Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Wanted: Faith, Hope & Healing

There are days where I can hang with the best of them, smiling, laughing and joking. It baffles me that there are days that come which bring me pain, misery, sadness, resentment and sometimes even bitterness. Although it doesn’t last long, these thoughts that fill my mind with negativity just come crashing in like an unexpected tornado. “It’s a bad day”, I’ll tell em’, but more so, it’s a wave of insanity that grips me like a vice and squeezes out any positivity I have left to give or receive.

It’s useless.” Rarely you’ll hear me say this, but on my bad days, you’ll hear these words muttered out as I suck down another chardonnay just to dull the pain. Pain: emotional and physical that takes a toll of my very being. The Vicodin may give me side effects---forget about the wine. That’s healthy, so the doctors say. “It’ll be alright.” my wife tries to convince me as I hold the area of the pain, crunched over in a corner, hoping there will be some relief soon. I’m living my life like a terminally ill patient waiting for God’s pen to imprint heaven’s waiting list with my name...but it never happens. I’m not even that sick, nobody can diagnose me with anything, yet I sit here, rocking, shaking, holding my side as if someone had stabbed me a million times.

“Take the Vicodin.”
"No. I won’t take it until I am exasperated from the pain. I’ll go through the pain."

“This is just gonna pinch for one second.” the 24 year old nurse said as she jabbed a few veins that weren’t visible enough because her rubber band was too loose. “Go away! Get off me!” I screamed, crying in frustration that I’m only 36 years old and suffering as if I were terminally ill. This isn’t fair. “But it can be worse.” Yes. It can...

“We have no diagnosis for the pain.” the doctor tells me as he stares at me, wondering if it’s all psychosomatic. “But it hurts so bad. I can’t sleep, I can’t do anything when I’m like this and it’s ruining my quality of life.” He tilts his head and says, “Here, take the Vicodin, it’ll help with the pain and let you sleep.”

Although the good days outweigh the bad ones, I still suffer through so much pain that seems to be nonexistent to the doctors. A pill cures all. “Take these and call me in the morning.” I’ve been wrongfully diagnosed with tons of things---but they’re baffled now. My only hope of a diagnoses will be this week, to tell me either, #1. that I have gastritis #2. that I have h. pylori that can be treated with antibiotics #3. Stomach cancer. They have taken a few biopsies while they did my endoscopy so I am hoping for a result that can be treated.

So today’s a bad day. I’m not feeling well. I know there will be good days ahead of me. But the more bad days that come crashing through my world, the more depression it leaves me with, depleting any hope or faith I can possibly muster up.
I just want to be okay.

Monday, August 30, 2010

Moved On...

Those two words, “moved on” can bring a feeling of relief, or perhaps a tinge of fear & sadness, depending on who you are. To some, it’s a positive step toward emotional healing, and to others, it can be a dreadful step to something they’re just not ready for. Some stay in the stages of mourning way too long, never “moving on”, never taking that initial step toward healing. It’s healthy to take it one day at a time, but when does it come to the point of insanity, taking the place of a stagnated phase? Although I do believe that everybody and every relationship are very unique, I also believe that it’s a lot like giving up smoking or drinking: you have to want to give it up in order to successfully move on. If the desire isn’t there, the person will still entertain the lingering pangs of “addiction” in every meaning of the word. There is no doubt in my mind that when somebody isn’t fully over a past relationship, that yes, it can have everything to do with addictive personalities. How do you know if it’s just still being in love with someone, or if it’s a matter of just having an addictive personality? There are quite a few things that usually happen after a relationship has been severed: anxiety separation, feelings of rejection, obsessive thought patterns and for some, acceptance.

The words, “moved on”--what feeling does that bring you? Think of it in terms of your past love. “He/she has moved on & doing great!” Does it bring sadness or a feeling of happiness for them? Once you start feeling happiness for their emotional well-being and for their fortunate outcomes in life, then you have “moved on” successfully. The words don’t have to be a negative term, it can be a liberating step for the two involved, perhaps even enabling the two to come together as friends one day. There would be no contention between the two people - just admiration for a shared history. There would be no jealousy, anger or bitterness, because the past has “moved on”. The present time is all that's needed. For some who are reading this, it’ll be a page full of b.s. to them; a page where it just slaps them in the face saying, "Get over it!” But it’s the total opposite. It’s about healing, recovering, accepting ‘what is’, releasing bitter feelings and casting aside all obsessive thought patterns to where one day, the broken hearted can say, “I’ve moved on”, without the anger behind it.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Undercutting Personal Values: Jill & Tracy Harrison

The other day while watching the news, I saw a heartbreaking story about a lesbian couple, Jill & Tracy Harrison, who wanted to enroll their daughter into a Christian pre-school, however they were rejected because they’re lesbian parents. The standard principle of St. Vincent School is “in matters of marriage and outside the marriage”, therefore rejecting their 4 year old child.

"St. Vincent's School as a ministry of St. Vincent's Cathedral upholds the clear teaching of the Christian faith, the Holy Bible, and the Anglican Church in North America," the Rev. Ryan Reed said. "We based our decisions about enrollment on what is best for the children of St. Vincent's as a whole and in conformity with the above standards," he said. "We regret the disappointment the mother feels, but also do not understand why she would want to enroll her child in a school that would undercut her own personal values at home."

Undercut her personal values? What I would like to see is every single staff member, teacher, principal and yes, even the custodian get privately investigated for any “immoral” behavior outside the workplace. Has anyone been divorced and then remarried while having their ex-spouse still alive? That’s an abomination right there, because technically in the Bible it’s considered adultery. Are there any single parents? Are there any parents indulging in alcohol or drugs from time to time? Has any one of the staff members had an affair? Has anyone had premarital sex? Has anyone used the Lord’s name in vain? Point is: can any one of these people throw the first stone? I don’t believe so. Everyone is flawed within the Christian religion, however at the same time, made to perfection in God’s eyes. What makes another person who is also a “sinner”, judge so harshly? If they simply go by Leviticus alone, it clearly stated that eating shellfish or a man shaving his beard will surely go to hell. Even Romans and other books of the bible describe homosexuality as "promiscuity", but they are not speaking about a loving relationship between two people. The bible clearly states the dangers “sexual sin”. Even premarital sex between heterosexuals is a sin. Why can’t people of every lifestyle and “sin” congregate together as one and worship their God without the judgments of others? Isn’t that what church is all about? Didn’t Jesus spend his time and surround himself with “sinners” and immoral people of this world? Why isn’t this “Christian” church - a church that instills the teachings of Jesus, setting an example? Would Jesus turn away a 4 year old child just because her parents, who happen to be women are lesbians?

Here are some scriptures that may help reinforce some teachings of Jesus and what the Bible clearly states:

Biblically speaking, in Leviticus, it says, “Thou shalt not lie with mankind, as with womankind: it is abomination" (Leviticus 18:22). "If a man also lie with mankind, as he lieth with a woman, both of them have committed an abomination: they shall surely be put to death; their blood shall be upon them.” (Leviticus 20:13)

Okay, but it also states that man should not eat crustaceans of the sea (shellfish), or shave his beard, for that is also an abomination to God. Again, is everyone going to hell? These scriptures are the old law that no longer applies to Christians.

“But what if we seek to be made right with God through faith in Christ and then find out that we are still sinners? Has Christ led us into sin? Of course not! Rather, I make myself guilty if I rebuild the old system I already tore down. For when I tried to keep the law, I realized I could never earn God’s approval. So I died to the law so that I might live for God. I have been crucified with Christ. I myself no longer live, but Christ lives in me. So I live my life in this earthly body by trusting in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me. I am not one for those who treats the grace of God as meaningless. **For if we could be saved by keeping the law, then there was no need for Christ to die.”**

That one sentence says it all: {“For if we could be saved by keeping the law, then there was no need for Christ to die.”}

Then you have this passage:
“You and I are Jews by birth, not ‘sinners’ like the Gentiles. And yet we Jewish Christians know that we become right with God, not by doing what the law commands, but by faith in Jesus Christ. So we have believed in Christ Jesus, that we might be accepted by God because of our faith in Christ-and not because we have obeyed the law. ***For no one will ever be saved by obeying the law.***” ~Galatians 2:15-16

Relying on Jesus’ sacrifice is why love between two people is not wrong. The old Law no longer binds us. He died for us so that we no longer are bound by the old law, that we can have peace knowing that God accepts us. The biggest commandment is to love God with all your heart, and to also love others as you would yourself. Ah, the golden rule. It’s so hard for super-duper hyped up Christians to follow. It’s no wonder so many of my gay and lesbian friends have turned from Christianity due to other people criticizing their lives so much. I’m just glad I can be there for people who have lost hope in Christianity and to let them know how loved they are by God. How important they are to God and that whomever they love, is also a blessing by God.

This last scripture will also prove that whether male or female, we are all part of God's plan:

“Let me put it in another way. The law was our guardian and teacher to lead us until Christ came. So now, through faith in Christ, we are made right with God. But now that faith in Christ has come, we no longer need the law as our guardian. So you are all children of God through faith in Christ Jesus. And all who have been united with Christ in baptism have been made like him. There is no longer Jew or Gentile, slave or free, male or female. For you are ALL Christians—you are one in Christ Jesus. And now that you belong to Christ, you are the true children of Abraham. You are his heirs, and now all the promises God gave to him belong to you.” ~Galatians 3:24-29

Maybe St. Vincent’s Episcopal School should read up on the Bible a bit more or perhaps, learn more on the teachings of Christ. I would also love to see Jill & Tracy Harrison “undercut” the school’s personal values.

Monday, August 23, 2010

Home: Provincetown, MA

It’s days like these where I wish I was in Provincetown running into a nearby cafe from the rain for a hot cup of coffee just to watch it from inside. There’s something mystical about being on the Cape on stormy days. If you haven’t ever been to Provincetown, it’s a great big mecca for those who are creative thinkers, artists, photographers, musicians, gays, lesbians, straights, transgender people, and yes...for writers too. There’s nothing like sitting in a cafe with just a laptop, an espresso and inspiring thoughts that just flow right onto ‘paper’. The energy of Provincetown is extraordinary. Everyone, whether resident or tourist are incredibly happy just to be there. The vacations aren’t long enough, which is why my wife and I have been debating whether or not to vacation there on a permanent basis. Our type work enables us to be anywhere, so it’s a thought in progress. The winters are rough for some, since most rely on the business of tourists, but for us, it’s different. We’re not in the hospitality services, so it works perfectly. Many residents we’ve spoken to have warned us about the long winters, how the narrow streets are hardly plowed and the only businesses that are open are supermarkets and maybe one or two restaurants. This doesn’t bother me in the least because I’m a total homebody in the winter. I’d rather cook dinner at home than have it out these days.

One of our biggest setbacks would be leaving our families. Although six hours in a car isn’t extremely taxing, it’s not like we can visit family so easily anymore. That’s a huge factor for the both of us, however, it would be so liberating to finally be in our element: near the water, being free to be ourselves without judgments from society, pursuing our artistic abilities and of course, seeing our old friends who live there on a regular basis. It’s certainly not a place to ‘make it big’ as New York would be known for; it’s a place to pursue your passions, to relax when need be, to finally breathe in the saltwater air and know that wherever you go on the Cape is always a feeling of being welcomed, regardless of who you are. It's a peaceful and friendly environment that seems to keep calling us back every year. From the start of April to the end of November, Provincetown attracts many people around the country. They batten down the hatches in December, however I hear the winter holidays are beautiful there that time of year.

After our stay there this October, we’ll make a decision whether or not to stay for good. As soon as we arrive into town, seeing the Pilgrim Monument guiding us in, we immediately feel like we’re back home, as we should be. We'll be arriving for Women's Week this year, half for the documentary we're working on and the other half purely for fun and relaxation. If you're going to be in the area during that time and are interested in being interviewed for our project, "Gays & Lesbians of Faith", please send me an email at deb@debrapasquella.com

You can also click here and see part of the documentary in progress as a trailer. If you would also like to be informed of upcoming trips to see if we'll be in your area working on our film and also other up-to-date articles, please join me and click here!

Friday, August 20, 2010

Going Through a Breakup?

Lately, it seems that a few friends of mine are going through some rough breakups or having a hard time dealing with a past relationship. My motto has always been to weed your garden before jumping into a new bed of flowers -I even wrote that in my book, however as I go through life and see what other people are going through, as well as what I’ve gone through myself, I’m learning that the other side of the spectrum isn’t so shabby. While it’s true that most people need distractions while they are mourning over a broken relationship, they also need their hearts distracted too, in my opinion. I think casual dating is a great way to distract the mind and heart from getting too torn up over one person who is no longer in their life. There are possibilities of rebound dating, however overall, I don’t see ‘casual dating’ so bad, if taken slowly. The negative side effects of casual dating after broken relationships are: comparing the new person to your former love, bringing old baggage into the new one - possibly accusing them of things your ex has done in the past, or even picking someone that reminds you of the ex. That one is a killer. In this case, it almost seems impossible to heal completely. But, do we ever heal completely?

While it’s healthy to ‘talk it all out’, and confide in a friend about your feelings, it also can be unhealthy too, perhaps even borderline obsessing over the ex, and I’ll even go as far to say that it may be leaving your friend in an ‘awkward therapist’ type of feeling. God bless my close friends when I was going through my own breakups in the past. They put up with a lot, however, hindsight 20/20, I now see how much I overdid it, over-obsessed and had beaten the dead horse with a stick a million times. I also think that the person can’t help themselves due to the overwhelming feelings going on inside them. There is no other feeling like a broken heart. It hurts like nothing else. Again, as I’ve said so many times before, it’s comparable to a death of a loved one, with the only difference that your loved one who you had broken up with “chooses” not to be with you. (And of course depending on the situation.) The constant feeling of getting no closure, or receiving any forgiveness can be detrimental to the recovery, however not impossible if looked at in a different perspective. But, that’s hard to do when you’re in it. You can’t see outside the box sometimes.

I’m a big believer in writing out all the pros and cons about the relationship, whether salvable or not. Sometimes it can reveal much more than you once realized. Most of the times, in my own personal experiences, I wondered why I settled so much in my past. You’ll have days where all your thoughts about your ex are all positive. Take the list out. Read it again. Put your entire relationship into perspective. Why did it end? However, I do have one exception to the rule: if you were best friends with your ex, and the intimate relationship had come to an end, but you still wanted to maintain a “genuine” friendship, then that’s another thing. One or two things may happen: the ex will think you want more and ignore your request, the ex may still not be over you, which sometimes leads into a period of indifference, leaving you feeling ignored at every attempt to make amends, and perhaps under whatever circumstances, forgiveness is just not there yet, or will ever be.

Acceptance. This is the final and last step toward recovery, and also the hardest if you’re trying to get to this point too fast on your own. Sometimes, the two people involved (or not involved I should say) may have come to different plateaus in life, whether feeling different about one another, or just simply at a different place in life. I’m sure you’ve either experienced or have seen this scenario before: one person is the pursuer, while the other person seems a bit aloof and casual about the relationship, and then when it comes to the end of their relationship and/or breakup, the roles reverse completely. The pursuer is now the one who is aloof and hard to get. The person who was a bit casual about things seems more persistent on pursuing the relationship, even making attempts to bring it to a whole different level just to get them back: marriage proposals. It’s funny how things change and sad when it changes for the worst, but I always remembered what one friend told me in the past. She said, “People come into our lives for a reason, maybe to teach us something, but for the most part, it’s all about our life experiences. Let them go. Let them experience what they need to, and if they come back then it was meant to be.” Sometimes people need to go through a buncha bullshit in order to get their heads straight, or perhaps they just need to leave and we just need to accept that.

With every relationship that I have been in, I have learned a great deal about many things in life, which I am grateful for. I’ve created awesome memories, I remember funny moments that still make me laugh, and have kept all the lessons learned if it was a negative experience so I know how to handle them better in the present time. The one thing that I have always left behind was any bitterness. I have always forgiven anyone who had hurt me in the past, which always enables me to be friends with them. That’s when I have to say to myself: it’s their choice now, the ball is in their court, but I won’t hold my breath if they choose not to.

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Thoughts on Building a Mosque Near Ground Zero

Have you ever caught yourself reading numerous debates and articles about a particular controversial subject, and little by little, found yourself understanding the other side a bit more, perhaps being even more tolerant to what you were initially against? The plan to build a mosque near the World Trade Center site have people arguing and debating to the point of where some of their arguments are completely irrational in my opinion. Most argue from their hearts, and not their heads. For instance, I found myself tangled up in long heated threads of facebook accounts on this particular matter. My two cents always insisted that they shouldn’t build the mosque near the World Trade Center site, because it’s a slap in the face for the families who have had a loved one killed in that tragic event. There was no changing my mind and the thought of a mosque being built near ground zero just angered me. But what angered me the most, was the thought of bin Laden gloating over it, or terrorists celebrating over the fact that they had “put their flag” down, so to speak. Haven’t we been tortured enough? Hasn’t New York endured the worst type of prejudice of all---and all in the name of God? The fact that Ramadan falls around the date of 9/11 had me fuming as well. Muslims all over will be celebrating on the very place to which our people died, all in the name of “Allah”. Or, do you think the people opposing the plans of building the mosque near ground zero are more intolerant than those who don't?

Years and years ago, I dated a man who was Muslim. He taught me about his religion and respected mine, as long as I respected his. From what he taught me, his religion sounded beautiful. It was about love, respect, honor and celebrating with loved ones - much like my own religion. We never debated about anything --we just happened to worship a different God, however, his “God” wasn’t half bad in my opinion. The entire practice of his religion was so enlightening, that it reminded me a little bit of the teachings of Buddhism in a way. So with more understanding of his religion, I know that there are good Muslims out there who are getting a bad rap because a few extremists killed in the name of God.

But let’s take it a step further... Think about this hypothetical scenario: a huge LGBT center gets built in New York City. They have special events, varied charities, volunteering to help people in need and overall, just a good place for anyone to visit if they wanted to spend the day there. Then one day, a group of Christian fundamentalists come barreling through the streets with picket signs that say, “GOD HATES FAGS”, “KILL ALL GAYS”, “ALL HOMOSEXUALS ARE GOING TO HELL - REPENT”, and "THANK GOD FOR SEPT. 11!" While all these religious zealots are focused on just picketing, a few of them decide to bomb the place, killing a thousand people or more, all to “save them” so that they can get into heaven...all in the name of “God”. Their reasonings of killing all the gay, lesbian and transgender people were duties that "God" called them to do. Years later, after the ruins, the city proposes a plan to build a church (whether a Trinity Assembly, Baptist or Protestant, etc.), it’s still a “slap in the face” to the LGBT folks since they took such a hit from these “Christian” people. We have to understand that just because we have a few extremists in every religion, does not mean that all of them will kill in the name of God. But, I digress.

Here’s what I’m really worried about: if the mosque goes up near the World Trade Center site, I am almost certain that someone, whether it be a victim of 9/11, someone who had lost their loved one there, or even someone intolerant to Muslims, perhaps the KKK will come in and bomb the mosque just for revenge. I think the plans to build a mosque spells disaster. I’m not wishing harm to any of them, I’m in fear for their lives. I’m also concerned about the amount of harassment they are going to receive while they are trying to pray and celebrate their religion. Do you really think that building a mosque on the very site to which 3,000 + people died on American soil due to Muslim extremists is going to be peaceful? Again, with every religion there are always extremists. What makes people think that there won’t be another extremist attack on that site again if they continue to fall through with these plans? And I'm not speaking about Muslim extremists --I'm speaking about any person(s), regardless of religion, who is passionately against the building of this mosque near ground zero. Yes, this is the country of religious freedom, but our safety comes first. Respect comes first. I think placing the mosque in another area would create a more peaceful environment and resolution for everyone involved.

Monday, August 09, 2010

God Doesn't Make Mistakes

A question that I had been asked years ago by a close friend’s mother still resonates with me: “How are you going to answer to God about being gay?” The most disturbing part about it was, the loud condescending laughter before she asked me the question. It was almost like she was mocking me; laughing at my “disobedience” and unruly behavior, since I was another Christian. I wanted to ask her, “How are you going to answer to God about knocking Him off His throne and becoming the judge of all judges?” Instead, I just kept quiet and let her giggle and repeatedly ramble off, “A lesbian? A lesbian? Are you kidding me? A lesbian?” Yes, this evil little nineteen year old lesbian girl has been hanging around with your daughter for nearly ten years right under your very own nose, bahahahaa! What goes through people’s minds --people who are so “spiritual” and “religious” that they need to sit there and judge as if they were God Himself? I never brought up her drinking problem, although it was evident by the empty tumbler with only crumbles of ice & a bit of scotch left out on the counter when we got back home from school. She was an adult. Adults drink, right?

I never did see my friend again. After spending day after day with her, it became less and less, until it became no more. I tried convincing myself she was busy or perhaps, studying, but I would see her out at the same places I’d go to and she was cold, almost as if she didn’t know me any longer. Her older brother insisted to all of our neutral friends that I had hit on her in the past, but to me, she was sister. I guess since I was a lesbian that I must have come onto her at one point, but I never did. It would've been like incest if I ever did try to make a move on her. It truly bothered me that just because I had now come out as a lesbian, that some of my other friends would think I had slept over their houses with “different intentions” in the past. One friend said to me, “Oh, I don’t care if you’re gay, just don’t hit on me.” I looked at her and said, “Please don’t flatter yourself, you’re not my type anyway.” She was highly offended...and that was that. Our friendship was over. It’s funny how people can be so “accepting” and so judgmental in their own little ways. I truly got to see who my real friends were. And funny, the ones I thought were true, were far from being friends at all.

A few years later, the same friend I had lost along with her “religious” mother had a dilemma on their hands: the daughter had premarital sex, got pregnant and then decided to marry some guy she had only been seeing for just a few months. Ah, nothing says revenge better than a pregnant bride. You gotta love the joys of karma. I wonder what the mother would have done if I had attended the ceremony while her daughter wore that beautiful white wedding gown with the little round bulge in her midsection and screamed out, “A pregnant wife? A pregnant wife? Are you kidding me? A pregnant wife?” I could have, but the entire scenario was pleasing enough. It’s not that I sought out revenge, it’s just the fact that I love how God works in mysterious ways. We all have ‘our thang’ - our issues to work out, and it’s not up to us to judge anyone’s life or what they do, because I truly believe that whatever you put out, will snap back like a boomerang and hit you right upside the head.

I never did get to answer my friend's mother when she asked me, “So how are you going to answer to God about being gay?"

Maybe this answer will suffice...

God knows my heart, and God accepts me as I am.
I’ll also quote this scripture, since she solely goes by the Bible:
“Does a clay pot ever argue with its maker? Does the clay dispute with the one who shapes it, saying, ‘Stop, you are doing it wrong!’ Does the pot exclaim, ‘How clumsy can you be!’ How terrible it would be if a newborn baby said to its father and mother, ‘Why was I born? Why did you make me this way?’” ---Isaiah 45:9-10

God made all of us & remember, God doesn’t make mistakes.

Friday, August 06, 2010

Watch Me

Have you ever been taken down by negative words that took away all of your hope, faith and possibly, your self-esteem? Has anyone ever said to you, “You can’t do it” or “You can’t afford that”, and wondered what motive or intention they had behind those negative words that only left a bitter taste in your mouth? They’re a bunch of Bitter Bettys or Negative Nellys, as I call them - the people who bitch, moan and whine about this, that and the other thing. Everything is a complaint, insult or just a jab at your lifestyle or status. Most will tell you ‘what you should do’, but rarely practice any of their own preaching. I have officially decided that from here on out, I am avoiding all of these Bitter Bettys & Negative Nellys, and focusing on people who don’t wish to put their two cents into my life or what I “can’t” do, because frankly, I can do anything I want --we all can do whatever we want, afford whatever we can, and better yet, be happy the best we can. It's all up to us and nobody else.

It’s a proven fact that negative words hold negative vibes. What comes out of your mouth will soon come into fruition. Positive words do the same. If you speak positive words, you will most likely see positive results. This is probably borderline the “laws of attraction”, but there is something to be said for a positive attitude and lots of faith. Whether it’s through religious faith, spirituality, or whatever faith is brewing inside of you, there is something in our brain that determines to make it happen...and, even to not have it happen, depending on your attitude. The people you surround yourself with may hold a negative impact on you. For instance: if you spend time with someone who only speaks about negative things, like other people’s problems, illnesses, insulting people and even goes as far as to doubt your ability to do something that you have faith in ---that can definitely rub off on you at any given time. If you’re strong enough, you can let is slide, but if you’re not in the best of moods and feeling a bit down, that’s when this particular Negative Nelly can slip right into your mind and have you think “you can’t do it”.

Depending on whatever mood I'm in, I know that one of these Negative Nellys are going to eventually eat at me. But, if you really look at the person telling you that it’s impossible, look at their own lives. Are they happy or miserable? Are they always complaining about life and life’s outcomes? And because of all of their negative experiences, they bitch bitch bitch until they convince you that all their unfortunate outcomes will surely happen to you, or worse yet, they hope it all happens to you. I believe that even the “best of people” have hidden motives and “wishes” for some people, whether out of jealousy, resentment or any other negative reason, it all boils down to one thing: misery loves company. Never let someone’s negative words bring you down or make you lose hope for whatever it is you want or want to do.

And if anything, let them give you more motivation.

Negative Nelly: “You’ll never get that promotion.”
You: “Watch me.”
Negative Nelly: "You can’t possibly afford that.”
You: “Watch me.”
Negative Nelly: “You can’t do it.”
You: “Watch me.” 

What helps me the most when someone is trying to make me feel doubtful is my favorite scripture: “I can do all things through Christ which strengthens me.” -Philippians 4:13

Thursday, August 05, 2010

Proposition 8: A Small Step or a Giant Leap?

Finally, a step toward equality; an assurance that gay and lesbian couples have the same right to love one another regardless of gender. U.S. District Judge Vaughn Walker ruled that California’s Proposition 8 ballot, banning same sex marriage was considered unconstitutional. This is a huge step for all gays and lesbians who want to get married. My wife and I have always called our union, “the family unit”---even though we don’t have children. Your partner, spouse, significant other is your family. How degrading it is when a hospital won’t let you see your “family unit”, calling you “just a friend”. Things can change very rapidly once your loved one is either sick, or God forbid, deceased. Who takes charge? Who makes all the decisions? The immediate family. Of course, your immediate family feels they have more of a right due to the length of history with your partner, however, for a family member to take away the right of someone’s spouse - someone’s “family unit” is despicable in my personal opinion. I speak of those who do not give into consideration the thought and desire of the patient’s partner to be part of the decision making. It is just the same as if it were a straight husband and wife.

Now on a personal note, I don’t need a paper saying that my partner and I are married. We sought out other options as well, such as power of attorney papers and optional health benefits. We were legally married in Provincetown, MA on October 11, 2008. We live in New York, so when we returned, it is still recognized, but not in the same way it is with heterosexual marriages. We are more penalized and lacking in certain equal rights. If it weren’t for religious zealots making it so hard for gays and lesbians to be married, we’d all be seen as equals. With some Christians saying that we are all abominations to God, it goes to show that not every scripture in the Bible condemns it. Also, these same Christians are enjoying shrimp cocktails, while that’s considered to be one of the crustaceans of the sea. Beards are shaved and yet, homosexuality is still sin?

"Thou shalt not lie with mankind, as with womankind: it is abomination" (Leviticus 18:22). "If a man also lie with mankind, as he lieth with a woman, both of them have committed an abomination: they shall surely be put to death; their blood shall be upon them." (Leviticus 20:13)

Look at Galatians chapter two verses 17 through 21:

"But what if we seek to be made right with God through faith in Christ and then find out that we are still sinners? Has Christ led us into sin? Of course not! Rather, I make myself guilty if I rebuild the old system I already tore down. For when I tried to keep the law, I realized I could never earn God’s approval. So I died to the law so that I might live for God. I have been crucified with Christ. I myself no longer live, but Christ lives in me. So I live my life in this earthly body by trusting in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me. I am not one for those who treats the grace of God as meaningless. For if we could be saved by keeping the law, then there was no need for Christ to die."

That one sentence says it all: {“For if we could be saved by keeping the law, then there was no need for Christ to die.”}

There are many passages in the Bible that state otherwise. Instilling laws, such as certain “sins” and “abominations” were all used to keep society in order in the past. Procreation was seen for only a man and a woman. But I wonder, what if the woman isn't able to get pregnant or the man has a low sperm count? Does this mean they need to divorce? Are they considered an abomination if they have sex without the notion of procreating? The only answer you will receive from a Christian fundamentalist is, “It’s not natural for two women or two men to have sex!” And that’s it. End of story. They don’t rationalize their arguments, nor do they go by what the Bible really tells us. “To love one another and to love God with all your heart.” What about being judgmental? Isn’t God the only judge? The bottom line is: banning same sex marriage is discrimination no matter how much you look at it. If the law says that beating someone up because they are gay is considered a “hate crime”, then why aren’t they instilling a law that gives us complete equality throughout the whole United States? 

All these so called “Christians” can think of is sex. And what I mean by that is, they cannot talk about same sex unions without the talking about the sexual aspects of it. They are confusing our love with promiscuous and reckless sex. We are not all perverts. What about heterosexual couples who have premarital sex? It’s going to be a long road until we are all considered equal in the United States, but it’s worth the fight. Remember, years ago blacks couldn’t marry whites. They considered that to be “unnatural” too. We all have the right to love whoever we want to.
That should be the law.

Tuesday, August 03, 2010

A Thick Skin

There’s a quote by Marilyn Monroe that I have always loved: "...if you can't handle me at my worst, then you sure as hell don't deserve me at my best”, but most people blurt it out without quoting it word for word, or at least, leaving out the beginning part, which to me is the most important part of the entire quote because its honesty speaks volumes. The full quote is, “I’m selfish, impatient and a little insecure. I make mistakes, I am out of control and at times hard to handle. But if you can't handle me at my worst, then you sure as hell don't deserve me at my best." I find many people, including myself, have a hard time quoting that first part, because we don’t want to be viewed as impatient, selfish and hard to handle, when in fact, if we don’t admit this to ourselves, we’ll never figure out what we’re doing wrong or at least making more room for improvement. We’ll always have people pointing it out for us, leaving us to defend ourselves, almost in a self-indulgent facade that we choose to live in. We’re human, we do make mistakes, and all of us - every single one of us, are insecure to some degree. Does it make us bad people that we get insecure? Of course not. Being selfish derives from the concept of “survival of the fittest”---it’s in our make up. How much we stifle it makes us “better people”, I guess.

Insecurity does funny things to us, doesn’t it? I came across a scenario that really made my head spin yesterday. I had critiqued a comedienne's work, and I’ve been known to be a bit ‘too honest’ sometimes, and this one particular person didn’t handle it very well. In fact, she had written me a very angry email, and in one part of it, trying to validate what a "good person" she was. Sometimes, when people are in the business of art and entertainment, they forget to bring the most important thing: a thick skin.

Here’s her response word for word when I told her that I didn’t find her comedy funny:

“i can’t believe you were so hurtful and then PERSONALLY attacked my WORK?@??!!? i work in CHARITY LADY - ANIMAL RESCUE - SERIOUS CAMPAIGNING HELPING THE EARTH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!”

Ok, fine, but your comedy isn’t funny. I’m not trying to viciously hurt her, I’m just being honest. In fact, her performance always has a key giveaway: a silent crowd. She may be a good person who gives to charity, rescues animals & saves the earth one tree at a time, but she is not in the least bit funny in my opinion. Most people who give to charity don't brag about it if it's on a genuine level. But I digress... If she told me, “I hate your writing and I don't particularly find it interesting”, I would just say, “Well, it’s not for everyone.” My point is, the fact that she listed all of her "good qualities" in such an angry tone, screamed out, “I’M INSECURE LADY!” And you know what? So am I...so am I... But I have one thing that she doesn’t: a thick skin.

Growth Spurts

Yesterday, someone shared a quote with me that resonated with me so much. She said, "Just remember, trying to hurt me by bringing up my...