While driving to the gym today, a treasured song from my past found it’s way from the satellite airwaves through my car speakers onto my eardrums. As my tympanic membranes vibrated to the rhythms, and the vestibulochoclear nerve impulses transferred the information to my brain, my emotions became full of overwhelm. The flood of sadness, grief, warmth, joy, hope, gratitude and rage resulted in a stream of mixed emotional tears into the softness of Fearsome Beard.
Memories enveloped me.
I’m a survivor. I never contracted the HIV virus.
I graduated high school as a very sexually active young homosexual male. I had a ball. I even attended an all night orgy the night before my high school graduation. It was the early 1980s after all and I was a young adult. I was 18. I was one of 4 students who spoke on that graduation day before our class of 500 students. I give you, my dear reader, such a graphic example for a reason.
There was an unknown threat surrounding us males of the homosexual persuasion. A threat unknown to any of us. Even unknown to men 10, 20, 30 or more years my senior.
Apparently sometime during the sexual revolution of the 1970s a virus had turned up in our population. An undetected virus that was just about to reach a critical mass infection that would soon wreak havoc on our community.
We didn’t know. We had fun. We loved. We partied. We fucked.
Love is Love is Love is Love.
It was then. It is today. Yet then we had no idea what was about to happen, and then it did happen.
Those rare cases of an immune deficiency ticked up. They ticked up in the gay community of the U.S. and suddenly we had a syndrome. It was first named GRID. Gay Related Immune Deficiency they called it. GRID was rare. GRID was seen only in large cities. GRID didn’t affect us in smaller towns. Yet it was there, we just didn’t know it yet.
Keep in mind this was the early to mid 1980s. Safe sex wasn’t yet a known practice. Gay men didn’t use condoms. Two men can’t get pregnant. No one yet knew that the virus was spreading nor how it was spreading.
As this virus did spread it showed up in a few other populations, but not in the numbers it did amoung gay men. Researchers soon discovered that it was transmissible, probably from a virus, and thus it was acquired. The name changed to AIDS or Aquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome. It was still rare, but starting to scare us. Then it started to happen. People around me started to get sick.
One of my favorite sexual partners, Jerry, came down with it. Jerry was 38, I was probably 20. Jerry was in his prime. Jerry was succesful, owned several homes and was stunningly handsome. Jerry became very ill. I was scared. I went to visit Jerry. He was thin, pale, had wierd dark cancerous spots on his skin and was short of breath. Jerry looked like hell. He offered me a drink. I said I wasn’t thirsty. I was actually afraid I would catch it from the glass. I couldn’t wait to leave. I never saw Jerry alive again.
Within about 5 years of the night of that orgy celebrating my high school graduation, with the exception of me, every single other person that was there had died. I can still see each of their faces and remember each of their names.
The 1980s for me was a war zone. It wasn’t “if” I would catch AIDS and die, it was when.
In 1990 I fell in love and moved away. Far away. Even though I moved far away, that virus was still here on the west coast. I never contracted that virus. I still haven’t today. I don’t know why I didn’t as I was never, nor did I ever become, no angel. Today the virus is called HIV. The deadly disease that is a result of HIV is AIDS.
My flood of emotion was gratitude that I am here. Gratitude that I ain’t never contracted HIV. Gratitude that I knew those wonderful men I lost, who were not only sexual partners, but mentors and friends. Grateful I loved. Grateful that I could hear Bruce Springsteen’s words. Grateful I could feel. That I could feel all the emotions pouring from me of grief, sadness, love, anger, joy, warmth, disappointment, hope, fear, gratitude and rage.
Fearsome Beard absorbed my tears. I made my way into the gym as a healthy, grateful, loving, kind and hopeful 50 something gay man. A man who was now far removed from the 1980s and far removed from the origin and experiences of the song and memories that had just overwhelmed me.
I will never forget those men whom I lost. I will never forget the times I went through. I’ll never forget the joy, laughter and tears. Those men and those experiences made me who I am today. I look forward to what is to come. I am forever grateful.
I love life. I love who I am. I have been blessed. I am blessed.
It’s here. It’s already here.
San Diego celebrates in July. After the other two large cities in our Golden State take the last two weekends in June, San Diego gives everyone a couple week break and then continues the celebrations.
I’ve been celebrating Pride since the first one I ever had the opportunity to attend. That particular pride was Seattle Pride 1990. I have been out of the closet since I was but a teenager however the place I lived had yet to have a pride celebration.
What Pride means to me is simply that we can be and are or authentic selves. In that we respect each other and support each other in living authentic lives. We celebrate and embrace diversity, acceptance, understanding, respect, affirmation, love and freedom.
Pride is, and should always be, a place of safety to simply just be. Just be. Be without judgment, discrimination, hatred and intolerance.
Be authentic. Be real.
As far as the movie goes, I wasn’t very familiar. We rented the movie on iTunes and watched it during the Academy Awards Show since it was a nominee. Wasn’t a flick I really had an interest in seeing.
Then again the universe works as it should and I watched it. Beautiful film of innocence, love and understanding.
But then there is this:
I haven’t been moved by a piece of music like this in a long while. The movie awakened many a distant memory and revived many a treasured emotion. It’s theme song, this song, reminds me to be forever grateful for all the love that has ever touched my life. Love that lasted, love that was lost, love that maybe never came to be and even Love that hurt.
Mystery of Love – Sufjan Stevens (Call Me By Your Name)
I’ve decided to add the Academy Award performance of this beautiful tune that I missed while watching the film.
Have a wonderful day!
Nina is still with us and peaceful in her bed.
It is a quintessential winter Southern California day. Crystal clear blue skies, bright winter sun and 72 degrees F. Nina has spent some time on her patio today, eaten well and napped in her beloved corner bed. Our housekeeper, whom Nina adores, is here cleaning. The other dogs are napping and occasionally barking at the construction workers doing the remodel next door. All in all a nothing unusual beautiful day. It is peaceful with just a little stimulation.
Planning it out couldn’t have turned it better. Our dog sitter who was with me as we rescued Nina together is out of town. Nina adores her as well and she will be back in San Diego tomorrow. She is coming over to be here with us when the veterinarian arrives about 5 pm. Tomorrow is forecast to be as beautiful as today. The Better Half already had scheduled the whole week off, so between the two of us someone will always be home tomorrow.
Earlier Abner and Patsy tried out the comfort of four beds piled together when or housekeeper was busy cleaning…
The joys of life are abundant around here. It’s not gloom and doom. It’s sweet, with the bitterness of reality. The big questions loom. Why? Why are we here? What? What is this about?
Should we loose ourselves in contemplation of the unknown? Or should we just enjoy the moment even though we know the inevitable?
My answer? Enjoy the moment.
I believe there is one sole purpose for life. The purpose I believe in is love.
I am here to love. I am here to share. I am here to give. I am here to serve.
What are giving, serving and sharing? Love.
I am here to love. Period.
To love thy neighbor and to serve others is grace come true.
We all are one. Let us celebrate, love and respect.
May peace and joy be yours to enjoy and share.
Carry a tune?
Not one of my talents.
So I’ll rely on Steve Grand to sing for me the Christmas song I want to sing to The Better Half.
This one is for you babe.
I love you.
We are blessed. We have two families. The one we were born into and the one we choose.
Our natal families folded into one larger family after we settled into our life together. I into The Better Half’s, he into mine and ours into each other. This made for one big family that blessed us even more.
Living away from our family for many years allowed us to choose a chosen family of good friends who care and love each other as if we had always been and will continue to be. This family is large and blesses our home with more than 30 holiday celebrants each and every Christmas Day. Our blessing overflows.
Our friends extend beyond or natal family and our chosen family into our work, interests, neighbors, bloggers, vacation acquaintances and just plain old good friends who live both near and far. Our bounty of blessings humble us.
Love, respect and sincerity are the basis of this blessing we call family.
This most recent trip filled our cup. I met with two blog buddies for a wonderful dinner. Unfortunately the third wasn’t able to join due to an illness but we sent our love to him in hopes that better days lie ahead. We, the better half & I, then set off via Amtrack to New York with part of my natal family for one of those experiences that money could never buy (but definitely helps with😉).
You see after the loss of my father I asked my mother, who had been caring for him, where had she always wanted to go. She said New York to see The Rockettes. That was her dream. Not Paris, not London, not even Hawaii. I promised her then that we would take her to New York. It took two years and she lost her oldest son before it happened, but it happened. We made a family trip out of it with Mom, me, The Better Half, my brother, sister-in-law, niece, her husband, two great grandchildren and a nephew.
Nothing, no nothing will ever mean as much to me as my mother grabbing my hand after the curtain fell at the end of The Rockettes Christmas Spectacular as tears streamed down her face as she said “I have never seen anything so beautiful!” They exceeded her expectations and believe me she had high expectations.
For her to have her family with her on a trip she had only dreamed of all of her life, a dream she probably thought would never come to be, was truly a dream come true. I cannot express my gratitude for the blessing that that moment, my family and life truly is.
The moral of this post, at least for me, is that this is our one life, so live it, love it, share it, and give it. Give it to your natal family, or your chosen family, or both. Give it to someone you meet, you work with, you run into or even to someone you don’t know at all. Give a smile, share a laugh, respect, understand, forgive, serve and most of all love. Just love.
Look what the better half surprised me with today…
It’s actually an early Christmas present but who could wait? I’ve already set up an appointment with my Verizon rep to go in and activate it at 10 am mañana.
Edith is a hero of mine. Edith will be missed but never forgotten. It was her Supreme Court Case that struck down the Defense of Marriage act in 2013 thus causing the federal government to recognize my legal marriage in California from 2008.
I read that a quote of hers was “Don’t Postpone Joy”. I haven’t been able to personally verify this quote as hers, but I think it fitting.
Thank you Edith for helping humanity get just a little better one step at a time.
A young single parent trapped with no money and no job grabs their child and leaves their home for another place. A place where they know no one. A place where they don’t know the language, culture or customs. However it’s a place with hope. Hope that they may work and raise their child with a brighter future.
That child is raised lovingly with a parent who struggles and works hard contributing in this foreign land. This foreign land is only foreign to their parent for this land is all the child knows. For the child this land is home.
A home where the child knows the language, customs and culture. A home where this child has been educated, played sports, made friends and is part of the community fabric. Both the parent and the child have shared, worked and contributed toward betterment in the community in which they landed. The child knows nothing else.
Today that child is a college educated responsible young adult. They not only hold a good job with a bright future, they create other jobs through their contributions to the community which is their home. Today this child is often called a Dreamer.
Until yesterday their future was bright, secure and full of possibilities just as their parent had dreamed. Unfortunately today there is a cloud hanging over those who stepped forward, were honest and were within the law.
What can I do to help lift that cloud and bring the light of hope back to those who know this as their only home?
I can speak up.
I can contact my SENATOR.
I can contact my CONGRESSPERSON.
I can contact The White HOUSE.
I can contact my GOVERNOR.
I can speak out, be visible, attend protests and support Candidates who represent good solid true American values of progress and equality.
I can support and subscribe to news organizations that have real reporters investigating and calling out not only unethical behaviors but possible criminal activity thus reporting real news. News organizations such as The Washington Post, The New York Times and The Los Angeles Times.
Please feel free to use these short cuts as all of the highlighted words are links to the very webpages they state…or find your own. Please join Fearsome and I in standing up for righteousness, justice, equality, respect, hope, love and the American dream.
Love. Please don’t let love die.
They weren’t just your average three pound cute little homeless 1 year old Yorkshire Terriers who would have been adopted before they even made it into the shelters. They are both medical needs fur babies who had grade 4 Medial Luxating Patellas. In other words the inbreeding that occurred to create smaller than normal dogs in the puppy mill to which they were born, led them to have a hereditary birth defect where their tiny little knee caps aren’t in the groove on the front of their tiny knees, but off to the insides of both legs completely leaving bone on bone scraping.
Thanks to The San Diego Humane Society, these two escaped the hell of a total of 170+ Yorkies being hoarded in one house that was obviously breeding and selling to boutique puppy markets. They had been at the shelter since February under contestant medical care for severely infected ears & hernias while they awaited medical fosters. We came along in May and fostered them to adopt, starting with Phoebe and adding Betty 5 days later, and adopt we did. We are blessed with the means and the ability to give them the surgeries they will need to correct their birth defects.
Successful is what their surgeon said when he called me after each one had their first leg operated on. Complicated was a term he described their tiny tiny knee cap surgeries. Betty’s being a bit more involved than Phoebe’s more straightforward anatomy defect. Their surgeries were yesterday. We will not see them for about 10 days. Last night was lonely in my bed without them. The surgeon’s wife is their physical therapist and will keep them to manage their pain and to get them started on the road to recovery. Once they can bear weight on the leg with the cast and can take a step they will get to come home. She will work with us training us to continue their therapy and meeting with us to check progress and add more excercises.
In six weeks they will go for their second surgeries to complete the needed repairs. In about 8 months we will complete their therapy and have two almost normal tiny 3 lb Yorkies who will be able to have long, healthy and hopefully pain free lives.
I fuckin’ love Macklemore
Fearsome Beard …a place for beards to contemplate and to grow their souls.
It’s been a while and it’s due time Fearsome did just that.
Every human has their own personal right to have, or have not, a relationship with a power, an essence, a universe, an energy or a god of their own choosing. Common human decency, at least my common human decency, allows one to respect all others in their choices surrounding such personal matters.
I call the power of my choosing god. God is a simple word, or acronym if you will, that stands for good orderly direction, or group of drunks, or is simply dog spelled backward. My god is love. Period. Love. (My dogs are love too, what a coincidence.)
How do I treat my brother? Do I show love? Do I respect? Do I even acknowledge?
Is my god dead?
How about you? Is your god, or something like it, dead?
The New York Times article under the highlighted word “HERE” below is worth the read whether you have, or have not, a source energy outside of yourself. The article is about being human. Being a good human.
Click HERE to go to said article and contemplate on a deeper level.
I’m not perfect. I will never be perfect. I can strive to be better. I can strive to remember to love, to remember to respect, to remember to share. I can try, and try to try daily. I can love.
We are a nation of many religions, beliefs, atheists & agnostics. Freedom means the freedom to believe in any or no religions. One is free to choose what and if they believe. Our constitution protects these freedoms.
In remembering those who have served and those we have lost we here at Fearsome Beard believe it is important to respect all beliefs and or lack thereof.
Religions, beliefs and lack thereof are a choice we live, enjoy and practice.
There is ultimately a deeper level to what we are to each other. The level of relationship which transcends these belief practices.
Remember with love, respect and compassion.
Happy Memorial Day to all the Yanks out there. May all our dear readers, no matter where they are, remember someone they loved and lost today and feel the gratitude for the gift.
Yes Fearsome is posting a cat video, kittens no less. It will make your day a better day.
This is just one of the many reasons we support The San Diego Humane Society. This feature short highlights their kitten nursery that cares for, nurses to health, spays, neuters and manages to find homes for more than 5,000 kittens a year. Yes that is FIVE THOUSAND kittens per year.
The San Diego Humane Society “got to zero” in July 2014 and has remained at zero since that date.
“Zero” means that zero rehabilitatable animals are euthanized by this facility. We are proud to stand with and support such a facility.
Could it be that maybe we are fostering a second Yorkie? Maybe a cousin of Phoebe?
Why yes we are, and her name is Betty!
I don’t know what it is about San Diego, Los Angeles and Southern California as a whole but whatever it is, it is home. Maybe it’s the sun, the air, the mountains, breezes, ocean, hills, freeways, people, cars, homes, cities, suburbs, hopes, dreams, vistas, countryside, beaches, life, joy, fashion, magic, attitude, possibilities, absurdity, freedoms, love, expression, beauty, people, diversity, aspirations, desert, wildlife, vibration, temperature, light, opportunities, allure…or maybe just the illusion.
When I sat with a dear friend in a dark theatre in my second home, Ft. Lauderdale Florida, one evening in early January this scene opened La La Land. Tears of joy steamed out of my eyes, into Fearsome then dripped upon my shirt. The beauty, hope and life of the place I love were right there upon the big screen. I saw a celebration of life and of home. Life as a carefully coreagraphed song and dance upon a closed freeway overpass. Beauty is simply where one finds it, as it is always there.
This is my home.
I wish you love in your home. Feel it, embrace it.
🎶Another day of sun, It’s just another day of sun!🎵
Abner came to live with us 5 years ago today. Since he was dropped at an emergency vet with multiple injuries and no information we do not know his actual birthday nor age. He was estimated to be about 2 years old at the time. We adopted him from the pound where he had received veterinary care for his eviserated eye, multiple lacerations and broken foot.
We decided that his adoption day would be his birthday and since he started his life with us at about 2 he would be 7 years old today.
Abner is a happy boy. Abner is an inspiration. Abner is pure joy. Abner is a blessing.
Happy Birthday Abner!