Friday, December 31, 2010

Happiness, Forgiveness & Love in the New Year

2010 brought some magnificent people into my life, new career opportunities, a tentative date for the completion of my documentary and importantly, better health towards the end of the year. With that being said, 2010 has also opened my eyes to new ways of thinking; a new attitude that will hopefully carry me through this new year’s journey. I believe that all the things that have happened this past year are all meant to better my upcoming year. My family has been through personal conflicts and health issues. It was an intense year. From my point of view, I have learned so much from it. I have learned and realized how much I really do love every single one of my family members. That’s without question though. I've also heard the words "I love you" for the first time with some. With each of my sisters being so wonderfully different than another, it has been a great discovery finding that even though we’re so unique in our own ways, we have so many similarities that are undeniable. I’m starting to understand the challenges of growing older, as well as growing apart at times. And I’m also learning that if I miss a sibling, due to “busyness”, then I try to consciously make time for them. I also ask them to make time for me - and they do if they ‘know’ I need or miss them. I never told them before. I just hoped they were mind readers and would anticipate a phone call asking to spend time with them, when in fact it should have been me making that phone call. I’m trying to make a point to be there, not just say, “I’ll be there”. My three sisters are my best friends in the world. Yes, I do miss them at times. Yes, I do understand life’s crazy schedules but yes, I will always love them and make room for them in my life.

With family, friends, acquaintances, coworkers and especially those who are no longer in my life for whatever reason, my New Year’s resolution is to put the past behind me. I will choose not to remember arguments or a particular conflict. I will never bring up, ‘well you did that and you did this’ ---everything disappears--- a clean slate. This year, I will choose to be happy instead of diving into ‘whatever I feel at the moment’ ---meaning if I wake up feeling depressed, I’m going to turn it around the best I can. I’m going to verbally state, “I feel terrific” -- and carry that throughout the day. I’m no longer going to “wish” for things anymore. I’m going to pray and thank God for everything I have, not things I wish I had. I’ve always been grateful for everything, but sometimes I would fall into that pit of, ‘woe is me’, when there are so many people much worse off. How can I ever complain? This morning, my sister noticed a quote I had written on my facebook account: “Happiness is not having what you want; it’s wanting what you have.” I’m not quite sure who the author is, but it’s so true. We all keep “wanting”, and when those wants aren’t met, we then find ourselves disappointed ...and at times, become depressed.

For those of you out there who I have met this year, for those who have been there for many years, and those who were in my life for a period of time but no longer in my life for whatever reason ---I wish you all a happy, healthy and prosperous New Year. I wish years and years of happiness, laughter, love and friendship for you. As one of my favorite quote says, “People come into your life for a reason, a season, or a lifetime” -- and I accept every part of that quote and thankful for everyone who has crossed my path.

Most importantly, I'm grateful for my best friend & beautiful wife, Madelene for deciding to spend her life with me. I'm grateful for my family all sticking together as one as we ride out this rocky road regarding Dad's health. With the strong bond we all have - the "togetherness" - we can pull through anything. We just have to remain together, as we always have.

Happy New Year!

Take a look at this video by Bishop T.D. Jakes. It's very inspiring, especially for the upcoming new year ahead of us.


If you can't view the video, please click here.

For more of Deb's articles, please visit: www.debrapasquella.com

Friday, December 24, 2010

My Childhood Christmas

Growing up, my parents would prepare for Christmas Eve. “The Feast of the Seven Fishes” was always on the menu. My grandma and dad would cook their asses off the day before the big event, well into the night of Christmas Eve. It was an amazing process. The party always started around 6 pm. Our Christmas tree was this huge, fake and tacky monstrosity full of candy canes, tinsel and those big bulbous Christmas lights that could produce enough heat to fry a couple of eggs on. Guests would start packing in, some wearing huge fur coats, four inch heels and flimsy low cut dresses along with the strongest musks omitting through every pore. Their diamonds could blind you if you stared long enough. The same “construction crew” would come in with their fancy clothes, all smelling like they showered in Old Spice. I always went to bed smelling that way because everyone would wanna “pick up the baby” and pinch my cheeks or pull my hair - anything to annoy and scare the living bejeebers out of me. My mom always insisted I call the “976” number so I could see where Santa was. The recording would say something like, “Hello! Santa Claus is now in North Carolina and heading up to your area soon!” If you called again, he’d be in California. His route was dicey, but I didn’t care, as long as they said he was coming to my state soon, I was happy. Of course, hours later knee deep in seafood, Santa Clause would come waltzing into the living room, “Ho! Ho! Ho! Merrrrrrrrry Christmas!” We’d all clap while I sat in the corner scared to death because Santa was way bigger than I had expected. All my sisters knew who it was, except for me. Santa went over to sit on the rocking chair near the fireplace. “Come here Debbie, tell Santa what you want!” I hesitantly crept over near Santa as he quickly grabbed me up onto his lap. I looked straight into his eyes. Soon after that, I started tugging on his beard. “Daddy?” I asked, wondering why he was dressed as Santa. “Ohhh your daddy is in his bedroom changing his shirt. He spilled a drink on himself.” He said, hoping I’d be gullible enough to fall for it. I looked again, but those green and yellow eyes didn’t fool me. He has the most amazing eyes in the world. After making a couple of requests, he put me down and headed off...into my dad’s bedroom. “Mommy? Why is Santa going into your bedroom?” She looked guilty and said, “Oh he climbs back out through our window sweetie.” I didn’t buy it. Four years old or not...you couldn’t fool me. As he walked closer to the door, I noticed his pants were ripped right down the middle of his butt and I let out a scream, “Daddy’s pants are ripped!” And everyone, I mean every single person in that room started laughing hysterically. It was a moment I’ll never forget.

Half appeased with Santa’s visit, mom would carry me into my room to sleep with grandma. While grandma stayed with us, she would sleep on the pullout bed in my bedroom. It worked out well for the most part, even if she did suck in the curtains with the intensity of her loud and earth trembling snores. I felt safe with her, because I had just recently stopped sleeping with my parents. I was the luckiest of all my sisters because grandma put a black and white TV inside my bedroom so she could watch her “programs”, as she called them. No one else had a TV other than my parents and the living room area. I’d always have a hard time falling asleep because I knew the next morning, we’d all be tearing apart wrapping paper hoping to get whatever we begged mom for that year. Grandma would always get up hours before me, just in time to make coffee and put out sugar cookies for everyone. I was always the first one of my sisters to get up and skippy on out into the living room. Grandma would just shoot me a look as though I was this desperate little monster waiting for my presents. And I was. They all wanted to rest, unwind from last night’s activities and have a cup of coffee before the chaotic rustling of gift opening started. They never had a chance with me. “Well go wake the girls so we can all open the gifts together.” my mom would say, hoping the girls were way too tired to even move. I ran as fast as I could up the stairs, hoping my sisters were wide awake. They already heard the tippidy-tap-tap of my little feet hurrying up the stairs and swish over in my feet pajamas to wreak havoc. They would all play possum and make believe they were sleeping. “Come on! Hurry! Wake up! Santa left the presents in the closet!” See, our family never put Christmas gifts under the tree like normal people, because my sisters, including me were all impatient, sneaky lil’ critters. My mother started placing all the gifts into this closet that had a lock on from the inside out it in the corridor of the upstairs bedroom area. Only mom had the key. Mom said that’s where Santa puts them because it was on the top floor so he had easier access. It always baffled me because the fireplace was in the same room as the Christmas tree...but whatever, right? They all voted me to open my presents first since I was the youngest, and of course, the most impatient of them all. They’d all watch as I open the first gift, perhaps a pair of socks and chuckle to themselves, knowing this wasn’t what I had in mind. I’d viciously tear apart another gift among the twenty boxes I had left. Each one got better and better. The last one of course, was the one I agonized my poor mother with. Back then, I didn’t say thank you to my mom or anyone, because Santa was the one who brought them...right? After everyone else opened their presents and oddly thanked my mom for some reason, we’d all hang out till noon and and stuff ourselves leftover seafood.

It was always sad to see Christmas end, but then again it wasn’t too long until New Year’s Eve arrived, where the same chaotic guests would pile into our home and make our huge living room into a dance floor. Every single person had a tumbler of scotch in their hands and a swing in their step. It was always fun watching them until mom would tuck me away after the ball would drop. Holidays were always a fun time until later in the evening when nobody remembered their names anymore. I didn’t understand exactly what happened, but I know it had something to do with the glass of carmel colored liquid my mother always told me not to touch.

I truly miss Christmas when I was younger, but so grateful I still have everyone here to celebrate it with. Merry Christmas to everyone & Happy New Year! May it bring beautiful, nostalgic memories as it does for me.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

My Evil Gay Agenda

Back when I first started this blog, it was 80% worth of “religious” topics and more about defending my stance on Christianity and the various beliefs within that one religion. The other argument of course, was about homosexuality vs. religion. I spent a lot of time defending myself, writing in bold and trying to convince people “I was right” - when in actuality, no one is “right” about a belief. Belief is faith. Faith is something you believe blindly in, or in my case, and many others, they have witnessed a spiritual experience. Call it “all your head” type of stuff, but as real as it was to me - it made my faith even greater. With that being said, my faith was now “knowledge” to me - I was quite strong and sometimes abrasive with my approach about sharing my views with other people of different faiths and/or those who lacked any faith whatsoever. I argued with Christian fundamentalists about homosexuality in the bible. Looking back now, it was totally pointless. There wasn't any learning experience other than realizing how bitter people can be when discussing religion. Go figure. I’ve had my most brutal fights over topics regarding “God”. ...Imagine that? Eventually, blogging in itself became tiresome and drained every ounce of energy I had. I became bitter. It almost came to the point of bashing antigay Christians and with their own bible being my weapon. There were people blogging about the “Christian lesbian being an oxymoron” and other things that were less than pleasant.

After a while, I took a long break and just focused on my relationship with God and tried pushing aside those who would tell me to either be a Christian, or denounce my religion and just be a lesbian. Why do I have to do either or? It didn’t make sense. God made me this way - and wow - He accepts me. But, that’s “my” belief. I can’t convince anybody, other than sharing my experiences with them. I’m not going to say, “You’re wrong” - I’m not going to tell them they’re not on the “right path” or “this is the TRUTH” - because what may be truth for me may not be truth for somebody else. I had a blogger who commented on my previous article.

A person that goes by the name of Celso had written: “The bible and Christianity do go against homosexuality much like it goes against many other things for no rational reason. You're prescribing to a religion that hates you, quite honestly. Why even bother with it? The woman is insane, clearly. But insane because of what her religion has taught her. The good thing is that society and people don't need to believe in the bible since it is nothing more than a man-made fallacy strung together by illiterates in the bronze age.”

Me: “There are so many people who interpret the bible differently. For Celso's comment - I believe in the bible, however, I also believe that what people interpret as "homosexual" is more on the lines about promiscuity, as it is also bad to have "pre-marital" sex ---but who has never had pre-marital sex before? It's much more than just "reading the bible" ---it's seeing through the lines and understanding it on a much deeper level than just text alone. Also, there are many scriptures that contradict one another (so it may seem) but there are many books written by many men back in that day, so it gets a bit dicey. Although the words may be inspired by God, yes it was written by man. This is why I think it's so important, that if you are a Christian/Catholic/Jewish, etc., that you have a "personal relationship" with God before even trying to comprehend the mess they wrote years and years ago. Even the various translations - NLV, KJV, NLT, etc., have the same scriptures 'sometimes' meaning different things to different people. It's kinda like a game of telephone. (OK, bad analogy!)”

Celso: “Actually god is a lot of things according to the bible. He's spiteful, vindictive, petty, narcissistic, violent, bigoted, oppressive, homophobic, sexist, etc, etc, etc. He's all about love but also kinda-sorta condones slavery, bride-price and human trafficking. Hmm. He's real great! I, for one, am thankful that there is zero proof to his existence.

It's very convenient to fall back on the good, hippie parts of the bible and completely not bother to acknowledge all the horrific things god condones and wants you to do in his name. I know most religious people have selective biblical memory but come on.

Deb, people have been leaning towards atheism (which is the fastest growing group in America) because people are getting better educations and distancing themselves from the spells and burning bushes of the bible. It's a puerile belief to think that god invented the world and loves every single person on it and actually cares about them.

In fact, it's ridiculous to believe any loving being is on our side when so many people, regardless of how devout or good, suffer tremendously. God clearly only loves people that grew up in industrialized nations. Even then, you better not be a minority.

Honestly, is it any wonder that deities always choose to show themselves to poor, bewildered and uneducated people? I often wonder why an intelligent god would choose to present himself (and son apparently) to illiterates in bronze age middle-eastern wastelands and not China which was much more advanced at that time.

I guess god is a populist.”

Me: "I totally understand where you’re coming from. Look at your very first comment where you said, 'The good thing is that society and people don't need to believe in the bible since it is nothing more than a man-made fallacy strung together by illiterates in the bronze age.' With that being said, then you have your choice not to believe in the bible or God, however there are some people who believe differently, for example me. I have had actual spiritual experiences that have led me to not only believe God loves all of us - but that He exists. The problem with “faith” alone is, the more intellectual one gets, the more science will debunk God. ----Now, since science and spirituality DO not mix, the less belief there is in the hereafter. But if God created science - which I happen to believe He did - then why on earth would He ever have us figure it all out? You gotta think about that. The bible has so many stories in it that have so many translations that it’ll nearly blow your mind. If you sit, pray and meditate before opening that big book of “wrathful things to come” ---you’ll see some amazing scriptures that will warm your heart. The book I published, “A Prayer Away From Healing” has many scriptures in it that I interpret for people who lack faith that want to know more about ‘what it all means’. 

In John 20:29 it says, “You believe because you have seen me. Blessed are those who haven’t seen me and believe anyway.”

I've visited your blog. You seem to be very angry at conservatives, Christians, etc. I'm guessing you've been burned by them like I have too. Understandable if that's the case. I respect your beliefs...or lack thereof.”

After that last comment, Celso decided to rebuttal in a very defensive way, calling me “foolish”, “tacky”, “spineless”, "scummy" and that it’s “all in my head”, as well as other angry responses that I chose not to release onto my blog. My thing is: I’m so done with arguing over religion with people. Feel free to share your views, thoughts, beliefs, whatever ---but if you’re looking to fight with me over faith, it’s not going to happen. I can only share what I believe - I can’t convince you and vise/versa. You can share your thoughts on why you think God doesn’t exist, but don’t call me “foolish”. Celso’s website is called, “Evil Gay Agenda”. Most of this blog is dedicated to their distaste in Christians or even people of their own community, as they viciously critiqued the entire cast of The A-List NY, which two cast members happen to be friends of ours, Ryan Nickulas & TJ Kelly. Every blog post of theirs has such a bitter theme to it. I don’t think there is one positive article in that entire blog.

While making his critiques on The A-List NY, he commented about Ryan Nichulas:

“Ryan is hairdresser/gold-digger who claims that, 'at any given day, you could come into my salon and sit next to Pamela Anderson, Isaac Mizrahi or even Rachael Ray.' So make sure to sit down on a clean towel and avoid exposed surfaces at all times! Ryan married a rich older guy, his 'Mr. Big,' to live out his delusion dream of being an over bleached Carrie Bradshaw. He definitely succeeds at coming off as a fictional, vacuous, one-dimensional character.”

Umm, can anyone say green-eyed monster?

For TJ Kelly, Celso writes: “The banal, token catty queen and most obnoxious person thus far. His presence in the show conveys that typical image of a boring, haggardly cunt of a gay man that revels with every insipidly trite comment he makes. His goal in the show is to be as outrageous as possible for maximum screen time.”

Wow. That’s an angry critique if I ever saw one.

In another unrelated article, Celso writes, “Religious people know little about their own religion and next to nothing about others. I cannot fathom ever joining an organization without knowing exactly what I was getting myself into. This study also highlights the salient point that Atheists are smarter. We are Atheists because we know about religion, not because we have a lack of it. And we are smarter because we sought out that information in the first place instead of blindly following silly religious doctrine like a cattle to slaughter. The only people lacking in knowledge seem to be the religious.”

Celso says he or she is “smarter” because they lack faith. Celso also stated that the only people who believe in God are those who are uneducated and poor. I guess he thinks our own president is stupid, and yes...poor too. After not posting Celso’s comments, he or she then decided to continue commenting, knowing I wouldn’t release it calling me a “coward” and other lovely gestures. I have to say that I can kind of relate to Celso. I’ve been there before. I have been burned by other Christian people in the past and it caused me to be super defensive with almost everything in my life. I was bitter and it showed. I would claim “Christianity” but somehow, I wasn’t showing it. I’m not perfect and I know I have a lot of work ahead of me, but this blogger, Celso reminds me of myself about seven years ago or so. I remember being that outraged over everything and consumed with bitterness. Although this blogger is not “religious” and yes, atheist, I pray that he or she has peace in their lives and hopefully, one day, they’ll realize that people they rant on and on about aren’t out to get them as much as they think. Peace comes from within first, and as a result, the peace ultimately shines through that person. 



Peace my friend!

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

I Love You Too, Dad

The words “I love you” has to be the most difficult three words one can possibly conjure up sometimes. It displays vulnerability, perhaps even weakness for some. For others, the fear of saying it makes them look foolish or they may just feel awkward overall. On the other hand, saying “I love you” too much loses its value somewhat and at times, it becomes inaudible; taken for granted and lost in a pile of ten million other “I love yous”. For me, I’ve always thought actions spoke louder than words, although it is nice hearing those three little words from time to time, but not necessary. Throughout my childhood, my dad never told me that he loved me. I just knew he did. He used to go out of his way to do things for us, buy us our favorite things and would take us on vacation. He treated all of us very well. Then there were times when I simply thought he didn’t love me at all. Even when I was away or someplace other than home, he would never speak to me over the phone ---ever. When I moved out in my early twenties, we never spoke over the telephone, he just said, “Hiya Deb, hold on here’s ya mudda.” And that was that.

While staying in the upstairs portion of my parents house after losing my job years ago, I had walked into an explosion: dad. He started yelling at me for not locking the doors on my way out. “Whaddya’ want the feds to come in again and raid da’ house? Wassamadda witchoo?” Knowing he was the last to leave the house, I mistakingly blurted out in anger, “I locked the doors on my way out. It was you who left last! You didn’t lock the f%cking doors, dad!” ..............Nobody talked back to dad---dare they even threw in profanities to boot. If I could only describe a 300+ lb man jumping up, and then running after me - just imagine how fast I took off running into the other living room and then fleeing out the back door into my car speeding off as fast as I can. I’m too old for this shit. I didn’t come home for two days. Mom kept calling me, “Please come home baby, he didn’t mean it. It’s fine, he’s not mad anymore.”
“What does he have to be mad at? Himself? He’s the one who forgot to lock the doors. Maybe if he wasn’t so goddamn paranoid he wouldn’t lose his temper so much!”
“He knows, he knows,” my mom would keep insisting, hoping I’d return and make up with dad.

When I arrived home, I saw dad walking around with a dish towel over his shoulder like an old housewife. He looked over at me, then looked back down at what he was cooking and said, “I made-ja’ ya favorite meal - pot roast.” Mind you, I hate pot roast, but to give you his translation: “I’m sorry for yelling at you, I made you something special to show you that I love you.” You never heard the words, “I’m sorry”, or “I love you” from dad. He just did things to show you that he did. To me, it was better than words. I looked at him and said, “Wow, thanks dad, I love pot roast!” I kissed and hugged him, knowing he wouldn’t budge to hug back, but the smile on his face meant more than anything to me. We had a great dinner and talked about everything other than what had transpired.

A few months later, when I was finally settled down into our new home, I went to go visit my parents. Upon leaving, I went to open the door, and I hear, “Hey Deb?” I looked back at my father sitting in his Archie Bunker recliner, and he says nervously, motioning his right hand as if he was weighing something out (an Italian gesture of sorts), and says, “I love you.” This was the very first time in thirty-three years I have ever...ever...heard this man say those three words to me. I stopped dead in my tracks with my mouth wide opened--not that I didn’t love him, but I felt very awkwardly paralyzed with fear. I said it back. “I-I-I- I love you too, dad.” And of course, I meant it.

Both being aware that we loved one another this entire time, I felt such happiness and also sadness - kind of like a feeling of ‘why hasn’t this been said sooner’ - but it didn’t matter. It was said. That’s all that counts. My father has been recently diagnosed with cancer. They have also found an aneurysm in his aorta that can burst at any given moment. He needs a couple of procedures done, but the one where they want to remove the aneurysm can be a bit tricky due to his weight problem. Without too many details, lately my dad has been chatting up a storm with me over the phone and ...saying... “I love you” much more than he ever did, or more like, he never did. I’ve never seen such a strong man so scared in my life, but that doesn’t make him weak at all, it makes him more human than I ever thought possible. The hardest part is watching the man who could do anything effortlessly, even a twelve hour excavation job in 105 degree weather, turn into a man who can barely bring in a couple of pieces of wood for the fire. Sometimes it takes all he has just to walk from the bedroom into the living room. Seeing dad depressed is heartbreaking. He wants to do everything for everybody, and now, he can't do much for himself at this point. Dad always - and I mean always had a fun loving spirit - always happy, telling his stories and cracking on everyone. My mom always says, “God, I wish I had his spirit, he’s never depressed.” He never was. Angry sometimes - yes. Depressed? Never. I just pray that he gets better, that God heals him and he can become that happy man once again.

Sorry for the sad post this morning. In turn, I am posting the funny video clip of my dad getting his haircut by his favorite women, telling his stories & cracking some awful politically incorrect jokes. I want this happy-go-lucky man back. Please pray for my dad?

If you cannot view the video from outside sources that mirror my blog, please click here. Warning: contents of this video may be umm...offensive. But that's dad...

To read more of Deb's articles, please visit: www.debrapasquella.com

Thursday, December 09, 2010

The A-List NY's Ryan Pampers My Wife

For the past few years, the only types of Christmas gifts I would give to my wife were gift certificates to spas or have a massage therapist come over to our home and untangle the stress from Madelene's aching body. In the past, I used to give her beautiful jewelry - everything from tennis bracelets to diamond crosses, but much to my surprise, she’s into a more simplified type of jewelry, where I can’t possibly rush off by myself and pick it out for her. She likes custom designed jewelry. Usually, that means trekking over to Sugar Loaf, NY where we have a few friends who make their jewelry right on location. It’s always a fun trip, but for some reason, I just wanted to get her something different this year.

Then it dawned on me. One Monday night while watching The A-List New York on LOGO, one of the cast members who happens to be our favorite of the bunch owns his own salon. They would show Ryan Nickulas dazzling up a model and working his magic into her hair for a photo shoot. I thought to myself, “Hrmmm, wouldn’t it be nice if I could just get in touch with Ryan to have him do Madelene’s hair...?” Since Madelene has been dying to get her hair done, I had this crazy idea but wasn't sure how to pull it off. Questions started floating through my mind: is this show “real”, because a producer friend of mine from Granada who owns the network would tell me that 40% of all reality shows are mostly scripted. Is there really a salon in the West Village or is this a set? I’m sure many people have asked this question while watching the show. So on a whim, I took it upon myself to check Ryan out on Twitter. On Twitter, all your communication is even more public than facebook. I then tweeted him: “My wife needs you to do her hair. Any chance I can get her in?” Within an hour or so, I got a tweet back saying, “Call me!” And, I did. I got an appointment with Ryan himself for the following week. So, needless to say, an early Christmas gift for Madelene.

As soon as we walked in, we were greeted by TJ and Ryan, taking off our coats and offering us coffee. They were incredible hosts. Madelene got washed up and headed over to Ryan’s chair. As we got to know one another, it was amazing how much Madelene and I had in common with Ryan and his husband Desmond. We all go to the same vacation spots, we were all legally married in Provincetown, MA in the month of October no less, and the dynamics of both our relationships are very similar. Ryan noticed that “I was him” in the relationship, as Madelene was “my Desmond”. Ryan and I are both affiliated with similar charity organizations that helps out homeless gay teens. He’s involved with The Ali Forney Center, as I am with OUT 2 Connect as a columnist. It seriously felt like we already knew them - not from just watching the show - but we saw ourselves in them. As we spoke even further, we then began to notice even more similarities, as far as our interests and tastes in many things in life. I felt like I met my brothers for the first time. I never felt so at home before in a salon as I did with them.

Ryan did Madelene’s hair so beautifully, she was glowing all evening. Jokingly, I said, “Yeah, great. Now that she has this beautiful model-like hair, she’s gonna start tanning, working out and then leave me for someone else - that’s how it always happens.” They all chuckled, but she was beautiful before she even stepped in. Ryan just enhanced it, making her look like even more of a supermodel. My eyes were fixated all evening. As he snipped away and blew her hair straight, I filmed a little part of it because it was so entertaining. He described what products he was applying and the techniques he was using so that Madelene can go home and try to mimic what he had done. While Madelene was getting her hair done, cute little TJ shuffled over right next to me and started giving me a complimentary manicure. The entire salon was engaged in the same conversation. It was like we all somehow knew one other. We had so much fun just sitting there, hanging out chitchatting with our two favorite boys from The A-List NY.

With that being said, Ryan has agreed to be apart of my documentary, Gays & Lesbians of Faith, to speak about his opinion regarding ‘religious’ people who condemn homosexuals. We spoke about it at length and we may be filming this either in his New York apartment or in his salon. I always leave the location up to the person I am interviewing so they’re more comfortable being in their own environment. Overall, our experience going to New York, meeting Ryan and TJ and getting to know them on a more personal level was better than I had ever expected. If you want the best cut, style or manicure, please check out the Ryan Darius Salon in the West Village. Make an appointment. And don't worry if Ryan's not available, all of his other stylists are trained to do the same cuts and styles as Ryan does it.

Here's the video of my beautiful wife getting her hair done by the beautiful Ryan Nickulas. A big thanks to Ryan who worked his magic & made us feel at home and a special thank you to TJ who gave me excellent manicure. What incredible guys.

(If you are unable to see this video through other websites that mirror my blog, then please click HERE.)



For more of Deb's articles, please visit: www.debrapasquella.com

Monday, December 06, 2010

The End

As she sat across the table from me, her finger swirled around the rim of her coffee mug, perhaps thinking of a better way to convince me that saying goodbye wasn’t the answer or solution to our problem. It was a late Sunday afternoon in early November. Her scarf was wrapped around her neck, snug and yet somehow, fashionable as she always managed to pull off. I grabbed a newspaper and placed it under my coffee just in case the silence was deafening. With one small table between us, it felt like she was miles away. We had spent all weekend together, knowing it would be our very last. Every single moment counted. We knew it was time...time to call it quits. Although our minds called it quits, our hearts were struggling to jump out of both our chests and embrace forever. It was a bittersweet, awkward moment that we’ll both never forget - similar to a romantic novel where there’s a cordial, loving ending to it all...a happy ending.

No such thing.

“Can this be ‘our’ place?” she asked me, hoping to keep something that we could call our own. Our “planned out friendship” would consist of an occasional Saturday afternoon filled with shopping and then, coffee. Her face was flushed, her eyes were watery - what could I have possibly said other than, “Of course?” We continued to sip our coffee, sometimes remaining silent, and other times reassuring one another that we’d stay in touch. Both feeling like we had two large boulders stuck in the back of our throats, I decided to break up this heaviness with another source of heaviness: a homemade chocolate brownie with whipped cream. Her eyes lit up and a beautiful smiled bursted out, like sunbeams after weeks of raining. I loved seeing that smile. We both continued our “goodbyes” a bit longer, sharing our favorite guilty pleasure.

Knowing the answers to the following questions, I sometimes sit and still ask them over and over in my mind, because for me, it’s different. For me, it’s about forgiveness, forgetting, putting aside all differences and possibly managing to hold onto someone or something you love, even if it’s not in the romantic sense. I have a lot to learn about people and their feelings. I know this. Is there such a thing as ‘the wrong time - the wrong place’ type of theory? “Oh, it just wasn’t our time to meet.” Then when? How do you break away from someone with mutual admiration and love without walking through life feeling like you’re missing a huge piece of yourself? “Just give it time.” I agree with that statement, but to me, every second in life counts...why waste it? --“People need to heal.” Don’t we all? Maybe some people need to be braver and face their fear of a possible broken heart. Maybe I should listen to my own advice about my own fears. I believe there is a bigger plan to this thing called life - a plan where we have no clue as to its ending or like those movies on a DVD where you can pick your own ending ---can we pick our own ending, or is it already directed otherwise?

Although I try to make things better, sometimes it’s not always for the best. What may be “my best” may not be someone else’s best...and this I have to accept. But what I do have are all the wonderful memories that’ll carry me through in life: all the talks over coffee, all the Saturday mornings spent in our PJs listening to David Sedaris’ podcasts, hoping those special moments would never end...

The End.

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

Friday, December 03, 2010

Days Like These...

Most of my days aren’t so ‘gloom & doom’ - they’re either mediocre day-to-day average or very pleasant, hoping to exceed the ‘most exciting day of my life’ type of day. With no real high expectations, I do make the best of the days I have left. Looking back, I clearly remember my friend Jamie coming over while I was down in the dumps about whatever was brewing at the time, and she would sit herself down on the couch across from me and turn on her little Macbook. I’d shoot her a glance from across the room, noticing her shooting a glance back at me, hoping I would listen to whatever came out of her tiny silver laptop. It didn’t even matter if I was watching TV, because most of the time, I was just zoning out like a zombie over-thinking, over-analyzing, everything you can possibly imagine inside my little noggin. I then would start to hear some strange man speaking, (possible gay or just super flamboyant), telling his life stories with the most driest sense of humor I have ever heard. I didn’t look in Jamie’s direction. I tried to ignore it and continue stewing in my gloom & doom.

A chuckle would erupt from the other couch. Jamie’s laugh was the most contagious laugh you could possibly imagine. If she kept this up, I would have to leave my gloom & doom mood & crumble right before her very eyes. I have to be strong...I have to be strong... But it wasn’t too long before I would plant myself next to her, questioning what she was listening to. She’d just give me a look with her shiny smiley eyes, so proud of herself that she managed to snap me out of my bad mood and join her little 'funness' over on the love seat. “David Sedaris.” She'd say, pausing the podcast as she giggled and would quickly tell me a funny short story of his just to lure me in even more. We sat there for over an hour listening to his life, with his droll and dry satire, giving me the perfect therapy: laughter. It wouldn’t have been funny with anybody else, because this was Jamie’s type of humor. It was more about the company and the way we used to find certain things funny, as others would perhaps, find it a bit ‘eh’.

Jamie never used to ‘interrupt’ my gloom & doom - she would wait for me to jump into her funny little world instead...and I always did. It was a known thing. I would sometimes avoid her if I was in a bad mood, because I knew she would snap me right out of it. There are times when I just want to ‘be in it’, perhaps sulk a bit more, but with her being present, it wasn’t possible. It’s days like these, where I would give anything just to spend one hour of those funny moments, sitting on that small love seat with Jamie, listening to David Sedaris unwillingly at first, but overall, hoping that moment would never end.

For more of Deb's articles, please visit: www.debrapasquella.com

Monday, November 29, 2010

This Thing Called Life

During this time of year, I’m pretty observant when it comes to people: what they say, how they act and of course, their actions overall. More people get depressed and there are plenty more suicides during the holiday season. Everything may appear to be “okay” on the surface, but inside they’re dying. Certain dates, loved ones passed and other negative triggers can leave someone feeling either bitter or sad. It’s so easy to say, “Well it’s just like any other time of the year” --but it really isn’t. There are too many “happy” memories of the past...key word: past. The holidays are no longer about happiness, but only the nostalgic memories of ‘a time when’. Some tend to get stuck into that time warp, leaving them with a sense of hopelessness that there will never be a holiday full of cheer, no one to love like once before and no more laughter while celebrating the New Year. “The New Year” - think about it. It’s a new year for a new future. It’s a new opportunity to jump into another chapter of your life. It’s a door opening, welcoming you into a new and hopeful future. The past is the past. Cherish the memories, but remember, everything you have ahead of you will be much better than what you had once before. It’s a state of mind that you have to adapt to in order to make life worth living again.

Sadly, a friend of mine lost her brother in an unfortunate car accident about a month ago. She’s having a hard time, especially now during the holidays and doesn’t know how to cope without him. They were best friends - never apart and always did everything together. She happens to be an atheist and told me that she feared not being able to be with him in the afterlife due to her lack of faith. Although I respect her enough not to push my religion on her, I told her what I believe would happen. I truly believe that God has given us the ‘burden’ of time ---for a very good reason. In “heaven”, or for some, the afterlife, there is no concept of time. I think of it like this: our deceased loved ones are up in heaven and waiting for us. For them, they’ve been told that they will see us in ten minutes. For us here on earth, ten minutes is equal to seventy years. Our time here is drawn out to the max, while up there, there’s no such thing as “a long time”. To us, it seems like forever. I also believe that God is an all forgiving God and it’s so easy to get lost in losing the faith due to so many bad things happening. “How can a “god” do this to us? How can he take away the people we love? It’s not logical.” No. It’s not logical because if it were, people would have figured out God and His plan a long, long time ago. Science and faith/spirituality do not go hand-in-hand. In fact, the more intelligent (book smart) one gets, the more debunking goes on; the more analyzing and proving that spirituality or perhaps, “God” is not real. Science will definitely give you concrete answers to ‘what’s not seen is to not be believed’. But when you think about it on a ‘higher realm’ other than science: God created science. Why would He have us figure it all out? He sees the bigger picture, while we only see a small scope of the meaning of life.

I can’t imagine what it’s like to lose a sibling God forbid, but knowing (by faith alone) I believe that the "ten minutes" that our deceased loved ones have to wait, is comforting in itself. If you can simply “choose” to go on and be happy --deliberately smile even when you don’t feel like it - it eventually comes naturally. Think about your life ten years ago. Now think about how fast time flew. Life is way too short to mourn for too long. I’m not saying not to grieve for someone, I’m just pointing out that there is a bigger picture to this thing called life.

For more of Deb's articles, please visit: www.debrapasquella.com

Saturday, November 27, 2010

What Would Your Life Be Like...?

In between writing my second book and still digesting my Thanksgiving dinner, I started to miss my blog. I’m sort of at a crossroad, more like a complete block. While rummaging through Tumblr and Twitter posts trying to find some sort of inspiration, I then got a call from a very special person in my life. We had the most interesting conversation about people and life in general. It’s amazing how much we think alike and experience much of the same things. An hour over the phone felt like five minutes. Without divulging specific events or names, we were discussing how some people are - how they react to certain situations and how inconsiderate, mean-spirited and just plain rude they can be overall. While we all have our faults, we focused more on the people who are more self-absorbed, worrying about their self-image through other people. And what I mean by that is, those who are ashamed to be friends or associate with people who they truly like and admire. Their own insecurities of self-image consumes them, where they find themselves either not attending certain functions or not inviting ‘mixed company’ due to differences in financial statuses or maybe lacking some 'runway model' features. While these people gnaw their way into the whole ‘keeping up with the Joneses’ gig, they miss the core value of life and the meaning of true friendship. It’s solely based upon similar wealth and appearances. While keeping your appearance up to par is always a positive thing, it can also be quite consuming if you’re only doing it to “compete” with others. If it’s not about feeling good about yourself, then it’s just meaningless in the end.

Speaking of the same people, we also trickled into the topic of the thoughtlessness of those who have so much, but give so little. Dare I even say...selfish? My mother always taught me that when you go to somebody’s house, never go empty handed. If you’re invited to dinner, either bring a bottle or two of wine or dessert...or perhaps both. It doesn’t have to be much, but it has to do about the thought behind it: the gratitude of someone inviting you over to their home for dinner. Many people don’t understand the concept of ‘bearing gifts’ at a dinner party or any function at all. It’s not about monetary reasons either - it has everything to do about being thankful. These types of people are going to look back on their lives in their golden years and wish they had done it differently; wishing they would have spent more time with the people they liked better, instead of trying to rub elbows with ‘higher ups’ just to impress the world around them. They always have to get a better house, a better car, a better anything that everybody & their mother are trying to obtain. It has to get exhausting at some point. Is there a moment in their lives when they simply get tired and say, “When will this all end?” I said to my wife the other day, “I’m not so sure if I would want to win the lotto.” Of course I would, but it would be more about living off the interest and living a completely normal life, volunteering, giving to charity and more about how that money provides more time with my wife and family. It’s all about “time”. Some people don’t realize how short life is. If I win the lottery tomorrow, I have won more time with the people I love. I wouldn’t give a rat’s ass if I still had to stay in my small condo forever. It’s all about connecting with the people you care about the most.

If you won the lottery or became rich tomorrow, what would your life be like?
Even now, in your own financial situation, (providing you haven't won the lotto yet) do you give more than what you receive?

For more of Deb's articles, please visit: www.debrapasquella.com

Friday, November 19, 2010

The World Unbeknownst to Me

Lately I have been neglecting my blog for a bit, unintentionally of course. Between getting plagued with the flu and trying to stay focused on my second book, which has been challenging in itself because a lot of it has to do with my life growing up as a child well into my adulthood. Some of the content brings me back to where I felt safe and loved for the most part, but there was a whole other world around me to which I knew nothing about. Some of the subject matter has everything to do with this post I had written here. Other content shows you how the typical Italian household functions; endearing moments to which many people can relate to, especially Italians in New York. My dad’s a good sport. Although he is willing to provide me with many stories of his past, I can’t write about that because it’s not “my” experience. I want to share my own experience in the eyes of a child (me) and let the reader decide what is what, and how I perceived everything to be as “normal”. You’ll be doing the “ahhs” and “ohs”, realizing what’s really taking place as I tell it through the eyes of a child. After my realization of it all at the age of sixteen, the story written “today” even at the age of thirty-six is very emotional to me, in turn becoming a difficult project in itself.

Many of the ‘thought to be’ traumatic things or perhaps, ‘unspoken events’ that had taken place have to be discussed with my family so that everyone is okay with what I am writing about. To some, people would say, “Oh you poor thing”----but that’s incorrect. I wasn’t this “poor thing” growing up, in fact when I think back to my childhood, I smile. All the things my parents had given me: love, support, guidance, a roof over my head, food, being cared for and tons of fun and laughter. So when some people think, “Oh wow she went through that” - no - I didn’t “go through that” - I was taken care of, loved, looked out for and never harmed emotionally or physically. I was spoiled rotten in fact. I had three older sisters to look up to, lots of family members who gave me such incredible loving memories. So, no “poor Deb” - it’s something I look back at and smile, even though the world around me was a bit unclear, the intentions of my family was in fact, to take care of the family.

So with much on my plate with trying my hardest to finish this book and go through the motions of experiencing it all over again, trying to keep my project of “Gays & Lesbians of Faith” still moving and also, maintaining my blog, as well as trying to get over this terrible flu, I ask that you please forgive me if my writing lessens just a tad on this website. This current book I am working on is much different from my first book - different in many ways: my writing skills, my topic and content overall. I started my first book back in 2003 & published it in 2005. I didn’t even have a blog back then. It was the first thing I ever wrote. Fast forward eight years later, I’m hoping to engage more readers and share my life with those who are interested, and those who can truly relate to the good ol’ Italian household, in every stereotypical aspect. Many will nod their heads, remembering similar times. I’m hoping to have this book released this spring or summer. I’m going to baby this one...

For more of Deb's articles, please visit: www.debrapasquella.com

Monday, November 15, 2010

Biding Her Time...

Why do things seem so much clearer once a sufficient amount of time has gone by? In the midst of all the madness, all things are foggy, unclear, confusing and perhaps seemingly ‘not so bad’. The eye of the storm is the most calmest, giving you an illusion of “peace and happiness”; a facade of tranquilness, well at least for now. When it comes to an end, you’ll have the approach the wall of the storm that’s swirling around you, waiting, hoping that you’ll enter its fury. Most of times, we know it’s waiting for us, but we don’t know exactly when we’ll be approaching that wall. For those with half a brain who are smart enough to know that ‘this relationship’, ‘this situation’ or whatever circumstance that they’re in the midst of - it’s as thrilling as bungee jumping. They know the consequences, yet they’re brave enough, or perhaps, bored enough to seek the thrill they’ve been yearning for. They don’t mind the risks, the consequences of the worst case scenario - they just want the thrill, hence the phrase, “thrill seekers”. It’s almost comparable to a drug addict. They’re desperate for their “next fix”, doing anything to get what they’re looking for. They know it’s bad for them, but they need it; they crave the “high” and know that the low is inevitable.

Are you sickened by my metaphors yet, or shall I go on and on? My favorite quote by Einstein: "The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.” Through experience and also seeing others go through this, I have to say that I’ve been through the insane road of going around the mountain a billion times until I learned that it was no longer fun and wasn’t benefitting me whatsoever. There was no destination other than grief. Why do some people cheat on their spouses, and yet keep them? Is it the thrill of getting caught or is it something they are lacking at home? If it’s something they are lacking at home, either separate from them or be honest and communicate about what you need. But the truth of most cases like these is that they never leave their spouses. I would say 90% of the time too. A good friend of mine is dating a married woman. The woman she's seeing has been with her husband for over ten years but is seeing my friend who happens to be another female. The husband has no clue other than “her friend” is coming over to pick her up. No harm in that, right? This has gone on for a few years now. My friend has fallen madly in love with her, with mutual feelings by the married woman. Of course, the married one had promised my friend that soon, she’ll be without her husband because she wasn’t in love with him and they are no longer intimate. Fast forward two years later, the married woman is in fact, still married and still sleeping in the same bed as her husband.

I’m writing this post with full permission of my friend who chooses to be anonymous, however would like to hear advice from others. She has been around the same mountain at least five times already, whether it be with another taken woman or someone who was married. I called her out on it and said she had commitment issues. She’d rather date someone who couldn’t ‘attach’ so much. She disagrees of course and claims that she just falls in love with who she falls in love with--period. Fine. But what explains the reason why every single person has already been taken? Why not a single person? So, my friend sits around by the phone waiting and waiting....and waiting sometimes, with no response, no phone ringing, no text message, until the next day. “I’m sorry, my husband was here and we went out to dinner with the family.” I know for myself I could not bear the thought of someone I love sleeping with another man every single night while I slept alone just merely thinking of her. It’s not fair to do to yourself. The agony she goes through each and every day is excruciating to watch, and yet somehow, as I’ve said to her before, “I don’t feel bad for you, but I hope you make a wise decision.” This woman is never going to leave her husband - ever. The family bond that these two people have is incredible. Whatever intimacy issues they’re facing is their own, but it’s sad she had to bring my friend into this as a quick and gratifying pastime.

To my dear friend, when will you stop traveling around this endless mountain and take a different route? You deserve so much better and you’re wasting your life on hoping that a marriage will end. What then? What if you two have problems? Will she seek another gratifying pastime if you don’t satisfy her every whim? Think outside of the box and please, jump out of the box while you still have time. It’s too stifling for you. You're just biding your time for something you'll most likely regret.

For more of Deb's articles, please visit: www.debrapasquella.com

Friday, November 12, 2010

Table for Two, Party of One

We never wake up to an alarm. Our internal clocks get us up at exactly 7am. It was the first time in probably four days that we had both gotten more than eight hours worth of sleep. We’ve been sick with whatever plagued us, a cold, the flu --who knows, but it was bad. Last night I made a hot toddy for the both of us. My grandma always told me that scotch cures all, and you know what ---it definitely does. I couldn’t believe that I had woken up with such energy and steam to push through the day. Even though I work from home, I was more eager to trek down the street and get my coffee instead of making it. Being cooped up all week with this nasty bug was okay for the first or second day, but day three and four, I was getting a little stir crazy. Sometimes it’s just nice to relax, nurse a flu and turn the world off, but after a while, your eyes start to cross and you wonder if you’ll ever see civilization again.

As I hopped in my car, I realized how bitterly cold it was this morning. I turned the heat on, put my seat warmer on (it’s like a heating pad from heaven) and off I went to grab two coffees and breakfast at a nearby bakery that makes their java better than Starbucks or Dunkin' Donuts put together. The line was longer than usual and the crowd was a bit more upbeat than I had expected, except for one lady sitting by herself at a small round table for two. Her eyes were red and watery, her hair disheveled as though she just rolled out of bed and her long black overcoat only revealed a pair of faded out jeans and worn out sneakers. I looked away to see if the line was moving, until I heard a sniffle. I looked over again thinking maybe she had a cold, but she was crying. “Don’t look, don’t look”, I told myself, but I had to...she was by herself...crying...alone. Naturally, New Yorkers are “insensitive” and they typically don’t want to get involved, especially in anything that has to do with emotional issues, but this lady was tugging at my heartstrings. What if that were me? Maybe she had no one to go to and just needed to feel people around her, so that the loneliness would somehow lessen...

“Ma’am? Can I help you?” I looked around and realized it was my turn to order. I asked for two coffees along with two egg white sandwiches with cheese. I looked back at the woman still sitting at the table sobbing with her cup of coffee. Out of nowhere, not knowing what she liked, I quickly interrupted the girl at the counter taking my order and asked for a regular egg, bacon & cheese on a bagel on top of that. I have no idea if this woman is watching her cholesterol or waistline, but it didn’t matter. I needed to do something. I walked over with a small little white bag with her goodies inside and said, “I'm sorry to bother you, but I took upon myself to order you a breakfast sandwich. I don’t know if this is something you normally eat, but I was hoping it would possibly make you feel better.” She looked up at me with her puffy red eyes, almost confused, and then went inside the bag to find the sandwich and looked up at me again. “Why, why...umm...how do you know I order these here?” For a moment, I was scared she had thought I was some weird stalker, until she said, “This is the nicest thing someone has ever done for me” and then got up and hugged me. I felt her jolting as she was crying. “Are you okay?”

With a big smile, she said, “I am now.”

I never knew little things like that go such a long way. I typically don't get into other people's business or get involved, because most of the time, it's more than I can handle. But seeing this woman this morning just broke my heart. I felt like in a sense, she was me, almost as if God was testing me somehow. I couldn't let it go and this was so out of my character because #1. I am too embarrassed to approach a stranger and #2. I always get a bit timid around emotional people, even being one myself at times. I don't know the right things to say or how to comfort those who are crying or upset about something. Although I couldn’t stay and sit with her, at least I left her at that small table for two with a big smile on her face.

For more of Deb's articles, please visit: www.debrapasquella.com

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Both Sides of the Fence

The other day, I had an interesting comment by another blogger on a previous post. It made me realize that there are people out there who still think that all homosexual relationships are “perverted”, and never once considering that it may just be a loving union between two people of the same gender. She wrote, “Someone I know says any same sex relationships has a hint of 'kinkiness' in them. I disagree whole heartedly and we argue. He then says, and yes he's Catholic, so the whole creation of the world is critical in his world, that God created Adam and Eve, and made it possible to procreate ONLY through the combination of man and woman. IF we hope to continue to have people exist, then reproduction is critical, which means He in a way defined a relationship to be between a man and a woman. Thoughts?”

Well of course I have thoughts on this. As far as homosexual intimacy goes, why do people assume that it’s “kinky”? Whether homosexual or heterosexual, any sex between two people can be “kinky”, but for some, just the thought of two people of the same sex is kinky in itself. It’s “perverted” and “unnatural”. Another concern of mine is the thought process some “religious” heterosexuals go through. For instance, any mention of the word “homosexual”, “gay” or “lesbian” means, “SEX”. Being gay or lesbian to me is just a sexual orientation, and by “sexual”, I mean the sex of the person you are drawn to. It blows my mind away whenever I tell somebody that I’m a lesbian, they tend to ask more sexual questions, never asking about the dynamics or lifestyle of being homosexual or loving my partner of sixteen years - they just want to know the sexual aspects of it, which is disheartening to say the least. I’ve even had had questions asking if I still have sex with men. What part didn’t they understand about me being together with someone for sixteen years? So right there is another concern: many think just because you are bisexual, gay or lesbian means that you have multiple partners. Promiscuity is not the same thing as a relationship between two people who love one another.

On to procreation... There are many heterosexual couples who cannot procreate due to health issues. So my question would be: should they divorce or break up just because they cannot procreate? Many gays and lesbians can adopt or go through means of artificial insemination or have a trusted friend donate, to have children these days. Not everyone is meant to have children. Not everyone wants children. Is it a “sin” to be childless? In China, I believe they’re only allowed to have one child per family and in most cases, in hopes for a boy to carry on the family name. I’ve heard many opinions from ignorant people stating that gays and lesbians should not have kids due to their reckless lifestyles. Reckless? So they bulk us all up into a category of reckless, promiscuous, perverted people. They never seem to look at the other side of the spectrum: the relationships of two people who love one another and create a family unit. They never think about those heterosexual couples who have children and end up beating them, sometimes to death, or the parents who do drugs, go on welfare, have more kids so they’ll get more money. There are two sides of every lifestyle. Why not look at it all instead of focusing on all the negative aspects of homosexuality, just because it’s unfamiliar to them? No doubt there are many homosexuals who give those monogamous couples a bad name. There is promiscuity on both sides of the fence

To read more of Deb's articles, please visit: www.debrapasquella.com

Monday, November 08, 2010

Instant Gratification

It’s amazing how much we rely on the internet these days. Even for me to write a blog post takes a bit of research, depending on what subject matter I’m talking about. Whether minimal to extreme internet surfing, from the correct spelling of certain names to the correct information given by news sources, the internet has taken a whole new meaning of “instant information” at the tip of our fingers. I’m sitting here in my office without any internet connection. We’re having quite the storm here in New York, which brought down a few trees around the area. When I came home to open up my laptop, I realized I had no connection whatsoever. I picked up my phone, which happens to also be connected to the internet ---nothing. Even our phones are relying on the internet. I quickly shuffled over to my BlackBerry to frantically dial customer service. “The technician will be there tomorrow between 10am - 2pm ma’am.” Although this wasn’t the answer I wanted, it was the only solution I was going to get. We’re so quick to get online, yet they’re so damn slow to get us back online. It’s amazing how far behind telephone & internet companies are when it comes to restoring services. And yes, I tried logging onto someone else’s internet connection, but apparently they were down too.

I remember the days when I worked for a telephone and internet company myself. I’d cringe at the person who would call in at around the time I did today --5:00 pm complaining about no phone service. I used to take a deep breath, and inform the customer that a technician would be at their house restoring service the next “working” day between 8am - 1pm. (God forbid this fell on a Friday evening.) I heard the frustration in their voices. One older gentleman used his neighbor’s phone. He had health problems and was disabled. He clearly couldn’t be without a phone. He didn’t have a cell phone or any other means to call if there was an emergency, other than his neighbor checking up on him. We literally had to send one of our reps out there to give him a temporary cell phone overnight just in case he had an emergency. What did we do before the internet? I mean, think about it - we totally flip out if we can’t log on or use our landlines when in fact, we hardly ever use our landlines. I use mine mostly for business and conference calls, but when it comes to personal stuff, most of my communication is through the internet or through my cell phone. The more technology increases, the less our motivation to do it the hard way decreases.

For example --my loving sister. She just bought a brand new BMW with an advanced navigation system inside it. She’s a real estate broker, so having this navigation system helps her a great deal when going to new locations she’s never been to before. For some odd reason, the navigation system had to be repaired and updated. While driving to one of her locations a bit far from home, she panicked when it told her to make a left hand turn into....a lake. My poor sis was stuck in the middle of nowhere relying on this piece of technology (or POS) to get her over the river and through the woods. Whatever happened to compasses? I love my navigation system, but I remember back in the day when we didn’t know where a location was, I would trek over to Mapquest.com & print the directions out, and before that I would call the person or company to get complete directions and write it down manually. (I forgot what my own handwriting looks like.) What have we done to ourselves? We’re completely helpless. We are slaves to technology.

While talking with my mother today, she made me laugh and asked, “Remember the 'bag phone' we gave you when you were sixteen years old?” It was a phone inside this leather sack - looked much like a car phone, with the exception of mobilization. People thought it was an ugly purse, so I just left it in the car and said the hell with it. Even before the cell phone craze, remember CBs? I mean, come on, talk about antiquated - but hey, you had communication inside your vehicle just in case of an emergency at least. “Breaker breaker 1*9 1*9” and someone would respond to your emergency call. Granted, you’d probably end up with some hillbilly in a rig, but it sure beat being stuck on the side of the road waiting for someone to stop.

And whaddya know - oddly enough, my phone and internet just started working NOW. Time to call the cable company to cancel that visit from the technician. I think I’ll post this little tidbit on my blog NOW. Wow, instant gratification. Gotta love it.

For more of Deb's articles, please visit: www.debrapasquella.com

Saturday, November 06, 2010

It Works Both Ways: Recovering From a Broken Heart

There came a time in my life when I realized that some of the people I trusted with all my heart were absolute frauds. I turned bitter and skeptic of everyone who had entered my life thereafter. Within that period of skepticism and doubt, I then realized something else: people are only human. We all are human, we make mistakes, we say things that sometimes don’t line up with our actions. We’re not perfect. The higher my expectations were for the people who were in my life, the more disappointments came flying my way. I would isolate myself and basically befriend those who were “safe” -- like people from across the nation or I would hang around my family more (which is never a bad thing). My circle of friends became less and less and when I delved in deeper into understanding human behavior as well as understanding my own flaws, I took into consideration that yes -- maybe every single person in my life will betray me, hurt me or disappoint me at some point, but in life, that’s the risk in anything or anyone you come across. For instance, you land a great job. Risk: you lose it. Same with people.

Let me ask you this... In your memory file inside your mind, do you remember anyone telling you sincerely, “I would never hurt or betray you. You can trust me”, and as they’re telling you this, they have the most sincere tone and look in their eyes? And maybe months or even years later, this very person does the one thing you would have never thought possible. It’s quite a pill to swallow and sometimes, it’s the most hardest thing to recover from: being betrayed from someone you trusted most. As I have said in my previous post, forgiving “should” go hand-in-hand with forgetting, but our minds, as human beings, as faulty as we are --how can we forget? I used to be a big believer in forgiving and forgetting, but that second part, I. just. can’t. forget. So many people chime in with their advice, “Get over it” and you just give them a look as if they’ve lost all sensitivity whatsoever. I’ve even said that to a few of my friends after harping over a lost friendship or relationship. Again and again they’d tell their story and I would sit there and blurt out: “Get over it!” Easier said. There’s an “educated guess” about how long it takes to get over someone. So, if you were with the person for two years, your estimated time of recovery is one year. So whatever the time length, cut it in half, “they say”. I think it’s bullshit. I think every single one of us deals with emotional grief in various ways. The heart is a fickle thing. I believe most memories are stored in our hearts. We tend to focus more on the good because let’s face it, just thinking about the bad times actually makes us go through it again.

Especially with friends, my heart seems to never heal. It’s like losing a friend to death, yet they’re still out there choosing not to talk to you due to bitterness and resentment. When is it time to just let go? (For both people.) When we’re sitting inside a deep lull in lives and those thoughts come trickling in unexpectedly, do we entertain them or do we brush them aside and try to ignore our own minds and hearts? I have a few friends who have lost their parents, including Madelene. Years and years go by and still, their hearts are much too heavy on certain days. They never truly get over the loss. Something is always there to remind them or spark a memory, whether through a song, through something someone said or maybe finding an old photo. How do you tell your heart to stop? How do you make the memories disappear? And, if the person you can’t get over is still alive, how do you reconnect and take away all the pain, grief and bitterness and replace it with trust, love and laughter? I truly believe that life’s too short to waste on bitterness. The relief you can give to somebody who has hurt you is to forgive them. Whether or not you choose to (or are able to) forget is just something out of our control. But once forgiveness sets in, you're not only giving relief and peace to the offender, but you’re giving relief and peace to yourself. It works both ways.

For more of Deb's articles, please visit: www.debrapasquella.com

Friday, November 05, 2010

To Forgive & Forget: Is It Possible?

The hardest thing in the world is having your heart completely shattered by someone you love. To make things even more complicated is to fight back with words that can only do more damage. Those words are never forgotten, yet they can always be forgiven. But what’s the use if forgiveness doesn’t go hand-in-hand with forgetting? To “forgive and forget”: has that old saying been expired? Or, to our surprise, were they never a couple to begin with? With something trivial like a petty argument between two friends, it is very possible to forgive and forget, whereas weeks later, the two involved have no idea why the argument took place. But what about a breakup or a heartbreak of any kind, through a lover, a friend or a family member? Words are so powerful and sometimes, more brutal than a physical kick to the throat. I have said and regretted many things that have hurt people who were close to me, and those not so close. I have said things that made another cry. I saw how powerful those words were, and I still realize how much pain it gives to another person. In turn, I also remember each and every word that has ever pained me in the past. It’s embedded in my mind and sometimes, the words will repeat themselves when I’m having a bad day. They still hurt “today”. Those words sit inside me, molding my heart into a voodoo doll, jabbing and poking needles in every which way, reminding me that someone else may come along to throw some more needles in for the attack. Forgiveness is huge, but if it’s not forgotten, is it truly forgiven?
For more of Deb's articles, please visit: www.debrapasquella.com

Thursday, November 04, 2010

Are You Truly Happy?

This morning, the rain seems to be a lot heavier, with a bit more steam behind it. I can’t imagine just mere clouds in the sky having so much tears to shed; a constant flow of sadness and bleakness barreling down my roof and the streets below. In ways, it’s a beautiful, comforting sound, and in other ways it feels very dreadful and sad. On the other hand, the rain inspires me to write, however it also makes me think of things in the past, conjuring up thoughts that tug upon my heartstrings: a past love, a death of a close friend or feelings of inadequacies, etc. Sometimes it even churns my current situation and asks, “Are you truly happy?” Am I truly happy? What does that even mean? What does that mean to each and every individual? “Happiness”. The word alone sometimes makes me wonder if it’s all a facade; a mask that hides the hidden tears, just as umbrellas save us from the rain. We’re still “in the rain”, yet not getting the full effect, showing everyone around us that we’re okay - we’re “dry”, at least for now. I think many of us do that in life: put a smile underneath all that sadness. Truth is, it’s just human nature.

We all get into funks or little depressions in life, but sometimes we find ourselves trapped in it for longer than expected. I know for myself, I would dwell in it, welcome the sadness because it was a good outlet for my emotions. On the other hand, the side effect was a lingering feeling of hopelessness that seemed to have parked itself with no motivation to move out. I couldn’t shake it. I decided to go with my last resort which should have been my first resort: God. I prayed and prayed but more so, listened. Meditation is so important while you are praying. Without meditation, it’s like talking and talking without listening to any feedback in return. It’s pointless. What I found through prayer and meditation was the only answer possible. It was my only ticket into slipping out of this depression: gratitude. Well, what did I have to be thankful for? Things were going crappy and it seemed as though there was no change in sight. But wait --I’m breathing, I have my family, I have my friends, my health and I have this wonderful outlet & career that makes me --- “me”. I have a job that I love, to which I can’t even call it “work” because it’s exactly the opposite. It’s my passion. It’s my lot in life. So instead of praying for this and praying for that, or perhaps, just wanting "more", I thanked God for everything I have ‘now’ and everything good that is about to come. I also thank God for the best day of my life, before the morning even begins. That right there, is instilling faith (in whatever faith you practice) and putting positive reinforcement into your life, which in turn, brings back a positive outcome. Although I’m of Christian faith, I have learned a lot by those who practice Buddhism.

To some, this may sound a bit ‘wishy-washy’, but for me it’s truth. It borderlines the laws of attraction to some degree, but more so, it’s all about faith in knowing that your gifts from God (or your faith alone in whatever practice) are coming into fruition. Faith alone speaks volumes and shakes up the universe bringing back things that are supposed to be just for you. They were in fact, already there, waiting for you to call upon them. It’s not about monetary things I speak of --it’s the little things in life that make us happy like having no pain when you wake up or sipping on a delicious cup of coffee with nobody interrupting you. I used to be an adrenaline junkie where I had to get my high off of some sort of excitement in life, whether buying a big ticket item that I would soon get tired of, or spicing up life with a big party, until the next morning I had to clean everything up and retreat into hermit-mode. (I still love having parties though.) But it's more than that - it’s all about the constant joy, whether you are feeling happy or perhaps feeling a bit down about something. The constant joy of gratitude: knowing what you have right now; what’s right in front of you. Some people take these wonderful things in life for granted. This past year I went through many health issues as you’ve seen if you’ve been reading me for some time. I must have visited the ER about twenty times with various health problems, having doctors wanting to open me up and dispose of my gallbladder as well as other organs just to "eliminate" this & that, to finding out I had all sorts of gastrological problems. I came home and automatically thanked God for healing me completely, even as I sat there in pain crying. I prayed that God would baffle the doctors by healing anything that was detrimental to my health. I had complete faith that nothing---I mean nothing was wrong with me. When I went in for more testing, oddly enough they couldn’t find anything, as they have seen before. The doctors were completely baffled. After my last visit to the doctor’s office plus an endoscopy - I have never felt better in my life. "Umm, your stomach is fine and there seems to be nothing wrong..." the doctor said, as he shuffled through my medical records indicating a much different story. This stuff really works! By your own words and most of all, complete faith, you can turn things around.

With any circumstance, whether it be health issues, relationship problems or just a dose of depression, your words have so much power. I used to toss all that up to a buncha’ b.s. - but after experiencing this for myself, I know for a fact, (through faith) that it works. With the clocks soon changing back one hour this weekend and the nights creeping up on us faster, many of us are bound to experience S.A.D. (Seasonal Affective Disorder) which is the depletion of your vitamin D, which we get from the sun’s ultraviolet rays, milk and by through supplements. With lower levels of vitamin D, most people experience depression or a lack of motivation. So even on a physical level, but keeping our vitamin D levels up, increasing our time outside and even buying one of those ultraviolet ray lights, you can up your doses. I prefer taking supplements, as I enjoy the evening hours very much. I’m like a vampire. But chemically, it can wreak havoc on your pysche without you experiencing anything ‘bad’ in your life. “I feel sad but I don’t know why”---is the most common thing heard when having S.A.D. You can get your levels checked by a doctor & see which source is best for you.

So what’s the secret to happiness? There is no secret because nobody is completely happy, unless they are content with having the constant joy that comes only through faith and positive thinking.

Here are some great quotes I picked out:

“Most folks are about as happy as they make up their minds to be.” ~Abraham Lincoln
“If you want to be happy, be.” ~Leo Tolstoy
“Happiness is never stopping to think if you are.” ~Palmer Sondreal
“Happiness is when what you think, what you say, and what you do are in harmony.” ~Mahatma Gandhi
Happiness is not a matter of events, it depends upon the tides of the mind.” - Alice Meynell
“Attaining Happiness is an ‘inside-job’.” ~Author unknown

To read more of Deb's articles, please visit: www.debrapasquella.com