Sadness…within my Rainbow Party

morning 4

There have only been a handful of times in which I truly felt; my life was in danger and that, perhaps, I could die!

As a child my life had been barren of love’s touch.  There had been very few moments of physical abuse…But the threat?  The threat had always been there in the form of verbal an emotional abuse.

With a childhood not made for fairy tales.  Suffering from the debilitating and chronic illness of addiction.  None of the events peppering my early childhood memories come close to the two times I had been told,

‘Dyke, I’ll show you what a real man is!’

The first time encountering this vulgar statement I had been at a Gay Right’s March in Atlanta.  Surrounded by persons with a bible in one hand and hatred in the other.

Fortunately, there had been a strong police presence and I walked away with cuts and bruises and disgust.

The second time, had been a darkened parking lot in Asheville, North Carolina.  Having just left a club called, O’Henrys’, it was an evening of dancing, gossiping and doing what people do…people who feel a kinship towards each other.  It was a gay club.  None assuming and basically, a wall flower of clubs.

As my partner and I headed to the car, just after midnight, a gang of young men with sticks and bats and hate, came out of the shadows!

I could go on and on and on about the banter.

It was the typical shit poured upon one person, from another.  With the other being filled to the brim.  Filled to the brim with an unending need to hurt.

The look in someone’s eyes that conveys this horrible hate, is very distinctive.  There is a glare and/or an icing over the pupils.  No matter the color of their eyes…they turn black quickly.  The look can best be described as, hollow.

A young white man pinned me up against the Escort…passenger side.  My partner having dropped her keys on the ground…time was ticking slower than the walk of a turtle.  My life seemed to start at the street I grew up on…Memories of getting into trouble, slumber parties and the game winning home-run…I had hit.  All these… flashed quickly before me.

What came next was just a miracle.  A group of about eight gay men had been piling out of the club.  A little tipsy but not so drunk that they could not see the event taking place in the dimmest part of the parking lot.

Why is it cowards always hide their hate in the shadiest of places?

My story from there on out…is simple.  We were saved.  And, other than, several years of post traumatic stress…in dealing with confined spaces…Life went on for me.

 

I do not understand hate crimes.  I dare to say, I hate…hate crimes.  Homosexuality is not a nationality.  It is not an ethnicity.  It is a choice.  A difficult choice.  For the simple reason…those who come out of the closet, know, life will be all the more difficult for them.  On top of living life on life’s terms…a gay person makes a cognitive decision to…place themselves in harm’s way!

I pray for those in Florida.  I pray for their choice.  I pray for love.  I pray…for more understanding!

selfie 2 john

 

Spirituality…a series of unfortunate events

fear + faith = spirituality
fear + faith = spirituality

Back in the day, before trans continental communications. Before, one state told this state and that state told another and long before you knew it…your ‘run in’s’ with Utilitarian Authority Figures were known across state borders- So, back before we knew everyone else’s business I had chance to embrace my alcoholism. It toured from Portland Maine to Key West Florida.
My partner and co-dependent mother figure, at the time, thought it best at one point to leave me in jail for the ‘just the weekend’ as she put it. I had been a young hippie on acid and vodka and chips on shoulders. I had also been the only person I know to get a DUI on foot. My mouth has always given me problems it is akin to a gun in the hands of someone who is not user friendly…it goes off at inappropriate times.
Needless to say, I discovered what the word delousing meant, that there is a time and a place for orange jumpsuits and strange women with facial hair often refer to themselves as, prison matrons!

seems to be the hardest word
seems to be the hardest word

Shortly after my arrival to which there had been no fanfaire…it was found that it would be in the best of public safety to put my white girl with an attitude ass in solitary. Not for the safety of others mind you. But it had been very apparent amongst the other ‘gals’ that fresh white meat meant cattle calls and expletives on how my stay would go.
All in all an enriching experience.
And, in the long run, a spiritual experience had come of my time with Big Wanda and her gang of even bigger thugs. They were even nice enough to call me, little Sista!
I believe my spirituality, after many years of avoiding it, lay right before me on that not so much of a holiday weekend in Asheville North Carolina. It lay before me many times before yet my eyes held a different prescription and I did not see the tunnel for I had been looking for the light.
If a non spiritual person say, climbs mountains or treks over broken and unchartered territory, they could claim, I do it for the exercise. It makes me feel good. It helps me to clear my head.
If an elderly man who is known to many as Archie Bunker on anger steroids professes to the ultimate art…photography: The pictures serene in meaning and wrought with thought and contemplation…yet, he too claims to have not ‘caught the spirit’. Is he a lost soul as well as the climber? Or, have we simply found new ways to avoid the truth about ourselves?
Fear drives so many of us to avoid what stands before us. It stops us from going after things we want though we know we can’t have. It invades our relationships that are so taut and un-chaotic. It delves deep into a part of our soul that if we brought it out into the light…the fearsome word ‘vulnerability’ would arise.
I have vertigo. Always have and always will. I also make a point to climb a mountain, cross a free standing bridge, break into old abandoned factories and climb each rotted step one anxiety attack at a time until I reach the top, at least two or three times a year.
I have found the greatest moment of serenity in the midst of fearful vulnerability far greater a soul search than any book or prayer can give. I just offer it a different name…it makes me less exposed that way.

Though we share so many secrets  There are some we never tell
Though we share so many secrets
There are some we never tell

Well we all have a face
That we hide away forever
And we take them out and show ourselves
When everyone has gone
Some are satin some are steel
Some are silk and some are leather
They’re the faces of the stranger

But we love to try them on
Well, we all fall in love
But we disregard the danger
Though we share so many secrets
There are some we never tell
Why were you so surprised
That you never saw the stranger

Did you ever let your lover see
The stranger in yourself?
Don’t be afraid to try again
Everyone goes south
Every now and then
You’ve done it, why can’t someone else?
You should know by now
You’ve been there yourself

Once I used to believe
I was such a great romancer
Then I came home to a woman
That I could not recognize
When I pressed her for a reason
She refused to even answer
It was then I felt the stranger
Kick me right between the eyes

Well, we all fall in love
But we disregard the danger
Though we share so many secrets
There are some we never tell
Why were you so surprised
That you never saw the stranger
Did you ever let your lover see
The stranger in yourself?

Don’t be afraid to try again
Everyone goes south
Every now and then
You’ve done it why can’t someone else?
You should know by now
You’ve been there yourself

You may never understand
How the stranger is inspired
But he isn’t always evil
And he isn’t always wrong
Though you drown in good intentions
You will never quench the fire
You’ll give in to your desire
When the stranger comes along.

Only the Names have Changed

...to continue to unearth our own is merely to serve ourselves injustice
…to continue to unearth our own is merely to serve ourselves injustice
The Other Side of AIDS
The Other Side of AIDS (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

“He removes the greatest ornament of friendship, who takes away from it respect.” by Cicero.

Way back yonder up ’round the Blue Ride Parkway pass the turnpike of twenty-two…back when adults were adults. They were neither old, nor young nor anything in between.
I had the privilege to become acquainted with a vast array of individuals. It had been during the peak of AIDS season and all hands on deck were needed.
Weaverville North Carolina seemed like Mayberry on Crack but still as friendly as can be when your back wasn’t turned.
A fresh-faced but frightened lesbian in a new land, volunteering seemed the only way OUT per say.
After all I had been semi-OUT for quite sometime. Matter of fact the city of Asheville North Carolina and their wives have offered to write me romantic references.
W.N.C.A.P., Western North Carolina AIDS Coalition Program needed persons to be buddies, caretakers, nurses and all around, some one to lean on.
It was there in the Blue Hues of the Pines nestled amongst a cityscape that I met, Ricki.
Ricki had been a drag queen, a latent flamer and a wonderful story-teller.
So severe had his case been that during one ‘ignorant’ dentist appointment, the examination room had been covered wall to wall with tarps. Oh, the fear of those damned homosexuals. The unwarranted hatred smelt like a fishery during a heat wave.

I took Ricki everywhere for at the later stages of AIDS and way before any age of slowing down the horrible and debilitating process; my young friend turned oddly ancient had every infection known to man or woman.
On one particular trip down off the Blue Ridge Parkway, struggling to get the over sized wheelchair out of my beat up Escort, Ricki began to weep quietly as I picked him up and steadied him for transport back to the dungeon called ‘poverty apartment’ living.
“I have just one wish…One wish and I’d be happy to go tomorrow. I want my ashes to lay upon Mount Mitchell. I want to soar with the eagles.”
Hard core, ridden roughly and hung up wet had been my typical demeanor. But at that remark I too could not help the tears from falling.
“It’ll be taken care of! Don’t you worry.”
With that I gave him a kiss on the cheek and shook his hand in promise of a better day.
The next day Ricki had passed away due to every complication there is to be complicated by.
A service had been held. Members from the project, friends, lovers and dreamers gathered to pay heed to this gentle man.
Not a single relative arrived on that day or any other day.
A letter had been sent.
To Whom it May Concern:
Ricki has not been a part of this family for many years. And, in fact, has been considered not a part of this family the day he told us he was a homosexual.
Please do as you see fit with the body.
Thank you
Blah, Blah, Blah

Ricki soared with the eagles. I see him every spring when a fresh batch of winter birds fly north for the summer.
Perhaps, the loss of his soul to homophobia. The loss of others due to suicide via the shaming of our OUT preference by those who are indeed, also, closeted-ly gay. Perhaps, all of the above stops me on many occasions. Causes a stir of anger and a thrust of distrust amongst our own.
When the Ambiens’, the Annie‘s, the Gracie‘s of this world. The young adults as we call them.
Hide from their own fear and take the whole lot of us ten years back; I cringed and vow redemption.
A daily prayer that I will not forget those who have gone before me and made my closet easier to open.
A mantra to bring into the light those of keep us still well hidden.