May Peace be …

I was so young when The Youngbloods originally recorded (1966) and then released (1967) this song I do not remember it. However this song is part of my life’s soundtrack and I do remember it being popular as it was re-released by The Youngbloods again in 1969 and finally making it to #5 in the charts.

The tune has a longer history dating back to a performance of it in 1964 by The Kingston Trio and also having been recorded after that date by a number of artists including Jefferson Airplane and David Crosby. However it is this version by The Youngbloods that has remained the most popular and remembered.

I post it today as I find we are at another one of those turbulent times that reminds us that security is but an illusion and peace can sometimes seem elusive. For me what  I have to remember is that hate cannot rid us of hate, only love can do that.

I must take a deep breath and take time to respond and not to react. I must strive to understand, accept, respect, have empathy, forgive, share, have patience, give and love. I must remember that truth always reveals itself, even if it takes longer than I want it to. I must strive to learn, to grow and to teach. I must smile, I must smile on you and even smile on those with whom I differ. I must remember that I am human and I have more in common with others than I sometimes realize, as they are human as well.

I mustn’t claim to have all the answers because I don’t. I must stand for righteousness without acting, feeling or being superior. I must remember that actions speak louder than words. I must be kind. I must be an example of what is good by being just that which is good. I mustn’t judge, nor throw stones. I must help those in need. I must love, love unconditionally.

The Youngbloods – Get Together – 1966

May peace be with you my brother, my sister, my friend.

Sober Beard

3653 days ago today I came to on the floor of a Las Vegas hotel room bathroom. Thankfully, so far, that was the last time I came to in that condition. My gratitude for the sobriety I have and the people who have helped me along the way on my path cannot be fully expressed. However that deep gratitude is there and it sustains my soul.

Ten years…

Wow.

10 year Sober and Grateful Fearsome Beard

Why Pride?

Looking beyond the parties, parades, festivals and celebrations we here at Fearsome Beard contemplate the why. What makes Pride important?

Lets start with this short film.

Caught Inside – Gay Surfers – Gay short documentary – 2018

We are here, let’s dance!

She hated ABBA

The world is a bit quieter this morning due to the loss of our loving prolific commenter and friend Anne Marie. She was often referred to as our Warrior Queen because she never failed to stand up for what she believed in. She believed in equality and justice for all and was never afraid of speaking out against oppression, injustice, greed and stupidity. She seemed to take pride in the title Warrior Queen, as she should’ve.

Anne Marie loved to enjoy life, have fun and loved music. Her Saturday night dance parties kept us tapping our toes for years. Due to the unfortunate turn of events in November of 2016, her Saturday night dance parties turned into Saturday night Protest parties. However she knew how to have fun with her protests and still kept our toes a tapping.

One regret I have is that I never got the chance to do a twirl across the dance floor with Anne Marie. I am sure she could cut a rug when the opportunity arose. She had that spark that made life magic. A spark that I could tell loved to dance.

However there was one dance music group that I don’t believe you would find Anne Marie enjoying on the dance floor. As we all know she was quite outspoken about many things and one of them was her rather dislike of a group called ABBA. Rather dislike? Nope. Hated? Yup, that’s more Anne Marie.

I’ve always rather enjoyed ABBA and I love an ABBA tune while taking a twirl across a dance floor. However for obvious reasons I’m a bit melancholy this morning and don’t feel like dancing. I feel like listening to a beautiful voice singing a beautiful melodious tune.

Anne Marie,                                                                                                                                                                      I hope you don’t mind that I take a moment remember you in the same post that I also post the tune Dancing Queen. If you do please forgive me. I just want you to know as you cross into the next chapter of your journey that you aren’t only my Warrior Queen, but also my Dancing Queen…just not the ABBA one.

Right Here, Right Now

WARNING; Rant ahead. You might want to skip the beginning of this one if you are overwhelmed or easily offended…but I’ve gotta get it out. My emotions have overcome me to the point I am angry. I need to shift my attitude but in order to shift I’ve first  gotta rant.

Disgust.
Disgust  is what I’ve felt since the news of the point blank shooting of 20 year old Duarte Wright by a police officer. Pulled over and shot point blank for simply driving while black. Another police murder during the trial of George Floyd’s murderer cop is underway with both crimes taking place in the same region of Minnesota.
I am no longer sorry to say that I feel that most of the police departments in this country are full of racist cowards. The whole system may possibly need to be dismantled in order to reorganize, purge and start over. Week after week more cowardly racist asshole police officers just fucking harass and often simply murder people of color.
I used to think the police were the good guys. After this past year I now know many of them are as crooked as that asshole who just left the white house. Many of them are crooked, racist, violent, cowardly liars.

So now that I’ve gotten a rant off my chest and graphically told you how I feel, I need to see how I can move on.

I can move on by focusing first on what I can do right here, right now.

What is important to me? What do I value?

I value love, respect, understanding, acceptance, diversity and kindness. How can I get more of these beautiful treasures? I can start by giving these things to the world right now and right where I am.

I can call a friend and say “I love you”. I can tell an associate at work that I value their knowledge and respect their input. I can take a moment to listen to and understand someone else who needs an ear. I can accept that the anxious person wanting to force their way into my lane of traffic may be stressed and possibly late to pick up their child by graciously letting them in front of me. I can seek to experience  a diverse and different point of view that might open my eyes to seeing things from another angle or culture. I can say a kind word to the overworked mother who’s checking out my groceries at the store while saying her name from her name tag and looking into her eyes.

I can say to you my reader thank you. Thank you for reading my blog. Thank you for letting me rant. Thank you for understanding that I get overwhelmed. Thank you for letting me have an opinion. Thank you for allowing me to come to a better place by realizing that while I can’t change what happened in Minneapolis, I can change the world right here, right now simply by spreading the good things I value. By spreading good, one by one good things spread further. With each good deed the world gets better one moment, one person, one smile at a time.

I can also share beauty, art and music. This is an all time favorite that never fails to bring a smile to my face. Oh, and by the way…I love you, I love you for being right here, right now.

Stephanie Mills – I Never Knew Love Like This Before – 1980

Ok, I’ve got to lighten up

Confession time.
I’ve allowed the political shenanigans that is Washington overwhelm me again. For the last four years I haven’t  been able to be who I want to be in the blog world because I inundate myself with news. It kills my spirit. After the election I filled with hope until January 6. I pulled through and got myself up for Inauguration Day and then that damn turtle got me down again by not allowing impeachment to take place before or after inauguration.

Fuck him and 42 other asshole senators as well.

Ok so here I am after an acquittal of a guilty insurrectionist. What can I do? I can step it up and move on. I’ll start with humor.

Thank all of you for sticking with me through all of this. May brighter future lay in front of us.

We Reap What We Sow

This is a monumental week for me as a liberal left leaning democrat. I must remember to be careful, careful of my expectations. Utopia cannot happen at once but must be built. Patience and an open mind will benefit me as we move forward.

I am ready to lay this burden of angst down and lift my wings and fly. However I will remember that I do reap what I sow.

Annie Lennox – Little Bird – 1992

Hope

Hope can be a complicated word for me. When one looks up the definition of hope the answers lean toward wish, or wishful thinking, however to me hope means more. Please don’t get me wrong as there is nothing wrong with wishful, but to me hope runs deeper.

Given that I am not a scholar, nor English major, I often look to the dictionary to help me refine the meanings of a word that I want or need for my expression. The typical definitions just don’t pinpoint the feeling I have behind the word hope.

To me hope is a very deep feeling, trust, desire and expectation for good. By this I mean good things that bring value. Values such as trust, honesty, equality, justice, kindness, service, humility, empathy, understanding and even love. Hope is something I feel from my being, my heart.

This morning I turned on this here iPad thingy to find news of hope coming from the election results in Georgia. Hope that restores my faith in us as a society. May this hope  live and grow.

 

Reflections

Time to pause.

Gratitude is what I feel when I stop to reflect on the fact I’m a sober man. 

Gratitude for the fact that I’m no longer hiding from myself and others that I have a problem that I can no longer handle. I had driven myself to the edge of a cliff and had a choice. Thankfully I chose the choice to give up self destruction for self recovery.

Today I pause to remember, be grateful and to continue forward on my current path. It’s a path that is working for me. A path of growth, serenity and honesty.

9 years – November 7, 2011

Boulevard of Realized Dreams

Back in 1984 there was a rather popular poster of Gottfried Helnwein’s interpretation of Edward Hoppers iconic Nighthawks. In it Helnwein replaced Hopper’s characters with Humphrey Bogart, Marilyn Monroe, James Dean and Elvis Presley. The poster was titled Boulevard of Broken Dreams.

Boulevard of Broken Dreams – Gottfried Helnwein – 1984

Nighthawks – Edward Hopper – 1942

Earlier today as I strolled along the A1A, aka Ft. Lauderdale Beach Boulevard, I was taken back to my first trip to this special place. I was but a young gay buck of 20ish years in that year of 1984. The world was my apple and I was taking my first bite of it.

Oh the dreams I dreamt as we cruised the crowded street along the beautiful beach. Expensive cars, beautiful bodies, palm trees, sea, sand, luxury condos, stylish clothes, designer glasses, garish jewelry, massive yachts, love, sex, endless nights of dancing & debauchery, exotic vacations and an openly gay lifestyle. Shallow I know, but youth and inexperience often allows young gay bucks like I was to be led astray into dreams of superficiality.

Yes those dreams all flooded back into my memory as I strolled this beautiful boulevard.

Ft. Lauderdale Beach Boulevard 10/26/2020

I can honestly say that I’ve never experienced this stretch of road and beach so empty of human activities in all the 100s of times I’ve strolled it. If there is any silver lining to Covid at all it’s the ability to experience such a moment at 11 am and 82 degrees F with a nice breeze. Such a quiet moment allows one to remember, contemplate and to dream.

Helnwein‘s interpretation of Hopper’s famous painting always gave me the empty lonely feeling of lives cut short and dreams not realized. Feelings of disappointment, loss, loneliness and sadness. As I strolled this empty stretch of typically busy avenues, I realized just how many of my 1984 dreams I’ve realized over the more than 30 years that have a passed. As I acknowledged my dreams, I started to sense how many of the dreams of those four souls in Helnwein’s interpretation had actually realized. Lives may have been cut short, tragedy may have struck, but dreams were realized and did come true for each and every one of them. My feelings about that poster which was so prevalent in 1984 shifted.

I never owned a copy of Hoppers painting nor of Helnwein’s poster. I did, however, own a copy of Michael Bedard’s interpretation of Helnwein’s interpretation. Bedard’s is entitled Window Shopping.

Window Shopping – Michael Bedard – 1989

Reflection of the 20ish boy’s somewhat shallow dreams as I strolled this morning revealed that the sheltered boy from small town Virginia has traveled the world, danced the night away on the open decks of cruise ships, met and conversed with rich and powerful people, lived and owned luxury & investment properties – even right here on this very  Ft Lauderdale beach – in various cities, found love that has even celebrated a 30 year anniversary, sex-lots of sex, lives an openly gay life as a married gay man with a husband, has owned expensive cars, worn designer clothes, has had and experienced beautiful bodies, can see the Pacific Ocean from his very own house including from it’s newly constructed guest apartment in his back yard, has a beautiful and growing family of nieces and nephews, has made lifelong friendships that deepened beyond that ever imagined, has a fulfilling career, rescues dogs, is a philanthropist, has owned loved captained and since sold his very own yacht, has the blessing of bringing his mother to live out her golden years with him as he is blessed with the ability to care for her, owns expensive beautiful art, is blessed with the talents to actually paint beautiful art, has some expensive watches and wears a Platinum Tiffany wedding band on his left hand, grows beautiful flowers in his yard, has been a drunk and found sobriety, helps his neighbors, is currently sitting sans clothing by a swimming pool in Ft. Lauderdale on this 84 degree afternoon, so many dreams…many more… the dreams keep coming true.

Material and meaningful dreams really do come true.

Dare to dream.

What dreams have you realized?

5 years ago today

My marriage became legal nation wide.

Obergefell Ruling – 2015

As of that day we had been together 25 years and had been legally married in California for 7. Today we Have been together more than 30 years, legally married in California for 12 and nationally for 5. True love isn’t something we choose. True love chooses us when we least expect it.

Today we must continue to speak up, speak out, be visible and we must vote. We mustn’t take for granted the ground we have gained toward equality and freedom.

Same Love – Macklemore – 2012

Peace, love and respect.