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Light

Today, I woke up to the news that my country was no longer pretending – no longer afraid to share its true colors. History was repeating itself before our eyes.

I made a deliberate choice this morning to limit my time on Facebook and social media, to not read any news stories because I knew the hurt I would feel in my heart. I don’t know why, but when tragedies strike I feel these things incredibly deeply. They seem to find their way to my soul leaving me scarred.

This evening, I logged on to my computer and instantly I saw death. I saw destruction of innocent lives. I saw the hate in their eyes.

I am sad for I don’t know what to do anymore. This is not the country I know. These are not the people I know. This is not the way we were raised – to love one another, to be brothers and sisters, all doing our best to live our best lives.

I wish I had pithy words instead of the ramblings you’re reading now, but I don’t. I can’t. I don’t know what to say, how to start, how to express what’s in my heart except send love and light to those who need it tonight, to express my disgust for the the violence and hate growing day by day. But I know in my heart I have to say something, for being silent is to be complicit.

Hate. Hate fills the street, hate fills their heart.

We are more divided than ever.

Hate is a lesson taught. You are not born knowing how to hate. You are not innately afraid of something you don’t understand. You have to be taught to hate, you have to be taught to fear – that has to come from somewhere.

Blacks, women, Jewish, gays, Muslims, Hindus, Japanese, Native Americans – the list goes on and on of people to “hate.” Why?

What are you afraid of? What is it that makes you cower in fear? Why do you have these prejudices? What dogma have you been force fed, to believe these people mean you harm?

Yes, there are bad apples from every walk of life, but I refuse to believe the whole of humanity is a hateful, hurtful, selfish bunch hellbent on destroying each other.

WE SHOULD NOT HAVE TO LIVE IN FEAR.

Today it’s the rally in Charlottesville. Yesterday it was Sandy Hook. Tomorrow a police riot. Today it’s the bombing of a mosque. Yesterday it’s 9/11. Tomorrow it’s Columbine.  Today it’s Pulse nightlcub. Yesterday it was World War II. Tomorrow it’s Syrian refugees fleeing Aleppo. The list goes on and on, and we are doomed to repeat it over and over again.

Hate has only one purpose – to breed more hate. It grows like a cancer, taking over the body until one is consumed. A poison that is not only contained within one’s own self but spreads to anyone who comes in contact with it. Like night, it turns your soul black and extinguishes your light.  Martin Luther King Jr. said, “Returning hate for hate multiplies hate, adding a deeper darkness to a night already devoid of stars. Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate, only love can do that.”

I have to believe in love.

I have to believe in the power that comes from an open heart.

Today, my heart weeps for my country.

No one is born hating another person because of the color of his skin, or his background, or his religion. People must learn to hate, and if they can learn to hate, they can be taught to love, for love comes more naturally to the human heart than its opposite.  – Nelson Mandela

We cannot live in fear.

We must keep fighting for our light.

I have to say something. We all have to say something. because this cannot be our new normal. We are better than this.

I pray for the people in Charlottesville, I pray for my brothers and sisters, I pray for my nation.

 

 

 

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Dreams out of fear

I haven’t written anything in a while, but trust me — there’s been a lot on my mind.  Today, I’m sitting at my desk, thinking about what’s going on in the world, wishing we could all be full of rainbows and glitter and get along — and knowing that we can’t.

I recently had a dream that was very troubling.  I haven’t had many like this, so it was something that could have been a recycling of current events versus actual deep-seated fears.  However, with all of the shootings going on, the dream consisted of me being at Disneyland and there was a terrorist attack by a group of Japanese schoolgirls.  We couldn’t figure out how they got the guns into Disneyland, because they do a bag check — though not an actual pat down — and then it was discovered that the guns were being implanted in the balloons, and then the Japanese tourists were buying the balloons, popping them and going on their attacks.

Okay, it’s not something that is very reasonable.  But hey — it was a dream.  My subconscious telling me something.

I’ve watched the rhetoric continue to rise over the course of the last several months, all due to the political system, and I am frightened for my country, for my fellow countrymen, for my family, and for myself.

I am a gay man.  There’s no secret about that.  To hear the things that come out of the mouth of someone who is hoping to be the president of our country is frightening.  Not only frightening, but terrifying.  I can’t rationalize how anyone in their right mind would think that he is a good, safe choice.

But politics aside, what it is doing is breeding this fear that is now running rampant.  I’m afraid of how this will end — in bloodshed, in harmless hurt.  I don’t know how to stop it, and it’s frightening.

So, what do I do?  Continue to love.   Continue to be who I am.  Continue to preach tolerance and peace, while condemning the hurt and hate that seems to be the default reaction and go-to emotion for so many.

Dreams out of fear are quickly turning into nightmares.

On the WaterFront

I hesitated writing this blog, dear readers, because I wasn’t quite sure how to begin it.  This happened yesterday, so one could conceivably assume that I simply didn’t have enough time to sit down at my computer and write it…though, you would be mistaken.

To be honest, the experience as a whole has left me somewhat shocked, shaken, and surprised.

I apologize in advance at the graphic language that may or may not appear in this blog posting.  I’m not sure what will come out as I tell you my experience.

I was meeting a friend for lunch yesterday at noon, downtown Seattle.  I arrived early, as is my custom, found parking, and decided to take advantage of the day by going and sitting on this little alcove area that overlooked the water and the new Ferris wheel on 1st and Union.  I had some lines to highlight in a script, and found a spot next to a lovely fountain where I sat, with an unobstructed view of the Sound, the water rushing behind my back in the fountain, the sun bouncing off the water in front of me.

I was lost in my own world, simply enjoying my surroundings.  Water is a place of rejuvenation for me, a place where I go to remind myself that there are things, forces bigger than myself, and in a completely woo-woo sense, to wash away whatever is troubling me, and let me continue on with my day-to-day activities, struggles or triumphs.

This day couldn’t have been more perfect.  It was the last bastion of summer, before we head into the Seattle drizzle, and I was loving every moment of it, excited at the prospect that I was to be working as a guest artist in a play, and looking forward to meeting my new friends for sushi and wine.

Suddenly, I heard a voice from above, “What’s that?”  I looked up, and there is this woman, about 30-ish, wearing a plaid shirt, yellow hoodie, her hair in pigtails, the rest hidden by a hat, her eyes behind sunglasses.

“It’s a script–” and that was all I was able to get out.

“You fucking faggot.  You motherfucking faggot, with your pink highlighter, and your fucking attitude.”

“Excuse me?” I said.

“You fucking faggot, you deserve to die.”

“Ma’am, I don’t understand.”

“Why are you calling me ma’am?”

“Because I don’t know you.”

“You don’t understand huh?”

“I’m positive I don’t understand.”

“I bet you are.  I bet you’re positive, and you take your fucking medication so you can go and spread your disease around to all your faggot friends.  You deserve to rot in hell.”

“Ma’am, I’m not going to engage with you.”

“You’re not going to engage with me, huh?  Why not?”

“Because you’re not saying anything nice and this isn’t constructive.”

“Fuck you, you dirty fucking faggot.  You’re dripping with disease, and you’re a scourge on the earth, and you should be killed.”

I went silent.  I wasn’t going to engage anymore.  But I was visibly shaken.  I didn’t know if she would lash out at me, hit me with her purse, what was in her purse, or what I should even do.  I was trying to remain calm and cool throughout this entire process.  She continued to berate me.  Soon it became noise.  And then she stopped.  She then wandered away and then came back and said:

“Nice ring.”

“Thank you,”

“No it’s not.  It’s ugly.  You’re fucking ugly.  Your face is ugly.  You deserve to fucking rot in hell.  You’re disgusting.”

I remained as calm as I could under the circumstances, and let her continue her rant.  Eventually she got tired of berating me, and wandered over to a nice elderly couple, also taking in the view.  “You fucking kykes,” she screamed.  “You should’ve died in Germany.”

The couple quickly moved away.  Then a woman with her two young children entered the circle.  They were carrying flowers.  Sensing another victim, this woman went over to them, and said, “Nice flowers.”  “Thank you.  I just got them at the mark–” “You stupid chink.  No one cares where you got your fucking flowers.  You’re probably going to grind ’em up with a cat and eat them, anyway.  What are you teaching your children?  You should get out of this country.”

Her vitriol was acidic, her tongue, using the F-word much more than I’ve written in this blog posting.  I stood up, as this woman’s attention was currently diverted, and went to find a police officer.

As I stated in the beginning, I was shocked.  Appalled.  Seattle is a pretty liberal place.  And I wasn’t doing anything out of the ordinary.  Yes, I’m a gay man.  But was I actively promoting my gay lifestyle?  No.  I was someone who sat down to enjoy the view of the water, while waiting for a friend.  And this woman — no, this monster — was completely and utterly baseless, offensive to anyone and everyone she could encounter.  Harassing people on the street.  Not for money, not for work, not even trying to promote a religious view.  Whatever demons were in her head were causing her to spew such violent, complete and utter filth towards anyone who came near her.

In that split second while she was berating me, I thought of a few things.  1) How do I react?  2)  What if she hits me?  Then what? 3) What if I wasn’t who I am — a proud gay man, but a kid with no sense of himself, questioning his sexuality, questioning where his life was going?  And this woman then went on the attack, bullying him with what she perceived to be a weakness, and causing this hypothetical kid to question even more to the point that he made a very rash decision, thinking things were never going to get better, and ended up killing himself?

I hope — and pray — that whatever demons this woman is facing, that she finds some inner peace and comes to terms with her hatred, her pure evilness, and has some sort of reconciliation at some point down the road.  Her hate is not needed in this world.  I am proud of who I am, and proud of who I love, and the choices I make.

I felt completely tested in this moment, tested in the sense that I had a decision to make.  I could have screamed and yelled at her, reacted just as angrily, said something negative.  What I really wanted to do was push her off the overlook into the traffic below and let her meet her demise there.  But I remained cool.  I remained calm, and tried to keep the situation from escalating any further than it already had.  It was tough, but I managed to do so.

After I walked away, I realized I had a very important choice to make.  Do I allow this woman to completely ruin the rest of my day?  Or do I simply shake it off?

I chose the latter.  This woman, her hate, her views are completely misguided.  She knows nothing about me as a person, and her control over how I feel about myself is nonexistent.  In fact, once this blog posting is complete, I will consider the matter resolved, as I have processed the entire situation, and move forward, on, and up.

I wish her the best.  Whatever she is facing, it must be pretty horrible to have to take it out on people unsuspecting, people going about their lives, people simply being in this world.

And yet, I’m grateful for the experience.  Not because I like being yelled at.  No.  Because I was able to show my mettle under pressure, and allow myself to be gracious, and practice patience.  And above all else, forgiveness for her shortcomings.

I posted on Facebook, and was overwhelmed with the love I received back from family and friends, people who were behind me 100 percent.  Though I didn’t post to make people feel sorry for me.  That wasn’t the intention at all.  The intent was to let people know that there are other people out there who are vicious, and who are cruel and will make judgments based on absolutely no fact whatsoever, except for what they choose to see.  Those are the people I pity the most.  Because like it or not, they are everywhere.

My friends and family:  Thank you.  Thank you for your words, thank you for your kindness and thank you for having my back.  You are amazing, and I feel completely and totally blessed to know you.

And to this woman who approached me on the street.  I forgive you.

And with that, I consider the matter closed.