Thursday, March 28, 2013

Do Us All a Favor & Read the Rest of Your Bible

Slavery was okay in the Bible, ma'am. 50 years ago it was illegal for you to get married,  ma'am.
It's kind of interesting what's been happening lately since social media has been exploding with the messages of those who are for and against marriage equality. Now I'm seeing the religious antigay people coming out of the woodwork spreading all of their cherry picked scriptures from the Bible to tear down those who want equality. If you've been reading me for some time now, you know where I'm heading with this one. I'll try to put a twist to it for you so you don't feel like you're reading the same thing again and again. But today, it's important I put this message out there. So bear with me, loyal readers. For new readers, especially the antigay religious folk -- I challenge you to answer a few questions.
  1. Do you include salt, in offering to your God? If not, you're sinning.
  2. Do you eat fat in your diets? If so, that's supposed to be saved for the offering to God. 
  3. For my God fearing 'right to bear arms' type of hunters -- have you touched an unclean animal? (Meaning touching the carcass of a dead animal, draining the blood, etc.) 
  4. Do you eat animals that doesn't both chew cud and has a divided hoof? (ie: camel, rabbit, pig)
  5. Do you eat shrimp scampi, lobster, clams, oysters, mussels, crab meat - any shellfish whatsoever? 
  6. Do you wear clothing made of more than 1 fabric? 
  7. Have you gone to church within 33 days after giving birth to a boy? It's an "unclean week" for her, which is seen as another sin in the Old Testament. Same applies to a girl, but that's within 66 days.
  8. Have you sat next to a woman during her period or worse yet, had sex with her during this time? 
  9. Did you shave your beard? 
  10. Have you cut the hair on the side of your face? (Side burns or the curls of an orthodox Jew.) 
  11. Do you have a tattoo? 
  12. Have you ever gone to a psychic? 
  13. Did you know that it's a sin for a woman to get raped. Yep, you can read that again. Unless you pay the father a certain amount of money, then it's "okay" in "God's eyes". 
  14. Do you still believe slavery is okay? 
  15. Did you know that there was a death penalty for saying the Lord's name in vain, all from Leviticus?
Really?
All scriptures that reference to homosexuality seen in Romans and in Corinthians are meant to be taken as reckless sex - as any heterosexual or homosexual person may engage in. Premarital sex is also a sin. It's the promiscuous nature they are speaking of - not a loving relationship between two people. My problem with people trying to instill their religion on gays and lesbians is that, they are not following their own "good book" of rules. They're only taking out what they don't like and using it against people who just want the same rights as anybody else. The most hateful speech with religion backing them up are from those who don't even take the time to read the Bible itself. They cannot quote one scripture, nor even understand what was said in Leviticus or interpret their meaning. They have a problem with gays and lesbians marrying one another. How is this affecting their lives? It's destroying the sanctity of marriage? Maybe if so many people weren't on their 4th or 5th marital spouse, I could probably see that. But the truth is --- they don't care about other "sins". They only care about the homosexuals ruining the reputation of marriage. I heard one gentleman say, "Oh my neighbors are lesbians who have been together for years. They're very nice people. I like them, but I don't agree that they should be allowed to get married, and that's my opinion." What if that same person who said that was to witness one spouse dying and their relatives coming over to take over all of their possessions, as well as her will to her lifetime partner, who she couldn't marry? Would you think that was fair? People are funny once a loved one passes away. Things change. The "life partner" is no longer "family" -- they are considered "a friend".  "A friend" who has loved them every single day of their togetherness. "A friend" who has fed them, seen them through thick and thin and took care of them. "A friend" who has made a lifelong commitment through sickness and in health. Hmm, sounds like marriage to me.  The worst part about an antigay religious person's thinking is that they only bring up the sexual nature of our relationships. For instance, the same gentleman said, "Ugh, I can't see a man putting up his thing in another man's bum." (I reworded that by the way.) It's psychologically known that if a person only makes sexual references towards the homosexual lifestyle, it may be possible that they're a closet homosexual themselves.

So before you start cherry picking your scriptures, it might be in your best interest to actually pick up the Bible and read the rest of it.

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!  

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

"Soon They'll Want to Marry Their Pets" --Antigay Christian

It truly amazes me how some people view gays and lesbians. Since yesterday, I have been reading threads upon threads on mostly those who agree that the LGBT community should be able to marry the person they love. I have also read comments from those opposing marriage equality. For instance, one man stated, "Well, if you let this sort of thing happen, then 'other groups' will want to marry. It will happen." What other groups? As I read further into other angry posts, another person said that some people will want to marry their relatives, underage minors (pedophiles) and even went as far to say pets. The more I read these outrageous responses from your typical 'everyday normal citizens' --- I actually wondered what the people around me really thought of it. You know, years ago if you said something positive about the gay community, or dare I say - you were gay in a company that was a bit more conservative, you could have been fired for it. Now, it's more of a crime to be antigay or say something negative about the LGBT community. It's due to the zero tolerance that many companies and businesses are engaging in thankfully. With that being said, the ol' bigoted mindset is still very much here. Look what happened not too long ago with Chick-fil-A. Once it was known that the owners of the chain were antigay -- tons of people came out of the woodwork to show their support for their antigay statements. I felt so incredibly sad to see the honesty come up to the surface. 

You know, it's not like we're saying to the world, "OK, now you have to deal with us, accept us, love us, hug us and support us." What we're saying is --- we just want the same rights as everybody else. We are not pedophiles. We are not into incest. We do not support bestiality --- we are human beings of the same sex who want equality. We are consenting adults - not "rapists", "murderers" and "pedophiles" as many Christians claim that's what we are equal to in God's eyes. We get blasted with "Children need a mother and a father." What about single parents -- fathers or mothers who beat their children? What about children who grow up only knowing one parent? I know many of my friends who grew up in a one parent household and grew up to be wonderful and successful people. That's not the point. The point is, other people's fear of gays and lesbians (claiming it's just morally correct due to their religion) is making it hard for others to live their lives. Get your religion out of our marriages and unions and focus on God more. Focus on the fact that God will deal with us if that's what you believe. You're not the one marrying a gay person - so why are you so concerned about us?  If your religion is so "full of love", then why are you spewing out so much hatred? Live and let live. 

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!  

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Get Your Interpretation of Religion Out of My Marriage

So your religion says that "gay marriage" will ruin the sanctity of marriage. Your religion says that two men together or two women together is an abomination to God. Your religion tells you a whole lot of things. Your religion also tells you to steer clear from shellfish. Your religion tells you that you shouldn't shave your beard. Your religion forbids you to have tattoos. Your religion tells you that premarital sex is a sin and yet you don't follow your religion's rules, but you're okay with judging other people's lives, and you're also okay with ruining other people's lives by instilling your religion and 'thought to be' morals upon other people's relationships. You want to stop gays and lesbians from marrying, while the sanctity of marriage has already been ruined by many straight people, including celebrities and those who take marriage for granted. You seem to be okay with the fact that so many people get a divorce over the slightest problems. Infidelity is okay too, but two people of the same sex in a loving relationship who want to have the same rights as anybody else is just completely wrong. Fifty years ago, you tried doing the same thing to interracial couples. It was illegal for them to marry due to your religious rules. You wanted to impose your "morals" on them and deny them their rights. Remember that? It's funny because I'm of Christian faith. Please tell me where in the Bible Jesus says that being with someone of the same sex in a loving relationship is a sin. Every single scripture that refers to homosexuality is either in the Old Testament (as eating shellfish was too)  as in Leviticus or in the New Testament where the only references made were in terms of promiscuity for both heterosexuals and homosexuals. Get your facts straight, read your "good book" and maybe focus on bigger issues other than people who just want to love one another in a legal marriage like anybody else.

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!  

The "Abundant" Universe

Have you ever felt like all your efforts were unseen and just invisible to everyone but yourself? Ever try to make people in your life happy but it just feels like you're hitting a brick wall over and over again? Then you start asking yourself, "Am I even happy?" A friend of mine wrote a really great post called, "Play Nice" which really spoke volumes on the laws of attraction. She writes, "The law of cause and effect where every action produces an equal and opposite reaction essentially states that there are consequences to our actions. We are the crafters of our own destiny and happiness and what we put out creates a kind of energy that will travel through the Universe and in a different form will come back to us." It sounds like this "law" should be foolproof, working on all levels of everything that's positive. My question is, are these theories and "laws" similar to ones in the Bible - "to control the masses" - so that we are all positive and 'do good' type of people?  The laws of attraction tells us that whatever you put into the universe, you should get back. And while that seems like a lovely idea, it also reeks of bullshit. (The law itself, not my writer friend!) Maybe I expect too much. Maybe in my eyes, I feel like I'm doing more than my share while others feel like I'm doing nothing at all to improve situations. Have you ever sat there thinking, wow, I have done all I could possibly do to improve 'this' and 'that', and nothing good ever came of it? I do believe that when you expect too much (or at all) you'll always be disappointed in life. But why can't we expect? Why can't we hope for something good to come out of the things we do in good faith?

There's a huge difference in being grateful and knowing what you're worth. Maybe you're not fulfilled at your job or getting paid enough. (No one's getting paid enough, right?)  Maybe you feel you should be treated better, respected more or just living a better life in general. The fact remains there is always something we're going to gripe about - always something 'lacking' in some small way. Another writer friend of mine asked me how were my book sales going the other day. To tell you the truth, I published my book to get my message out to the world --- not for the money. This blog has been going strong for over 8 years now, most of those years being voluntary posts and articles to share my life and possibly help others. I will admit, sometimes I wish I was at a different point in my writing career, but the fact remains that I am still "here" - I'm still writing and sharing my life. At one time, I thought I'd be at a much different place today, but I am grateful that I still maintain this blog and now get paid by people who mirror my content onto their own websites. It works for me, but I still have this strong feeling that there's gotta be something much larger out there for me. Is it wishful thinking? Probably so. But overall, out of all the things I have given 'in secret', like charities, volunteering my time and work to others who needed help and trying to promote others for more exposure - whatever the 'need' was - I sometimes wish the universe would boomerang those blessings back to me, maybe just a tiny percentage. I truly don't ask for much, I don't need much, I just want what I'm worth before I totally lose hope. How about you? Did the universe recognize your good deeds? Did it send all those blessings back into your life? Do you believe the laws of attraction or do you think it's mostly all hogwash?


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!

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

What Would You Do If You Found Someone Sneaking Into Your Home at 2am?

What would you do if you caught someone sneaking into your house through a window at 2am? What would you do if you were a gun owner? Unfortunately, sixteen year old Caleb Gordley from Virginia snuck out of his house to hang out with his friends. His parents had grounded him for not cleaning his room, so he took it upon himself to make a clean getaway for the evening. When he returned home after a night of heavy drinking, he had snuck into a window of his neighbor's house thinking it was his own. The neighbor unfortunately shot and killed Caleb thinking it was an intruder...but technically, it was an intruder in their eyes. The Gordley's have forgiven the neighbor for the death of their son, which is a huge and commendable thing on their part. I cannot even imagine being in their shoes. There's also that tiny thought in my head that asks, "What if it wasn't a mistake and Caleb had intentions on robbing his neighbors?" Maybe he saw something he wanted during a visit. Years ago, a very close friend of mine rode his motorcycle up my private road and stole one of my ATVs. Thing was, he left his motorcycle behind the garage. He couldn't have possibly driven both. Years later, he admitted to the robbery to a cousin of mine. I could go on about him being young and in the wrong crowd, but this was a childhood friend who I trusted with all my heart. I did forgive him, but that tinge of doubt still lurks in my mind. "What if?" You just never know.

In a world where guns are being debated about and now has come to be more of a political issue, I can see many people faulting the neighbor who shot Celab Gordley, saying it was a senseless murder due to not using their firearms correctly, or at least identifying the intruder first. I have to admit, if it was 2am and somebody snuck into my home with those I love with all my heart still sleeping --- there would be no time to investigate why they were there. If you're in my home uninvited coming through a window, you will surely meet your maker or at least, be up in traction for quite some time in the hospital. About two months ago, I woke up to my dog barking and growling viciously (the best she could) at a car that was parked outside my driveway with their lights off. She was up on the couch leaning against the window going absolutely crazy. People always laugh at my little vicious Chiweenie, saying that it's not much of an 'attack dog' due to her size -- but she's a good sentinel - she's our little alarm. And not for nuttin' -- her bark is sounding more and more like a big dog's bark. This is why I think it's also important, (if you're not allergic to dogs) to maybe invest in a small dog (or big one if you can handle it). Small dogs are wonderful intruder alarms. They'll let you know before you even wake up that someone is approaching your home. They can hear the tiniest of noises that the human ear can't pick up. They can also prevent accidents from happening, like identifying who is at your home instead of shooting someone who really wasn't there to rob you.  Of course, then you have my dog who sometimes cries wolf and barks relentlessly at the deer grazing on our lawn. But, you just never know. Be safe. My heart goes out to the Gordley family and so much respect for their forgiveness and understanding of the entire situation. My prayers and thoughts are with them.

Meet Lola, my adorable sentinel...

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, March 15, 2013

Catholic Priests are Never Accountable for Sexually Abusing Young Children or Practicing Homosexuality Behind Closed Doors

In some ways, there seems to be this right of passage for Catholics (mostly clergy) to bully those who are of different beliefs and lifestyles. I'm not talking your typical push you 'round the playground' type of bullying, but the type where if you don't believe what I believe, then you're just disgusting...period. They've made their point very clear, while trying to clean up their messy files of pedophilia and homosexual activities that have been going on in their churches for centuries. They never even step up to the alter and apologize, only to make excuses, cover up scandals and pretend like it never happened. Before I get into my distaste for the new Pope, I have a story of my own. Back in the eighties when I was going to CCD - night school for religion, they had sent us away to a religious retreat in upstate New York. It didn't seem like a "retreat" as much as it looked like a prison with cement walls and a door for each room. The only fun room they had was about the size of my bedroom with a pool table in it. They had old cots with thin bedding and one floppy pillow. The grounds were just as bland as the inside of the building - some dried out yellow grass and a swing set. I remember we were waiting to be called into a room to confess our sins to a priest named, Father Pipala. We were still learning the proper way to confess as well, prayer included. When it was my turn, the nun came up to me and whispered, "Now go and walk into that room over there and confess to Father Pipala." It was a thick metal painted door. I opened it to see Father Pipala sitting on a cot in an empty bedroom patting the bed saying, "Come here, child. Talk to me..."  I stared at him, expecting to see a booth with black meshing to hide myself from confessing. But it was all out in the open: a priest on a bed giving me a "come hither" look. At that age, I never knew anything about pedophilia or grown ups wanting anything other than to teach us and to take care of us. But at the age of 8 yrs old, I felt a creepiness that I'll never forget. I sensed something was wrong. I stepped closer and stared at him. When he tried to grab me with force, he managed to pull off some of my sweater. I ran out of the room as fast as I could and screamed down the dark hallway that was lit with cheap florescent lights that flickered on and off. One of the nuns tried to grab my arm but I made my way outside by the bus we drove up in and cried hysterically. The entire day, those nuns were "extra kind" to me, letting me sit aside from the activities that were given to the other kids telling everyone, "She doesn't feel very well."

Not too long after, it was exposed that Father Pipala was charged for molesting children, mostly boys. In an article written in The New York Times, it states, "In Monroe, Father Pipala settled into his job, coordinating the youth ministry and working in drug and alcohol programs. His license plate read, 'Fred 66,' a play on his nickname, Father Ed, and the year of his ordination. He also assumed a darker role: founder and leader of a club called the Hole, based in the church basement. It had several dozen members -- all teenage boys, some with strained relations with parents, others from broken homes. The priest said in his deposition that he based the Hole on the 'philosophy of having someone who would be there all the time, a place that one could go to share their thoughts and feeling and not ending up in some bar talking to some strange bartender.'  Yet, he said he gave the boys beer and liquor and showed them pornographic videos. Father Pipala created an initiation ceremony in which the teenagers, sworn to secrecy, joined him in masturbating into a red cloth, an act he would later compare to an ancient 'tribal' ritual. Each boy was given a small square of the cloth, and a T-shirt with his number on the back. By the time of his arrest in 1993, prosecutors said his abuse had extended to oral and anal sex. They said dozens of minors were initiated into his club and that he molested boys in rectories, at a Jersey Shore condominium and during a vacation in Massachusetts." ---read more here.

Aside from my own priest being a creepy pedophile, and in the same church, other priests telling me in confession booths that being a lesbian was a dead end road, I wonder what kind of road they were planning to travel on themselves. The church tried to sweep this mess under the carpet, just as the Vatican does with their own. No one ever seems accountable for their actions. Not one of the members of the church seems to lighten up on everyone who is a "seemingly sinful person" just by their sexual orientation. I understand Catholics believe homosexuality is a sin, but maybe they should pipe down a bit more since most of their clergy members are all repressed homosexuals and pedophiles. When it came to my attention that Pope Francis was chosen, many people were a bit upset with this, including myself. Many of the LGBT community were a bit taken aback by his statements. As you can see from the photo posted, he states that homosexuality is a destructive pretension against the plan of God. Well isn't ruining the lives of children by sexually molesting them also a destructive plan? If you practice homosexuality in the Vatican, in your churches --- shouldn't you be more lenient with the LGBT community? We're at least accountable and out - we at least admit we're gay or lesbian. We don't sweep our truth under the rug and show you a different face under a "red cloth". Pope Francis also stated that gays having children was considered child abuse. Child abuse? Really? He doesn't have the balls to admit what's brewing behind those closed doors and has the audacity to rant off that two loving people of the same sex are "abusing children" by having them. Now that's really gay.

To make matters even worse (and not to make you cringe), but the bishops told Catholics to celebrate holy week by attending an anti-gay march. You can read the article here. How about we rally in front of every church for an ant-pedophile march? In fact, we should spread it around the world, for all people, gay, lesbian, bi, straight, transgendered to picket outside of every single Catholic church and protest against children being sexually molested by priests who have no self-control whatsoever. John Becker writes, "This year, however, the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops is encouraging Catholics all across the country to add one more activity to that list. In addition to fasting, praying, and preparing for Easter, the bishops are asking their flock to take time out of their Holy Week observances, travel to Washington, D.C., and participate in a march and rally to protest the possibility that loving and committed same-sex couples might be granted the freedom to marry. The events are scheduled for Tuesday, March 26, the day the Supreme Court will consider Hollingsworth vs. Perry, the challenge to Proposition 8. (The Court will hear United States v. Windsor, the challenge to the so-called "Defense of Marriage Act," the following day.) It's being organized by the National Organization for Marriage, a blatantly partisan special interest group which infamously plotted to fragment the Democratic Party coalition by "[driving] a wedge between gays and blacks. Using Christianity's most sacred time of the year to promote homophobic bigotry and malicious discrimination? That's utterly contemptible. Every time I think the U.S. Catholic bishops can't possibly sink any lower into the cesspool of anti-gay bigotry, they find a new way to do exactly that. ...Jesus wept."  You're right. I'm highly disgusted. You would shun Catholicism too, if you found out that one of your own kids were molested by a Catholic priest.

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!

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Nothing Less Than Wonderfully Perfect in God's Eyes

Is it so bad if it was finally discovered, revealed and scientifically proven that being gay, lesbian, bisexual, heterosexual or transgendered was all but a choice? Even for myself, I sometimes want validation for my decision of being gay, for deciding not to go with the husband, kids, big house on a hill with a white picked fence three dogs in the yard kinda' deal, but everything is always in the gray area. I don't have a problem with my "preference" - my "choice". Didn't God give us choice? Mom always said it would be a harder life, but when I look around at all my friends, my family and other people who have the life people "should" have, it doesn't look so easy to me. And not that I want the easy way out, but I was never ridiculed by any of my friends or family for being gay or having a partner of the same sex. Other Christian people, yes. See, the discrimination that comes in all colors also includes other groups, like minorities and interracial couples. A long time ago I remember my dad telling me that if I were to ever date a black man, that it would be extremely difficult to be seen in public with him. (This is before he knew I was gay.) Where would we live? The neighbors would shun us and we would be looking out for our lives due to the bigotry. That was always engraved in my mind. While that may ring true in some cases, in some places, I'm not quite sure that would be the case at all, if I had chosen that path - and if I had fallen in love with anyone of any race or gender. I used to defend myself to discrimination of other people by saying, "Why would I choose the harder path in life?" For me, the harder path in life would have been being with someone just to conform "properly" with society's view of what's "right" and ultimately, hurting the man who had made a lifetime commitment to me.

Always rode motorcycles & ATVs as a kid. 
There are other things that I feel is a choice that people may cringe over. Now hear me out... We are evolving every single day. My feelings from the past ten years or so have changed a great deal, and I'm okay with that. My political views, my religious standpoints --- were all tweaked one way or another, or perhaps influenced by learning a bit more from either other people, or just reading in general from various sources. Is it a choice or is it a genetic thing to be transgendered? What do you believe? As early as I could remember, I remember I always wanted to be a boy. I'm not even talking being a tomboy or my love for boy's clothes --- I wanted the full package if you will. I wanted to be entitled the right to have a little girlfriend of my own and to have everything, the life and the physical attributes of being a boy. I didn't want to be a lesbian. More importantly, I didn't want to be a girl. It had nothing to do with my sexual orientation - it was what gender I wanted to be. I used to secretly pray to God at night to wake up in the morning being a boy and having all the 'boy parts'. I would wake up, run to the bathroom and be highly disappointed. I thought, maybe...just maybe, it would be like the fairy godmother and she would grant me my wish either under my pillow (God forbid) or, in my underwear as a gift. None of those wishes were granted. It wasn't until I was about 12 years old when a friend (who I had a crush on) introduced me to styling my hair, doing my makeup and putting on girly clothes. When she said, "Wow, you. look. beautiful!" ---that was it. If the pretty girls like other girls to look like a girl, then maybe being a boy isn't so important after all. So, I chose to remain a girl. I chose not to try and alter my physical appearance to mimic a boy's. And, not that there is anything wrong with a woman appearing as a butch, or as a man, it was just my choice to dabble into my femininity. It wasn't until I tried, that I knew for sure, this was definitely a better choice for me.

We're all changing in our own ways. We're all evolving, conforming, transforming. It's a never ending learning process. Some are extreme, while others, not so much. Take for instance, a mature woman wanting to change the look of her face. She wants a face lift so she'll look different, younger, more attractive and desirable. There is nothing wrong with that. If it makes her feel better about herself, then by all means, who are we to judge? But, you don't hear that woman saying, "Well God didn't intend for me to have this double chin and no cheek bones." What about the woman who finally realizes she wants a bigger cup size? It's a choice for her to transform her A cup to a C cup. All of these transformations are choices. Everything we do in life is a choice. You were born white. You were born black. You were born a male or female. Those are genetically correct. After that, everything we do becomes a choice. Everything everyone is, or whatever they become, whether it's a choice or it's through genetics --- it's all a beautiful thing. Perhaps the validation of "we were born that way" gives us more acceptance from others and unaccountability for what we chose in life. Why not step up and say, "I chose this life, not you. I chose ME to be nothing less than wonderfully perfect in God's eyes."

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!

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Peace, Love & Understanding

Through having spoken to many bisexual women, I'm finding there's a fine line between the labels of "bisexuality" and "polyamory". Most of the LGBT...and I guess we're adding the "Q" for queer -- they frown upon bisexuals simply because it's like a slap in the face for the lesbians. Like, 'have your cake and eat it too' type of mindset. Are they confusing bisexuality with polyamory? We all want acceptance, whether gay, lesbian, transgender, but once bisexuals want the same acceptance, we seem to fling it out the window as this horrifying attempt to make excuses to cheat on your spouse. For instance, would you think it was cheating if a wife strayed on her husband with another woman? Depends, right? For me, I see no difference, unless of course it's a polyamorous lifestyle. What about women who are truly bisexual, yet monogamous with whoever they made a commitment with? It seems unfair that many people of the lesbian community have shunned the bisexual community for simply being themselves - for the mere fact that their attraction has little or nothing to do with their gender, but for who they fall in love with.

I know I've spoken about this before, but the brunt of the shuns given to transgender women are usually from genetic lesbian women. An MTF (Male to Female). It's kind of odd since this has been around for centuries, and only has really hit its peak during the last 10 years or so due to more options, hormones and surgical procedures to make it happen much more than it used to. Here's another kick in the stomach by the lesbian community if a transgender woman happens to be a lesbian: "It's a 'man' invading our community!"  I know men go through a lot to be with lesbians -- but come on. Really? It's disheartening to see so much discrimination against transgendered people who have to deal with closed-minded people of the alternative lifestyle. "Alternative lifestyle" -- remember when they used to refer to us as that back in the 90's? You were about to yell at me, I could feel it. An old friend of mine who is a transgender woman had written an important piece on my blog, which you can read the full article here, but she states, "A 'secure' woman – lesbian or hetero, or a 'secure' man, gay or hetero does not have sexual identity or partner issues. They are far from questioning another’s choice, or need to live life in the way they need to live it. They simply are, - without thought or verification, or discrimination. A transsexual woman actually has no choice in her sex Identity. She pretty much also has little 'choice' in her feelings about a sexual partner. It is identical to a genetic female’s feeling of 'being' lesbian or hetero or whatever. The transsexual will feel identically 'lesbian' etc. The thought of her as 'different' - a transbian - is discriminatory, and misogynistic in the perception of her as a man with a woman’s body. This is so far from the truth, that it could not be more obvious. She could only want her female body because of being a woman in the first place and in the first person. She is not a transbian. She is simply as true a lesbian as a genetic woman."

It's amazing how many people aren't familiar or exposed to different lifestyles, whether due to upbringing or living in the sticks, where there's only a tiny deli and an old gas station 20 or more miles away, but each and every day, I do feel it's getting better for all of us. For now, I can only hope for more peace, love and understanding and umm, lots of wine...yes, wine. I'm such a hippy.


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!

Monday, March 11, 2013

Graciously Declining the Dr. Oz Show

There are many things you can do selfishly, without looking "selfish". There are many things we can do to create a better world, with hidden agendas. It's tricky. Here, on my blog, I write opinions through past experiences or what I'm currently going through this this very moment. I am not a doctor nor represent anyone from any medical field or psychological profession. I do however, know a whole lot about psychology -- anxiety, depression, all that good stuff and the medications that tag along with it, because I'm a patient. But I'm also a patient who is highly against antidepressants only due to my experiences being on them for a short period of time. A few days ago, I was contacted by the producers of The Dr. Oz show. They wanted me to be a guest on their panel to discuss my opinions and experience with antidepressants. I thought I would be the 'odd guy out', being that most doctors love pushing pills, however I was assured that Dr. Oz had similar feelings regarding handing out antidepressants too much and too frequently. There would have been other famous doctors up there on the panel debating with me as well, or at least, downgrading my experience. At first, I was apprehensive due to many factors: nerves, vanity, ego, etc. With pep talks from my sisters and a few friends, I pushed that evil ego aside and said, "Why not. I'm doing it." The producer called me later that night trying to sell me on this, saying that it would benefit me and my website. Well, that was a perk. She explained it was a great opportunity for me and my writing. Well then, here's my big break. Wait - why am I going on again?

As flattered and honored as I was to even be asked to be a guest on The Dr. Oz Show, I am graciously declining. I don't have the right motives. While it's all true that my experience with antidepressants were nothing but a miserable roller coaster, I'm not 100% sure that it may have been psychosomatic because I am so against pills of any form. I did experience high levels of anxiety, dry mouth, yawns that wouldn't end, shaking, convulsing and constant dry heaving, but some people don't experience that. See, my official diagnosis is "generalized anxiety disorder". I don't have bipolar disorder or schizophrenia (although some people beg to differ, that's a whole other can-o-beans). If I went up on that panel and argued that antidepressants are the devil (as I think they are for 'me') --- it may just be a life saver for someone else out there that is relying on my every word. "Oh look, here's a woman who had a bad experience with antidepressants and I wanna get off these damn things!" That's exactly what I don't want to happen. I don't want someone who really needs help to take my unprofessional "blogger" advice on something so serious.

My point is: although I stand behind my distaste for medications, I also feel that there are people out there that really do need them to function in order to live a healthy and normal life. I was also asked, or advised in a subtle way to elaborate (embellish) my symptoms, which is something I don't feel comfortable with. There are a couple of things I'll lie about: my weight and my age. After that, you're getting raw and blunt honesty. There are so many options to move those little brain chemicals around with more obsessive positive thought patterns and throwing away the negative ones. Sounds so easy and perhaps a cop out -- but it's been working wonders for me lately. As soon as I get an obsessive negative thought -- I picture a "stop" sign and turn it around into a positive outcome. I can't tell you how much this technique has worked for me, and hopefully it will last. It's about visualization of a positive outcome. Not everyone has these options if they have other types of mental illnesses. I want to help, not make it worse. Nobody should seek advice from a blog. Nobody. Blogs are for entertainment purposes and getting wacky opinions from your everyday citizen.  If I was asked to be on a show about doing things in a natural way and not bashing the meds, then yes, I would probably consider it. But discouraging medical help for people who really need them, I don't feel good about that. Let my blog suffer a bit longer. Hopefully one day, this blog will help much more people in the future as I carry on and on. So thank you, Dr. Oz for the opportunity to come be apart of your show. I'm much more comfortable being a viewer as of now.

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!

Sunday, March 10, 2013

Smile Through It...

Sometimes life throws you a bunch of curve balls. Whether big or small, they tend to get caught up entangling your life leaving you neglecting the biggest part of your happiness: your friends & family. This year I have had so many minor health issues, mishaps and other annoying struggles which had me living in doctors’ offices and emergency rooms. With that, I just want to apologize to all my close friends who haven’t heard from me as much lately. At times, I’m too tired to answer the phone, I forget who called me leaving me to forget to call back. There’s really no excuse for it. Things could be much worse. I’m a big baby when it comes to medical fiascos.

With that, brings the thought of what had taken place a few years back. I was walking in Shoprite picking up a few things one afternoon. As I was grabbing a gallon of milk, this lady with long dark hair all the way down to her waist with a long flowing dress walks up to me, eyes bulging out as if she had just seen a ghost and says, “You have to see me. You have a darkness surrounding you. I am so sorry to come up to you like this, but there is a darkness that I need to get rid of.” She handed me a flyer and whaddya’ know - she’s a psychic. Long story short, I went to her place to get a reading for shits and giggles and was told that I had an ex-husband with unresolved issues. Great. On top of that, for an extra $40 bucks, she will lift the darkness away from me. Wasn’t that the reason why I came to her anyway?

So last week, I’m sitting with a friend over coffee talking about all my health issues, little mishaps and bad luck lately. She stared at me and said, “Well the ‘darkness’ that the psychic told you about could possibly be this.” When I hear “darkness”, I think of extreme darkness - the unthinkable. Granted, this year has sucked, having to miss out on many events and enduring crap that was completely unnecessary, but one thing about me: I’m always laughing through it somehow. Even over a week ago when I had chopped the tip of my finger halfway off, I was in the emergency room laughing hysterically and cracking jokes with the doctors and nurses as I painfully went through the ‘reattachment’ process. While suffering the flu this year, I made sure to keep preoccupied with things I love to do and made the best of it.

I think that’s the key in life: making the best out of unfortunate circumstances. With age, I’m beginning to whine less and accept more. The nurses in the ER said, “Well there’s one happy patient!” I can’t say I’m completely happy - I can’t say anyone for that matter can acquire “complete happiness”, but we can all share the concept of acceptance and endurance during rough times in our lives and be “content”. Mind you, I haven’t yet experienced a great loss or a traumatic experience that may have me singing a different tune, but maybe God’s preparing me for the bigger stuff ahead. I sometimes think about the “what ifs”, and if I lose a loved one, God forbid. How will I react? Will I just be hysterical or will I feel numb and ask, “How come I’m not feeling anything”, and soon after, have it hit me like a ton of bricks?

Think about it: what would you do if the unthinkable happened to you? Life is incredibly short. Think about an memorable time in your past, and think about how short of time it really feels like. I can remember so much from my childhood and think, “Wow, I cannot believe I am 39 years old now.” Facebook doesn’t help either. I remember fearing my parents moving up into their 70’s. I remember the last few days of my father's life. It was feared. It was faced. My favorite quote about life is: “Worry is like a rocking chair - it gives you something to do but never gets you anywhere.” I don’t know who the author of that quote is, it’s debatable as I have searched for it online, but I had once heard it spoken by Joyce Meyer, my favorite Christian speaker, and I have never forgotten it. Here I am with anxiety disorder telling others not to “worry”, but to me, anxiety is just an uncontrolled disabling thing that has no rationale behind it, until you find out what’s underneath all the rubble. Even after it’s rationalized, it’s time to get out of the rocking chair and smile through it. I have a lot more fears to face.

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, March 08, 2013

Advertising vs. Begging

If you've ever been assumed about, I'm guessing you're probably frustrated over all the misconceptions people can dish out about you. I used to give a shit until I realized how imperfect we all are, whether we want to admit it or not. And being imperfect is a beautiful thing about life: we all share a commonality that draws us together, yet keeps many of us apart. We fear being 'figured out' - we fear that our vulnerabilities will be shown to the world. We're not the "perfect mother", "perfect wife", "perfect son", "perfect salesperson", "perfect singer", "perfect writer" -- and we're not. Not everyone's gonna love ya. Plain and simple. We try our hardest and it all gets flung out the flippin' window. But the thing is -- why are we caring and trying so much to prove our worth? It's a waste of time. I've quit caring about a lot of things in life (not careLESSly mind you), but in terms of certain things I used to go out on a branch for. I don't give a rat's ass about your politics. If you write about it - I ignore it. If you talk about, I walk away. And if you think you're "educating" others on what you think is "right", then you're sadly mistaken. Politics is like religion: no one wins and no one agrees.  This next one may seem a bit uncaring, but it's not. At my old place of work, we used to donate money to a foundation that would designate your funds from your paycheck into the desired "cause". And believe me --- it was all "cause-worthy", but on my second year there, I started donating to a different cause that tugged at my heart. This organization would come into our company and literally beg us to donate. They wanted us to fill out the flyer and bring it back to the representative as soon as possible. I checked, "no" - only due to my previous obligations. Well, I was 'taken aside' and spoken to about how important this cause was. I listened to her go on and on about the organization and how important it was that everyone pitch in, so I told her, "Isn't it important to chip into a fund that supports cancer patients who do not have the proper insurance or even a penny to their name in order to get chemo?" In other words, I already committed to another cause. Leave. me. alone.

Ever feel like you're just throwing money at people?
There's a fine line between advertising and begging. On this topic, it's about friends begging their friends on social media networks to buy their crappy makeup or holistic healing formulas in order to make their ends meet. Hey, I get it. We're all trying to make a buck or two in order to live and get by, but once you hit that 'low ball' option to beg your friends to pitch in for a product that they really don't need, you're eventually going to lose those friends one by one, perhaps slowly and perhaps quickly. I had a good friend email me and say, "Why are you so sick? I saw your status message and it looks like you are down with a cold again. Why not buy my product that heals all of your ailments."  I'm not going to get into how I responded, however I will say, it was very direct and I "un-friended" her on Facebook. Don't try and sell me your crap that does absolutely nothing (because I tried it once before) and do not -- do not try to ride the wings of my wacky ailments - because I have many - and I would umm, have to purchase everything from you, IF your product was reputable. Buncha' medicine women trotting on my Facebook begging me to buy their concoctions. Go 'way! In fact, when a good friend asks about my book, I send it to them. I don't want to profit from my friends. That is the cheesiest maneuver ever. Advertise. Don't bet. It makes a HUGE difference. Trust me on this one. If your friend needs a makeover, give her some products for free. If your friend is sick, then by all means, help them without asking for money! Seriously --- would you charge your friend if you brought them chicken soup when they were sick? Then think of this in the same aspect. Stop being so goddamn petty and git' yer' shit straight. /end rant.


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!

Cure Your Own Anxiety Without 'Shrinking' Your Bank Account

Suffering with anxiety disorder isn't easy. There are so many lovely accessories to go with it, like depression, self-medicating and doctors who are too lazy to treat their patients with effective therapy, writing a prescriptions all day and hoping for the best. Like me, not everyone can take antidepressants due to their many side effects. I have to opt for 'talk therapy' and what's perceived as "cognitive behavioral therapy", when it's only some guy who's heard probably 20 people before you whine about similar things just staring at you nodding or asking you, "So how do you feel about that?" I started reading books and articles online. I have learned so much from reading that by now, I should have a fricken degree. I have the type of anxiety whereas if I feel a tinge of pain in my jaw or left arm, I'm off to the hospital getting the works done: EKGs, blood tests, stress tests, you name it. If I experience swelling anywhere (like puffiness around the eyes or even the ankles from most likely too much salt), I think I'm going through anaphylactic shock. Chest pain? Yep - ER bound. All 2,358,387 visits to the ER for chest pain related symptoms were due to something that's called, "costochondritis" or some nerve-related symptom that stems from my carpel tunnel syndrome in my left hand from playing the guitar for a billion years. My point is, my obsessive thoughts make my symptoms worse. If I have a chest pain, I actually look for pain in my arm, and if I look hard enough, it will eventually come. I actually manifest these symptoms to make sure that it's real. And it's usually not. I was reading an article that was explaining how powerful the mind is, to where we can actually conjure up psychosomatic symptoms. They feel real - but they're not the actual real deal. I didn't mean for that to rhyme.

I had a reader of mine email me not too long ago about her fear of eating her favorite food due to "thought-to-be" allergies. Some foods would scare her so much that she wouldn't know if her symptoms were anxiety-related or a real allergic reaction. I wrote an article a while back that she found called, "False Allergic Reactions: Getting My Life Back". I have gone to great lengths to stay away from my favorite foods, such as oysters, sushi, bananas, mangos, nuts, peanut butter, and even limiting my outdoor activities in fear of bees. I finally went to the allergist and got a skin graph and blood test. The results were that I was only allergic to dogs and strawberries. A huge welt blew up on my arm from the skin graph due to the dog dander test. The doctor said, "Yep, looks like you won't be getting a dog anytime soon." Everything else, like shellfish, nuts and certain fruit were okay to eat. I was free and clear. Even though the tests aren't 100% accurate, I felt this sense of freedom. But, I started reading more about allergists and their inaccuracies - for instance - I got a dog and I even sleep with her at night. The first couple of months, yes I suffered with allergies and even had several asthma attacks, but I held in there because I read an article from a kinesiologist that stated your body needs to build up an immunity to these "allergens". So they're not so much "allergens" as they are foreign stimulants to which the body needs to get accustomed to, if need be. Many kinesiologists keep bringing their clients back into their office to get more exposure to the "allergen" by making them eat whatever it is they are "allergic" to little by little. In time, they're no longer allergic to what they once feared to be. For instance, let's say a kid grows up in a household without animals. Most likely, they'll have allergies to pets. But I'm not downplaying severe allergic reactions --- that's very real and it can happen at the least expected moment, which is very scary.
But what about psychosomatic allergic reactions? Are they real or are they just conjured up from our little noggins? Can the mind actually stimulate swelling or pain from anxiety-related obsessive  thoughts? With the knowledge that most of my left arm and jaw pain was due to a neurological  problem, one night I sat up in bed with the same pain. I thought to myself, "I am NOT going to the ER and sit there for 8+ hours to get told 'nothing's wrong with you'. again!" I was so fed up. I told myself it was my nerve damage, carpel tunnel, anxiety, and soon enough, the pain was gone. I did this a few other times and I am still here to talk about it. What scares me the most is, "what if" (hate saying that) - what if, one day I ignore these chest pains? It frustrates the hell out of me that these symptoms mimic those of a heart attack. So how do you know? One doctor told me, "When in doubt, check it out." And I just stared him like, you're going to be seeing a whole lotta' me my friend..." Another night I had similar pain in my chest area. I just looked at Madelene and said, "Listen, here's the deal. If I pass out, call 911. If I'm here still bitching about pain, just let it go." But is that the wise thing to do? I don't know.  I did however, do something differently: I wrote down where the pain was and how it felt. I jotted down the length of time, from what part of the body to where? I wrote down all the details of the anxiety-related symptoms, so when I feel something dramatically different, then I know to check it out. Sometimes, just chewing 3 or 4 aspirins at the time of my attack makes me feel better. But I wish I didn't have to go through all those steps.

This is how I "view" Walmart every day.
I'm sure you've heard that phrase, "Whatever you resist, persists."  The thought of having heart attack symptoms such as, palpitations, chest pains, and rapid heart beat will only increase if you focus on it going away. The same with an anxiety attack: if you try to 'make it go away', it will stay. (Again, I didn't mean to rhyme.) A therapist once gave me this analogy. She said, "Think of an anxiety attack as the riptide in the ocean. If you go against it, it'll take you under. But if you go with it, it'll let up." Pretty interesting if you think about it. Acknowledge it. Accept it. Go with it. And it only lasts for a short time (at least in my experience). And hey, if I have to have a glass of wine or two to make it go away a bit faster, I see no harm in that if the person doesn't have an addictive personality. Sometimes deep breathing exercises make me feel the anxiety even more for some strange reason, even if the technique is effective for most people. My problem is my mind. I have to get my mind off it. So, I play guitar, which involves a lotta' noggin' activity and distracts me a great deal. But what about when I'm out? I sometimes experience panic attacks while in a big supermarket, like a huge Walmart (that's enough to freak anyone out --- ahhh, the people of Walmart!!!) or like a big shopping mall. I get fuzzy in the head and feel like passing out. I also think, "What if I pass out in front of people and need to be carted out of here in an gurney?" Those thoughts rip me apart. But, the less I walk into these monster stores, the more my anxiety increases, leaving me with agoraphobic fears of even stepping into a small grocery store. So, I've been facing my fears and walking in there, getting little things at first, knowing, yes...I can do it. More and more, I find myself going for more things and spending more time in these stores without the 'fuzzy I'm gonna pass out' feeling. My avoidance even trickles into going to sit down in a restaurant. No one actually knows this, but usually, when I first sit down at a table in a restaurant, I'm having an 'inner' panic attack, until the waiter/waitress comes over and asks us what we want to drink. Sometimes I can't even hear what the other person is saying until my drink arrives. Last month, I went to a reunion with Madelene and sat at the bar to wait for our table. As we're sitting there waiting for our drink, Madelene had told me a story about something or other, and then of course, asked me a question.

"What?"
"Did you even hear what I said?" she asked.
"Yeah, you had to trade your day off for another one...right?"
"No, that was the story before this one."
"Oh."

Totally clueless. There were a ton of people behind us waiting to get a drink as well. I couldn't focus and finally I just said, "Mad, I'm having a huge anxiety attack and I can't even 'hear' anything you're saying. Let me just finish this drink."  As soon as that martini was sipped, she had my undivided (intoxicated) attention. But why does it have to be that way? While I can surely manage my anxiety temporarily with alcohol, there has to be another way to manage it overall. There hasn't been one psychologist (maybe one but he had to move out of the area) that knows how to treat their patients effectively. My current therapist said to me, "You don't look like you experience bad panic attacks or seem even nervous." I then explained to him that I sometimes shuffle around different therapists for fun to experience different methods used. I didn't mean that in the literal sense of "having a good ol' time" --- I meant, in point of interest. He got offended and said, "We're human beings and we're not here for your amusement!" I started crying and said, "You know, you only see what's on the outside instead of using your degree and your head and realizing that there's so much more than what's being said sometimes. I'm not here for fun! Do you think I really want to be sitting here in this small office across from you getting little to zero response for my money's worth?" I have even stated in the past that I was suicidal. He just stared at me as though he's heard this all before...and he probably has. All these years of going to therapy has proven only one thing: it. doesn't. work. We have all we need right at our fingertips. All the free information, books and CDs available that we can utilize, and yet we're still paying an arm and a leg to sit across from someone who has absolutely no interest in what you're saying whatsoever. I'm finding the best ways of coping with anxiety and panic attacks is to read more, educate yourself about your own mind and do things in fear. Practice it every single day. I'm not 100% anxiety-free, but I'm coping with it much more effectively. Please keep in mind that this is only my experience and that I am not a doctor -- my advice is a random, unprofessional view on how I view anxiety and the help that comes along with it...if you even want to call it "help". Good luck and stay anxiety-free, if you can.


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!