Saturday, November 29, 2008

Why Pray For Others?

Most people of religious faith do it regularly. They want their loved ones to be protected, so they pray for them. Some people pray for the healing of others. They say prayer is the most powerful thing you can do; the best gift you can give. My question is: why pray for others when God is much more powerful than mere humans? This is not a lack of faith on my end but another and theory about praying for other’s well-being.

Picture it: God is listening to you. What are you going to ask Him? What kind of conversation would you really have with God Himself? Do we have a lack of faith when we pray to God to heal another person? Do we think that God cannot handle this task on His own without our prayers? Or is it just a reassurance that we’ve got our prayers in so let’s “hope” for the best?

Don’t get me wrong—I firmly believe in prayer, but the other day I was sitting down thinking: why are we praying for others when God is in control? Is it because it’s a selfless act and we want to send positive energy to them? Then pray and send love to people if you wish. Why pray for something that God has already decided? It has already been done. Here: even if we pray for someone to get better while they’re lying in the hospital dying---if God chooses to take them, then we’re angry at God and usually blurt out something like, “God hasn’t answered our prayers. Why? Why? Why?”

There’s a bigger picture here. There’s truth and faith. Truth is usually based on scientific evidence and facts. Faith is based upon one’s belief without a factual basis. You can also say that someone’s faith is so great that it’s “truth” for them. Some have seen God themselves and have their own evidence, whether no one else witnessed this or not. Some have their own reasons why their “truths” are so “factual”. Faith can be confused with truth or compared to truth---but faith is faith when you boil it down and facts are facts when the water evaporates and all you have is salt.

Is it meaningless to pray for another person’s health? Of course not. With good intentions, positive vibes can be sent through prayer. I do believe that much. But, I don’t believe that just because you have prayed for someone’s well-being, doesn’t mean that they’ll get better----God is in full control. God has the ability to give and take away lives.

It’s no big deal.

Our lives are meaningless: simple-minded heavily bogged down emotionally and physically excruciating shells walking the planet. Our souls are weightless and our bodies are heavy, with physical weight and through emotional pain as well. When we leave our shells, we are completely weightless of all the things that have burdened us down with exhaustion. Just being outside of your body can be considered “heavenly”. Your forearm weighs a ton compared to the 5th dimension; the spiritual world. Even if we’re the healthiest of all people on the planet, we’re in constant pain – we’re so immune to it, that we have no inkling how heavy our little hand is. Just to lift up your arm is an extreme effort, compared to what it's like in the the spiritual world. Imagine that times 10 + having no emotional baggage stemming back from childhood way into your adulthood. Can you even imagine it?

I don’t want to get all “Shirley MacLainish” on you, but those of you who have had the wonderful experience of astral traveling know what I’m speaking about. I’ve had this happen to me twice: once while sleeping and once through heavily meditating. First thought: “I don’t have to breathe!” I know that sounds totally absurd, but you don’t have any involuntary work to do on the other side---which is another great task our body takes on that we’re so immune to, which we don’t even notice.

So in the “big scheme” of things: God sees the bigger picture. If you’re praying sincerely, make it worth it. Boldly ask God to help you and talk to Him as you would a friend. Asking to better someone’s health is great---but why not send positive vibes their way whether they’re going to survive or not? Either way, they’ll get the message.

…as our souls live on.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Are We All Headed To Rome?

Lately, I’ve been finding out the older I get, the more reserved I “want” to be with my views on Christianity, but it just doesn’t seem to contain itself. I guess through the years I’ve been writing, I’ve been encountering much more people expressing their different beliefs within many religions. They say that writing is more expressive than verbally speaking your mind. Normally, if you were to approach me in person, I would remain quiet if you brought up topics such as religion and spirituality. I would probably just listen and hear you out, unless of course you asked me about my views. It’s a hard call sometimes, depending on the person who approaches me about it.

I will say this: I don’t understand much about Unitarianism. I mean, I understand that they accept all religions, but what about for themselves? Do they pray to each and every God? Or do they just “accept” people and their beliefs? If they’re merely accepting people’s beliefs, then what about me as a Christian who respects other people’s beliefs? I don’t call myself a Unitarian, but someone who is strong in her Christian faith who respects all people of different religions. Then again, Unitarian people also call themselves “Christians” too.

One definition I found on the web of the meaning of Unitarianism is this:
“Unitarianism is the belief in the single personality of God, in contrast to the doctrine of the Trinity (three persons in one God). It is the philosophy upon which the modern Unitarian movement was based, and, according to its proponents, is the original form of Christianity.”

Another definition I found was this:
“Somebody who believes in the oneness of God instead of the traditional Christian belief in the Trinity; A follower of Unitarian Universalism; A monotheist who is not a Christian; A Christian who does not believe in the doctrine of the Trinity; Pertaining to Unitarianism.”

Ok, that last sentence baffles me: “A Christian who does not believe the doctrine of the Trinity.” Isn’t Christianity equivalent with the belief of Christ? And if you follow Christ, then you follow His teachings, which means Jesus is the truth, the way and the only source of salvation. Or is there a new type of Christianity I am not aware of? I’m not trying to be condescending of those people who believe differently, but I would like to know what it all means.

Without judgment, (because everyone knows that being a Christian lesbian alone is quite controversial and debatable due to my reliance in my own interpretation of the Bible), how does one stand up as a Christian without believing in the Trinity as well?
Then you have the philosophy of “all roads lead to Rome”. It’s a nice one to believe, I admit, but even if you present this to a “former Christian”, their ways and beliefs would feel as though it was going against the grain because of what was instilled into them when they were younger, or what they still believe to some degree. If all roads lead to Rome, then where does that leave those who believe in Satan who resides in “hell”? Or is Satan real? Is hell real? Is it a place that we’re living in now? Another theory that I just cannot get a grip on is when people don’t believe in a hell. There has to be “good with the bad; yin and yang", etc., right? Or is everything for the good? Everything we do, even lying, cheating, murdering, committing adultery and speaking against God: do we all end up at the same place? If you believe we do, then do you also believe that all types of sins committed against man and God are all for good?

In my belief, all agony, pain, sorrow, anger, rage, anxiety, fear and emotional torture are all for the good. It shares in the sufferings of Christ. It helps us to strengthen our character as well as help us endure tougher times to come. But then you have the argument of the other side: if the other person is causing the agony, pain, sorry, anger, etc., then is it all for the good for them as well? Or will they be thrown into "hell" for wreaking such havoc?

I’m still debating that one because the biggest thing here is forgiveness. I do believe that if someone is truly sorry for what they have done, then it is all for the good. It’s all for the learning process of what a human has to go through in order to evolve themselves. However, what if this person isn’t sorry at all and still continues to torture people, whether by means of emotional or physical pain?

I remain quiet while people pick my brain about beliefs and religion. I sometimes put in my two cents, however I tend to ask more questions rather than spewing out “my truth” – which is technically, “my faith”.

What’s “truth” for you?

Thank you, Susan for inspiring this post. She has provoked a lot of thought this morning and I just want to say how much I appreciate her take on everything.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Move Over, Rachel Ray - Let Deb Cook!

Besides writing, playing guitar and photography, one of my favorite things to do is cook. (Lucky Madelene, right?) Another little hobby of mine is taking too many home videos. Some of my friends and family have had just about enough of it.

However, here's a great way to make calamari diablo. It's easier than it looks! Don't drool on your monitor.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

A Deeper Meaning to Life...

Does it matter? If we lose a friend, lover or relative through death or separation due to life’s circumstances, we eventually reunite with them in the afterlife. Of course, with the afterlife and heaven + hell being a reality for me, I do believe that we return to our “home”. Some people don’t believe in hell. Hell can be anything from a grim place of pain and depression or it could mean life’s struggles here on earth.

With all of our human flaws, I’ve come to a conclusion, which is solely based upon my faith in Christianity and my belief of Satan: our inner conflicts, grudges, bitterness, depression, anxiety, fear and anger are all tools used by Satan to smother any sort of forgiveness, resolution and love in our hearts. Think about it - Satan is brilliant. What better solution to separate people from God by not forgiving one another? And it has a ripple affect: by the amount of bitterness, resentment and hatred toward one person, leaves a lack of forgiveness for the other, which is a sin against God. So person A leaves a trail that trickles over to person B, who then receives the wrath of person A being bitter, by means of self-deprecation and depression if person B is weak enough in their faith.

This is why some people are better than others when it comes to dealing with a death in the family. Some people are so devastated that they cannot even attend their own family members’ funeral services. They say that each person handles death differently. True, but what about people who aren’t afraid of dying? Do they simply not care? Or, do they have such great faith about the afterlife, that it’s almost welcomed in a nondescript way? Some who have claimed to have seen “God” have all said the same exact thing: “I don’t fear death.” It’s great to see and believe; it’s also better for those who believe without seeing which means one thing: faith.

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

Back to our human flaws: Satan uses them in order to attack other people. He can use other people in order to tear you down. This is when your faith needs to come in. Pray to God (whoever your pray to - mine being based upon the trinity), and ask Him to lift the cloud of bitterness and anger away from the one who is attacking you emotionally. Whether you were hurt in the past, or currently being attacked, this is the best way to go about it in my opinion. Without the negative energy being lifted from this person, there is no room for forgiveness. Just as it says in the scriptures, there cannot be evil cohabitating with the good; there cannot be sin and God in the same place. If the clouds of negativity fail to rise, this is when you have to step up in your faith and realize that life is too short. You need to send love and pray for the person being attacked and know that in a short while, we all come back together reunited in love. I do believe this much is true.

No one can tell another person how to handle their emotions or where to direct them. That is only up to them to decide. You can only pray for them and make choices for only yourself that’ll better your life. I once prayed to God and cried out, “Why do I have to be so forgiving?” Sometimes I feel like people walk all over me because they know I can’t hold grudges for long and it takes a whole lot for somebody to anger me. I feel as though I get the short end of the stick by being so forgiving. My mom laughs at me because when she does see me get angry with someone, it only takes 2 minutes for me to simmer down and defuse and say, “I love you”.

With that being said, I firmly believe that all the struggles we go through serve as a purpose in life…

“We can rejoice, too, when we run into problems and trials, for we know that they are good for us—they help us learn to endure. And endurance develops strength of character in us, and character strengthens our confident expectation of salvation.” ~Romans 5:3-4

Is it all a learning experience to help us evolve spiritually, so that we can treat others with love and respect? All the good deeds in the world won’t help us get into heaven, but I do believe it will help us become better people, which serves to help us internally; spiritually, so that we can see the bigger picture one day.

I’m still trying to figure “life” out, and I know with my strong Christian views, I can cloud myself with limited thought processes, because many people believe in different things---I totally respect that----but what if we all go back to “one”, as some believe? I have a dear friend that believes in reincarnation. She believes that we come back higher evolved from the past lives we have lived prior. Have you ever heard someone say, “Oh he or she is such an old soul?” Maybe that comes from being an actual ‘old soul’; an evolved spirit that has more experience because their soul has traveled beyond the realm of what a new soul has gone through. Do you think maybe it’s mere intelligence or do you think that it comes from a deeper place; a place where only the soul resides?

Of course, this type of belief goes against the grain with my faith in Christianity, however I’m always asking questions about faith, God, and other people’s beliefs.

What are yours?

Friday, November 14, 2008

Oh That's Crazy Talk...

You can’t mock someone for something they are well aware of. For instance, if someone has OCD and you poke fun at it: the result is at a standstill. Ok. Now what? The same applies when you mock someone for having any mental disorders and that person knows they’re a crazy sunnovabitch’, then you’re results go streaming down the drain like dirty sewer water. On the other hand, the person yip-yappin’ their mouth about how crazy someone is may be the result of a disorder brewing within themselves. Who knows…?

One of my favorite quotes:

“Insane people are always sure that they are fine. It is only the sane people who are willing to admit that they are crazy.” ~Nora Ephron

Have you ever heard someone rant on and on about their ex-boyfriend or girlfriend calling them “crazy” or they have “multiple personality disorder”, etc., etc., etc.? Have you truly looked at that same person and wondered the same about them? People who claim that everyone else is crazy usually means they are hurt for whatever reason, not realizing the compliments they have just given out.

Who wants to be normal anyway? The other proven theory is that most the intelligent people – let me say “geniuses” are more likely to borderline the brink of insanity. Studies show that DARP-32, a common gene found in our brain is the same gene that correlates intelligence with insanity, or severe mental disorders like bi-polar disorder and schizophrenia. So when someone tells you that you’re crazy, thank them for it and take it as a compliment.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Beat SAD (Seasonal Affective Disorder)

During a conversation with a close friend, she reminded about her “bad months”. Bad months can mean anything for anybody. It can be a month when in the past, a loved one died or a significant relationship came to an end, or anything that reminds you of something that took a toll on you emotionally. Most people associate “bad months” with the winter months. Usually there are combinations of why each person gets a little down during this time.

For one, technically, winter months shorten the span of daylight, which provides us with vitamin D through ultravoilet rays. If we don’t get enough sunlight or vitamin D through supplements or ultraviolet lights (tanning beds and special lighting just for this purpose), then we could end up feeling down or depressed. SAD (seasonal affective disorder) is a very common thing among many people. Some people don’t even know why they’re depressed. The depletion of vitamin D can be very dangerous for some.

With holidays approaching, this can wreak havoc on many people who don’t have family, or are estranged from their loved ones. For some, it can mean memories of someone close to them passing on during these months. Even if they didn’t pass on during this particular season, the mere thought of spending the holidays without them is traumatizing.

Personally, November and March are my “bad months”. I know, March isn’t really apart of the SAD timeframe, but it does remind me of something traumatic that had taken place when I was 16 years old. A friend of mine noticed a pattern with me: every year when March approaches, I go into a deep depression. I didn’t realize what it was until years later. As for November, I went through 2 devastating breakups, which for some reason, my body reminds me annually. It’s not as though I’m still mourning over these losses, it’s just how my subconscious reacts to what has taken place during this time of year.

I’ve learned some techniques to help distract my SAD and “bad month mindset”. For one, I make to make plans with those who are closest to me. I hold more parties at my place and spend more time with friends and family. This seems to help a lot.

I delve into my hobbies more: playing guitar, write and work on my photography. Whatever your hobbies are, dive right into them. The winter is the best time to do them because we find ourselves a bit more inside than we were in the summer months. If you don’t have a hobby, take something up. They say learning how to play a musical instrument sharpens your mind and develops mathematical skills.

Eat bananas. Did you know bananas have the same ingredient that Prozac contains which make us feel livelier and happier? Bananas contain tryptophan, which increases the levels of serotonin and dopamine, which are neurotransmitters that help increase our endorphins and make our moods more positive and upbeat. Don’t believe me? Try eating 1-2 bananas a day for one week and tell me how you feel.

Exercise. You’ve heard this so many times, but exercising releases endorphins that make us “happy” and set our moods in a more positive direction. You’ve heard of a "runner’s high"---well this is very similar, if not the same. I have problems keeping a routine myself, but when I get into it, I can’t tell you how much this relieves me anxiety and depression, especially during these months.
Laugh dammit! Laughter has so many benefits that it’s not even…err….funny. It can relieve pain, depression, anxiety and feelings of self-deprecation. It also helps to boost your immune system. Studies show that the release of endorphins that laughter provides gives you similar pain killing results just as strong as morphine. Wow! It also burns calories... Sign me up!

My lifestyle changes a great deal especially around this time of the year. I drink more coffee, I steer clear from sugar, I eat more bananas, exercise more and try to surround myself with positive people who make me laugh.

Of course the source of my happiness and well-being comes from a higher source: God. With prayer and meditation and a deeper sense of my spirituality, nothing can affect me like it could when I’m weak and vulnerable and distant from God. If anything, try these all year round. I can't suggest spirituality or religion to you, because each person has their own beliefs.

Whatever months you consider to be a great challenge, try your best to do what makes “you” happy. We all know that life changes for the better and sometimes for the worse, but it’s so important to learn to manage our associations with the months that pose negative thoughts and memories upon us. Of course, if you feel bad enough to where you can’t handle it on your own, please seek professional help as soon as possible. I still do at times. I’m only human…so are you!

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Do You Have That "Gut" Feeling?

The other day, I was reading what a fellow blogger, Ricardo was going through. He explained that he’s experiencing a lot of stress in his life, mainly work-related, and his doctor had diagnosed him with GERD, (gastro esophageal reflux disease). I know about this all too well because back in the beginning of 2006 up until the beginning of 2008, I was so stressed out, where my stomach starting giving me signs that enough was enough. From heartburn, indigestion, chest pains and severe stomach cramping, I ended up finding out I had GERD.

My doctor first prescribed me Aciphex for the reflux. This medication is a potent form of the over-the-counter drug, Zantac. Although it did help, once I stopped the medication, my reflux and stomach problems quickly came back. Not too long afterwards, I started having pain so badly that I was taken to the doctor in an emergency. Once they knew it was an ulcer, they gave me a medication that would coat the ulcer and almost “cement it" so that no stomach acid could penetrate it. I wasn’t allowed to take any ibuprofen or anti-inflammatory drugs. I was given a list of things I could and couldn’t eat, as well being told to stay away as much as I can from any unnecessary stressors that were in my life.

Although most medication that the doctors gave me helped temporarily, they were also depleting my calcium and other nutrients, which made my bones weaker and left me tired at times. I thought I really couldn’t do anything about it since I didn’t want my stomach worsen, but I did seek alternative options that were better for me, in my own personal opinion, which I would like to share with any of you who are suffering from the same thing.

1. Brioschi. This stuff was introduced to me by my sister. It’s 100% natural and it’s similar to alka seltzer. It has a high content of sodium, so if your doctor has told you to stay away from salt, then you it's best you seek other options. It’s a miracle worker though, without the harmful chemicals to deplete you of your vitamins.

2. When reflux strikes you unexpectedly, pour a glass of water and swallow 10 times really fast without stopping. What this does is wash down the acid so that it doesn’t irritate or burn your esophagus. This has always helped me.

3. Eat an apple a day! Apples are great for your digestion as well as neutralizing the acids that run rampant in your tummy.

4. Try not to overeat. The “fullness” gives the GERD an easier climb up into your esophagus, making you miserable the rest of the day. Usually people who suffer from GERD digest a whole lot slower, so it’s important to eat in small intervals so that you won’t overstuff yourself.

5. Vitamin E – 400 IU worked for me tremendously. This vitamin helps limit the nitrates, which your body produces from eating certain foods. It greatly helps the blood flow and limits the ultimate scary “C” word---cancer. Carcinogens formed in the stomach from nitrates are what causes cancer and other illnesses. With healthy blood flow and the help of vitamin E, you can greatly reduce your risks of a bigger concern.

6. Eat your PB&J! Peanut butter is like a cement wall in your stomach where the acids have a hard time trying to penetrate your stomach lining. This helped me a lot when I was younger with my first ulcer. Now, unfortunately, I am allergic to peanut butter---but this was a miracle worker too!

7. Ginger root. Most likely when you were younger, you were given ginger ale to make your tummy feel better. It’s not an old wives’ tale. Ginger is great for digestion and relieves stomach pain. It also provides better blood flow, like vitamin E does which is so beneficial to healing.

8. Stay away from soda, carbonated beverages and especially alcohol. (Yes I had a hard time with staying away from the potato juice!) Carbonated beverages mostly irritate where as alcoholic beverages can do a lot of damage.

9. Steer clear of broccoli! Although broccoli has been known to kill the bacteria which causes cancer in some, it also can give you a lot of pain if eaten raw---almost as if you’ve eaten razor blades for lunch. It’s healthy, but painful.

10. Breathe in………breathe out. Meditation and finding peace in your life is the biggest help of all. Once I got rid of the stressors that were plaguing me emotionally as well as physically, I was able to live my life more comfortably and calmly. Sometimes that means getting rid of toxic people and other times, it means you really need a life altering change for the better. This could be finding a new job, eliminating negative friends in your life or just doing what makes you happy. I found Reiki to be a source of relief to most of my ailments. You may find a simple 45 minute massage will do the trick. Exercise is a wonderful outlet too!
There are so many people who suffer with this and those who don't even know they have it. If you have any of these signs, it's best to seek medical advice and get the treatments your doctor prescribes. On another note, be careful about these medications that the doctors freely give out, because they can be as bad as pushing drugs for emotional disorders---(pill pushing). They get kickbacks and rarely go by what "you" need. If anything, please try these natural remedies that I have listed above and make sure you find yourself at peace and away from toxic people, places and things!

Is Bisexuality Is Better Than Homosexuality?

In a previous post, I had mentioned a disagreement I had with a friend who happens to be African-American, who voted for Proposition 8. She said that it was important that marriage should be sacred for only a man and a woman. In the video below, Olbermann explains how at one time blacks weren’t able to marry white people, and in fact, they weren’t even allowed to marry each other back in the times of slavery. This very same person who voted for Proposition 8 also wanted to be intimate along with Madelene and myself, because she thinks all gays and lesbians are promiscuous. She’s bisexual, so it really didn’t matter, right? We graciously declined and she was very offended. People have this sense of homosexuality being perverted, promiscuous and/or dirty. Two people of the same sex who love one another are just the same as those who are heterosexual. Both heterosexuals and homosexuals can be just as promiscuous, and yet both can be loving and monogamous, if all are being viewed as separate individuals or couples.

Please watch this video. It couldn’t have been so beautiful said, nor conveyed in such a loving way. I saw this video on Real Live Lesbian’s blog and wanted to share this as well.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Gas Leak

It’s strange when you think of it, but at any given moment, if you rely on natural gas to heat your home, you’re in risk of a huge explosion. It’s always in the back of our minds: carbon monoxide poisoning, gas leaks and matches, gas leaks and fireplaces, etc., etc., etc… Natural gas is odorless, however there is a chemical called mercaptan that they add to it so we can smell it and detect if there is a problem. It almost smells like rotten eggs.

Yesterday I was driving back home from going shopping. I had just packed up my car with tons of groceries and a huge box of those 5 hour burning fire logs. I was planning to come home, make a roaring fire and cook dinner for Madelene. As I’m driving on the last road to get to my place, there was a construction crew working on the ditches. Once I passed them, I was engulfed with an overwhelming smell of ‘rotten eggs’. This smell trekked all the way up my complex. I swung my vehicle around and drove over to where Madelene works and called the gas company right away.

About 30 minutes later, I headed back home. As I was lugging the groceries up the stairs, I hear someone banging on my neighbor’s door screaming out her name. He looked at me and said, “Smith? Are you Smith?” (Of course not the real name, bear with me.) He had the utility gas company jacket on and walking around with one of those little gas detector meters. The entire place still smelled a little. “No, I’m not Smith, but I did call it in because I smelled gas all over the complex.” He said that the construction crew knew for 4 hours that there was a 5 inch leak blowing out of the pipe which they were trying to contain. The construction crew didn’t call it in because they would have gotten themselves into a heap of trouble. It affected much of the surrounding area.

I dumped my groceries into the fridge and left to go stay at my mom’s place for a few hours until it cleared out. As I’m walking out, he asked me my name and then told me I was the first one to call it in. Did anyone NOT smell this leak? I mean, as soon as I passed the site and went into the complex, the entire area was engulfed with this smell. Are people’s sense of smell completely gone??? He looks at me and says, “Well, if you’re going to stay here, make sure you don’t turn on any electrical switches or light a fire.”

I quickly walked over to the ladies standing near the mailboxes and told them what was going on so they can take whatever measures to get the hell out of there. When somebody tells me not to turn on a damn switch in my house, to me all I hear is: THAR SHE BLOWS!

I’m outa’ there.

After spending a few hours with mom, I went to go pick up Madelene from work and we saw a night crew working on the cracked pipe. They lit that area up like Yankee stadium. I called into the gas company again to check the status and they reported that it was under control. I did get to make my dinner and with tons of anxiety, I lit a roaring fire in the fireplace.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Will It Come Down to a Racial Holy War?

There are many deep seeded prejudices that are embedded in a lot of people. If you were either brought up in a household where one or both of your parents or guardians had any prejudices, then you were most likely planted that very same seed of hatred or discontent for people who were different from you – whether they were black, white, homosexual, etc. The election aftermath had people muddling around in a melee of blogs, articles, conversations around water coolers and even newspapers claiming reasons why this was the most mentally exhausting election of all time.

In one article I had read, they started out by Barack Obama’s religion. They posed it as a question and asked if he would make it known that he’s a Muslim after he is elected, even if he did claim he was Christian this whole time. Do people care? Some. Mostly Christians will care about this. Another question on the list was, “Will Black Panthers patrol voting booths, like some claim they did Election Day?”

Ok. Here’s the thing: when I go to vote, I have to drive to where I’m registered, which is in my parents' neighborhood. They have a place nearby where they hold their voting polls. It’s predominately a white community. As I stood on the line waiting to vote, I saw all the regular ladies around the neighborhood signing people in and others coming in with baked goods, giving treats out for free just because people have voted. At the booths, I noticed there were black women standing there to hold the curtains open for us. I didn’t notice this until it was my time to go in. The woman smiled and tiled her head, almost as if she already knew I was going to vote for Obama. (Then again, maybe this was all in my head.) Imagine if she really knew who I was voting for? This somehow planted guilt in me. I know it wasn’t her fault that I had guilt, but I had to wonder: why are they placing black women at every voting booth? I have never seen this before and it wasn’t like there were any other white people there to do the same job. In other places like Philly, they had black men in Black Panther attire smacking blackjacks in their hands standing guard at the locations intimidating people, saying, “We are tired of white supremacy.”

Take a peek at this next video, where members of the Black Panthers were there to intimidate people to vote for Obama.

Maybe what happened to me wasn’t Black Panther-related, but in other places I’m concerned that many people were turned away from their own locations to vote somewhere else…or turned away from voting all together.
Difference is: my experience wasn't "intimidating" more than it was guilt stricken. These men that are in the video above were clearly intimidating.

What do you think?

Saturday, November 08, 2008

My "Lovahhhhh" - So Wrong On So Many Levels

Tell me if I’m wrong. I have a hard time addressing Madelene as, “my wife”. No, I don't have regrets about marrying her, but when I’m bringing up Madelene in a conversation, I keep referring to her as my girlfriend or partner. Wife just doesn’t slip out of my mouth easily. I just keep thinking of how people will react to “wife” as opposed to girlfriend or partner. Girlfriend or partner is more understandable to most of the mainstream peeps, so it makes the conversation a bit easier. Then again, there are people who highly disagree with me (Madelene mostly) and feel that “wife” should be addressed in any circumstance. I'm just finding through my own experience with using "wife", that it confuses people a great deal. I guess it doesn't matter, right?

Funny and true story… One day Madelene and I were walking inside our local bank making some deposits. She suggested that we make the deposit in one account and was generous enough to pile it all in mine, so the teller says, “Oh, someone else is making transactions for you today, Debra? Is this your sister or friend?” I just gave her a blank stare through my huge sunglasses and said, “No, she’s my partner.” She then gleams over at Madelene and asks, “Oh, nice! What type of business are you gals in?” See? The word “partner” is just as confusing too. Is it business or pleasure? Who knows? Who cares?!! The worst label in my opinion is, “lover”. I absolutely detest people calling their girlfriends, boyfriends or partners, “lovers”.

“My lovahhhhh…”

Ew. No. It doesn't flow.

People keep asking me how I feel now that I’m married. “How’s the married life treatin’ ya?” It feels absolutely the same only with a bigger ring. (?) I get the questionable ‘should you have taken this step so soon’ look and give them the good ol’ ‘I’ve been with her for 14 fricken years’ look back. But all kidding aside, I do want to say that my ceremony was so special to me and giving her my vows on that day was something I have dreamt about for many years. It brought our relationship to a new level and it feels wonderful. We’ve always had a great friendship and relationship as well as little and big bumps along the road, but it feels as though we’ve gone through so much of the bullshit and bypassed a lot of things that many couples would have given up on already. So, I’m grateful that Madelene has stuck it out with me. She never gave up on me even when I was being a huge jerk---and I do admit to that. She has been such a great support system even when she didn’t have to be. I’ve been realizing that when you truly, deeply love somebody, you never give up on them. You take them ‘as is’ and love them regardless…and for who they are and not what they did in the past. Forgiveness, understanding and communication have played a huge roll in our relationship…and now in our marriage.

I know I’m not perfect by a long shot, but what we have now is so much better than what we ever had. I guess with all that being said, it’ll be easier calling her “my wife”. Soon enough, the angry little hetero religious monsters will be voting against gay marriage and our union will no longer be legal, however - no one can take away the love that we have for one another in our hearts. Vote away - we’ll still be here happy as clams or should I say, lovahhhhs!

Friday, November 07, 2008

My Thoughts About Teaching Kids About Homosexuality

In the back of my mind, I’ve always wondered what my little nephew and two nieces would think when they finally came to their conclusions and questioned my living arrangements with Madelene. They have no concept of what “homosexuality” is, they’re 4-6 years of age. I never led them to believe either or. I never display public affection anyway, so it’s clueless to many who come across Madelene and myself. We’re pretty reserved – not to be confused with in the closet.

My sister and my niece were sitting down sifting through our wedding photos and little Sophia asks, “Why is Aunt Debbie kissing Aunt Madelene on the lips?” She was confused and quickly questioned her mom. My sister gave her a brief ‘blow it off’ type of answer (thank GOD) and life was back to normal. (I think.)

Even though Madelene and I got married in MA, I didn’t want any of my little ones there, only because it would have confused them a great deal, as the photo already posed deep thoughts to little Sophia. I’m not saying that teaching kids about homosexuality is bad, but at that young age they are very impressionable and shouldn’t be taught anything until the age of 12 or higher – above puberty, at least. That’s just my opinion on that. I make sure that Madelene and myself refrain from any ‘relationship talk’ or ‘marriage blabber’ in front of the little ones. They don’t need to know, in my personal opinion and I’m content with that.

When I was still living in the apartment above from my parents’ house, little Sophia a bit over the age of 1 would sit on my bed and we would play “the picture game”. I would give her a picture and she would say, “Mama” or “Nana”, or whoever was on the photo. It gave her a sense of recognition and she could sit there for hours going through all the photos. One morning she came upstairs and walked into our bedroom. She pointed at one side of the bed and said, “That’s where 'Magic' sleeps." (She used to call Madelene, “Magic”.) Cute, right? Anyway, the point is: she never once saw Madelene upstairs in the bedroom or saw us sleep, so how did she know which side she slept on? It had us laughing and wondering how she knew at the same time. Do kids just sense things?

I think it’s so important to have kids figure out on their own if they’re gay or straight. They’re going to know about homosexuality whether you teach them or not. I never knew anyone who was gay while growing up, yet I knew I was different; I knew I was gay. I didn’t say anything only because I wasn’t surrounded by people who were like me. Now times are different and people are more comfortable with their sexual orientation. It's more accepted. I don’t think we need a diagram to explain their sexual orientation. Let them figure it out on their own while being taught about reproduction and how our organs work in the way that pleasures us at the appropriate age.

Quick lowdown: Sophia is a little me. Not only does she resemble me when I was her age, but she wears boys’ clothes and wants to be identified as a “boy”. She goes by “Sam” and prefers anything boy-related. Does this mean she’s going to be gay in the future? Maybe – maybe not. Does it mean she will one day want to be a boy and change her identity? Possibly, or possibly not. You don’t know until after puberty and choices shouldn’t be made before then in my opinion. I just hope that she loves herself the way she is and is always comfortable knowing that whatever choices she does make, we’ll be behind her 100%. I’m hoping that one day if she does decide anything, she’ll come to me for support when she needs it.

Here’s a photo of Sophia on the left, and me on the right at her age. She’s a “mini me”.

Thursday, November 06, 2008

"Miss Bisexual" Voted Yes for Prop 8

If you live the ‘straight life’ and feel as though your vote for California’s Proposition 8 was due to your values, beliefs and what you stand by in your own personal life—then fine. But if you’re a person who seeks to have sexual relationships with the same gender for yourself just for ‘fun’, and yet you’re out there voting for Prop 8—then you’re a hypocrite in my opinion.

Remember the woman I was telling you about in my previous post, who voted for Obama for no other reason other than the color of his skin?

In her own words:
“THIS IS A STRAIGHT MIRACLE. A BLACK PRESIDENT???? We couldn't even walk on the sidewalk only the whites could for a long time, drink out the same water fountain, use the same bathroom. America had us acting like we were contaminated with a disease. Who can hold back tears???? Jesse Jackson watched his boy MLK get shot in front of his eyes, he even ran for President and even all the blacks told him IT WASN'T POSSIBLE. Well not ALL but the VAST MAJORITY. For him to see a moment like that.........remembering all Martin Luther King Jr did to get us to this point?????????? HOW CAN YOU NOT CRY?”

She never mentioned one reason why she voted for Obama due to his intelligence or experience. I personally feel the behavior of the people who were at the Obama rally was similar to the behavior of those who followed Hitler. They cried too. They were so passionate about him that nothing else really mattered. Yes, first black man to be president-----great! But, let’s be honest here – it was a bit insane.

On another note, she states that she believes the sanctity of marriage should be between one man and one woman. Fine, but what if you’re playing Miss Bisexual of the year? She has invited Madelene and myself into her bedroom for a little ‘fun’, assuming that because we are a lesbian couple that it must mean we’re promiscuous. An offer of a little ménage à trois... I graciously declined and she lashed out at me because she was rejected.

Some people shouldn’t even be allowed to vote in my opinion. "Miss Bisexual" doesn’t care if Obama is intelligent, experienced or what his policies are---she only cares that he’s African-American. (And yes, he has some other nationalities mixed up in there too.) But the point is: a black man is running for president. Who cares about his qualifications?

Who cares if she’s voting for Prop 8 and seeking out lesbian affairs on the side? It kind of sounds like those Republicans caught with their pants down.

Knowing the struggles that she and her family have endured regarding rights, you would expect she would have compassion knowing the struggles that the LGBT community goes through. Now she is seeking to take away rights from those who love one another; from those who want to start a family and live their lives the way they want to. She wants to take away the rights of gays and lesbians to love, marry and have children. She wants to choose who you should love and who is allowed to get married.
She wants to control what happens in your bedroom.

She also chooses to dabble in it too.


Edit: A fellow blogger, Kevin quoted this after hearing I was all for McCain:

"Hi Deb,

Obama may be against gay marriage (at least that is what he says--we'll see what happens if he gets elected), but he openly stated that he was against Prop. 8. McCain, on the other hand, openly supported Prop. 8. Prop. 8 states that it will eliminate the right of gays and lesbians to get married. I don't see how a person running for president can support taking away a right of anyone. But it is done and soon we will know the outcome of this election and the outcome of Prop. 8. Now I am nervously sitting here wondering if I am going to be married tomorrow."

Welp-----Obama is president now and Prop 8 is in full force. He has little or no affect on gay rights or the lack thereof. Promises, promises, right? Let's hope Obama gives us a nice surprise...

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

Can I Say That?

Race has been a huge factor for Obama’s campaign for many who have voted for him and those who have not. Not all. Most. No doubt- this was an extraordinary historical event. America made history! There were enough tears to fill up Lake Placid from the joy and relief that African-Americans felt when they heard that it was the first black president in history. Jesse Jackson was so overwhelmed; he stood there with tears streaming down his face and his lips quivering---totally in shock and thanking the good Lord above for this glorious night in history.

Was it because he is a qualified candidate who holds a lot of experience and will better our economy? Or was it because it was the first African-American president in history? Why were they crying?

Can I say that?

I read somewhere that even if you call Obama “eloquent”, that it’s a racist remark. Do we have to tiptoe through the bigot detectors in order to talk about our new leader? Here’s my problem, or not: it’s always a good thing to learn about your roots and ancestral history, but to bring up your children by planting the seed of resentment for people who have died long ago is absolutely disturbing. We’re with you! We agree that what the white man did years ago was wrong and awful. African-Americans are so angry at us----still to this day.

Can I say that?

I had this friend who was black. --(Can I say that?) And the entire time spent with this woman was absolutely grueling only because she kept bringing up “the rich white man” and how they never give black people a chance in life. With this type of mindset, we have affirmative action where most companies like to span out and split in their employees in half by race, just because they don’t want to appear as racists. We are tired of tiptoeing around! Why can’t we just see that we’re all one? Why can’t we just get rid of the past and realize that we can make it so much better here for us in the United States, as well as all around the globe by forgiving and…”forgetting”?

I have received hate mail by people who were disgusted by my choice, McCain. I didn’t vote for him because I’m a racist- I voted for him because I hold more like-minded views with him. I feel safe with him that he would take every measure to protect us in a time of crisis---whether by terrorists or by our current financial crisis. I was in the middle though, because I did like a lot of Obama’s ideas. I was confused right up to the last minute. But to say I am being a racist (you know who you are), just because I have voted for McCain, is distasteful and shows me how much people are going to keep holding grudges towards white people. I’ll leave it at that.

Can I say that?

Check out this video on an interview with Howard Stern as he interviews WHY the people of Harlem are voting for Obama.

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

I'm Voting!

After doing tons of research on each candidate, paying close attention to the media and newspapers, as well as listening to my friends and readers' choices and reasons why they are voting for a particular candidate, I have come to a final decision. I am picking the lesser of two evils and voting for McCain.

I'm off to the polls.

Monday, November 03, 2008

A Political Debate In My Living Room...Come In!

This debate may have helped me make a choice of who I'm going to vote for, however the help that I have received from my readers was so incredibly amazing. Thank you so much for sharing your views with me on my previous post and being so upfront and honest with me regarding your political choices as an American. You guys rock!

Now, I invite you into my living room for a heated political discussion. I kind of kept out of it, only because I wanted to learn more from my friends. The only parts of this video you will see of me are of the foolish scenes. Pardon the martini overload on my part. I kept 'hush hush' ---or tried to.

In the Gray Area

With Election Day approaching and my mind spinning between political debates and distasteful commercials that each candidate sets forth upon one another, I’m more confused than ever. I thought by now that I would come to a clearer decision of who I would be voting for, but unfortunately it just gets worse and worse and just more confusing. Some say choose the lesser of the evils and others tell me their passionate opinion regarding ‘their guy’.

I’ve been researching, reading and finding things on Youtube (politically and not sifting through personal videos by civilians), and found something that almost made my decision lean more toward one candidate. It may seem idiotic that my vote could have been swayed one way due to the answer Obama gave to Pastor Rick Warren, on the question: “What was your biggest moral failure?”

“I had a difficult youth. My father wasn’t in the house,” the presumptive Democratic nominee answered. “There were times where I experimented with drugs. I drank, you know, in my teenage years. What I traced this to is a certain selfish necessary on my part. I was so obsessed with me…It's not about me.” Obama said, coincidentally paraphrasing the first line of Warren's best-selling "The Purpose-Driven Life." ---read more.

At first, I didn’t realize that Obama was quoting something from Pastor Rick Warren. I have read his book and it didn’t even dawn on me. I was really touched by Obama’s honesty and his ability to reach down to those who can relate and familiarize themselves with a candidate and not just see them as some far fetched political figure who would look down on people due to their past and “moral failures”. I was happy with his answer and even more pleased about the way he had humbled himself in front of millions.

McCain spoke about his failed marriage. Okay, a failed marriage is something to be disappointed about, but is it a moral failure on John McCain’s part? Maybe his first wife was unfaithful? Maybe she was the one who ended the marriage---I’m not sure, but I do know that this “moral failure” that McCain had spoken about dealt with two people. We’re talking about “McCain” and not anyone else. What is “his” moral failure? Hard question for anyone to answer publicly without looking bad. It’s like the inevitable job interview question: “What is something that you need to improve on or see as flaw?” We’re taught in many advice books and websites on how to give the best interview and to answer that question with, “I’m a perfectionist and I’m too hard on myself.”

Beautiful, right?

After the interview between Obama and McCain with Pastor Rick Warren, I was leaning toward Obama, until I found out Obama was trying to ‘pal it up’ by quoting some line in Warren’s book.

"I like that," Warren joked, "I like that."

Of course he did. I know that I’m basing my decision on frivolous interviews, but I’m trying to see their true character and not something that has been rehearsed in front of their mirrors hours before.

I’m not sure if I’m ready for that big of a “change”. I like both of these candidates, yet at the same time I dislike them. I’m confused because every politician lies and there are no guarantees that either one will serve our country better. We can only go on promises made by them and annoying campaign ads that drive us all nuts and has us “snoping” every single claim a each one makes.

I am totally in the middle and need a push in the right direction. If you can explain to me why it is better to vote for a particular candidate due to whatever---anything you feel that is important, maybe my decision will be clearer for tomorrow, otherwise I am not going to be at the polls.

Please help me vote!

Emotional Self-Preservation

"I'm Sorry." After the last couple of years, and whatever it is that you may be personally going through, it's especially ...