The Downside of Up.

We’ve all seen the pros and cons of social media.  The connections that are made with long ago friends, the relationships that bloom, or re-bloom…sometimes it’s good, sometimes, not so good.

I have found a dark side to social media. It’s not spoken of often, I can only think because of the “shame” involved with it.  I was talking with the wife about it the other day…the dreaded Social Media Jealousy.  It seems to strike at adults more than children.  I think because child-drama centers around crushes, prom and what type Sperry’s you wear…at least that’s my household.

No SMJ strikes at adults, who seem to get a lot more put out than kids over slights, either real or imagined.  We tend to view Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, et al, as a measuring tool of success. Ours and our friends. And 90% of the time, it’s all self-created drama.  Seriously, some folks take this waaayy too seriously.

We only THOUGHT we got away from cliques after high school.  In fact, after high school, I walked smooth away from anything and everyone I knew in school.  See, school was brutal for me.  I wasn’t popular, I wasn’t pretty…I was awkward and introverted.  I have wonderful memories of my high school years, wrapped up in people that I still keep up with on Facebook.  Or Instagram.  Or Twitter.  Yet, of these people, there are even fewer that I keep up with in person.  It’s not because I don’t care, it’s because we all got busy.  There isn’t any malice, we just got busy.

Yes folks, remember that…before social media, we had to make an effort to maintain that connection.  And sometimes we did, and those relationships flourished.  Other times, we slacked off…waited for another day, then that day passed, and it got easier to just go on with our lives because the other person didn’t make the effort either.  Voila…drift happens.

With the invent of MySpace and it’s contest of who your top friend was, came the SMJ.  If you weren’t your friends “Top” friend, you simply taught them a lesson and moved them down on your list….ha!  That’ll teach them!!!  Most times, they didn’t even realize they had done anything wrong.  I mean, they did make their child their top friend…how dare they?!?!?

Along came Facebook; no more ranking of friends or where you fall in the “Top Ten” but now there are “likes”.  It’s almost too much pressure.  You post a status or a photo…you HOPE you get a like or two.  You are on top of the world if you get 10 or 20….you are floored at 50 or even 100!!!

You have been known to stress over the smallest thing…a misspelled word, a shadow on a photo.  In fact, we no longer take photos just to enjoy, these smart phones allow us to take picture after picture after picture to make sure you get the right angle, that you don’t see a wrinkle, a double chin, a fat roll.  But don’t worry, if you don’t catch it…one of your “friends” will point it out to you.  Sometimes in good-natured humor, sometimes, it’s ugly.  And hurtful.  This can lead to being deleted or even worse…BLOCKED!!!!

Don’t think there aren’t cliques on social media.  Oh….there totally are…the same cliques that were in school…I can look and see that the popular crowd is still the popular crowd. Or the nerds (my peeps!) have packed together, making odd references to obscure TV shows or cult movies.  Or the folks who just monitor and watch, never posting just reading and looking at everyone’s status’ and photos.

I don’t know what causes the jealousy or hurt.  I do know that people have taken sides in situations they know nothing about.  They offer opinion or advice on things they aren’t involved in or know about.  They share their insights on your life with others, without consequence or a second thought. Social media has the ability to turn us all into judgmental jerks.

Social media has made us lazy, ill-mannered, cynical and jealous.

We don’t make time to visit anymore.  Why should we?  We can just peruse their lives on their social media sight.  Right?    We don’t have to listen to their stories of Junior’s football game or Suzy’s date last night.  We don’t have to make the time to spend face to face, seeing their reactions, their smiles or tears.  We can post a comment on their status as an offer of condolence or congratulations.  Virtual posts of sincerity in a world that teeters on a line between good manners and reality shows.  Pokes have taken the place of a good ol’ fashioned hug.

We don’t always feel joy when someone posts a vacation photo or photo of their engagement ring.  No, we aren’t happy to see our friends spend time with people other than us.  We often are jealous that we weren’t invited on the trip, or we are jealous because their diamond is bigger than ours, or why wouldn’t they invite us to dinner.  We don’t always truly wish the best for others, we keep up with them because we want to compete.  Human nature at it’s finest.

And let’s be honest, we all have “those” friends, you know the ones you keep on Facebook, to watch them roll around in their misery. They can’t help themselves, and we can’t help feeling superior to them.  We don’t reach out to assist or give a word of encouragement, we just sit and watch.  And these same people, will put everything out there, when they shouldn’t.  And we think “they are just screaming for attention!”  sometimes they are, sometimes they just need that outlet.  We should never be the ones to judge their circumstance.  Or be the ones who peek and sit back.  Sometimes, instead of feeling superior in our awesome lives, we need to reach out, give the a hand or a word of support.  It may be the one thing that makes a difference.

I am just as much to blame in my own world.  I was telling my wife the other night, we let 25-year-old friendships turn into Facebook  friendships.  We all have.  And I have found in the end, it’s turned me bitter in my own mind where I have made bigger deals out of things than I should have.   I have had imaginary slights that have taken on a life of their own and I no longer speak to people who I considered my friends.  I’m not proud of this behavior.  I haven’t deleted them or anything like that…I don’t follow them, but they remain on my Facebook, I can go peek in on their world when I want to.  The same way they do me.  Many won’t admit it.  I am sure that many think “oh, that’s not me!!!  I would never do such a thing!”  Okay, then go look…see how many of the people in your social media platforms you actually interact with.

I sometimes forget that others have lives too.  That not everyone is sitting around, waiting to entertain me.  And as such, I should afford them the consideration that I want from them.

This IS a double-edged sword.

Social media has also shown me the ugly side to people that I hadn’t seen before.  I have seen others use social platforms to remind everyone else how great their lives are in comparison to others.  I have seen “friends” rub good fortune, their “excellence”, their wonderful things in others faces.  Some might not realize they do this, others do so on purpose.  Using social media as a “don’t you wish you were me?” platform.

Here’s the rub:  no, I don’t.  I feel sorry for you.  You are so insecure in your life that you need the validation of a “like” or a comment.  You don’t think your great life is so great.  And you should.  You should be proud enough of yourself to not lord it over everyone else.  Here’s a hint.  This only makes you look like a complete tool.

I have let friendships fall away.  I have found that as an adult, I will hang on to stuff way longer than I should.  I preach love and acceptance and open-mindedness.  I have to remember that I don’t walk in everyone else’s shoes. And they don’t walk in mine.  I’m not always proud of my thoughts and actions.  No matter how proud others may be of theirs.

Here’s the thing, I have a good life. I have lived charmed and blessed life and I don’t take it for granted.  I have good friends that I treasure and adore,  I have a family that I would walk through fire for and I have my health.  I don’t need much more than that.

I got a wake up call this week when some friends got hurt by my inaction. The wife and I’s inaction and assumptions. We assumed that we weren’t needed or wanted.  That we had been “edged” out of their lives.  So we went about our lives.  Hurt and upset that the friendship that we treasured was a one way street.  Only to find that they assumed the same thing about us.  That we had edged them out and they were just as hurt and confused as we were.  In the end, I realized that whether the other person makes the effort or not, I have to.  And I realized how much I had missed my friend…my LP.  And shame on me for letting this happen.  That I hurt someone by just not doing anything, by my thinking my life was more important, by my jealousy that I had been replaced…I could have lost a dear friend.  Who missed me as much as I missed them.  Shame.on.me.

We have other friends that we let go.  Not because of anything they did or didn’t do to us. Maybe we are jealous of their lifestyle.  Maybe they are jealous of our bliss.  Maybe I’m wrong all the way around.  I know that I don’t like the actions of some, I have gotten roped into what feels like a one-sided war and I chose my side. I have to live with that and I’m okay with it.  I think there are issues because of social media and the lack of communication all the way around, I don’t think I care.

Not all friendships will survive social media.  Like I said, it shows you the dark side of some folks.  And yes, I may have stopped talking to someone over my perceived hurt…but when the other side doesn’t step up to the plate to fix it, to make the effort, then there’s no need to chase that friendship.  Social media will show you someone’s true colors.  Their insecurities and their faults.  You just have to care and pay attention.

In the end, these two friendships, one I treasure and I will remember to value.  One, I am still not sure of…in the end, I can’t be the only one putting in the hard work. Friendship is more than a like on Facebook or Instagram.  Friendship is more than a quippy comment or one liner.  It’s more effort than that.   One, will meet me half way, and will smile, knowing that as I type this sentence, this friendship is putting a smile on my face.  One, will not even realize that it’s them I am thinking of as I type this sentence.  One will embrace the years and history of the friendship between the four of us, one will not realize that the years have slipped passed them and it may be too late.   Because this is the good side of social media and the bad side of social media.  All in one paragraph.

Jealousy isn’t always a bad thing.  Jealousy pushes us to be better than the next guy.  Pushes us to not settle for being just what we are…

It’s only a bad thing when we let it take over, when we let it win.

 

Duck. Duck. Goat.

I have tried like hell all day to avoid all things Phil Robertson and Duck Dynasty.  God knows I have.  I have avoided the TV show for however many seasons it’s been on, well….I watched about 4 minutes of it one time, couldn’t stand the stupidity of it and turned it off.

I often wondered “We have actually made this shit #1 on TV?”  It falls along the same lines as the Kardashians and that BooBoo chick.  There is no value added to my life by the existence of these shows…NONE.

So I posted on good ol’ Facebook that I thought of him as often as he thought of me…no big deal.  Couldn’t believe how rabid folks got about it…but nooooo…it didn’t stop…everyone apparently has skin in this game.

Here goes my two, three or ten cents…

Mr. Robertson is strong in his faith.  He came back to the Lord and it has brought him peace in his life.  Good.on.him.  He deserves to proclaim his faith from the highest mountain top.  Doesn’t like homosexuality?  DON’T BE ONE!!!  Don’t like bestiality?  DON’T DATE A GOAT!!!  Wanna talk about it, fine…buckle up…you’re gonna piss someone off Phil.

See, Mr. Robertson isn’t an idiot.  He KNOWS what he said, he KNOWS what he meant, he KNOWS what kind of response he was gonna get.  He’s a brilliant businessman, right?  I mean he turned a family kazoo business and bad grooming habits into a multi-million dollar empire.  Don’t be fooled, the man isn’t a victim.

However, the man is a human.  And as such, he is allowed his unalienable rights.  As given BY MAN.

He has that Freedom of Speech…you know the one that THOUSANDS have died to protect.  That funny little constitutional right.  We may not like what he says, but he gets to say it without being beaten about the head and face for it.  If he wants to look stupid and small-minded, then by all means, thank a solider and go with it.

He’s right, the Bible does say that stuff.  Sorta, it’s paraphrased and translated.  It’s okay, mankind has been obliterating the teachings of the Bible for hundreds, thousands of years.  Ministers, politicians, families…foes…everyone will pluck one or two passages and memorize them, to help them make their point, to make them feel righteous.  To make them feel like they are on the right side of God in their judgements.

Gay or straight, Democrat or Republican, male or female…we all stand in judgement of each other, of people we know, people we don’t know…we do it everyday…

  • They are such a judgemental idiot!
  • She’s friendly, she must be a whore.
  • He’s talking to that woman, they must be “doing it.”
  • They don’t agree with me, they must be stupid…or wrong…or rascist/sexist/ageist/etc.
  • They are passionate about their opinions, they must be a zealot/crazy/off their meds.
  • They voted for Obama, they must be gay…or on welfare…or black.
  • They voted for Romney, they must be white…and rich…and racist…
  • They don’t vote…they don’t get an opinion in the country.
  • They are a vegetarian, they must be a hippy…I wonder if they shave?
  • They aren’t like me…there must be something wrong with them.

Yes, as much as we don’t want to admit it, we all sit in judgement of each other.  NO ONE is innocent of it.  So if you think you are, sit.down.  You are probably one of the worst.  Doesn’t mean I don’t love you, but it does mean I will roll my eyes and ignore 90% of what you are ranting about.

My sister and I battle this…allllll the time.  She is way more religious than I am.  It’s okay.  I love that she has found that relationship with God that fills her with peace and love.  She has found a church family and home that centers her and fills her faith cup.  She needs that in her life, she was raised with it and chooses to raise her child with it.  I think it’s wonderful and at times, wish I had that.

I am more spiritual than religious.  Church hasn’t been good to me, in fact, the last church I went to actually TOOK SIDES in my damn breakup.  Seriously, I was judged by leaders and people who spoke of love, acceptance and faith.  I don’t know if I will ever step in a church again for anything other than a wedding, baptism or funeral…but I have a strong relationship with God.  I have read/will read the Bible all my life.  I know stories, I know passages.  I live in sin and pray for forgiveness everyday.  I know that God loves me and I don’t need anyone to validate how I love Him. He knows.

Even with all of that…when I perceive that my sister has taken a “right turn” off the deep end into religious fevor…its because (1)she’s pissed at someone, typically me. (2)she wants to piss me off. (3)she’s off her meds (kidding!) (4)she’s passionate about whatever has gotten in her craw.

My sister and I have had more battles over what God wants, means, or flat-out says…when I say battles, I mean BATTLES…like I end up screaming into a phone, she ends up crying or God help us…either of us are near a computer, the e-mails are epic.  Hell, we will even drag our mother into it.  Shamefully, we have dragged my kids, my wife and my best friend into them in the past. I mean…my sister and I get medieval in these e-mails.  And in the end, we won’t speak for weeks, she will call crying (she misses me and I am s.tu.b.b.o.r.n) and we forgive and move past it.

Last time, was about gay marriage.  It was a doozy.  But once my daughter got ahold of me…seriously talked some sense into me, I got it.  And I have changed how I feel and think about others who think differently than me.

It’s true.  Children do end up teaching the parents.  It was humbling.

I tell you this because we are as different as night and day (she is adopted! not really…but don’t tell her)…and despite all these differences, I will take a bullet for her.  Well, maybe not a bullet, but I did’t tell her I would let someone pinch me really hard.  No one picks on my baby sister, makes her cry or hurts her that they won’t deal with me…eventually.  Karma is righteous…and until it comes around…don’t fuck with my family.  My baby sister…she’s the first best friend I ever had…she was my favorite toy…she may be a rabid Jesus loving mommy…but she can put in a good word with God for me…she has her opinions on everything in my life and I, hers…we have grown up and grown together.

She will get wrapped up in all of this…and it will be my job to talk to her about the other side, to listen to her reason, to tell her mine and in the end, pat her on the head, try to sell her for rocks and love her unconditionally.

ANYHOO.  Mr. Robertson paraphrased/quoted the Bible.  Mr. Robertson voiced his opinion and exercised his First Amendment Right.  It’s okay…really.  Whatever he thinks isn’t truly going to change anyone anymore than I will by writing this.  But it’s my blog, it’s my outlet and when I am done, I am done with this and Mr. Robertson.  I still won’t watch the show…I will still think they all need a shave.  I will still not want to run out and purchase a kazoo or marry a man…

I’m still gonna be me.  Gay.  Chubby.  Outspoken and vocal behind a keyboard.

A&E also has the right to Freedom of Speech.  They chose to not agree with him.  They chose to protect their business model.  No one was arrested, no one was stoned to death, no one was locked up in a cell for 20 years for voicing their opinion.  I dare say, the world continued to revolve on its axis.  The rich got richer and there are still men, women and children that went to bed hungry, sad and alone.

Wanna be upset?  Be upset about that…

It’s really hard for me to defend his rights when I have to fight daily for mine.  But this isn’t about gay rights or my civil rights or anything like that.  He voiced his opinion and it’s stirred up a nest of bullshit that is impressive.  Yes, he has the right to say whatever he wants…at doesn’t make him exempt from taking responsibility for those words.  So, no, I don’t believe he is a victim.  At.all.

Please gay people….don’t make this a homophobic thing…please…don’t get down to that level and be as small-minded and judgey as he has been.  For God’s sake, he has Sarah Palin supporting him!!! Please, rise above it…realize that he probably doesn’t have anyone close to him that is gay or dating a goat.  He doesn’t see how it affects us.  Nothing we do or say is going to change him, his beliefs or his opinions.  It’s evident.

Take that passion, that energy and channel it into doing something that makes a positive change in someone’s life.  Pay his judgement forward and turn it into something positive.  For the love of God…show the REST of the world that we aren’t all crazy, fevered fags that will protest everything for any reason…stop.think.love.

And to you, Mr. Robertson, I appreciate that you have your opinion.  I appreciate you have the right to your opinion.  I am sad that you have to deal with the backlash, but sir, you asked for it.

So I’m gonna say a prayer for you.  I’m gonna say a prayer for me.  I might even say a prayer for Kim Kardashian and that BooBoo chick.

Lord knows, we all need it.

Mommy World.

My kids have two mommies.

It’s okay…I acknowledge it isn’t for everyone, but it’s perfect for us.  I am bio-mom.  I carried these two bundles of joy,  I shared a heartbeat with each of them.  I’ve loved each of them 9 months longer than anyone else ever will.  I have made my share of mistakes, I have made your share, my neighbors share, my 3rd cousin twice removed’s share….I have screwed it up more than I care to think about, but I own it.

These two are of me, they look like me, act like me, sound like me.

I have taught them the truth may hurt, but everyone is WORTH the truth.

I have taught them that even though they are head and shoulders taller than me, I can still put them in their place.

I have taught them to respect themselves, because in life, many others won’t.

I have taught them that yes, adults do suck sometimes, and even the ones that say they love you and won’t leave, do.  It’s not their fault, it’s on the other person.  They aren’t to give them any energy.

I have taught them unconditional love.  Period.  No excuses, no reason.  Love is love….and there is always room for more of it.

I have taught them that I will walk through fire for them.  I love them to my very core and there isn’t anything they can do to change that.

Then I gave them the Wife.  And it’s changed our lives, all of us.  I have known her for 30 years, we have been a family for 4 years…it gets better every day.

I once asked the wife why she loved them so much, her answer was simple, “In the beginning, I loved them because I love you and I see how much you love them…how do you not love someone so much? Now, I love them because we have our own relationships, we have our own things…they are as much mine.”  She’s the goods.

She hasn’t “thanked” me yet for these relationships, but she hasn’t run for the hills either.

So everyone understands, my kids have two mommies.  It’s okay.

I had a conversation with the sister today that made me think about what actually constitutes a family.  See, I had two mommies, no…not in THAT way, I had my bio-mom and my step-mom.  Everyone should have a step-parent like mine.  She never felt like a step-parent and she never treated me like less.  I love her everyday and think of her often.  She left my life after the divorce, but in my heart, she left me with a sister, a brother and a 2nd mommy that I will always love and lessons I will never forget.

In today’s society, there are so many single parents, by choice, by death, by separation, the list goes on and on…here’s my take on it….

there are so many that need love, need guidance, need structure and support…why shut folks down?  Because of their sexuality?  Seems short-sighted and petty.  Maybe that’s just me.

My kids got/get asked all the time “your mom is gay???” and both without missing a beat, without hesitation, “yes.” Simple and true.

Yes, they have been picked on.   But I’ll let you in on a secret; kids pick on kids, regardless of whether or not mommy is a fag.  All kinds of reasons….

  • Mommy is fat.  (it’s okay, I am)
  • Mommy isn’t blonde.  (tried it once, not pretty)
  • Mommy isn’t a stay at home mommy.  (Bossman would cry)
  • The daughter’s hair was too short.
  • The boy’s hair was too long.
  • We didn’t live in the right part of the neighborhood.
  • We didn’t have a hot tub.

Kids learn what we teach them.  These two have learned there are lots of different ways to love others, that it’s okay to have one parent, or two, or two mommies, daddies, step parents, foster, adopted, whatever…they have learned family isn’t always genetic.

Sometimes, the right one walks in the door.  This person will take away the hurt and replace it with love and honor.  This person will show a child it’s okay to trust, to love someone who isn’t “the norm.”

Besides, my definition of normal is way different from yours.  Example, I think it’s completely normal to have 7 pairs of the same shoe in different colors or the same purse in 4 different colors.

What? not normal?

told.you.so.

CancerGirl.

This isn’t my story.  This isn’t my fight.  But this is my blog.  And I waited until I was given permission to write and publish these words.  So for you, CancerGirl, you are an inspiration to me.

The moment is frozen in my mind.  That moment when I didn’t know what to say.

It was at one of the Boy’s football games.  CancerGirl and DynaHusband had begun coming to his games this season, to support the Boy and his efforts.  We had grown to be close friends, the Couple That Could and me and the wife…we bonded over foodie love, Disney, the Boy and randomness.  It didn’t hurt they were literally 100 steps from our house.  We love them, the Couple that Could.

I see them walking up the bleachers and I go to meet CancerGirl, only then, she wasn’t CancerGirl, she was just my friend…I asked, “so….what did the doctor say?”  As tears welled up, she could not talk and I just knew.  They had found something.

All I could muster was “you know it won’t be anything, just like me….you will twist yourself inside out for nothing…I have a good feeling, you will be okay.” She nodded, I hugged her.  I stood there, hugging her for what seemed to be forever, with tears in my eyes, saying a prayer for my friend.  For her to be okay….

About a week later, I got a text:  “Mastectomy is the word for the day.”

I replied: “Shut up.”

I reminded her that she DID want a boob lift, but this was not the way to do it.  I saw her later that day, I looked at her and said, “You get 24 hours to be sad.  After that we fucking fight!”

And I hugged her.  And DynaHusband, who looked like he had been punched and boiled.  The wife told him any time he needed a break, she had a car and knew where a bar was, they could just go.   They told us they weren’t telling many, just to not make it about a “cause” because there are always the people in your life that make YOUR cancer all about them.  This needed to be about her.  And him. Period.   Anyone else could just go pound sand.  In fact, I believe I said, “who cares?  You are fucking fighting for YOUR life…you owe no one ANYTHING!!!!”  and I still mean that.  To.my.core.

We told DynaHusband, “she will have MANY taking care of her; we need to also remember to worry about you.  You need love, prayers and our strength too. Don’t be brave by yourself.”  And we meant it.  Every word of it.

So, we get through the coming days with lots of inappropriate boob and cancer jokes (there are a LOT of them), a little sadness and lots of prayers.  In my effort to make things easier, I set up a Foodie Calendar…a way for all the people who love the Couple That Could to do SOMETHING to help; we feed them.  (If you know them, they don’t cook.  Ever.  I don’t even know why they have a kitchen!) And the amount of love and support and food that came to me for this was astounding.  People came out of the woodwork to help her, at her work, her friends, family…all of them.  Each one, telling their stories of love and support for CancerGirl.  And we kept them fed. Holy moly, that was a lot of food…from family, friends, their favorite restaurants.  Methinks I am going to start a food calendar for me.

Then it’s time.

DynaMom comes to the rescue.  EVERYONE should have a mom like this…DynaHusband’s mom…I know her name, but I can’t get it to come out of my mouth, she’s just “mom” to all of us.  So CancerGirl does the damn thing.  Double mastectomy and reconstruction.  DynaHusband calls us to let us know she’s good, she’s resting and will be home in a couple of days.

Once she’s home, we gave her a couple of hours and headed over.  Now, I will tell you, I was expecting someone who looked like they had been hit by a Mack truck….she did not look like that.  AT.ALL.  I actually asked, “are you sure you had surgery?!?!!?”  It was crazy, she looked great and was awake, in very little pain and I was impressed.  CancerGirl had turned into WarriorGirl.  We asked incessantly “can we do anything?” and only ONCE did DynaHusband ask for any help….to watch over her while he went to run some errands.  Let me tell you, she slept the whole time…easiest babysitting assignment I have ever been given.  Although, she did have control of the remote, which resulted in my being stuck watching the Cinderella remake with Brandi and Whitney Houston.  Kill.me.now.

She bounced back remarkably quickly;  we were at their favorite hangout two weeks after surgery so DynaHusband could dress up like Santa…a very pervy Santa, but she was smiling and having a good time.  It’s been the rule since this whole thing started, we have fun.  We enjoy every moment and fuck cancer!

We are there with her, through the chemo, the up days, the down days.  And we are honored to be there on the day that she claims control, that the chemo isn’t going to win.  As we sit and watch, she has her head shaved…and smiles a smile that lights the room.  I sit and watch, astounded by the sheer bravery she has to do that.  I had thought of doing so in solidarity; yet, ultimately deciding against it for a couple of reasons, (1) it’s her battle and story, (2)I have a weird freckle on my head (3)I didn’t want to answer any questions.  She had no choice….either she shaved it or watched it go down the drain.  I don’t know that I am that brave.

She has a perfect baby head.

There were to be wigs in the beginning, which lead to many pervy jokes.  Duh.  Slowly, she began to go all naturel….no wigs, just baby head and a bonnet.  As her comfort level grew, she smile shined.  It wasn’t long until we never saw a wig….to be perfectly honest, I don’t think we ever saw her IN it.  We began searching for hats for her…everywhere we go, the Wife was looking for hats…it became part of the day….hats for WarriorGirl…hats, hats, hats…hats with pom poms, hats with ears, hats with flowers…so many choices…

It became habit, when we would see each other, my hand immediately rubbed her fuzzy head, half expecting a genie to pop out and grant me three wishes…but it never happened.  *sigh*

She didn’t post anything on Facebook for the longest time.  The one time she did, I immediately texted and said, “uh, that’s on FB!” and it came down….we set her up a blog, so she could relate how she felt, what was going on and how she was coping.  That was the only written word about the fucking cancer (with the exception of the veiled FB post for those “in the know”).  Until recently.

About a month ago, WarriorGirl had her picture taken with her smile and baby head…and it was beautiful!  And just like that, the battle was public…WarriorGirl had the fucking cancer.  Only she had beaten it.  There was love, support, concern, and celebration.

In fact, when I told the Boy (who *hearts* them!) that she had posted a picture on Facebook, he wanted to see it…and his exact words were “Its about time!”  (I love the Boy….)

About two weeks ago, DynaHusband finally acknowledged what he had been through.  I can’t imagine, watching, not begin able to fight FOR HER, but to simply sit by and allow her to do this.  He’s the goods.  The example any husband should strive to be; he’s that guy…and we can see how much he loves her, just by the look in his eyes.  These two, they make me happy…watching them be a married people…gives me hope for the breeders.  He wouldn’t tell us before how hard it was, in fact, he made sure to tell us he was “okay” and “good” any time we asked.  He wouldn’t leave her side ever.  He was her chemo buddy, her nurse, her transporter, her maid and her protector.

Nowadays, the chemo is over, the head is bald and she is still smiling.  She will continue to survive…she will continue to be shiny.  She will always be a Warrior in my eyes.

To the Couple That Could, I say this…we (the wife and I) are blessed beyond any words for the friendship you give us.  We love you to from the tops of our heads to the tippy of our toes.  We are grateful and honored to have walked through this battle with you, that we are on this side of the war and we (you) are winning.  Thank you for all that you share, all that you do and all that you are to us.

Convicted.

Hope you have some time…I’m on a roll…

Unless you have been under a rock the past few days, you know about the Supreme Court taking up the Prop 8 and DoMA decisions. Unless you have been living under said rock for the past ten years, you know that the two pieces of legislation can and have divided families and friends, they have caused hurt and anger and shame for countless many people.

In the name of love….

On Tuesday night, Facebook was ablaze in red….from allies, from the LGBT community, from mothers and fathers, brothers and sister, children and I even think I saw someone’s pet….all red, all in support of equal rights.  I posted to my page, to wear red on Wednesday to show your support.

My job is to keep things moving in a forward direction.  With 125 people at my office, 110 of which are men, it’s a lot like wrangling a bunch of toddlers at nap time…I love my job.

There is an HR dimension to my position, meaning I provide HR support to six locations.  I get emails about dress code, body odor, foul shit in the refrigerators, weird shit in bathrooms, someone got feelings hurt, someone didn’t show up for work and someone isn’t wanting to work…you get the drift, it’s never a dull moment.

So Wednesday starts like any other day, I’m late…as I “log in” and begin deciphering 156 NEW UNREAD emails, I come across this….

From: Thomas *******
Sent: Tuesday, March 26, 2013 9:14 AM
To: Stephanie *****I
Subject: I would like to file a formal complaint . . . .

grrrreeeeaaaaaat…..just how I wanna start the day….so I open, with both eyes closed, to find.this….

. . . . . next time you are at one of those meetings, or parades, or whatever it is you people have to keep yourself organized, I’d appreciate it if you’d tell the king of the Gays (actually, being “of the Gays”, that would make it a Queen, wouldn’t it? ) to give us a little more notice if we’re supposed to wear Red or whatever.

I only have 1 red LKQ shirt. My other red shirts consist of 2 – 49ers jerseys and a “Where’s Waldo” t-shirt. Being as that I wore my red LKQ shirt yesterday,  I don’t have any red pants (although, come to think of it, if I did have red pants, I would probably be much more passionate about this particular cause . . . ), and Jerseys are only allowed on Friday, I am now wearing a red T-shirt for an undershirt, and if I unbutton 1 button, you will find Waldo.  It’s mildly uncomfortable! Waldo is not supposed to be hiding under my shirt!

With a little more advanced notice, I could have waited until today to wear my red LKQ shirt, and this uncomfortableness could have been avoided. So yeah . .  . . . 

Thank You,

I am completely and utterly blown away.  This was AWESOME!  I love surprises and to be honest, I knew this guy was an “ally” of sorts, he had previously sent me a message on FB defending my right to marriage and put a sweet comment on my status for all my friends to see.  So I knew he appreciated “the Gay” but to say that he supported me, my marriage…and did so in front of 110 other guys by wear a red “Where’s Waldo?” shirt meant more than the words.  His actions spoke for him.  I was grateful.

I walk into my department and my several of my staff are wearing red shirts.  Not a word was said until late in the day, but all day, I was honored and amazed at these people, silently supporting me.

More of my staff wore red the next day, to support the second day of arguments.  Thinking about it now makes me smile.   I love my job.

During the first day, all day, I kept seeing more and more people changing their pictures to the HRC red equal sign.  It was like my Facebook was bleeding.  This is social media at its finest.  Spreading words, allowing people to unite, opening lines of dialogue that may or may not have ever been opened.  Yes, it is the Age of the Geek, the Technology Era and as much as we get it wrong, sometimes, it’s done right.

Wednesday afternoon, two things happened that have done two different things….(1)was a text message that lifted me up so high, I thought I would be able to grab a star and (2)a realization that the fight I have hits closer to home than I ever expected.

The daughter, in her infinite wisdom, sent me a text and I will only summarize it due to its to me, for me and will be only mine forever…she said she had been seeing and hearing hateful, negative things about gay marriage all day and was sick of it.  Instead of fighting with others about their ignorance, she decided to do what I had taught her and send a positive message to someone about love, honor and respect.  I was the recipient of said text.  I burst into happy tears, called her, thanked her and listened as she told me her story, her testimony to the power of love.

I don’t know when it happened, but I raised an incredible daughter.  I have read that text a million times.  I shared my tears with my staff and was buoyed by her love and support.  The strength she gave me in that moment was wonderful.

Later, when I had  chance to come home and start looking at Facebook and reading about the days arguments, I realized, while many had changed their profiles, some closer had not.  I was puzzled.  In particular, three that I was sure SHOULD have, due to their proximity to me and my life.  I questioned two…

One just hadn’t been around and was like “you know I don’t do that. I don’t get into that stuff…don’t get all mental on me.”  And it was true.  They don’t and I didn’t.

One didn’t feel like arguing and was spending the day boycotting Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and every other known social site they were on….

The last one, they got a phone call…it went sideways quickly.  I remained calm but my heart was and is still broken.  Three.  Close to me.  Three not supporting my rights.

And then, I got pissed.

And then, I got the laptop out.

Buckle.up.

Here’s my open letter to those who oppose gay marriage,

Shut the fuck up.  Seriously.  Don’t espouse to me that it’s a sin, or that it’s against God’s law.  Don’t tell me you love me, but you can’t support my right to marry.  What the fuck!?!?!?!?!  How the hell did we get here?

Let’s think for a minute about this marriage thing, half of the breeders out there aren’t in it to honor God, to honor each other or to even commit to a lifetime together.  Some are in it to gain citizenship, some are in it to gain health insurance, some are forced into it by circumstance.  In the age we live in, it’s not even a “permanent” commitment.  The divorce rate is 48%!!!!!

Still think my faggot marriage is going to ruin the sanctity of your marriage…turn on an episode of the Kardashians, or Bridezillas.  Tell me about the sanctity now.  Nah….stuff your sanctity.

I would never be one to question God.  Ever.  I will be judged by Him and Him alone when I get there.

Oh, you have convictions.  You have opinions.

Let me tell you this….your convictions broke my heart.  Hope it was worth it.  Your opinions ring in my mind.

Your convictions on gay marriage, that it should be between a man and woman only….are hurtful to those who have loved and lost.  I know gay people who have been together longer and are more committed than many of the hetero couples I know.

Your convictions cost me MY CIVIL RIGHTS!!!!  Your convictions allow a legislature to be passed that make me less than you.  Allow me to be second class.  Allow me to not be worth the same as you.

Your compassion, your support, your love…the things I need, weren’t and aren’t there.

Yet these same people, will ask for my support, my love, my compassion….hell, they will ask for my money, my vote and are shocked when I will give these, because unlike you, I don’t stand in judgement of anyone.  I understand that everyone has a right to their own beliefs.  I honor our differences.  Why must you try to force me into a box?

No, no one asked me to change.  No one said they didn’t love me.  I never put those words in anyone’s mouth.

However, 24 posts and not a single one supporting me…speaks volumes.  Folks speak of God’s love and His judgement.  And yet, to those closest, don’t practice it.  Perhaps if I was a stranger, needing something, it would be different and I would get that necessary support and prayer.

No, I’m not a stranger….and I need it more.

For one to boycott instead of taking a stand, that is an act of cowardice.  If you don’t stand now, when will you?

For one to not make the effort, no matter how small, shows that perhaps when you ask for that bigger effort for something that matters to you, you will be left standing alone.

For one, to post anything and everything but a momentary word of support for your friends to see…why should I support you in return?

I know the answers to all of this…

Because of my love for God, my love for myself, my love for my family and friends.  My faith has taught me to love through pain, to love through confusion and those that are lacking, will be shown to me and I should love them more.

I prayed last night, deeply as I went to sleep. I prayed that I could let go of the hurt, the confusion, the anger and focus on one thing….

My faith in God above.  That He will provide me what I need in life.

I have my children.  I have my wife.  I have my health, I have family – the mother, the sister, the niece….countless cousins and my aunts and uncles…more love than I can handle.

I have the unwavering support of so many of my friends – gay, straight, bi, whatever….they support me, us, because they know the time is now, it’s here and things need to and will change.

All of us deserve equal rights.  I am just like anyone else….I pay taxes, I obey traffic laws, I have bills, I digest food, I brush my teeth….I am no different.

If the problem at the bottom of this was because we were a religious society, all practicing ONE RELIGION, I get that the arguments about God’s law hold up differently.  But Christianity makes up only 20% of the worlds religions.  Is the other 80% bound for hell?

Just because my neighbor may be Jewish, is he not worthy of the same heaven as me?

No, this isn’t about religious convictions.  This is about keeping fear alive…keeping hipocracy burning…to keep hate in so many hearts.

What does it hurt to allow me to marry?  To file taxes, to be by her bedside in illness, to adopt, own property, to live as we love?

Is it going to make your marriage implode?  You may have bigger issues if that’s the case.

At the end of the day, I am a girl…I hurt when I get hit, I laugh when I’m happy and I love….just like you.  Only I love another girl.

Folks, sin is sin.  My sin is no greater than your sin.  My homosexuality isn’t a bigger sin than your bigotry.

Only my sin, doesn’t break your heart.  Your sin, wounds many.

In the end…take this lesson…love.is.love.

Republican, stupidity, tomato, tahmato….

From my archive and with her “reminder” today, I only find it fitting that I break out an oldie, but goodie.

Freedom of speech does not mean, get out there, show your ass and fill the world with your hateful and hurtful rhetoric…

Suck eggs Sally Kern, suck eggs…

 

March 10, 2008 – Monday

Current mood: pissed off

 

Meet Sally Kern, one peach of a Republican…..

kern.jpg

This woman is a STATE REPRESENTATIVE for Oklahoma.  While I agree that she has every right to hate me and others like me and to voice her opinion, I don’t for one moment believe that she deserves the right to speak out in a manner such as this and be a “representative” of a collective whole of people who chances are, do not feel as she does.

Sally Kern ranting about gays.

If you know anything about me, I am not a politically forward person for the most part, I am getting more so, paying attention more, so below is the e-mail I sent to Sally Kern just now.  While I was good and pissed.

___________________________________________________________

Ms. Kern,

You are not my state representative, however, I am shocked and saddened by your speech.  You may not have wanted everyone to hear it, but I am shocked that you wanted anyone to hear it.  You should be embarassed and ashamed of yourself.  I sincerely doubt that you are.  That saddens me too.

Apparently, I am trying to convert toddlers (gotta get that toaster oven), I am much more dangerous than any terrorist and that I am diseased.

Well, “Ms.” Kern, you are who I think is more dangerous, your words are more powerful than mine.  You are the one I think is diseased, your heart is filled with hate for people you will never know.  I feel sad for you.

I feel sad that school teachers struggle day in and day out to teach our children to be intelligent and strong and you single handedly set them back.  Why do they spend their time teaching these children to be fair and respectful and you can’t muster the same?  You should be ashamed!

I am sad that you stereotype people in Oklahoma.  I know people in Oklahoma and transplanted from Oklahoma.  They are dear sweet people without an ounce of this hate in them.  You do not represent the Oklahoma they are proud to call home.  Not with this speech.

I am sad that you Ms. Kern, don’t know me and yet wouldn’t care to get to know me because I love a girl.   Your loss, not mine.  Definitely not mine.

Lastly, I am sad at how many THOUSANDS of US soldiers over the decades have lost their lives to protect your ignorant, hate filled free speech.

And by the way, Ms. Kern…..there have been gays around the ol’ USofA for SEVERAL decades……’bout as long as Republicans.

Thank you, for showing me EXACTLY why I vote Democrat.

Sincerely,

____________________________________________________________

Oklahoma representative Sally Kern refused to apologize for her disgusting statements this past weekend.

Instead, she defended her hateful words.

So….

If YOU wanna let good ol’ Sally know how you feel, we suggest you get in touch with her!

Ms. Kern’s contact information:

Capitol Address:
2300 N. Lincoln Blvd. Room 332
Oklahoma City, OK 73105
(405) 557-7348.

District Address:
2713 Sterling Ave.,
Oklahoma City, OK 73127.

Email: sallykern@okhouse.gov

or

srkern@cox.net

Burn.It.Down.

Aaaaauuugggghhhh!!!!! I have had it!!!!!
I have spent the better part of the last 18 months being the “bigger person.” Not addressing shit that needs to be addressed and I have taken it and taken it….shoved it down and ignored it.
About 6 weeks ago, I went to a benefit for a local charity. As I knew would happen, I ran into folks that I hadn’t seen in many months. It was awkwardly pleasant, as I spent the first part of the evening dodging them and avoid the uncomfortable…then I decided, “fuck it!” I am not here for them, I am not here to be anything other than authentically me. And I forgot to worry about it, about them.
As will happen, you will run into the most uncomfortable of these situations right when you are supposed to, right? So I smiled, I hugged, I made pleasant small talk. As we are wrapping it up and almost clear for our getaway, I get a smile, a touch on my arm and a “The past is the past. It’s time to move forward….”
I don’t remember the rest of it, because I was so shell-shocked and blown over by the condescending attitude, the imperial demeanor, that I had to get away. This person hasn’t spoken to me in OVER A YEAR. And yet, wants to let me know that it’s all good now….because they said so?!?!
Move forward? really? because I haven’t? Ummmm…..new house? check. recently married? check. kids are awesome and happy? check. the boy on A/B Honor Roll? check! Methinks I have moved waaaayyyyyy forward. Haven’t looked back once. Nada. Zero. Zip.
Well, as we know, I tend to stew on things and this kept popping up in my head from time to time…with the same pat on my arm. The same smile that didn’t reach the person’s eyes. The same motherly tone, like I was a bad child. And it spins me out…luckily, I am usually alone when it happens and can work it out on my own so I don’t have to vent it out loud…but the wife agrees…passive agressive isn’t what was appropriate at that moment. Or from that person…oh well, pfftp!
It happened again this week….someone else….another “victim” that is well over the age of consent and I apparently am God-like and can affect everything from their life to the tsunamis and the economy. Now, if I could only get the kids to pick up their rooms….I would ROCK!!!
This song by Adele has been stuck in my head for a bit…and it always seems to make me see things a bit stronger. It speaks to me, as some songs are prone to do…but it’s in the lyrics, the words…
“Finally, I can see you crystal clear, go ahead and sell me out and a I’ll lay your ship bare; See how I’ll leave with every piece of you, don’t underestimate the things that I will do…” – Adele, Rolling in the Deep, 2011.
It seems to be on the radio every 10 minutes and I crank it up every time I hear it…I dig Adele…period!
As I was cruising around the WorldWideWeb, I came across this little “nugget” …
Bitterness is like cancer. It eats upon the host. But anger is like fire. It burns it all clean. – Maya Angelou. WHAM!!!! I realized what it was that was holding me back, that was pushing me down. And I decided right then and there….

Burn.it.down. All around me.

See, I have allowed others to speak their mind, their insane minds and not reply. Not argue and to allow them to paint me in whatever light they have chosen to. According to many, I am not nice. I am Satan. I am the Devil Incarnate. Fuck, I got folks talking shit about me that I don’t even know. (Word to the wise….this world is SMALL…you never know who knows who and what gets back to people…yeah…it’s fucking small…so when you like to run your mouth about stuff, make sure you gots your facts right….cause I do and can prove so!))

Really? Satan? Me? Nahh…..Maybe. I haven’t gotten my horns or tail yet, perhaps they are on back order…

No, not really. See….unlike others, I am an adult. I don’t create drama. I don’t foster drama. I don’t allow bullshit in my life. It’s best these folks walk away…go be drama whores somewhere else. Cause you won’t find that here…I don’t want people to hurt. To be angry, to be sad. Life’s too short to be lived with this…fill your life with love and respect and faith…with so much of each that you can’t feel anything else.

Trust me….it’s wonderful when you do this….simply wonderful!

So, it’s the bitterness that keeps me held back, keeps creeping in, keeps hurting me. It’s the bitterness that people don’t remember that there is more than one side to every story…yours, mine and the truth. That people take sides without a thought to the other person…the other person that invested in that friendship, that relationship…they put time and effort in and *poof!*

Well folks, I’m gonna let you in on a little secret….you got some bad facts….I guarantee, you got fed a pack of lies…hope they went down easy….

It’s the anger that turns to bitterness that some people are so easily led by others. That they live their lives as follower. They won’t/can’t/don’t have an original thought and are put in a position of choices that are not their own. Here’s the sad fact…the person you are usually following…won’t have your best interests at heart…simply what you can do for them. Find your OWN drummer…march to your OWN beat. Know YOUR worth. Never let anyone else dictate what you are worth, show them…

It’s the anger that turns to bitterness that others play victim. It’s your own circumstance. You AREN’T a victim, so grow a pair, stand up and say, “yeah….I own this. I was in it….I didn’t bring my A-game either….”
Burn.it down.
I am done being the bigger person. If you folks had been half the people you THINK you are, we would still be in each other’s lives.
I guarantee you….you were never my “best” anything…I may have been yours, but there wasn’t any effort from you on any level. At least never for more than the time it took for you to get whatever you wanted. You used me, you used my family, you used my trust, my faith, my love and my respect.
If I ever went back to the beginning, I can look at things that should have been HUGE red flags and should have walked away years before I did. I can only say thank you for what I got out of it all…
I should have looked harder, trusted my instincts more…as much as you folks are my “victims,” trust me, you have left quite a wake of people behind you…
You aren’t a victim, you aren’t an injured party. Suck it up, get a helmet…
Fuck you. You should come with a warning label.
As for any of your “friends”…word to the wise…
  1. Make sure you only have time for them. These people are attention junkies. You should have no kids, family, pets, or outside influences that they do not approve of.
  2. Be able to live with “creative” truth. These people will make shit up, I believe just to see if you are listening….they didn’t do the things they will tell you they did.
  3. Hope you like gambling…if their mouth is moving, you gots a 50/50 shot at the truth. You feeling lucky?
  4. Give me a call when it all blows up….we can start a support group…

Now, I am not gonna name any names, I am not going to “out” people just because I have a bit more class than others. I will say it’s not always who you THINK it is…so jump to your conclusions, make your stories up, talk about me and my drama…

But look at who’s doing all the talking….it sure isn’t here…

Faith.

I have lived my life by one rule…and if you have been reading this blog or my previous incarnation, then you know what it is…

“Do unto others, as you would have them do unto you.”

Now, I don’t claim to have always lived a good life, full of good deeds.  I don’t claim to have always been the nicest person, nor do I think I am the worst.  I am human and with that comes free choice, which leads to both good and bad decisions.

But at the bottom of it all, I have tried to live honestly…and fully.  I have never once intentionally hurt another person and am the first to offer forgiveness.  Even when someone doesn’t ask.

For those who know me, they know my heart.  They know that I agonize over hurting people and want to right my wrongs.  It’s been a life long battle, letting go of those that can’t forgive.  It kills me to this day.

But these days, it’s a battle I am winning.  I am learning to let go.  To let these folks answer to God.  Not me.  Just like I will.   If it weren’t for the love of my wife, my kids, my family and my friends, I would fold up, dive head first into darkness and dwell there all my days.

But see, they bring light, happiness and joy to me.  They are what God put in my way…to show me my faith.  To show me that just because I don’t go to church, just because I am not a member of a congregation, that doesn’t mean I don’t have my faith shown to me in many ways.  Every day.

I had a rough time at work this week with a former employee.  An employee that threatened my very life.  And in this week, specifically today when they showed up unannounced, I saw God had put people around me to surround me, to protect me.  I didn’t know until the person was gone and even with that, I had others calling me to check, to warn…I had others to escort me out, to make sure I got to my car safely.  And then I had others to check on me later in the evening just because they thought of me.  It was His way of showing me that His arms were around me, protecting me through others.  It was peaceful.

God had shown me the path back to my children.  I spent a few years allowing another to make me make small choices everyday….between this person and my children.  I can see it now.  It wasn’t intentional, I truly believe this.  But there were choices and sometimes, I didn’t make the right ones.  Now, God has put this wonderful being into my life and the choice is automatic.  It’s kids first.  Period. For both of us.  Kids first.  He put her there, to show me that He knew I needed this, that I needed to not be where I was and that He had my heart in His hands….and was leading me home.

God has put this being in my life to love me.  To treat me as her equal.  To show me that a relationship isn’t all about the angst.  That it does take work, but not THAT much work.  It’s been a whirlwind and I wouldn’t trade anything other than the fact that I wish I had been here five years earlier than I was.  But He works in His time and I realize now that I wasn’t ready for this, that she wasn’t ready.  We had to wait until His time was right.  And we are on the same path, hand in hand…

My faith was shaken when I left my church a few years ago.  It didn’t feel like home any more.  It was my place with a former relationship and became her sanctuary.  In the end, I felt judged by others that knew nothing about our end other than one side and I felt that church wasn’t the place to air such things.  So I removed myself, surrounded myself with love and waited.  I don’t know what for, but I waited for some sign, something that showed me a new church home….that I longed for the lessons of the Book, His word….

…I learned that my faith didn’t leave me.  Ever.  Just because I was testing it, I was questioning Him, didn’t mean He left me, that He questioned me.  I had a purpose and I needed to settle into that and be still.  My faith would rise up and fill me.

And it did.

Now days, I don’t question Him. I talk to Him.  In my quietest moments, I am in my head, feeling my way through my faith.  It is a sense of self where I feel it most.  That I know I am right where I need to be and more importantly, who I want to be.

I think faith will see you through everything.  Faith in something bigger than me, something that will tie me to another person.  Our common bond in our faith.  It doesn’t mean I have to be Baptist, Catholic or Jewish….I just have to have faith. 

I try to continue to share this faith with others.  And this year, I realized that I didn’t attend Ash Wednesday services, Maunday Thursday services or Good Friday services.  I don’t expect to attend Easter morning services.  And as much as I miss this, I realize that I don’t have to be in a room full of people to celebrate Christ and his life, his sacrifice for me and the forgiveness I have each day, even before I get out of bed.  That God loves me enough to keep giving me chances and choices. 

I intend to continue to float on my faith.  To rise above the hatred, the ugliness and the pettiness of others.  To realize that no matter what the past is, it is truly the past and it is forgiven.  That my past led me to my present, and will light my path to the future.

I will continue to float on my faith, with love in my heart, with laughter on the tip of my tongue and forgiveness in my soul. 

And on Sunday, as everyday, I will remember the season, I will rejoice in His rising and I will do so with light in my eyes and faith all around.  I will celebrate His eternal life, His boundless sacrifice and be grateful that my faith cup runneth over.

Amen.

Shut up. Sit down.

I have tried to remove myself from most of the political and religious conversations I used to find myself getting into for one reason and one reason only…it doesn’t seem to matter.

There is not one thing I am ever going to say that will change someone’s mind regarding healthcare, taxes, immigration or social security. 

There is not one thing I am ever going to say that will change someone’s mind regarding the Ten Commandments, the Golden Rule, life hereafter, the Apocalypse or salvation. 

And I am ok with that.  The world as I see it has gotten to the point that most folks don’t look past the end of their nose or actually take the time to form an informed opinion on anything.  Most people will post on their Facebook some snippet of something and we all know, it’s not true unless it’s posted on Facebook.  

Then you have the blowholes like Glenn Beck, or Rush Limbaugh or Sarah “in it for the photo-op” Palin.  And these folks need to THINK before they speak.  Seriously.  If you can’t take responsibility for what you say, then shut the fuck up.

I am all for First Amendment Rights.  Up to a point. 

Here’s the point:  I am all for First Amendment Rights until they are used to HARM someone else.  And folks, as we are learning everyday in every way….words hurt.  Some words, kill.   Words can incite happiness, sadness, rage, peace, hositlity, reconciliation and violence.  It’s been proven again and again.  History is full of examples.  We are living the ying and yang of it everyday.

I don’t think my grandfather, friends, family, friends of family, etc have fought in wars, given life and limb for their call of honor, did so to protect the First Amendment Right of folks who so carelessly abuse it.

Free speech is a right.  It is an honor.  It is something to be used to BETTER people’s lives.  It’s to be used as a platform for greater good, not for tearing people down, exposing petty small differences and it’s certainly not to be used to further ones own selfish agenda.

I think that people who become celebrity for ANY reason has a responsibility to the people who listen to them, watch them, emulate them, or dream of being just like them.  Singers, actors, athletes, politicians, etc….the whole lot of them, if you want the public to LOOK at you, to LISTEN to you, then you need to THINK about what you do and what you say.  It will affect lives.

If you can’t be positive, be truthful, be authentic, then shut up.  Sit down.

We are at our very core, debasing everything that our forefathers once held to so dearly.  We, as a society have become what we feared.  We have become a judgemental, negative, hateful and hurtful society.  When those who are hurting are down, we kick them. 

And put it on the internet.  On YouTube, on Facebook.  And on television.  And we all watch. 

If you are given a platform in front of a camera, on the WorldWideWeb, in print, use it wisely.  Use the First Amendment Right in the spirit it was meant. 

This sad excuse of a man, Jared Loughner is getting the one thing he wanted.  Attention.  I know when my kids act out and want attention for a negative action, they go to their room.  They get NO attention until they act right.  And for ANYONE to take the horror of his actions and put the blame on anyone but him, in any way, is dishonoring thousands.  So Rush, shut up.  Sit your fat ass down and count your blessings.  I didn’t think it was possible for me to think less of this pathetic excuse for a human, but he showed me that I can. 

I read that Freddie Phelps and his inbred clan are going to protest the funeral of the 9 year-old that was taken WAY before her time….all I will say is about that is, Fred, you and yours have a special place in hell. 

My heart goes out to the families that lost loved ones this weekend, my respect goes to the heroes of the day and my prayers go to the families of all of them.

My heart, my pride and my prayers will always stay with those who protect me and mine.  Here at home and abroad.  For they are the SAME people who protect the rights of these small-minded people, because they are charged with doing so.  The soldiers may not agree with the politics of it, but they damn sure will die for it.  I dare say Rush, Glenn Beck or Stupid Palin wouldn’t do the same.

Folks, no one has gotten ANY of it right.  Not a single political party, not a single religion.  There isn’t any harmony.  And until we work together in unison it won’t work.

Until we can do that, to put our differences aside, then do us all a favor…

Shut up.  Sit down.

I belong.

Belongingness is defined as :

Belongingness is the human need to be an accepted member of a group. Whether it is family, friends, co-workers, or a sports team, humans have an inherent desire to belong and be an important part of something greater than themselves. The motive to belong is the need for “strong, stable relationships with other people.” This implies a relationship that is greater than simple acquaintance or familiarity. The need to belong is the need to give and receive affection from others.

I have decided that this year has been a year of finding my belongingness.   Where I belong.  Who I belong to.  Who I belong with.  It’s been an eye-opening experience and I wholeheartedly pray that everyone finds their belongingness.

I belong.

Now, I am right where I belong.  I have a sense of purpose that has been missing for years.  I feel lucky to go to work everyday.  I respect and admire my boss.  Tremendously.  I have a staff that has blossomed under my management which was simply an act of empowerment.  To let them do what they know…that we are in it together, to make it work… They look happier than months ago, they laugh and they know everyday how much I appreciate what they do and how well they do what they do.  My team rocks it and I wouldn’t trade a moment.  I have more to do everyday than I can do and I find that my day passes quickly and that in itself is a blessing.  I am good at what I do and that gives me a sense of pride in my job and in myself.  I belong.

I belong.

I found that I had become hard, angry person that took my position as “Family Control Freak” to the ‘inth degree.  My small family continuously looked to me to fix it, to vent, to lean on, to rescue.  And after a while, I got angry.  I got tired and I didn’t let go.  I realize now that this is the dynamic of this family.  I am the “go to” person.  I have been since I was 14.  And all it took was one statement from my sister…“You have been my mom and dad since I was 11….,” I realized at that moment, it was us.  And there was only the three of us left.  Or so I thought.  I let go of the anger, of the sense of helplessness that I felt every time my mom got sick.  I let go of the anger, the isolation I felt when my sister couldn’t help me.  I let go.  I simply realized that mom wasn’t doing it on purpose.  That she was more angry, more scared than I was.  I realized that my sister was doing the best she could with what she had.  And that she was more angry and more isolated than I was.  I let go.  I let them in, I told them how sorry I was, how I loved them.  And I found my place.  I found my sister, I found my mom…and the love that was always there…I also found that it wasn’t the three of us…there are aunts, uncles, grandchildren, “in-laws”, and soon to be in-laws, that are there to help me.  That these people are there as part of my genetic family.  That I have a place in a larger family than I saw.  And my, how I love this family.  They are mine.  I belong.

I belong.

A year ago, I changed my relationship with my kids.  I became a mommy again.  I changed the “friend” hat for the “parental” hat that I should have never taken off.  To show them that there were limits, that there were consequences to their actions.  That even in letting them learn from their mistakes, they will always have me in their corner. In the past year, I have seen their stability, their security, I have seen their smiles and heard their laughter.  I have seen a peace come over them that only comes with the knowledge that they are first.  I am more peaceful knowing they see me, really see me and the strength that comes with that.  I belong.

I belong.

I have found that I don’t need lots of friends.  I need good friends.  People in my corner that want to be around me.  Not for the parties I throw or the jokes I make.  Not to always be there to pick them up when they are down.  They want to be around me, just for me.  This year, I have learned the hard way that trust isn’t something you just “give away,” it’s something that is to be earned.  That people sometimes suck and they are selfish and have their best interest at heart.  It’s ok for them, but not for me.  That honesty is the best policy and that not everyone can handle it.  I learned that I have to be careful because my friends are an extension of me and speak volumes of who I am.  I love my friends, the new ones that have come into my life and the old ones (no, I am not calling you old, cutie!!!) that no matter what, loves me for me.  The person who is my soldier, my confidant, my soul sisters.  I have found that I fit this group of people and they fit me.  I can’t think of my life any longer without them…and without naming a single one of them…they will know who they are and they will smile.  Because I touch their lives as they touch mine.  I belong.

I belong.

I have loved.  I have lost.  I am not perfect nor am I innocent in any failed relationship in my past.  These days, these people have a fond place in my memories.  I choose to not dwell on where the fault lies, or who did what, who said what and the why of it all.  I simply honor my past, as it shaped me.  I move forward with this amazing woman.  This person that can read my thoughts and finish my sentences.  She shares my home, my children, my heart, my breath and my soul.  This person loves me for who I am.  For who I can be.  I have found support, trust, forgiveness, peace, integrity and a love that is beyond anything I have experienced.  I have found my place.  And it’s at the end of the day, in the crook of her arm.  I belong.

I belong.

It’s been a while since I have spoken loudly and proudly about my faith.  It’s not because it’s faded.  It’s simply because I quietly needed every ounce of it for myself.  I have had a terrifically rough 6 months and the end is in sight, but it’s not over.  I have put all my problems in His hands, asked that He hold me up and show me the path drawn for me.  At times, I don’t understand it, but I follow.  I lost my church home a year ago, it doesn’t feel as welcoming or warm as it once did and I ache for that sense of community, but in the times that I miss it most, I quietly talk to God, tell Him of my sense of loss and He brings me peace.  Someday, He will show me my new church family, it will feel right and it will be right where I need to be.  Until then, I will float on my faith.  Rejoice in His love for me, for my family, for those close to me.  I know that I am loved and forgiven.  That’s enough for now.  I belong.

I belong.

I have spent a lifetime putting everyone and everything before me.  Making sure that everyone else was happy, everyone else’s needs were met and that whatever they needed they had.  I took care of people who I now see, simply couldn’t or wouldn’t do the same for me.  That didn’t put me first.  That put their needs in front of mine and disguised is as their sense of concern “for me.”  I put that down a year ago.  I put me right where I need to be.  I find that I need to be quiet, I need to be sad, I need to be happy, manic, small, angry….I need to be human.  And anything more than that, well…

I belong to me.