Monthly Archives: July 2012

the ABC’s of Life

Recently, a very dear friend of mine moved.  We had gotten together for coffee, and she presented me with two things.  One, a music book in which we had selected different songs, and rehearsed them.  The second was a small card called “The ABC’s of Life.”

It’s been sitting on the shelf in my living room, under a pile of books, for a while now.  After my recent move, I rediscovered it, and decided that I would take a look at it for this blog posting, and offer a couple thoughts on it, if I may.  So, if you’ll indulge me, we can go through, from A to Z (sorry, Amazon.com!) the ABC’s of life.

Accept Differences.

This one is particularly relevant to me right now, having gone through a breakup that I don’t quite understand completely, but knowing that the reality of it all is to live in our truth, whatever that truth may be.  And if you are unhappy, sad, diffident, whatever…that doesn’t mean that the person next to you is.  And, quite simply, that’s okay.  You can be sad.  I can be happy.  That difference is so simplistic, yet it we often forget that as a society, our uniqueness is what makes us human.  Black, white, gay, straight – it doesn’t matter.  As long as we accept those differences, we can work towards a better whole.

Be Kind.

Whoo, boy.  I wish more people would follow this one.  Too many times people will have an unkind word, a cutting remark, a mean thought to those around them.  And yet, it takes so much energy.  I suppose, if you practice it long enough, it becomes second nature.  But what kind of energy are you putting out in the world?  These are the same people who would be devastated if they found out that someone had hurt them in the same manner.  They might blow it off with their own witty comeback, but how long can that facade hold up?  The world would be a lot better if we were just kind to each other.  Without belittling, without yelling, without screaming.  Remembering our manners.  Heck, even opening doors for people.  Being grateful for what we have, and excited for others’ success.  All of this leads to a much more balanced, much healthier understanding of the world, and ourselves.

Count Your Blessings

I drove home recently from a visit with my family, and I was mad.  Pissed off.  Angry at the world.  How could he do this to me?  How could my five-year relationship end with so much confusion on both of our part, and feeling completely hopeless and without an idea of what to do next.  On the other side of the highway, I saw a U-Haul truck that had been filled to the brim, the belongings of someone on their way to somewhere else to begin their new life.  And that U-Haul truck had been completely gutted out by fire.  It put everything into perspective for me, and I suddenly realized that I still had a roof over my head, I still had my furniture (even if it is not the most expensive stuff in the world), I still had family, I still had friends, and that one thing…really, insignificant in the entirety of my life, was not going to affect all of those other blessings.  It really put it into perspective for me, and I quickly said a thank you to the universe.

Dream

So important.  Not just your nightly dreams…you really aren’t in charge of those.  But the dreams you have every day, when you wake up. Writing a song, a lyric, going flying, taking a cruise, climbing Mount Everest.  Whatever those dreams are, they’re important.  They fuel you.  They are food for your soul.  And without them, life becomes a repeat of the same thing every day.  Even just having the dreams propels you towards your goal because it’s out there.  And who knows who you’ll meet on the street or in the world who might help you with your dreams.  Right now, my dream is to produce a version of this musical I have written, as well as record a six song demo of some of the songs to help enter it into festivals to give it new life.  I talk about it whenever I can, to whomever will listen.  Sometimes I fear I’ve worn out the welcome, but hey, if you don’t put it out there, you’ll never know.  Come on, Universe.  I’m patient.  🙂

Express Thanks

I really believe this is a generational thing.  Very often, we forget to thank people when they do a kindness.  Almost to the point that when we do actually say the words, “Thank you,” it becomes almost a shock for the recipient.  There have been times when I have said thank you, and the person receiving the thanks has looked almost bewildered, as though they didn’t know what to do with it.  But the fact of the matter is, we can’t do it alone.  None of us.  We may think we can, but we’d be sorely mistaken.  And those who are out there who make the effort to give up their most valuable asset — time — to assist someone else should be thanked.  This goes for our military, this goes for our friends, our family, even strangers who hold the door.  I can’t even begin to tell you the number of people that have breezed right past me as I’ve held the door for them without so much as a thank you, their kids in tow.  I suppose a more cynical person would be inclined to simply stop, but I believe in the kindness of humanity, and think that my one small action may influence them in some way that they never even would think about.

Forgive.

I live my life in musical theatre lyrics sometimes.  And the one that always comes back to me is this one, from “Jane Eyre.”  I’ll reprint most of it here for your enjoyment:

You mustn’t be revengeful
You have to be strong
To offer good for evil
Return right for wrong
We must not hold a grudge
And we must learn to endure
Then as God is your judge
At least your heart will be pure
Forgiveness
Is the mightiest sword
Forgiveness of those you hate
Will be your highest reward
When they bruise you with words
When they make you feel small
When it’s hardest to bear
You must do nothing at all
Forgiveness
Is the simplest vow
Forgiveness
Of all their crimes
Is your deliverance now
Bless those souls
Who would curse your name
When the last bell tolls
You’ll be free of blame
You can continue to grieve
But know the Gospel is true
You must forgive those who lie
And bless them that curse you
Forgiveness
Is the mightiest sword
Forgiveness of those you hate
Will be your highest reward
The time will come when we will leave this world,
and then the injustice and the pain and the sin will fall away from us,
and only the spark of the spirit will remain – returning to God who created it
You must never lose faith
You must never lose heart
God will restore your trust
And I know you’re afraid
I’m as scared as you are
But willing to be brave
Brave enough for love

I think this is very powerful.  Forgiveness.  Don’t let it hold you down.  So often, we hold a grudge, we let it keep us from doing what it is that we need to accomplish because we’re mad, we’re angry, and so-and-so wronged me.  And yet…here we are, one, two, three, five, ten, 20 years later, still holding that grudge and keeping us from achieving our true potential, to be as free as we can.  To take wing and to soar.  What has holding that grudge gotten us?  Twenty years of dark, deep stuff that makes it even harder to get rid of.  But if we can just toss it out, forgive and MOVE ON, then we can truly be ourselves, and be free to open up to whatever life has to offer.  I recently sat down and wrote a letter to myself.  I forgave myself of my shortcomings, recognized that I was the most perfectly flawed version of myself that existed, and that while I could always grow and change, I could never go back and fix.  And I forgave myself.  For the wrongs I had done.  For the wrongs I would do.  For the hurt I may have caused anyone.  We’re our own toughest critic, and we have to be gentle with ourselves as well as the rest of the world.  And it was freeing.  I let go of some of the baggage that had been holding me back since I was a kid…and my relationship with my father suddenly blossomed, my spirit was alive, and I was back in the game, back to enjoying everything life had to offer.  The penultimate line of that lyric, “But willing to be brave.”  Are you brave enough to forgive?

Harm No One

I do my best every day to be gentle, kind, and courteous.  I suppose I could say, thrifty, brave, clean and reverent as well, but I’m a homosexual and the Boy Scouts of America don’t take too kindly to my type.  Still, when I WAS a scout, that was the thought process that occurred all the time.  To be kind to people.  To do the right thing.  And with that comes not harming anyone else.  We’re all sentient beings and some of us have a better grasp on our feelings than others.  However, if I have wronged you, intentionally or unintentionally, I will own my stuff.  I am not afraid to say I’m sorry, if I have hurt you in any way.  I’m human, after all.  I make mistakes.  But part of being human is owning them.  An animal will harm you, and think nothing of it.  But a human has the power to practice forgiveness and be the recipient of it.  It’s interesting how these all tie together, don’t you think?

Imagine More.

I don’t mean dream the next iPhone…though that’s pretty cool too.  I just mean sometimes we need to get out of the black and white of our world, and imagine a bit more.  Dare to dream.  Just let our minds wander.  You never know what this will do for your soul.  It sounds like a bunch of hooey, but we have to remember our souls also need nurturing.  If we nurture and cultivate that, then we can grow anything our heart can imagine.

Jettison Anger.

What good is it for us to carry our anger around.  It’s like plaque…and it just builds and builds and builds.  Until we don’t remember what we were angry about in the first place, we’re just angry.  We let it fester.  We let it grow.  But if we can deal with the situation, whatever it is, immediately and like an adult, then we can move past it, or more importantly, through it.  Because the quickest way is through.  It may never be the easiest, but it is the fastest way.  Otherwise we end up spending years in therapy, trying to figure out why we were upset in the first place….and it usually ends up being something so insignificant that after the initial joy of discovering what it was that kept us back, we suddenly go…well…that was stupid.  Why the heck did I hold onto that for so many years????  Better to deal with it, and move through it.  They say couples shouldn’t go to bed angry.  And this is a truth.  Because eight hours is a long time, even if you are sleeping, to think on something, to twist it, to contort it into whatever suits your particular justification for your anger.  When really, it could have been dealt with right away.  Get rid of it.  It’s just taking up space for you to be a much happier person.

Keep Confidences.

This one is important.  “Can you keep a secret?”  “Of course.”   Then….  “Oh my god, did you hear about what Susie did?”  What does that say about you?  Never mind what Susie did, what does it say about you, and how true to your word you are?  Someone came to you to get something off their chest, to confide in you, and you go and blab their news.  Why?  To bring them down?  To make them feel better about yourself?  To seem superior because you have this little nugget of knowledge that is rather uninformed and only half the story?  Bravo.  Kudos to you.  You’re only as good as your word.  And if you break your word….well…you do the math.  Unless it’s something completely criminal and absolutely not right — something that is hurting another person…then by all means, PLEASE break that confidence.  We don’t want another Penn State.

Love Truly.

I would add to this one, love deeply.  Love sincerely.  Love honestly.  If you’re not happy, go.  But love.  Love with wild abandon.  Love with all your heart.  You may end up hurt…but you’ll recover.  You’ll grow from it.  Don’t build relationships on false pretenses.  There’s no room for that.  Those seeds will grow faster than anything you’ve ever experienced, and take such a hold on the relationship it will suffocate and die.  Just live in your truth, and love.  It’ll usually doesn’t steer you wrong.

Master Something.

I’ve thought long and hard about this.  I could provide a list of things that I am not good at.  If I did, this blog posting would be 1909810980918309813098 times longer, and you would have stopped reading after the first few.  “Okay, we get it.”  Instead, I will focus on something I have mastered, and that is the ability to be reliable.  It seems silly to think about, but I’ve noticed that through my pain, through all the difficulties that I’ve experienced in my life, even when I’m at my lowest, people still come to me for guidance, for help.  I don’t know that I’ve steered them in the right path, but the best I can do is be reliable, to be strong for them.  So they have someone to lean on.  It’s what I do best.  Now, if I could only remember that for myself.  😉

Nurture Hope.

Don’t quash anyone’s dreams.  Foster it.  Help it grow.  So maybe the idea is a bad one.  That’s not for you to decide.  You never know, it could turn into something else, something amazing, something spectacular.  And I suppose, from an egotistical point of view, you could take pride in the fact that you helped push that person along the way, to achieve their dream, to aspire, to hope.  Or you could simply take satisfaction in their dreams.  Because without them, we don’t have much.

Open Your Mind.

Take a look at our current political cycle.  He’s wrong, she’s wrong, he said, she said.  Not a lot of conversation going on…just a lot of noise.  ‘Nuff said.

Pack Lightly.

This one is great, because it means get rid of your baggage, matching set and all.  Take what you only need to survive in the world, and let the rest go.  Let it go.  LET IT GO.  You’ll feel the world lifted off your shoulders if you can just let it go…and besides, those strap marks aren’t very pretty to look at.

Quell Rumors.

“Did you hear about Susie and Bill?”  No.  And no one else will.  If anyone tells me something completely unfounded, malicious, I let it end with me.  I don’t go and tell the person, I don’t pass it on, so it can grow into some big ugly monster.  I let it die.  Monsters are scary, but we all have the strength to slay them and make the world a bit safer.  Not because I’m trying to be noble, but because I’ve been the victim of those rumors…and I wouldn’t want anyone else to have to be fed to the monster.

Reciprocate.

Don’t just take, take, take, take, take, take take.  Give.  Remember growing up, the saying it’s better to give than receive.  It’s so simple, yet it’s true.  It works.  Give.  Not to the point of harming yourself, but give.  You never know who you might be helping.

Seek Wisdom.

We don’t know everything.  If we did, what’s the point of going on?  We should seek out answers, seek out questions to questions, seek out other ways of thinking….so that we can continue to expand our minds and continue to grow.  Because some day, someone will come to you for the wisdom you possess…and it can live on, through generations.  It’s kind of exciting to think about, that we all are connected somehow through our own shared wisdom.

Touch Hearts.

There is nothing better than touching someone’s heart.  Because it becomes a human experience, something they will treasure forever.  I’ve been the recipient of people who have touched my heart more than I can imagine.  I aspire to do the same.  I can’t say that I ever have succeeded, but I aspire nonetheless.  I want to give back, and continue to give, so that people are just a little bit better off than they were only moments before.  To share that experience with someone…whether through a well-thought-out letter, a phone call, being there in time of crisis, or just letting them know that you care…it can make all the difference in the world.

Understand

I’ve struggled with this one over the past month.  Trying to understand.  And I can’t say that I’ve been completely successful.  Nevertheless, I have done my best to understand why certain things happened the way they did, and why they didn’t.  And I find that only bits and pieces are clear enough for me to say that I understand them.  I suppose with time, I will grow to understand more, as I have a bit more distance and clarity in the situation.  But I’m doing my best to not get wrapped up in the minutia of it all, and just understand it — for my own protection and for my own benefit.  Selfish, I suppose, but it is really the only way to move on…or move through.

Value Truth.

The truth will set you free.  Live your truth.  All of those things.  But truth is the foundation of so many things…of shared experiences, of relationships, of acting moments, of dreams, whatever.  Value it, and you’ll suddenly find that fibbing just to fib is not only pointless, but gets in the way of achieving a much more balanced life.

Win Graciously.

Nobody likes a sore loser.  Or a gloating winner.  Just let it be what it is.  Don’t be comparing yourself to the Joneses when the Joneses may not have everything you do.  I do my best to instill this lesson in my son when we play a game, because it serves you so well out in the real world.  You may be the smartest kid in the class…but it doesn’t do you any good to tell the world about it, does it?

Xeriscape.

This one could be considered a reach.  But basically, the definition is as follows:

environmental design of residential and park land using variousmethods for minimizing the need for water use.

All right, let’s take a closer look at that definition.  I think really, it’s saying that you should make sure you are comfortable in your surroundings.  Though I suppose gardening is also something to consider.  Cultivating one’s own environment so that they can grow.  That’s good.  Let’s go with that.

Yearn for Peace.

I don’t think anyone really wants war.  I don’t.  I find it hard to believe that.  I think sometimes people get so bogged down in their own doctrines that they forget that really, at the core basics, all of us want the same thing — to love and be loved in return, to exist harmoniously, and to be free to do what it is we were put on this earth to do.  Maybe if we all yearned for a peace a bit more, we wouldn’t have lost so many of our men and women overseas.  Call me a hippie, but I can’t help but think about those people in Aurora, Colorado, those children in Darfur, the mass genocide in Syria.  The list sadly goes on and on.

Zealously support a worthy cause.

I think this is best summed up this way:

An individual has not started living until he can rise above the narrow confines of his individualistic concerns to the broader concerns of all humanity.

All right.  I’m going to get off my soapbox.  I’ll come in at under 3,500 words, and that’s perfect.  If you made it this far, thanks for reading. I’ll get off my soapbox now.

Be kind to yourself.

Goodnight.

Friends

Well, the move is done.  Okay, not all of it.  But pretty close.  The house is completely put away.  I got sort of lazy when it came to the books themselves…but as long as they’re standing on the shelf and not piled on the kitchen counter, I consider that a win.

Now the only thing left to do is to prime the old apartment.  Darn it for putting GREEN on the walls.  But the flip side is that I only have to do one coat of primer, since they’re going to repaint anyway.  In any case, I’ll be as liberal with it as I possibly can.

I’m staring at my computer screen now, and getting a ton of glare, but that’s the price you pay when you don’t have a lot of options for putting your desk or your computer.

Still, I managed to get EVERYTHING to fit.

What does this have to do with friends?

The truth of the matter is, you find out who your friends are.  Who helps you, who will be there for you.  And who will help you when your world turns on a dime, completely upside down in the matter of a week.  There are things you have to do, and there are those who will be there for you.

I am so grateful to the group of people that were there to help.  Words can never express how thankful I am, though I shall try.  I will send them all a thank you note…yes, I still do that.  I think I’m one of three people left in the world who still does that.  But it’s important that people know how much you mean to them, and how much I valued the gift of their time.

So, I’m going to write some individual notes, but for now, I can thank them all with a special shout out.  Thank you to Angela, Bree, Stacie, and especially my mom and her husband.  Without this, I couldn’t have done it.

July 28th, 2012 – the beginning of a new adventure!  🙂

 

Moved!

All right…after a week of painting, moving, cleaning, unpacking…it is done.

Time for a fresh start, with a fresh outlook on things.  The walls are the color I want, which is great, and the house is somewhat put together.  Still a LOT to do, but it will get done.  And then…onto whatever the next adventure is.

It feels good to finally have that break, that clarity, that peace of mind knowing that I’m in a new place, ready for new beginnings.

How fitting is it that today was my ex’s birthday.  Another year, presumably more experience.

Happy birthday.  I hope wherever you are, you’re happy.

And now…onto the kitchen!

 

 

Aurora, Colorado

I am not going to pretend to understand what happened in Aurora, Colorado.  I’m not even going to wade into the political territory occupied by our 2nd amendment, the right to bear arms.  That is a debate for other people to have.

What I am going to comment on is the loss of individual freedoms of each of those patrons in that movie theater, opening weekend, by one reckless individual.

The thought boggles my mind.  And the question that keeps popping up over and over again is why.

Why have we gotten to a place in our society where whatever the reasons, whatever the justifications in that run through these individual ‘s minds lead them to believe that it is okay to go into a crowded theater and open fire on unsuspecting people?  Or, in the case of Kip Kinkel, the killer who went into Thurston High School on an early morning and opened fire on classmates after having come from his home and killing his parents.  How did this become okay?

There have been a string of shootings.  I dare say it’s an epidemic, and something that needs to be addressed.  As I stated in my first paragraph, I am not going to wade into the political territory or the psychological understandings, but rather the territory that says as a society, we have failed these men and women who find it necessary to act out their rage or perceived injustices on the rest of society rather than simply ask for help.

We need to start making it more accessible to people who need help.  I get that therapists are often overworked, underpaid, and have a huge client load.  And in some cases, the idea of prescribing all sorts of drugs to “fix” the problem is often their solution rather than delving into the hard stuff to find out that none of it really matters, and we are free to create our lives to be what we want it to be.

Yet, these young individuals who say, “Life is hard, my parents hate me, I can’t do this,” et cetera, don’t feel as though they have an option, anywhere to turn.  Instead, they take their aggression out online through social media posts attacking those who might think they are weird, different, et cetera, or even worse, into video games, where they can kill without any remorse.

But life is not a video game.  No matter how much we wish it were, no matter how cool we might think it is, it is simply not.  There is no automatic respawning after the characters you’ve shot die.  It simply doesn’t happen.

People’s lives are affected, in tragic ways, with consequences far beyond a “Game’s Over,” mentality.  It boggles my mind to even think that this is what it is.

Are all video games evil?  No.  I am guilty of playing them myself.  But I have never, ever wanted to take an assault rifle and harm someone.  I’ve never felt I needed to.

Why?  Moderation.

It’s the same thought as if you immerse yourself in any indulgence…gambling, drinking, drugs, food, pornography or worse things.  Experience life.  Absolutely.  But don’t make it your life.  Don’t have every single thought you have be about your particular vice.  MODERATE, MODERATE, MODERATE.

The same could be same about our political landscape.  Too often, we swing from one extreme to the other.  But ultimately, we need to balance the scales in our own lives, and make good solid judgments, sometimes thinking outside our sphere.  But that’s a different topic, and one I really don’t want to jump into.

I wish there had been help for this young man who killed all those innocent people, and wounded so many more.  I pray and hope the victims’ families find some sort of comfort in knowing that the nation grieves with them for their loss.

I’ll get off my soapbox now.

Writing Again

Last night, I sat down and wrote for the first time in a long time.  Wrote a scene, wrote some lyrics…and felt good about it.  That’s a good sign.

 

Hopefully more to come regarding the writing process, and what it is about…but it just felt good to be contributing again to my art.  🙂  Here’s to many more.

Debbie Downer Does Blog Postings

All right, so those of you who have read my blog postings (and I think there are five of you who might have) know that recently things have been somewhat depressing and sad.

I am going to write about positive things moving forward, but am allowed to finish with this one. I reserve the right. It’s my blog, dammit.

After five years, this relationship is over.

I can’t begin to understand why, though I have racked my brain trying to understand what exactly happened. Perhaps writing about it will help me have some clarity. And if not, it will be cathartic.

I thought we were happy, and thought I was doing everything that was important in a relationship and communicating. Five years of our lives meshed, a world created so that we could be together, and move forward.

But now, that’s all over. One day, it was over.

I was there to support, and be there through thick and thin. I was there to comfort him, to protect him, to keep him out of harm’s way, and to go to bat for him over and over again.

But it wasn’t good enough.

And now, as he says goodbye, he is ready to move on, to completely erase me from his memory, from his life, from his history.

I will cry a few more nights, and I will remain confused. Hurt and angry. But I feel that I’m getting over it and will be better for it in time.

So…on to happier things. :-).

Asian Baby

I saw a gay couple walking down the street with the cutest little Asian baby.  And this popped into my head.Maybe I’ll write the music to this, post a somewhat offensive video, and put it on YouTube.

Here is my new song I just wrote:
I’ve got my car, and I’ve got my house
And thanks to some new legislation, I’ve even got my gay spouse
The thing I’m missing, that could quite simply be
The crowning achievement to the fabulous me…

An Asian baby
An Asian baby
Made in China, Korea, or Japan
An Asian Baby
An Asian Baby
Having one of those would make me a happy gay man.

My charm is a winner, and I’ll cook you dinner
I’m always on a quest to be fit and thinner
My musical tastes range from Gaga to Judy
All I’m missing now is a knitted bootie for my

Asian baby
Asian baby
She’s the key to completing my set
Asian baby
Asian baby
Cause, let’s face it, it doesn’t matter if you’re homo or het…

You can’t resist those chubby cheeks
That raven black hair, and those eyes that seek
The parents that rescued her from Beijing
Having her would mean having everything!!!
VOICEOVER:
Asian baby, you know I love you. I can’t imagine my life without you. If only you would make your way over here, you would bring great honor upon my entire family!

Asian baby!
Asian baby!
I know I could get one for a steal
Asian baby
Asian baby
Imagine her, me and my partner sharing every meal!
Asian baby
Asian baby
Piano, gymnastics, French, juggling, math, and a chess whiz
Asian baby
Asian Baby
Because she’d be mine, well, mine and his! Yeah!

Lonely Road

Lonely Road
Passing Day
Carry these thoughts away

Bittersweet
Days go on
The dreams I had are now forgone

How did we ever get this way?
Blinded by the future that I dreamed
All my doubts are now in play
And the life I knew is not what it seemed

Down this road
To who knows where
Strange, I always thought you would be there

But it’s clear
That dreams do die
Now I’m left here, still wondering why

How did we ever get this way?
Blinded by the future that I dreamed
All my doubts are now in play
And the life I knew is not what it seemed.

Down this road
To who knows where
Strange, I always thought you would be there

But it’s clear
That dreams do die
And now, I guess this is goodbye.

Sobs

It’s the end and my heart is heavy. After a week of keeping it in, I finally had one of those cries that was so gut wrenching there wasn’t any sound. Just pure tears and pain.

It gets easier every day…though there are some thoughts about the future I’m thinking and will share in a later post….

For now I just keep putting one foot in front of the other…..

Southbound Train

I’ve modified the lyrics to this…but this about sums up how I’m feeling right now:

I’m sitting on a southbound train, staring at the sky
I’m thinking of my childhood and I’m trying not to cry
While a stranger sleeps against me and it feels like she’s my wife
The towns and cities flutter past like the pages of my life

My heart is on the baggage rack, it’s heavy as can be
I wish that I could find someone who would carry it for me
Just to pay it some attention and to handle it with care
Because it has been dropped and is in need of some repair

Some things I know, some things I guess
Some things I wish that I could learn to express
Like the way that I feel as I stare at the sky
And I remember your voice and the sound of goodbye

Maybe it’s the autumn chill, maybe it’s the rain
Maybe I should wake the stranger and ask her her name
But my eyes they would betray me, and my words could not defend
No, I must learn to wait my turn before I love again

Some things I know, some things I guess
Some things I wish that I could learn to express
Like the way that I feel as I stare at the sky
And I remember your voice and the sound of goodbye