart that this is the message that God wants me to tell people. God is powerful enough to save you- even if you life looks like a complete mess to others. If you believe in your heart (as a Christian) and confess with your mouth that you love God and believe that Jesus died for your sins, you are saved. Right there, there is nothing that can separate you and God.

The next time you encounter one of these “religious” people condemning you, just remember that each and every single person living on this earth has their own cross to bear. They’ll all have to answer to the big guy. What will they say when God asks, “Have you displayed love and tolerance to your fellow brothers and sisters? Have you shown them compassion and acceptance? Have you shared your faith with them in a loving way? Have you treated them the way you would want to be treated?” What do you think their answers will be? The behaviors that most religious people display are characteristics of hateful and insecure people.

Think about it. If a person who is insecure about their sexuality, focuses purely on homosexuality—don’t you think that there may be some deep seeded issues there? Ex-gays and other ‘reborn religious antigay Christians’ usually act like reformed smokers. They purely focus on the sins of people and not their relationship with God.

Spirituality is the focus between you and God. It’s the continued learning process that never ends. Religious people limit their intake of learning and only hear what they want to hear. When you’re spiritual, you have to exercise it just as you would exercise a muscle in your body. If you slack off, your muscle becomes weak and flabby. The same goes with your spirit, however, there’s always another chance to get back into spiritual and physical fitness.

“Physical exercise has some value, but spiritual exercise is much more important.” ~1 Timothy 4:8

When you stop learning and stop exercising your growth is spirituality, you become spiritually unaware and more focused on worldly matters. When we delve deeper into worldly matters, we also become spiritually deaf. The messages from God start to fade; not because He’s not talking to you, but you’re literally choosing not to hear Him. I try to become more open and in tune to the messages that are trying to reach me. It’s up to me to relax, meditate and receive them. Sometimes it’s not that easy. The messages come in different ways. There are days where I just sit and talk to God like a child. I talk to Him as if He were sitting right next to me. With religion, the teachings focus on saying the same prayer over and over again.

“And now about prayer. When you pray, don’t be like the hypocrites who love to pray publicly on street corners and in the synagogues where everyone can see them. I assure you, that is all the reward they will ever get. But when you pray, go away by yourself, shut the door behind you, and pray to your Father secretly. Then your Father, who knows all secrets, will reward you. When you pray, don’t babble on and on as people of other religions do. They think their prayers are answered only by repeating their words again and again. Don’t be like them, because your Father knows exactly what you need even before you ask him!” ~Matthew 6:5-8

This passage reminds me everyday of how God wants us to come to Him with prayers from the heart. Our “religion” has literally brainwashed us into thinking that we have to pray this way or that way, when in fact, we need to do it our way so we can communicate with God more productively.

Saturday, July 12, 2008

Diversity

This morning was different. It wasn’t my typical, get up, open email, drink my coffee and scarf down whatever’s left in my fridge since I tend to do the groceries on Saturday afternoons, which means: zero food content in the icebox. With my meager piece of toast and a huge cup of high-test java, I opened an email from a very angry lesbian who had a few things to say about my content in this ol’ blog of mine.

Her complaint is that I cater more to the heterosexuals, because more straight readers are on my blog than gay or lesbian. She has also complained about my book and how it needed to focus more on the LGBT community instead of "generalizing" relationships, which meant: including heterosexual matters.

Let me respond to her email the best and tactful way I can…

Dear “Lezlie”,

Thank you for reading my blog. I’m all about “people”---whether straight, gay, transgender, bi-sexual, a-sexual, black or white or with a different religion - I love the fact that I can relate to all of them and vise/versa. We all go through struggles of love, conflict and adversity—whatever you are; whoever you are. I love writing for myself, but most of all, if it helps only one person out there, then it’s all worth it. The majority of people who have purchased my book have been heterosexual- even with a subtitle being From a Christian Lesbian’s Point of View. The book is about healing after a relationship, plus how God has worked in my life. Everyone can somehow relate to heartbreak. I’m sure of this.

My question to you would be: how can you expect to be accepted if you cannot accept those who are different from you? We all seek acceptance in some way or another, but especially for the gays and lesbians, we have to look at the bigger picture and view everyone as “we’re all in this together”. Our problems and matters of the heart are very similar to those who are born straight. I’d like to categorize my writing as “for all who have a heart”, instead of just “a gay and lesbian blog”.

I hope that you are not offended by my response. Think about this: how many heterosexuals have loved us and taken care of us in the past? Mom, dad, sisters, brothers and friends who have helped us along the way? They’re all included in our lives. Why leave them out? Why pigeonhole ourselves into only living the “gay and lesbian” lifestyle? Why not live “our lifestyle” and share it with those who are interested in us as a person and not just for “their lesbian friends or relatives”? It makes life so much more interesting when we mingle with those who have different views, beliefs, lifestyles and personalities. If we limit ourselves to a select few people, we then limit ourselves from life all together in my personal opinion.

Thank you for the time and energy it took for you to write your email. I did not copy and paste the email onto this blog because it was set in a very angry tone. I’m sorry to have upset you, however I am not sorry for accepting people that are different from me. Instead, I choose to embrace it.

With love & respect,
Deb

Friday, July 11, 2008

A Male Version of My Girlfriend

If you are in the office or somewhere "reserved", please turn the volume down a bit. (Minor profanity.) This video was sent to me by a friend and I could not stop laughing. This is what I have to live with every single night of my life! (Minus the bunk beds of course.)



(Love you Madelene!)

Wednesday, July 09, 2008

The Underlying Truth: Love

There are fierce demons lurking inside all of us. As humans, we're familiar with their names: love, hate, passion, lust, emotional and physical pain as well as the aches of self-loathing. From time to time, these demons may rear their ugly heads and make us literally insane. Whatever the triggers are, we must acknowledge that it’s temporary. ...Or is it? There’s a fine line between love and hate. There are cases where you love someone so much, but when they constantly hurt and torture you, (either emotionally or physically) those feelings of love can turn into hate. On the flipside, you can detest somebody so much that you end up falling completely in love with them. It’s an oddity, but nevertheless, it’s out there. In cases such as a divorce or breakup, you can find yourself omitting factitious behaviors to deter your ex from finding out the underlying truth of your real feelings: complete love. This is always the case: the brain says no, no, no, but the heart says yes yes yes! It’s a never-ending battle. The brain usually wins out because nobody wants to look like a fool or get jaded again.

It makes sense.

Or does it?

When we set our brain on ‘I’m not in love anymore’ mode, because the relationship seemed to be unhealthy-- do we set ourselves up for heartbreak over and over and over again? Who and what determines if the turnout will be positive or negative? How do you know if you don’t take the risk---from past experience? I have to say that past experiences gives us lessons learned, but my question is: if we learned the lessons, can’t we start over on a new foot making it better the next time around with the person we truly love? Or, does fear play the goalie and block your heart from entering the nets? It’s a familiar story for so many, but so personal on so many levels.

Where and when do we draw the line?

A close friend (leaving names out) gave me permission to tell me his story. He comes from a well-known wealthy family who has a good reputation in the community. He started dating a girl whom he fell madly in love with. The relationship was wonderful for a whole year, until it turned into complete chaos and turmoil. The relationship had to end because they fought continuously. They realized they had different set of values; different childhood upbringings that made their directions in life clash. Nobody was right or wrong, however, he still is in love with her and she’s still very much in love with him. He told his family all about her ‘psychotic episodes’ where she threw things at him, yelled at him for minuscule things and showed her emotional unstableness because of her jealousy and anger outbursts. How many times have we called our exes psychos? I bet all of us have. “We’re” always right, especially in the eyes of our family and friends. So now, the fear of telling his family and friends that he wants to reconnect and try again with his ex has him trying to forget her at the same time. He is too scared to initiate another attempt, due to other people’s knowledge (or too much knowledge) of their relationship that went sour.

Does he go with his heart and try again with the one woman he is so in love with? Or does he follow what his brain says; the past experience knowledge of ‘this may happen again’, as well as the two cents worth of advice provided by the peanut gallery? If two people are willing to work things out, seek couple counseling and get help because they’re so in love with one another----isn’t that worth it alone? I wrote about my friend before and he’s going to tap in to see the comments. I hope this helps. I just feel so sad that these two incredible people with so much in common had to split due to misunderstandings and miscommunications as well as interferences from the outside world – which had a great impact on their relationship alone.

The thought of going on forever in life loving someone that you had to let go must be a chronic aching pain inside anyone’s heart.

Wouldn't you agree?
Or is letting somebody go the true meaning of love?

Tuesday, July 08, 2008

Tripping Out of the Closet

As a child growing up into the beginning of my teen years, I found myself being attracted to my girlfriends more than I should have been. It wasn’t normal. I kept it a secret for a long time, not saying a word to anyone. If one of my crushes started dating a boy, my heart broke. It was absolute torture having crushes that could never be revealed. I stood on the sidelines waiting for those short-term teenaged relationships to end. It always did. I bided my time, and when my friend needed someone to cry to, I was always more than willing to pick up the pieces. I wanted to be the one they dated. I didn’t only want to be “the friend” that they turned to; I wanted to be their girlfriend…their partner.

My mother says she always knew, but I don’t think she had a clue back then. There was one particular day after school when she caught me “playing house” with a girlfriend of mine. She walked in on the “husband and wife” kissing. I always played the husband and my friend always played the wife. We weren’t doing anything wrong because it wasn’t real- or so we thought. I was eight years old at the time. We saw people kissing on T.V. and wondered what it was all about. “Don’t you do that,” my mother would yell, as she walked into the room and back out quickly. We would scatter apart and my friend would have to leave soon thereafter. My mom and my friend’s mother would have discussions over the phone on what had just taken place, which eventually separated my friend and I from ever “playing” again. I was embarrassed for years over that incident and became very reticent about any of my true personal feelings.

While attending high school, I dated boys. I did it because my friends did. I didn’t want to look like the odd duck out. We all went on double dates and all had boyfriends to attend parties with. Meanwhile, my crushes still kept on with my straight girlfriends- even if they didn’t have a clue about me. Sometimes an innocent innuendo would slip out of my mouth, or a bluntly flirtatious remark would somehow make it from just a thought into audible words, followed by a, “just kidding” remark. We all made lesbian jokes. Even at parties, one of my best friends would always sit on my lap while we played drinking games at the table. I would become completely aroused, eventually forgetting how to play the game altogether. This happened all too frequently. All the flirting and “innocent kisses and hugs” that my friend displayed drove me insane. I never knew if she did it because everyone else did, or if she really secretly liked me. Some kisses were prolonged and right on the lips. I didn’t know what to make of this.

Back then it wasn’t even “trendy” to be bi-sexual or to be a lesbian as it is today. It was more seen as ‘the girl just couldn’t get a boyfriend, so she settled for another girl to date’. Pathetic. I hated that theory more than anything. I had many boyfriends and went out on many dates, so that theory went right out the window. This was different. I was different. I was gay. I am gay. At the age of nineteen, I couldn’t hold it in any longer. I was so sick of playing the straight role, trying to appease my family and friends. At the time, I was dating this really nice guy named John. He was half Italian and half Japanese. “Oh how nice it would be if you had his baby, Debbie,” my mother would say, as she stared out the window at John helping my father barbeque, “He’d make a great husband. He cooks as well as makes a lot of money.” He was a hibachi chef in a local Japanese restaurant. Not only was a he a great cook, but he was also great looking.

Eventually, I had to end my relationship with John, giving him the respect and courtesy to move on with another woman, who could be true to him and love him, as he deserved to be. It wasn’t fair to him and I wasn’t being fair to myself either. He was hurt, begging me not to leave him, but I would have hurt him more by staying with him. It just wouldn’t have been right. The thought and concept of marrying John was a wonderful picture, however I am the type of person who needs to be in love with the person I’m with, and not in love with the idea of having a husband and children. He deserved better than that. We never spoke after we parted.
I could have went the “straight road” and appeased mom and dad, get married, have a few kids, etc., etc., etc., but would I ever have been happy? Religious people would say that I’m serving the desires of my flesh. What is that? Doesn’t everyone want to love and be loved? I never understood that. I didn’t want to be middle-aged having some midlife crisis coming out of the closet. It would have been another, ‘oh it’s just a phase’ kind of thing from the people around me.

I’ve come to realize that no matter who you’re with, what orientation you are or if and when you’re in or out of the closet: is there such a thing as “complete happiness” to begin with? I know now that in order to be “content” is to be happy with yourself first. I admit, it took me all these years to figure that one out. And I’m still learning.

...as I go on and on.

Monday, July 07, 2008

Crashing Through the Barriers

“If you say a bad word again Debbie, the devil will come crashing out of the floor and drag you down to Hell with him!” This is what I heard from my parents and sisters while growing up in order to keep me in line. It was embedded in my brain that if I were to curse, the horns of the devil would come crashing up through the hard wood floors and suck me into a fiery pit of hell. It scared me to death. I was taught to say “please” and “thank you”, with each social interaction. I was taught to be polite and courteous. Their fear tactics pushed me in a better direction as far as my manners went. Of course, during my teen years, I realized that some curse words were inaudible to the devil. He never came crashing through the floors to grab me, nor did I ever see his horns coming through the plywood. Maybe this “devil theory” is just the same as the Santa Clause lie. Who knew? I didn’t know the truth anymore. The evening I recognized dad through the funny Santa Clause suit that didn’t fit him very well, made me reevaluate my entire outlook on being good for the rest of the year. Were they all plots to get my siblings and me to be good? Or did they want us to have precious memories full of excitement, as well as fear? For a long time I didn’t understand it. As kids, we’re brought up believing in silly fairytales and made up stories in order to bribe us at times, like for instance, the tooth fairy. I remember my mother trying to convince me to go to sleep. “If you don’t go to sleep, then the Tooth Fairy won’t come to put a dollar under your pillow to replace your tooth.” Even if I had to fake sleeping, it worked. I was in bed and to her knowledge, fast asleep.

Being brought up with “fairytales” and fake characters to enhance our holidays were fun regardless, and even looking back, I don’t have any resentment on mom and dad for fooling me. They did it to make my holiday much better, instead of just looking forward to the relatives that would come shuffling over from wherever and bore me half to death. But now what? No Santa Clause, no Easter Bunny-----now this Jesus guy? What’s His story? So, my mom took me to CCD classes as well as church and I learned all about the wonderful magic that took place on Christmas and Easter. Even as young as I was, I wanted to know why that story wasn’t embedded in my head, but rather some silly story about a fat guy in a red suit squeezing down the chimney seemed like a better story to cram down my throat. I guess I’m not the only one who went through these “little lies”. I’ll get over it eventually. I hope.

If you think about it, we believed it so much that we even went to bed before midnight and hoped that Santa would come down the chimney and give us presents! We were so happy in the morning; full of anticipation and excitement that we couldn’t contain ourselves, when the reality of it was: mom went to the mall and bought everything. Sure it was generous, but who woulda’ thunk? We were young and believed what we were taught.

So what about religion? What about what we’re taught after Santa Clause, the Easter Bunny and the Tooth Fairy? Do you think a lot of people have a hard time believing Christianity due to different ways people are brought up? There are so many different twists and turns and ‘this is a sin but this isn’t’ and ‘don’t do that, but do this’ type of ruling. Who and what are we to believe? We’ve heard “stories” all too well, but what about God? Is he some fake entity up in the sky watching us, as Santa was the big fat man in the North Pole? I can see how some people are atheists. Other theories and beliefs cater to the thought of believing in any religion is a way to simmer down our fears about death. Do you think that may be the case? Do you think that people made up “an afterlife” just to set aside their fear of dying? It does kind of make sense, until you put 100% faith into something you know is “true for you”. Who is God and how do we hear from Him? Some say He’s everywhere. Some will tell you He’s up in heaven listening to every single word. I believe He’s all, but most of all, He’s the one that resides inside of your heart-----if you let Him.

Madelene told me a prayer to say when I feel defeated. It’s actually part of a scripture.

“Greater is he that is in you, than he that is in the world.” 1 John 4:4(KJV)

At first, I said, “What?” I had no idea what this meant, until days later after praying and meditating, it just clicked. He (God) that is in me (in my heart) is greater than he (the world or in a sense, the devil) that is in the world. (which evil is everywhere in this world.)

So each time I feel emotionally beaten down, I say that little prayer, and my worries and anxiety lessens. I wanted to share it with you just in case you needed some comforting words while you’re stressed out or worried about something. Maybe you feel emotionally beaten up and brokenhearted over something… Whatever it may be, try saying those words a few times, meditate on them and then see how you feel afterwards.

This Sunday, I’m holding a “spiritual brunch” at my condo for the LGBT community. I wanted them to have a “safe” place to talk about what they believe in. The only fear I truly have, is that it may come down to a debate, because for myself and for others who are attending, they are strictly Christian who believe solely in the trinity, and I do have others that are attending who also practice other religions, because a lot of the gay and lesbian community have bottlenecked themselves out of fear into the world of Unitarianism and Wiccan. I’m not saying that these two religions are bad---I just wonder if they flocked to them out of fear, since every single one of these people were Christians first. Did other Christians deter them from their faith initially? I hope the brunch goes well, because it would be nice for them to all get together and share what they believe in. If you’ve read any of my earlier posts about Christianity, you know how a “healthy debate” can turn into a hairy situation. Let’s just hope the devil doesn’t come crashing out of the floors to drag us all down.

Wish me luck!