Turn the Page, Own Your Stuff.

I’ve been wrapping my brain around how I can snap out of my funk. To get around my mental block and just deal with my own stuff. I have been told, and have thought, “hmmmm, I need a therapist.” but see, conventional therapy doesn’t seem to grab me. I literally don’t have the energy to sit and talk to anyone about what’s going on with me, without giving them 18 months of backstory. Well, maybe it’s gonna be 30 years of backstory. Because I am a mess. I claim it’s part of my charm. I don’t think anyone else agrees with me about that.

So, let’s get into it…shall we?

I am not in contact with 80% of my family.

There. I said it.

Whew.

It’s been a solid six months of mostly radio silent, preceded by 12 months of bullshit from all sides. Understand, I am fully involved in the current situation. I am not at all blameless. BUT I am not willing to be the only contributing member of my family.

To know me, is to know first and foremost, my family means everything to me. If any ONE of them called, right now, and said they needed me, I would be there. and 100% of my family knows this. So for me to acknowledge that I am not speaking to or communicating in any way with any of my family pains me in such a way, that there are times, I find it hard to breathe.

I have spent my entire, I mean, ENTIRE adult life catering to everyone. Everyone that is, but myself. I have put family, friends, significant others, jobs, everything…in front of myself. It’s how I function. And I have never thought twice about it.

However, my wife, when she walked in…did think twice about it. She wanted to know how to help me, how to make it better, what she could do to help me to put me at the very least, in front of a few others. ME. She wanted me to think about me.

And so I did…I literally told her “you handle the kids, I’m exhausted.” Well, that didn’t last. Simply because, I realized…nope. I can’t do that to her or to them. I shouldn’t expect them to adjust to each other, new relationships and now new rules. I can’t expect to just “quit” being a parent because mommy got a new girlfriend. So, we backtracked, we adjusted. Bottom line, I learned that yes, I need to think about me, but I always, ALWAYS need to keep others in my vision. She would be there to support me and have my back, to always remind me, I need to pay attention to me too.

I am way more laid back than the wife. And unfortunately, folks in my life took absolute advantage of this. And the wife, she saw my frustration and tried to help me. This has over the years blown up colossally in her face. I have been her biggest defender against many over the years, and will continue to do so until I draw my last breath. She is my protector and my safe place. She is also the one who asks, “why won’t anyone take you seriously? why won’t anyone help you? why won’t you hold ANYONE but yourself accountable for ANYTHING?”

Doesn’t take away from the fact I would give anything to my family – my kids, my mom, my sister or niece…it just means there’s one more person I would give my life for. My wife. And here’s the “extra” to this.

She would give her life for any of my family.

So with this newfound inner strength, this newfound “I need to take care of me,” I have learned a few lessons.

LESSON ONE
Not everyone is going to like change. No. Not most. Change is inevitable. Everything changes, all the time. As I have gotten older, I have had to change. I have lost a job, friends, a parent. It has all shaped me. It’s made me stronger. And it’s made me different. As you mourn the loss of something or someone…you don’t get over it. No, you get around it. It’s something that will change you forever, the way you move through it is how you get adjusted, how you get around it. And that will be the change.

I thrive in change. New jobs, new homes, new situations. I dig in, figure out how to make it work and just do it. It’s inevitable, might as well get used to it, make it work in my favor. Others completely freak out and shut down. Or lash out. I’ve done it all. Time to throw back my shoulders and meet it head on.

LESSON TWO
Change scares people. We have long heard the adage “change scares people.” It does. And that’s okay. I lived in misery for 3 years, because I was afraid of change. And when I finally took my proverbial head-out-of-the-sand, I figured out I could make a change that would impact me and my whole family. But I had to. I couldn’t do what I had been doing for years, I had to make a change, no matter how scary it was. Let me tell you, I was terrified of doing this and doing it alone. But I was more terrified of who I was becoming and what it meant if I didn’t make a change.

As much as it hurt so many I knew not making a change would have done so much more damage that I was willing to be responsible for.

LESSON THREE
Not everyone changes at the same pace. I am the least patient person I know. I’m a “rip the bandaid off” kind of person. I just want it done and I want it over with. If it’s going to hurt, I need to know the level of pain, so I can get it in my head and I can manage it.

Others, they want to tip-toe into the change. A little bit at a time. I don’t get that, but I have to learn how to respect it. It’s not easy. And I am still a work in progress.

I am a terrible trainer. It’s true. I expect everyone to walk in to work, knowing what to do and how to do it with very little from me. It’s why I don’t train people. I don’t have the patience to show you 15 times how to do the same thing. I’m constantly amazed I taught two little people how to tie their shoes, use a spoon or to go potty.

That’s just it. I go fast. In every aspect of my life. I zoom around. Unless SVU is on and then everything slows down. As I get older, the days go faster. I want to cram as much into my life, my days as I can. I feel like 2017 was a whirlwind, I barely remember 2016 and have no recollection of anything prior to 2014. It’s that fast. So for me, if there has to be change, it needs to happen NOW, or the moment is gone.

I have to be aware and respectful of others and their need to be a bit more cautious.

I’m still working on this one.

LESSON FOUR
Not everyone agrees. With me. I am a control freak of the highest order. I have long admitted that. This has been the hardest part of learning in the last few years. That just because I want something one way, doesn’t mean I am going to get my way.

As my kids have gotten older, they have gotten their own views on everything…the world, politics, me…and very little of what I had to say or have to say changes anything in minds. And I have had to learn it’s okay to allow them to have their own opinions, their own thoughts. And just because they aren’t the same as mine, doesn’t make them wrong. It makes them different.

As I have gotten older, my opinions, my own thoughts have began to sound like that of an older person. Like my dad, or my mom…even my grandparents. I think about things like retirement and healthcare. I think about the loss of modesty and common sense. Then I realize, I am my grandpa. God.help.me. But I think more like my parents, that I want to continue to protect my kids like they are three, but I have to let them go.

I have to realize that, like my parents, I have to have patience, that I have to have faith the lessons they learned, directly or indirectly, were retained and they will be okay.

My poor mother. She sits, watching with those old “knowing” eyes. I should probably apologize more for the stunts of my younger years…but no…I think she knows…just as she probably thought the same about her mom when that moment of clarity hit her.

LESSON FIVE
I don’t have to apologize. I have spent my life apologizing to anyone who didn’t have something “go their way” for whatever part I may have played in it. If I had a penny for every time I have uttered the words, “I’m sorry” to someone, I’d be a billionaire. but get this…

I’m not sorry. Not anymore. I didn’t do it.

I’ll apologize for my mistakes, for my bad judgment or being chronically late…I will no longer apologize for any of the following:

that donut you ate this morning, your lack of job, your lack of a date, your waist size, your in-laws, your credit score, the time you went to bed, the fact you can’t cook, whiten your teeth, do your own taxes, laundry, dishes, that you can’t potty train your dog, cat, squirrel or hamster, the fact you forgot to mail anything, pay your bills, take the trash to the curb or brush your hair.

this is all on you. I’m not responsible for ANY of that or more. In fact…if you aren’t under the age of 18, living in my house with a genetic link to me, I am literally NOT responsible for anything you have done, will do or are poorly planning to do.

I will be your biggest cheerleader if you let me. I can laugh with you, cry with you, mock you until laugh. I can TP a house or bring you cookies. Or beer. Point is, I will be there to support you, but you aren’t going to hold me hostage for your decisions.

LESSON SIX
Yesterday is over. Tomorrow isn’t here. In following with no longer apologizing for EVERYTHING, I am no longer in the business of looking in my rearview mirror. I am learning to look forward, head up, tits out. That the only way to NOT miss the life I’m trying to live is to stop looking back at things I can’t change. I can’t change the fact I am divorced, or I didn’t come out earlier, or that I never skipped a burrito during pregnancy. I can’t change the fact that I made stupid decisions, but I don’t have to allow anyone else to make me feel like less for my decisions. I also can’t change a single solitary thing that I did. I can only take the mistakes, learn from them and change my future decisions.

You will miss your entire blessed life and all the beauty in it if you spend your whole time looking back and wishing it were different.

Pointing out to me all the mistakes I have made only holds US back. You don’t have to tell me. I already know. And I know the mistakes I made that only I know. that are in my darkest moments. There is no need to tell me again and again how I have hurt you, because the memory of it crushes me.

Acknowledge the past, it made you who you are now. Learn from the mistakes you and others made and face into the sunshine, it’s how you will grow.

LESSON SEVEN
Opinions are like assholes. My dad’s motto, “opinions are like assholes, everyone’s got one and they usually stink.” This is the truest thing ever…I have an opinion, you may not agree with it. We can either remain friends and agree to disagree, or we can part ways. That’s the only way to get around this. If you think just like me, this is going to be a boring relationship…and I like to be challenged. Some of my favorite times are sitting on the patio with my wife and my daughter, listening to my daughter tell me her outlook on anything…and proving to me how much she knows about the world in general. To hear her views on politics, people, celebrity, how to heal the world, making her mark, whatever…listening to her and the wife go back and forth always, ALWAYS taught me something about me, her and the world. I have always said I am a better person because of my daughter. And that is a true statement.

You can’t force anyone to change their opinion. Like mine…Trump is woefully in over his head. I think net neutrality and universal healthcare are good things. I believe in global warming. I believe in Christmas and the better good. I think if I extend kindness it will be like a ripple in water. I believe the Earth is round and that there is a heaven. I believe in equal rights and equal pay for an equal job. I think sports stars are overpaid and teachers and first responders are underpaid. I think we should end the war and take care of our vets. I don’t believe in handouts and think that welfare should be provided on a temporary basis. I believe in term limits and the people learning their voice. Nothing you will say will change any of this. We can be friends, or if you wish, you can go on your own way and I will go my own.

You can’t make me wrong for a difference of opinion.

LESSON EIGHT
Love is love. Is love. I love a girl. Get over it. It doesn’t involve you or harm you. Her love makes me safe, makes me feel beautiful. Her love takes nothing away from the love I have for my family or my friends. It enhances everything around me because I have someone beside me that supports me, no matter what stupid thing I do or say. And at the end of the day, this person, will be there, holding my hand when I’m sick, when I need to cry, she will make me feel better when I’m angry or scared. She will do or say silly things to make me smile. It takes nothing away from my ability to be a friend, mother, daughter, sister, or aunt.

I will NEVER begrudge anyone finding love. I don’t care who you love, as long as you love. As long it isn’t my wife, then we are golden. Find your own person that completes you.

At the end of the day, I will always respect the fact that that person loves you, that they are your person. You need to respect the fact that I have my person, no matter who or what they are.

LESSON NINE
End of day, I am me. For the past several years, I have heard “you’ve changed.” as either an insult or a compliment. Here’s the rub, I have changed. I will agree 100%. Some for the better, some for the worst. But I need each of you to understand, that the changes in me are reflective of the people and the world around me. If I am more bitter, or more gentle, it’s based on the actions and inactions of others towards me.
I have to protect me, my mind, my heart because I can do this better than anyone else can. In the last few years, I have taken an absolute beating from those that I have held closest to me. I have allowed people who are close to me say the worst things to me. The absolute worst. And I have excused it because of love, because of respect, because my chosen friends and family are my life. And then they want to make me wrong. It’s hardened me, it’s made me quiet, sad, more introverted and lonely. I question my own motives, decisions, habits and many times, my own sanity.

Then every day, something reminds me…I am me. Scars and all…I am me. I am loving, trusting, joyous. I am a sinner, I am forgiven. I am loved and sometimes, hated. I have the ability to walk, to think, to breathe and I have free will.

I choose to use that free will, in faith. Faith that I can make a different choice with each moment. That I can love and forgive others when they hurt me. That I can put down my pride and ask for forgiveness.

LESSON TEN
Don’t mistake my grace as weakness. Never think that I am weak. Or that I am easily led. That’s your lesson to learn. I have chosen my battles very carefully for years. I am no longer in the fight and am not going to engage in battles that will leave wounds that won’t heal. I’m becoming more observant, learning to listen…watching. I will always know more than you think, I will always speak my mind. The moment you underestimate me, that’s your learning point. From then on, all the lessons I would have given to you freely, you will learn the hard way…because abusing my grace, my trust, or my respect will only lead you to lose it, then you have to earn it back…

I will always, and only be, authentically me.

At the end of the world.

I shall post this and step away from my social media for a few days. To say I am sad is an understatement. I feel a tremendous amount of loss today. I have for months and now, it’s present in such a way…it’s hard to explain. 
I mourn the loss of hope, of belief in the greater good and that we are truly our brothers keeper. I no longer believe our government is the voice of the people, they no longer have me or my best interests at heart. I am not alone. 

I do not think that the incoming “regime” actually has the interest of anyone other than themselves or their like minded people at heart.  This causes distress simply because the people who VOTED for this shithead are not the people he has in his sights.  His choices for his cabinet prove that over and over.  And I shake my head in bewilderment that the hard working people STILL defend him.  

I seriously need to shake them, to scream in their faces because they still.don’t.get.it. 

I don’t know if Hilary would have been a better choice and I’m not here to defend her. I’m not here to discuss war, religion, or hell, even politics.  I’m not here to discuss Benghazi,  the Clinton Foundation, his affairs, or her handling of the women.  I’m not going to discuss the Trump University, the multiple bankruptcies, his affair or multiple marriages. 

What I mourn is the loss of what seems to be the last of the innocence.  We had hope, we had power, there was strength and there was faith in better days.  That’s gone from what appears to be most people. 

There’s a sad arrogant pride in the folks that voted for him. This blind stupid pride that doesn’t make sense to me.  These people, people I call friends, voted for a man that denegrates women and the disabled.  He feuds with Alec Baldwin on Twitter and shows bad sportsmanship every chance he gets.  The only thing worse than a sore loser is a sore winner.   And these friends of mine defend this over and over.  

No, I don’t think if the shoe was on the other foot, that Democrats would be acting in such a classless and vulgar manner.  At least the ones I know wouldn’t.  I know this because she Obama beat McCain, I did not see the vitriolic hate that I bear witness to now. My heart hurts and my head can’t make sense. 

There isn’t a debate here.  She won the popular vote.   Which means he isn’t the President Elect of MOST people.  I don’t understand how we got this so wrong.  

For my friends, my family…know you are in my heart.   My hurt, scared, a little less hopeful heart.  Be gentle with me for the next four years.  

World AIDS Day

December 1st is World AIDS Day.  A day to bring global awareness to this terrible disease that affects nearly every person drawing breath. Either directly or indirectly.

It’s devastating, this disease. The history of it, the lack of funding, the fear, the misinformation…the stigma.

I have been deeply affected by this disease since I was 10. Much too young to understand this or to even fear it. I grew up in the 80’s, in the midst of the outbreak, the explosion of fear and bad information. Only for me, it affected me because I was confused, I didn’t understand.

My mom came out when I was 10 and proceeded to quickly surround me with some of the most amazing people I have ever or will ever know. To say these men loved and adored me was a complete understatement. They took to me, loved me like I was their own and gave me unconditional support and love. These perfect loving creatures touched my life and I will never be the same.

Watching them as I got older and they got sicker, there was this ache, this slow loss. The realization that these gentle people were not going to be part of my life much longer, I did everything I could to hold on longer, tighter to them. To create memories that I still cling to. To say I miss each of them doesn’t do my feelings justice. I ache to see them once more. I carry them in my heart.

I have grown up in the drag circuit… the benefits, food drives, celebrations, parades…all with the common thread of love and the goal of eradication, of control, of surviving.

I’ve got folks in my life that are positive. They are living. Not just surviving, but being the example that in this day in age, you can LIVE with this disease. I don’t see them as people with a disease, I see them, just as them. Perfectly loving, teaching, showing the world not to judge…they don’t shy away from it, the fight with a fierceness that takes my breath away

We, the human race, have GOT to work together towards a cure. We have to help those that can’t help themselves. There are countries that don’t have access to the medicine or knowledge that is necessary to live and survive, we have to give them hope, we have to give them help.

Visit http://www.aids.gov or www.worldaidsday.org, reach out, educate yourself, help.

We are our brothers keeper, it’s up to each of us, it’s within each of us.

And for so many, for Michael, Michael, Matt, Stevie, Steve and my sweet Dan…I love and miss you. Every minute of every day. Thank you for teaching me love, acceptance and grace. It was an honor to be your girl…

Centered.

Wow…I’m a whiny bitch.  Truly.  I actually had to take down my previous post because it got misinterpreted and what should have been about me and my thoughts was taken out of context.  It’s never what I intend.  I use this blog as my “diary”…the place where I can spew my shit and just let it lie there.  I use this forum when I’m sad, when I find something funny, when I’m pissed or self-righteous.  I use it as a form of self-expression, of self discovery and of digging into my own psyche.  I don’t use this to hurt anyone.

I never, ever, want to hurt anyone.  Ever.  That’s not who I am.  So here goes the pseudo-apology to all of you…for being a whiny, self-involved asshat.

I need to quit being so butthurt about everything.  I have a good life.  I honestly do.

I will, for a while, continue to contribute all of my butthurtedness (it’s a word) to the loss of a 20 year friendship.  I won’t continue to whine about it, but the truth is, I don’t talk about it.  I don’t THINK I do…others might be rolling their eyes right now saying “dear God, here she goes again,” but I don’t try to inflict my own misery on others.  I try to keep it to myself.  It’s WAY easier than it used to be, but it pops up…because, why not…right?  I said previously it was like a death  And it is, always will be.  I get that it sucked the life out of me, that I put so much into that relationship that now…well, now…I don’t know what to do.  I don’t know how to grow these existing friendships into something more.  I feel like I come across needy and emotionally stunted.  It was easy, being her bestie.  Now, I have to figure out who I am, without a best friend.  But it’s something I have to do…I can’t expect others to do this for me.  I haven’t acknowledged how socially inept I actually am…and well, it’s in my face.  I’m a complete mess.

I am not the best wife, mother, daughter or sister.  I haven’t been for a while now.  It’s shameful to actually type that and re-read it, but I have been a shell.  I have lashed out at the wrong people and I have said and done things that aren’t actually in my nature.

After my last post, one of my dearest friends reached out to me because it affected her.  She told me I wasn’t alone in wanting and desiring love and respect.  I should expect happiness.  She did clarify it wouldn’t happen overnight and it wouldn’t happen without help in a safe place.   She said I deserved good things in life and good people were part of that.  But I needed to get centered, focused and I needed to NOT expect my family or friends to do that for me, that I needed to do it for myself.  It would be hard work and it would be worth it.  And for the first time in a year, I knew that someone outside of my daughter, my wife or my sister had my heart and my head in their hands.  For the first time in a year, someone who wasn’t related to me said something to me that hit home, because she cared.  And she.was.RIGHT.

The same day…another dear friend, texted me…just to tell me I was a badass and she loved me and to not let the darkness consume me.  Now, it goes without saying this chick is badass on toast, so her taking the time to reach out to me, also meant more than I can convey.  Then I think, why do I not expect that someone would find me worthy of a text?  I love this chick to pieces and would do anything for her, why is it so hard for me to accept that she would do the same for me?

I find it hard that someone like my wife loves me.  She is the best person I have ever met and I haven’t met anyone that wouldn’t agree or say the same.  My kids are the best part of me, I hear it all the time, how wonderful and amazing they are.  Why do I continue to question my abilities as a mother?  Why do I always push at these three people most dear to me?  Why do I expect them to always rescue me when I am a giant ball of need?

Who made it their job to take care of my feelings?  well…you guessed it…I did.  Damnit.

I tend to get wordy, which is both a blessing and a curse.  I have a temper that I lose control of and with that loss of control, I develop verbal diarrhea.  It’s usually not pretty and I usually end up apologizing because I got in my own way.  I own it.

I don’t know how I got here, how I lost me to the noise in my own head.  I think it’s time that I have someone help me understand the noise and turn it into something more beautiful.  I want to hear music, I want to hear laughter.  I want to not cry at the drop of a hat because I feel that helpless.

I really, REALLY hate that I have somehow allowed a person to take the best parts of me and make me question it.  I can’t begin to tell you enough how much I hate that I allowed anyone to control me like that.  And it’s shocking that a year later, I am still giving anyone that much power over me.  Then again, I did admit I was a highly emotional person.  That my “id” was being empathic to a fault and that my moods were always, ALWAYS wrapped up in the emotions of everyone around me.  I won’t apologize for that, instead, I will celebrate that.

I am proud of the fact that there are people in my world, that by merely thinking about them, I smile.  That I have people I will text, out of the blue, because they popped into my mind and I smiled.  I love that about me.  I love the fact that my favorite place to be is surrounded by my family and friends.

I need to find my self-worth.  I don’t know or claim to understand WHY I don’t think I am worth someone thinking I’m awesome.  I don’t know why I continue to test the people in my life, to make sure I am as important to them as they are to me.  I do it, mostly to those closest to me…I don’t understand it and I don’t even know when I do it until it’s too late.  I need to quit needing constant reassurance that I am worthy of love and friendship.  I need to see what others see in me.  I need to believe them when they say nice things to me.

Getting centered is paramount.  I have to throw away all the negative bullshit, the stuff I heap on myself, the stuff I heap on everyone else.  I need to focus on the fact that I have many blessings in my life.  I have MANY things to be happy for, to be grateful for.  I need to remember this stuff as soon as I wake up, and as I fall asleep at night.  I need to remember I am a good person, I have gifts to share and I have love.

There is a place in my soul…it’s like I fire I can feel burning in me.  It’s my passion for life and for love and for laughter.  I can feel it, but it’s been buried so far and for so long, I tend to ignore it.  I don’t know why.  I need to learn how to embrace it again.

The toxic in my world isn’t what’s right in front of my face…it’s what’s in my mind.  I have chipped away at the good things and allowed the hurt to turn toxic and take over my heart.  It’s time to say good-bye to the toxic and burn it down.  It’s time that I let that fire roar inside me, to share it with those that want to be part of it and to not hold grudges, hate, hurt or sadness with both hands.  I am better than this.

So, WorldWideWeb…here’s my promise(s)…I plan to find someone who will tell me that I am either not crazy or I am indeed crazy, but in the best ways.  I plan to love out loud and in big gulps.  I plan to find happiness in myself before I find it in others.  I plan to share that happiness with anyone who wants some of it.  I plan to hold close to those dear to me.  I plan to love me, to find out exactly how badass I am.

I plan to believe in me.

I will be centered.  I will be strong.  I will be Stephanie.

Finally.

You have my heart.

It’s been a brutal week.   I don’t think there is an end in sight for hate, hurt or blame.  Yet somehow, in all of this muck, we, as humans, have to find a common ground.  We have to find hope. We have to find forgiveness.

I’ll be the first to admit, when I read Dan Patrick’s tweet, or heard about Pat Robertson’s comments, I was filled with anger, I was filled with despair.  I was hurt, I was angry.  

When I heard about Orlando, I felt as I did when I heard about Aurora, Sandy Hook, Columbine, Benghazi, 9/11…all horrible, tragic acts, perpetrated by hate. I felt fear, sadness, hopelessness and despair. 

We have to be better.  We have to find hope.  We have to forgive.  

See…it’s like this…you can’t have peace, you can’t have hope until you put down the blame, you put down the fear and you put down the anger.  If you have blame, anger, fear…the darkness wins.  The bitterness wins. There’s too much amazing in this world to be left with nothing but bitterness.  It’s time to let love win.  

I’m tired of hearing about Muslim this or that, I’m tired of hearing about automatic guns, I’m tired of hearing about bathrooms and the elections.  I need a moratorium on the bullshit and the negative.  It’s a reality that we are giving our children, it’s the future we are handing to them and the legacy we leave behind.  A legacy of ego and self righteousness.  It leaves me weak…

Dan Patrick, your tweet…was ridiculous.  And your explanation was deplorable.  You’re an asshat and don’t deserve to speak for any Texan. Ever.  

But let me tell you…I have had worse said to me…by my own family.  And in the end, I chose to forgive and to love.   Because words only have power if you allow them to.  And I don’t want you to have any power over me or my brothers and sisters.

Orlando and every other victim, family or friend of a senseless act of violence…you have my heart.  You have my hope, that in the days to come, you find love and peace. That you take joy in the moments you had with your loved ones…that you find comfort, that your loved ones are held up with honor and there are many blessings laid at your feet. 

This violence, sadly, won’t end soon…I fear there are more despicable acts to be had because we can’t get it together.  

I love the way I love, because it is right FOR ME. I pray the way I pray, because it is right FOR ME. I don’t need anyone else’s permission or acceptance.  If you don’t like that, pound bricks.  And at the end of my days, whenever that will be…I will be judged by Him.  It’s the only judgement that matters… 

I believe in the 2nd Amendment.  I believe in God.  I believe in prayer in school and that we should say the Pledge of Allegiance.  I believe that a woman has a right to choose and I believe we should help our neighbors.   I believe that there are many religions and many opinions.  I believe that manners and  chilvary are a thing of the past. I believe that you shouldn’t get a trophy of you didn’t win and if you fail, you try again.  I believe that we have gotten lazy. I believe everyone should be accountable and I believe excuses for anything are bullshit. 

I have read the Bible and the Constitution.  I know the Ten Commandments and the Bill of Rights.  

I am an American, I am spiritual, I am gay and I am a human.  I am a sinner and I am forgiven.  

Whomever you are, walk in peace.  Love in big gulps.  Forgive the unforgivable.  

May you find peace in your days.  

Lessons learned.

Good God, this year can’t end fast enough.  I am completely over it.  It’s been a year of extreme highs and painful lows.  I have found myself questioning things I shouldn’t and ignoring warning signs.  Like I have, all my life.

I am the kind of person that will drag something or someone well beyond the expiration date.  I will see the better in people long after they have shown me their true colors.  I will not see the better in myself despite people telling me otherwise.  I refuse to see what is apparently right in front of me most of the time.  But I learn lessons.  I learn them the HARDEST way possible…but hey, I learn.

Lesson – Sometimes you have to give up.
This was a hard one to learn.  I had to give up on a friendship that I never thought I would lose.  It was heart breaking and caused me more pain and stress than I can express.  I learned that loving someone isn’t always the “fix-it” and that no matter how much support I throw at a person, it’s not enough.  In the end, when someone tells you they are suicidal, they have written THE note and to be peaceful…you don’t take chances.  You call the cops.  And then you deal with the fact that they no longer want to be your friend because they have issues, not me.  I didn’t do anything wrong.  They did.  They screwed up and in the aftermath, I have lost friends based on what the other persons “truth” is.  I have to be okay knowing that they are alive, hating me and staying surrounded by people who tell them what they want to hear.  Not the truth.  That for the last several years of this friendship, it was amazingly one-sided.  That I will feel used and thrown out for years.  I have to be okay with the fact that they know and I know what REALLY happened, that I have the text messages and there’s more than me that know what really happened.  But somehow I’m the one out in the cold, not the people who led them to that place.  Fuck it. I’m better off…for reals.

Lesson – Sometimes people love you, even though you think they don’t.
In the aftermath of this former friendship, I got to know some people that I knew loved me.  But I didn’t think I was important TO them.  In the months that have followed, I realized, I just didn’t make room for anyone else.  That in the past year, this “friend” had sucked up all of my life…there wasn’t room for anyone else, so they adjusted and made a life for themselves.  Then when I came back around, I was upset they weren’t waiting for me.  THANKFULLY, I spoke my truth, my embarrassment and my hurt…and they loved me through it.  In fact, I have a small group that have nursed me through this brutal fall.  And made sense and logic and made me feel not wrong.  I love my tribe of people.

Lesson – They are crazy, but they are mine.
I lament in here a LOT about my family.  How we tear at each other, how we say horrible things to each other, how we stay away from each other.  I also write about how we love each other, how we protect each other.  That no matter what we say to each other or about each other, we are all we have.  With the realization that my family name will end once my sister and I are gone, had made me sad…and appreciate my family in a way that I can’t describe.  Knowing you are the last of a family crest is a bit breathtaking, but making sure your family name goes out with honor and dignity, is an impactful in ways I can’t describe.

Lesson – You can’t hurt my feelings.  I have that power, not you.
I have spent a lifetime feeling slighted by the most innocent comment or non-comment.  I can get my feelings hurt by a comment left on social media, I freely admit it.  I can get my feelings hurt by your reaction to a gift, or if you don’t call me.  I am currently navigating the fact that when my children leave home, they don’t call me everyday…whether it’s the daughter that hasn’t lived at home in years or the boy who goes and spends the night with his sister and doesn’t call me.  I know, I KNOW, it’s crazy, but I’m that mommy.  dontjudgeme.

Lesson – You may not need me, because I did my job.
Hand in hand with the lesson above, I am the type of person that needs to be useful, to feel needed.  I am learning that if I have done my job correctly, my children will be self sufficient.  That if I have done my job correctly, my staff can work even if I take a week off.  That when I am no longer here, folks will be able to go on, to survive.  If I have done my job correctly.  And it’s okay to not be needed.  Wanted is much better.

Lesson –  I don’t NEED to eat a burger.
This is the biggest lesson I have learned this year and I am the better for this.  In July, I hit my heaviest, with high blood pressure, with high cholesterol, with depression and with no energy.  I have thrown myself in to a dietary change that has improved my life in ways that I can’t describe.  It’s 30+ pounds gone.  It’s 8 1/2 inches gone.  It’s consistently lower blood sugar and blood pressure.  It’s FIVE sizes in clothing.  It’s the boost in energy, confidence and disposition.  I feel better; I am happier; I am more positive than I have been in a long, long time.  I don’t plan on giving up, I plan on losing, but never giving up.  I’ve become that person that is all about how to make differences in each day, how to count your blessings.  I want to share my joy…even if I am obnoxious.

Lesson – Not everything ends badly.
I am genetically a half-empty cup person.  I always think the worst is going to happen when the opposite usually proves me wrong.  Like…I thought we would have to move because landlord was selling our home and we ended up buying a house!  Or that the boy needed surgery and it was going to be a difficult recovery and it ended up being a minimal surgery and he’s currently recovering very well…I need to remember that there are forces at work in my life. That I put good out in the universe, I should expect the same back.  And by the same logic…karma is fair…everyone should remember that.

Lesson – don’t take anything for granted.
With all the tragedy we see these days in the media, I have to remind myself that each day is a gift, that people, in the midst of the worst times, will fall back on their faith in what they believe in and see the silver lining.  I don’t know how they do so, but with grace and faith, people in the worst of times, find love and forgiveness.  I will forever stand in awe of this power, this undeniable gratitude for life and love.  If more folks were as aware of this, instead of the blame and indignation they muster from the sidelines, the world would be a much better place.

Lesson – she loves me.  Unconditionally.
This has been a hard year for me.  But don’t let me for moment forget that as hard as it has been on me, I have children and a wife that are closely impacted by my moods, my attitude and what is happening in my world. My wife has stood by me, through thick and thin with my kids, my drama, my family.   She has held my hand as I cried, ducked as I yelled and laughed with me.  When I worried, she was there to assure me.  She had fought with my kids, for my kids, in spite of my kids.  She is the passion of my life.  I am lost without her.  So when she tells me she loves me…

Less0n – those kids…they love me too.
I never waver in the fact that they are my whole reason for being…I never waver in the fact that I love them more than I love myself.  I have never had two people that make me more insane in my life and I love every moment of it.  They are mouthy, they are opinionated, they are bold.  Their manners are for shit at home, yet somehow, they don’t act like apes in public.  I can’t get the boy to pick up his shoes, dirty clothes or food wrappers, yet he won’t leave the house without cologne or his hair perfectly in place.  The daughter was my biggest opponent to ALL THINGS during her late tenure at home…her room was a pigsty and she rebelled against every stinking rule I made…but her own home, is impeccable, she lives by her own rules (which closely resemble the ones she grew up with) and she is successfully navigating her world.  I would never take all the credit for these two amazing beings…oh hell…yes I will.  I did this.  I see me all over both of them.  Whether or not they choose to believe me, I left a mark on both of them…and I couldn’t be prouder.

Yes, it’s been a year of growth, of self-learning and loving.  This year needs to end.  I need to put the past behind me, live in the present and dream about the future.

Happy New Year folks…may your dreams become your reality, may your reality live up to your dreams…

 

 

 

You matter.

I am completely and profoundly over the need to differentiate between whose life matters and whose does not.  I have not ever cared if you were white, black, gray, purple, green, striped or polka dotted.  I have never cared if you were Catholic, Agnostic, Muslim, Baptist, Jewish, Hindu, wiccan, prayed with sheep or to Elvis.  I care about one thing.  If you were a good person.  PERIOD.

So, in essence, you matter.  To me.

Here’s what matters.  STOP brutalizing each other.

It’s not in the name of justice or equality.  It’s not in the name of anyone or anything you pray to.  It’s not necessary to hurt another person to make a statement/sacrifice/offering/whatever.  It’s not necessary to hurt someone to make yourself feel better.

It won’t help.  It’s not the answer.  Ever.

Violence and anger never get you anywhere near peace.

Folks, someone has to take that first step.  We are killing each other.  We are not fixing the problems we have, we are making them worse.  We aren’t reaching acceptance or understanding.  We have derision and hate.

Instead of taking to social media and exclaiming one group of people is worth more than another, stand together to stop hate.  Speak of love, speak of FIXING a problem instead of creating another problem.  Before you post that tweet, instagram photo, facebook status….think…is this going to upset someone?  Is what I say going to negatively or positively impact those around me?  Is today the day I am going to make a difference?

It’s time people, to take responsibility for our words, our actions.  Many have fought for our right to free speech, use it for something other than hate and hurt.

It’s time people.  Grow up, act like you are in this for keeps.  Quit being a knucklehead.

It’s time people.  For love and respect.

It’s time we all matter.