Monday, February 28, 2011

Sad . . .

Between a lack of sleep and my thought process brewing from the early evening hours, I found myself awake, eyes wide opened, hoping at any given moment, the sandman would come find me. I tried chamomile tea, reading long painstaking articles and even tried deep breathing, visualization type of stuff. Nothing worked. I feel “change”, and no - not the menopausal type of change, but change in means of how I think and how everything around me and in my life has taken a slight shift. Change is good, but often at times can leave me scared and questioning every single thing in my life. Years ago, if you told me my dad cancer, I’d know without a doubt that he wouldn’t give up. He’s a fighter. I looked up to my dad because he was so strong, brave and nothing ever got him down...except for this. Not even a year ago, I couldn’t imagine him giving up. His positive attitude, his energetic spirit and laughter were all ingredients to kick this thing. Now, when I walk into the room where he rests his tired body on the recliner with an oxygen tube wrapped around his nose, I noticed that his eyes are lifeless...and ashamed. He’s ashamed to “appear” weak - vulnerable to anything beating him. As he takes his oxygen tube off, he picks up the very thing that gave him cancer: a cigarette. To me, it’s like a big “fuck you” to the ones he loves.

When my dad was diagnosed with bladder cancer, which is caused by smoking, we as a family all came together and was by his side when he went to get surgery. We spent time with him, we all told him “I love you” - just in case he forgot. His eyes had hope then, it even had fear - but a healthy ‘I’m gonna fight you to the end’ type of fear. His attitude was upbeat and positive, but as time goes on and more doctor appointments to be had, he finds himself having a hard time walking from his recliner over into the kitchen area. He gets out of breath within seconds, yet lights up a cigarette to catch his breath. The last few times I have visited him, the entire house was engulfed with smoke. My mom just looks at me, shrugs as if to say, “What else can I do?” She’s powerless over his determination to finally finish himself off. And that’s exactly what he’s doing. He’s committing suicide and I’m pissed off. I’m pissed off that he’s giving up like that. I’m pissed off that he’s hurting my mother, my sisters, my two nieces and my nephew who love him very much. I’m pissed off because he’s hurting me as well. You can't help someone who refuses to help himself. What scares me the most is that my grandfather (my dad’s father) committed suicide when he was sick, which made my father feel guilt for many years. Why would he do that to us if he knew how much that hurt him?

I guess I know the reason for my recent insomnia. I’ll admit, I have a lot of anger inside of me that I’m trying to deal with. I realize my sisters are more private about this, but I’m very different from them. Now that dad’s weak, why can’t we take control - pull the reins on his smoking habit since it’s only shortening time left with him? I get answers like, “Well, let him do what he enjoys while he still has time left.” But what about us? What about another summer with him? What about another possible Thanksgiving with him?
Or am I being selfish?

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

Thursday, February 24, 2011

My Stalker: Mark/GW Mush

Since 2005, when I first started this blog, a commenter who went under the name/blogger id of “GW Mush” started commenting. His real name is Mark. He was generally polite and very funny at times. I enjoyed his visits and thought nothing of it. Most of his visits revolved around my blog and my fellow writer/friend, Susan’s blog. Susan and I discuss religion, politics along with frustrations of everyday life. I have toned it down a bit during these past couple of years due to a lot of hate mail by other religious zealots regarding my views, beliefs and whatnot. Like clockwork, Mark would comment on both our blogs with either something funny or something with a double meaning, which could have been taken either way. It started to get a bit shady. I’d receive tons of emails from him with photos of flowers, hearts, teddy bears and all of this ‘wishing you a great day’ type of email but with very flirtatious undertones. At one point, I was receiving an email daily, if not twice a day. I thanked him, but it just started to get more creepier as time moved on.

I then started receiving anonymous comments. Some were so perverted that it took me off guard. Of course, having it be under “anonymous” - it could have been anyone, however, with my internet tracking, I kept logging the same ip address at the same times. He’d usually log on around 4:30 am and stay on my blog for hours at a time. A few days after the disgusting comment, Mark, under “GW Mush” left me another comment: “Deb, I have to say even though I’m not into homosexual topics, I really only come here to look at your pic because you’re hot.” I would receive a few more like that, and when it was under “anonymous”, he went a bit further. It would stop for about a month or so, and then he would come back under the same ip address and then say derogatory things about my family and what I had written about in the past regarding what happened when I was sixteen years old. (You can view that here.) He wished us dead - I want to even say it was borderline death threats. My friend Susan received the same disgusting remarks on her blog as well as harassing emails.

I then decided to write a post about the truth of “anonymity” on the internet. Whether you decide to be “anonymous” or not, it’s never a secret if someone wants to investigate further. I then mentioned that if anyone goes under “anonymous”, to please leave a name so I can refer my comment back to them. Then Mark came under the name “Lassie” and started to spew his evilness again. After Mark viewed this blog post of mine, he wrote this email under CleanieTee@aol.com:

"Hi Debbie,

Ohhh, that blog tracing thing is interesting. So you always know when its me? How come you forgive me when I say crappy stuff? Do you feel sorry for me or something? hehe I cant remember what I all have said, lol

You know, winter is really beginning to annoy me. Are you doing ok with all the storms the NE is getting?


I guess I like you because I'm a guy and you have so many desirable female characteristics. Like you are extremely beautiful with your long, thick hair and pretty eyes, and I love your accent on the video's. You have a lot of personality too. I skip a lot of your blog though because Im not gay and it doesnt relate to me as much as it does to others who come to your blog for that reason.

Is it immature to sometimes mess with bloggers? I have fun with it sometimes but most of them just ignore me, hehe. OK, thanks for being so beautiful....

~Mark"


Typically, I would ignore all of his comments, but when it started to become routine, I started logging every word, every time stamp and how long he had been on my website. I also noticed that his times are quite unique, unlike most who comment. They were mostly written around 4:30am. I’m not sure what kind of life Mark has, but what would make a person so obsessed with a blogger? Why would you spend your time and energy writing passive-aggressive comments that early in the morning, or maybe in his case, that late at night after a long night of drinking? One can only wonder. His last perverted comment I decided to delete. He then emailed me once again trying to be “funny”, but I emailed him back letting him know that his ip address, visits and comments are all being logged and sent to his local police for harassment. Mysteriously, his blogger id was deleted.

His reply:

“By the way, I have never been arrested in my life unlike your family members. I will tell the internet cops to compare wrap sheets and we will see who the bad guys are. They even dug up your yard looking for dead bodies and you try to label me as bad for leaving a few comments on blogs, not one comment was ever threatening. You are quite a christan Deb. You should be ashamed of yourself trying to smear me like that when your family are the bad guys.”
By Anonymous on Reality TV: True or Fake? at 4:36 AM

I want to remind Mark of his “wish you & your family were dead” comments were threatening to me. His abusive sexual comments are all logged and yes, very threatening. I do take this seriously and it is already reported. Maybe Mark should start living his life instead of living his life vicariously through other people’s blogs.

In any event, it's good to see the face of Mr. Anonymous/GW Mush/Mark.

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

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Reality TV: True or Fake?

Years ago, when COPS first came out on TV, I remember being amazed that they were actually filming something “real” - something candid and almost in a roundabout way, sneaky. It was fascinating to see all of these criminals caught on film, whether it be robbing bodegas, selling drugs on the street or for domestic violence - all of our “inner busybodies” stirred within us like some nosey neighbor who would peek out of their window with each passing siren. For the most part, we all want to know what’s going on if there’s a crime outside of our home, or if we’re somewhere that happens to have a crime taking place. We want to be ‘in the know’, and this show gives us some of that fulfillment. I was hooked on it for years, until new reality shows started to surface. I remember being addicted to the “realness” of it all. But as time went on, and the more I started to know people in the business, the more I started to learn that “reality” TV isn’t so much reality any longer.

If you think about it, to have cameras follow you around on a 24/7 basis, you’d see the lamest crap ever. Even if they were to film cops every second of the day, 90% of the time would be filmed in a Dunkin' Donuts. Just sayin’... If you think about the “set up” - or as they call it, power points to each “exciting” time of the day, you’d wish you had a camera there to catch it all. So, with with any “Housewife” type of reality show, they set up “power points” - a subject matter, place the “actors” in the scene and just say, “Go with the flow and deal with the subject matter at hand.” Usually there are no scripts, however there is a subject of ‘realness’, which enables a ‘spontaneous script’. So in all fairness, it is “real” in many ways.

What about shows on Tru TV, like Hardcore Pawn, Ma’s Roadhouse, All Worked Up & Operation Repo? Fake fake fake in my opinion. First of all, you have to have permission by the people who are going into your establishment or in public to be on TV. With that being said, most of these companies or businesses are not that exciting to begin with - just like real life - if you had a camera everywhere you went, how much of it would be “interesting” for other people to watch? I had Lyndah Pizarro from Operation Repo admit to me through a video on Youtube that her show was fake and only for entertainment. She was giving me some advice about “haters” and how to deal with people who send hate mail to those in the public eye and especially in my case, my book and blog that helps the LGBT community come to terms with their lifestyle & religion. She gave me sound advice, however in the process, she was also thanking me for telling her that I didn’t care if the show was real or fake, and then indicated that the show was merely for entertainment purposes only. She deleted that Youtube account for some reason, perhaps it was advised since she was being very open about it all. In any event, I really appreciated her honesty. I loved the show, (still do) but some of the scenes were a bit over the top. Take a look at this one segment below. They went to go repossess a car that some Michael Jackson wannabe fought so hard to keep. Fake or not fake? Decide for yourself. There are more over the top shows like this one too.


If you cannot view the video above, please click here.

My question is: should the network Tru TV be called that since it’s mostly fake? Are they misrepresenting themselves? Is there a law against fooling the public for what’s real and what’s not real? What if our news source becomes that way? What then? Or, has it already become that?

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

Friday, February 18, 2011

Does It Matter Anymore?

In recent days, I haven’t written anything about anyone in particular, not even in my ‘encrypted’ type of post. Today is different. Since it’s a full moon and I’m feeling a bit feisty, I’m going to be writing ~one of those types of posts~... It’s not like I have this huge secret because everyone knows I’m an open book for the most part, but there are still remnants of my past that still haunt me today. At times, I feel like those remaining bits from ‘a day when’ have all picked up & left and moved on...until she reappears in one way or another. I’m not sure if absence makes the heart grow fonder or angrier, but in this case, I got my answer through a comment she had left for me on my blog. And from her very own words, answering my question of “why”, which I will use for this post, “Does it matter?”

So let me ask “you” ----why does it matter? Why does it matter what I write about? Why do my opinions and beliefs still matter to you? The last time we spoke, you were very angry with me - angry that I didn’t abide to your rules and the way you wanted things to be. I couldn’t do it, so I respectfully stepped out of the box and let you remain inside. It was your choice to be happy in your box or step out of your box and find your own path, or...remain bitter and angry traveling in that small box of rage. You followed me for a very long time, even before I had met you. You admired my beliefs, opinions and strong point of views. Now, the very thing you once admired about me is detested.

There was a time you were so angry with me, because you didn’t get what you initially wanted. You took my book and ripped every single page out of it, screaming at me, calling me a hypocrite. I never said I was perfect. I never promised anything other than my friendship, love and a shoulder to cry on if you needed. At one time, “my biggest fan”, the person who always emailed me with her thoughts and perspectives on every single article I had written, has now come back onto my blog to reap rewards of revenge, of telling me otherwise. When I received your angry response, which hasn’t been many this past year, I would trek back to your old commentary and feel better about your attacks. I kind of knew that yes, it still mattered.

Here are some of my favorite things you have written to me, before you met me and during the time of our friendship.

"This blog is good for connecting with others who have had similar feelings to yours. It is like a support group in a way, and everyone here takes your feelings seriously. What a wonderful thing! Everyone has something different to offer you. You have so much! I acknowledge that you feel shitty and there is not a thing I can do about it except offer emotional support and a soft place to land. I can offer cognizance, respect, patience, affection. Maybe not the bandages that will help, let alone solve anything, but for what its worth, you've got all of it from me. I will do anything for you.”

I thought so too. I love this blog because it allows me to connect with different people and share my views with many who agree or disagree. I have learned so much from my readers and those whom I love to read. The cognizance, respect, patience and emotional support was a limited time offer. “I will do anything for you.” Can you get past this? Can you get past the anger, rage and bitterness? Can you? If that offer still applies, I’d like to take that off the shelf please. 


“I don’t think I have ever once thought, ‘at least I’ll know’ prior to exploring a risk or a new goal. I think ‘Omg, this is so exciting!’ or ‘Odg, this is scary’, but I am doing it anyways because it is the right thing to do for me to be able to grow."

My definition of growing is moving beyond our past - moving towards something more positive. In fact, while I was having lunch with a friend, we were discussing people who can’t let go of the past. How can someone “grow” if they are unable forgive and at least, try to forget so it doesn’t come up to the surface once again? Bitterness is like a slew of weeds choking every flower in the garden.

Oh, and I have an example from the very words you once used...

“Emotional health is like a garden. You water and cultivate the soil and growth happens naturally. Right now, you feel your growth is stumped.”

I totally agree, and now, I am using your own sentence to talk to you. Do you feel in some ways that your growth is stumped? Obviously it is since you are still on my blog speaking to me in condescending ways. It’s okay though. Since the only person you seem to agree with is yourself, maybe you can read your very own words and use them to "cultivate your soil", so this way, growth can happen. 





Eat crow my friend.

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

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Full Moon?

This year has been a brutal one, between the amount of snowfall we got and the below zero temps, it’s making everyone borderline homicidal. People are going absolutely stir crazy and when they do finally get to have a half decent life outside of home or work, they bring all of that negative energy out in the open and spew it out everywhere. Let me explain... Today has been one of the nicest days in. . .geez, I don’t even remember. It hit a whopping 60 degrees. After I finished up work and did things around the house, I stepped outside to visit a couple of friends and picked up a few things from the grocery store. Let me just say that every. single. person I was in contact with today was cranky, rude, mean, nasty, irritable, bitchy and/or whiny. No doubt, this weather can definitely get you down. Even I have been in one of those 'I hate people' moods. I asked one of my nicest friends today if she had that same feeling. She threw her hands down on the counter and said, “Oh my God --YES!” So it’s happening to even the nicest of people. On top of that, it’s a full moon tonight. So not only do you have people coming out of the woodwork from a deep depressive state of cabin fever, but you also have a full moon to kick in the nastiness as well.

The other day while Madelene and I went to Walmart to putz around and get a few things, we ended up on the dreaded Wally line. The only cashiers up there were nasty, rude nail biting, teenagers. We were wedged in between two cashier stations. The one boy who was working the cash register on the right bent over to pick something up and nearly knocked Madelene over. Madelene, being the nice little angel that she is said, “Oh, pardon me I didn’t see you there,” as if it was her fault. The kid shot her a look and sized her up. That's when my “crazy” kicked in and I said, "Now say you're sorry...NOW." He just stared at me with his mouth wide open. He couldn’t say a thing. The customer’s always right...right? To top that off, our own little snotty, bubble gum poppin' cashier girl was huffin’ & puffin’ ringing us up with an attitude. When it came to signing the credit card receipt, she literally flung the pen and paper at me. “Now say you’re sorry.” She just stared at me in shock. “Say you’re sorry.” She began to stutter and then muttered out, “I-I-I-I’m sorry, ma’am.” I said thank you, and as I was finishing packing what she couldn’t - I said, “And stop calling women ma’am.” I'm sure she badmouthed me to her other coworkers after I left.

There have been a few encounters that I have come across where I just said whatever was on my mind, instead of being a bit more patient and calm, or just simply letting it go. We can blame it on the weather, blame it on the rain, blame it on the snow, blame it on the al-al-al-al-al-alcohol, but never blame it on our own insanity. That would just be crazy.

Be careful out there tonight...

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

Monday, February 14, 2011

Happy Valentine's Day...? (A love letter from Madelene)

We start giggling everytime Valentines day comes around because as corny as it may sound---we celebrate this holiday all year 'round. I am very blessed to share my life with you (even though I drive you crazy with my eternal sneezing fits.) Achoo! *sniffle-sniffle* Every day you make special by waking up and making me a breakfast fit for a queen. The delectable smells wafting through the air stir my hunger and each scrumptious morsel is enjoyed to the fullest! You look very sexy with your beautiful brown curls pinned up and your concentration is on my lambchop dinner! I have a blast with you all the time, whether we have a full course meal or beer and wings--it tastes better because I having it with you.

You make me laugh all the time and understand my corny humor. You always know when something is not of interest to me, by some expression on my face that I am still trying to determine what it is---so I can avoid expressing it, dammit! How do you know?

I am constantly invading your personal space---as I need to feel you close to me. I learn something new about you EVERY DAY, and you always hold my interest. I look forward to coming home and hearing about your daily adventures, which you comically share with me.

I love you for the caring person you are, even though I can be a pain in your ass. I love your laugh, your creativity, your complexity, your faith in God and love for others. What is this sexy woman doing with me, I often ask myself? The highlight of my day is sharing a laugh with you, a meal with you, a talk with you, a kiss with you, alone time with you.

Every day magical with you. I still think about the many vacations we have taken and the snapshots of our life together. The stormy weather at the beach house! We almost burnt down the place, when the fireplace broom caught fire! The laughs, (remember when we went to a halloween party and I was a vampire and fell over the stage step), we were howling with laughter---I didn't even lose my fangs! The not so funny times, you are always there for me and I know that I have someone who love me, cares for me, looks for me as I do you. Your my best friend, my confidante, my lover, my wife. You are my l.o.m.l. Love of my life. I am enjoying the ride of our life together,and every stop is one of wonder, enjoyment, tears, laughter, passion, connecting, exploring, seduction and intrigue. And to think--we are still on our honeymoon!

I Love you, Debra, you are my heart.

Happy Valentines Day!

Love always,
Madelene

Click here to see Deb's letter to Madelene.

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

Four Reasons, Four Seasons (A love note to Madelene)

Without You

Sometimes I can just look at you and know what you’re thinking. It’s not predictability. It’s our connection. It’s our likeness and differences that make us mesh so well. It’s our understanding that although we’re very different and lead different types of lives, we always come back to the one life we live together. Our friendship, our relationship, our marriage isn’t perfect, and if it were, it would be fake. “Hi, how was your day?” “Fine, and yours?” “Fine.” “Goodnight.” “Goodnight...” No... It’s more than that. It’s knowing that after a hard day, you can rest your head in a place that’s truly your “home” - a place where you are loved and taken care of. I know I can come home and find love inside. This place wouldn’t be a home without you. It would be just four walls and my empty heart. It would be cooking for one, perhaps take out...alone. It would be dreaming about my best friend, my wife. Mornings would be dreadful. No more breakfast for two, just a cup of coffee...black and unsweetened. No more fun conversations, not even the repeated conversations where I sometimes have to interject and say, “Yeah, I remember you telling me this story”, as you shoot me a look to let you finish it anyway. I’d miss that.

Idiosyncrasies
Shopping would be boring without you. Who would I “whisper yell” at through gritted teeth to stop talking to me from another dressing room? Even when we’re sitting in a crowded doctor’s office together, you seem to want to entertain all the people with our personal conversation. Again, I have to do the “whisper yell” and say, “Sshhh, stop it.” You enjoy when I get agitated and sometimes, we even get the church giggles over it because it’s so damn funny. You put up my hypochondria and ailments. There have been plenty of times when it hits midnight and we’re about to doze off into a deep slumber and I pop my head up and decide that I’m having a heart attack. “Ok,” you say, getting up putting your jeans and sneakers on, “Let’s go to the ER.” You know the drill. I can be having the same “nerve pain” that shoots from my jaw all the way down my left arm, but still, you know I need to hear the doctor say, “You’re not having a heart attack. Go home & take some Motrin.”

Selflessness
People laugh at us because we sometimes argue right in front of them, but our argument is quite different from the norm: “No, you take the last one.” “No, I had enough, you take the last one.” “No, please, take the last one.” We argue about who is going to cook for that evening. “I’m going to cook for you.” “No sweetie, let me cook for you.” ----It can be either sickening, annoying and/or comical for people witnessing this “Chip ‘n’ Dale” type of argument. “I’ll clean up.” “No, let me clean, you cooked.” ---etc., etc., etc... They say that love isn’t just a feeling, but an action. Showing someone you care for them is the true definition of love. Doing things for them “just because” and not out of mere obligation is true love. To get joy out of doing something for your loved one is priceless. To do things grudgingly is questionable.

Colorful
There are many times I whine over your long hours at work. The truth is, I want more of you. If I ever won the lottery, it’s “time” that would be my true winning factor. More time. More vacations. More long mornings, more lazy afternoons and romantic nights. More time sharing with our family and friends. More time getting to know you better, because after sixteen years, I still have so much to learn about you. I’m excited to get to know you better as we continue our journey in life together. I absolutely love seeing you relaxed, resting and enjoying your days off. I love watching you unwind from a busy week, knowing that I'll always be there taking care of you. I do it because I love you more than anything. Valentine’s Day for us is every day. I love you more today than I ever did before. I find you more attractive now than I did when we first met. You make my life more colorful and vibrant in so many ways. You just keep getting better & better each and every day, and I’m so happy knowing that I have my best friend to grow old with, although you keep saying every year that you’re still twenty-nine.

Happy Valentine’s Day, baby! You'll always be the LOML.

I love you, 

Deb

Click here to see Madelene's letter to Deb.

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

Thursday, February 10, 2011

The "Real" Ryan Nickulas

Have you ever watched a TV show where instantly, you either loved or hated a character? And throughout the entire season of watching the show, your ‘first impression’ of that person just sticks. And at times, people’s perceptions of others who are on TV goes even a bit further - assuming their 'real life' character is that way in real life too. My wife and I have had the pleasure of getting to know Ryan Nickulas from The A-List NY, on screen and off screen. His character on TV, in my opinion is how it is in real life: warm, caring, sensitive with a bit of sassiness. It's very consistent. My wife and I took more to Ryan and his husband Desmond, I guess because of their long-term relationship as well as dynamics. Last Friday, we were invited to interview Ryan in his home for our documentary. We were greeted by Desmond & their two adorable pugs at the door. We set up our equipment at the dining room table and waited for Ryan to come in.

Before interviewing anyone, I always give the questions a week prior, asking them to let me know if a question needs to be taken out or added in. Anybody has the right to reject any questions asked. Ryan was a good sport and answered every single question. I saw another side to Ryan - a side where every single person who is LGBTQ and straight could relate to. He opened up and told us the most intimate stories of his childhood and how other people treated him, as well as how other people still treat him, especially being a cast member on The A-List NY. When we asked him if fans or those who have seen him on TV harass or treat him unkindly, he quotes, “Funny enough, the only harassment I get are from other gay men, who don’t approve of me living my life in front of the public eye and saying that I’m stereotypical and shallow.” It’s interesting to see how many critics come out of the woodwork once they see somebody like themselves on TV. I guess we all do it. I admit, I've also been critical to a few celebrities out there before ever meeting them in person, but I have to say I was very impressed with the overall character of Ryan Nickulas - not just on the show - his “real life” persona, which we were so grateful to experience.

Below is a video of the interview with Ryan. I apologize for the poor quality of the audio. The background noise/air were a bit too much for our mics to capture. I just wanted to give you an idea of how amazing this person really is, especially to those “gay men” he speaks about who don’t approve of his lifestyle being placed in the public eye. --We thank him for being in the public eye.



If you cannot view this video, please click here.

A huge thank you to Ryan & Desmond who made us feel so welcomed in their home last Friday afternoon. We had a wonderful time.

Don't forget to tune into the second season of The A-List NY on LOGO! These gals are fierce!

If you're interested in seeing more interviews, I have set up a dedicated channel for "Gays & Lesbians of Faith". Be sure to check in once in a while for updates or you can just facebook me to get updates on your feed.

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