The Past

We must be careful.

We must be careful that we don’t repeat past mistakes.

History is just that, history. Learn from it, become better than it.

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Life’s changes

It’s 6:20 A.M. in San Diego. We, Fearsome and myself, just boarded United Flight 307 to Chicago. Our final destination is my hometown, Roanoke Va.

Life in our (The Better Half, Fearsome, 7 dogs and myself) San Diego home of more than 25 years will change dramatically at the end of this next week. We will be flying my mother back with me to her new home which is our home.

I’ll spend the week keeping Fearsome out of the moving boxes and suitcases as we pack up the final items left in my family home. Mom has lived in that house since 1957. Dad passed about 2.5 years ago and my oldest brother followed him a year later. The era of our core family in that house has passed and Mom is totally cool with that. It’s time for a new family to give it new life and it is time for Mom to head west to her final horizon.

Emotions will ebb and flow this week. Memories both happy and sad will surface. Laughter, tears, love, hope and gratitude will be shared.

Loss of voice

Distraction, stress, work, travel, change and worry get in my way of late. Get in my way of thought, expression, creativity and writing. Sometimes it’s hard to clear my head, focus and write. Therefore my posts of late have suffered and are frankly lacking. My reading, interaction and commenting of fellow bloggers is even more lacking.

But I must post. I must post even if it’s just a picture. I must I must I must.

Thanks for sticking with me. This too shall pass. Until then step 1.

Changing Horizons

Yesterday after having an incredible time at breakfast breaking bread with a dear blogger friend (or Penguin in this case), we walked the banks of the tidal basin to take in the texture of full Cherry Blossom.

Monumental Blossom

Only to arise early today that we might jet down the coast for a tasty lunch by the southern sea.

Casa Blanca Cafe Ft. Lauderdale Beach

“Live Love Laugh” were the words that Fearsome left behind in the temple of Burning Man. Wherever I am may I always remember to pause, be grateful and to Live Love Laugh.

Somebody Else’s Guy

Jocelyn Brown’s famous grove from 1984…

And she won’t no ‘no talent’ studio enhanced 1984 diva ‘cause honey she is still got it sum 30 years later…

Back in 1984 Fearsome was but a big fat dark brown porn star ‘stache and I a handsome lean blonde haired aerobics instructor. This tune in it’s original version was a staple for a killer abdominal workout grove. Honey her tune worked us and we worked her tune.

Today?

Well today we wonder if perhaps He’s Somebody Else’s Beard.

Blogging Benefits

A benefit of blogging that I enjoy is that of friendship.

Yesterday I received a surprise package in the mail from Meanwhile Over in Cali.

Thanks R.J. !

Next week I will have the pleasure of meeting Travel Penguin for a morning meal.

Our banter, comments, humor, insight, advice, empathy, respect and understanding make for a wonderful community. We come from all places and all walks of life. I love being part of this here blogging community and I wish to express my gratitude to all those in my blogging circle.

Hug!

Where have we been?

Absent.

Elsewhere.

Distracted.

Missing.

The time has come. Mom is ready to move out of my childhood home. She’s lived there since 1957 and raised 3 boys there. Dad passed more than 2 years ago. She finally retired in December. Her last dog passed at the new year. The house is too much work for a little 86 year old lady.

It’s her decision. She is ready. She has decided that she wants to live with us in San Diego rather than with my brother in our hometown. She hates winter and loves dogs.

I’ve spent the last two weeks back east helping her sort, clean, decide, pack, throw out and donate. Her ticket has been purchased. I fly back Mother’s day weekend. We spend the week finalizing. She flys back with me, first class, to her new home in San Diego on May 18, 2018. Her new home is the first floor bedroom of our house.

Fearsome has been a big part of it all. From getting stuck on packing tape to literally getting himself caught in the recycle bin when the lid fell shut. He’s there all the way.

So now you know. We’ve been beyond work distraction to major life changes. We need to reflect on this more. We will post more about aging, emotions, family, changes, life, blessings and gratitude.

Gratitude for the opportunity and ability to support the one who once supported me into her final phase.

I’ll call it what it is.

A blessing.

Belonging

Does a need to belong keep me from living life?

I live my life out there yet to some degree or another I’ve always had a yearning for acceptance at some level. I’ve found that a desire for acceptance will sometimes inhibit me. Inhibit my expression in order to conform.

I have a hunch that others around might on occasion have a similar feeling.

What I’ve learned, that I don’t always practice, is to just get out there. I must remind myself to go out and live. Express without hesitation. Look for similarities. Share and enjoy love, life and laughter.

Naysayers may shake their head. I say let them. Who knows, maybe I’ll inspire them.

Don’t conform.

Find a tribe.

Resonate.

Be accepted.

Belong.

Best. Music. Video. Ever.

Blind Melon – No Rain

I can.

I can listen.

I can feel.

I can empathize.

I can forgive.

I can love.

I can better.

I can support.

I can speak.

I can share.

I can march.

I can serve.

I can donate.

I can understand.

I can be honest.

I can value.

I can cry.

I can change.

I can make a difference.

I can laugh.

I can hold.

I can stand.

I can challenge.

I can question.

I can grow.

I can learn.

I can vote.

I can improve.

I can volunteer.

I can protect.

I can hope.

I can believe.

I can teach.

I can lead.

I can follow.

I can act.

I can be.

I can.

Can I?

Can I make the world a better place?

Can I improve things around me?

Can I help others?

Can I do better?

Can I find faith?

Can I positively impact my Community?

Can I facilitate improvement?

Can I understand?

Can I listen?

Can I speak kindly?

Can I communicate effectively?

Can I change?

Can I have compassion?

Can I support?

Can I be of service?

Can I accept?

Can I challenge?

Can I find and share gratitude?

Can I improve myself?

Can I love?

Can I empathize?

Can I learn?

Can I grow?

Can I lead?

Can I be a good example?

Can I inspire?

Can I believe?

Can I instill hope?

Can I share peace?

Can I be better?

Can I?

Can I?

Rhythm of Life

There is a rhythm to life. A rhythm that moves, changes, comes, goes, returns and revolves. Whatever rhythm we are in, we must never forget that “This too shall pass”.

This too shall pass, whether it’s bad or good. That’s the rub. Good things pass as well.

We choose to which it is we focus our attention.

Sammy Davis Jr. in Sweet Charity. Bob Fosse is genius.

Gaslighting

Having survived an abuser in a physical,  mental, substance and emotionally abusing relationship I can relate to every point in the article below:

 

Psychology Today

Stephanie A. Sarkis Ph.D. Stephanie A. Sarkis Ph.D.

11 Warning Signs of Gaslighting in Relationships
Gaslighting is a manipulation tactic used to gain power. And it works too well.
Posted Jan 22, 2017  (original article at this LINK )

Gaslighting is a tactic in which a person or entity, in order to gain more power, makes a victim question their reality. It works much better than you may think. Anyone is susceptible to gaslighting, and it is a common technique of abusers, dictators, narcissists, and cult leaders. It is done slowly, so the victim doesn’t realize how much they’ve been brainwashed. For example, in the movie Gaslight (1944), a man manipulates his wife to the point where she thinks she is losing her mind.

People who gaslight typically use the following techniques:

1. They tell blatant lies.

You know it’s an outright lie. Yet they are telling you this lie with a straight face. Why are they so blatant? Because they’re setting up a precedent. Once they tell you a huge lie, you’re not sure if anything they say is true. Keeping you unsteady and off-kilter is the goal.

2. They deny they ever said something, even though you have proof.

You know they said they would do something; you know you heard it. But they out and out deny it. It makes you start questioning your reality—maybe they never said that thing. And the more they do this, the more you question your reality and start accepting theirs.

3. They use what is near and dear to you as ammunition.

They know how important your kids are to you, and they know how important your identity is to you. So those may be one of the first things they attack. If you have kids, they tell you that you should not have had those children. They will tell you’d be a worthy person if only you didn’t have a long list of negative traits. They attack the foundation of your being.

4. They wear you down over time.

This is one of the insidious things about gaslighting—it is done gradually, over time. A lie here, a lie there, a snide comment every so often…and then it starts ramping up. Even the brightest, most self-aware people can be sucked into gaslighting—it is that effective. It’s the “frog in the frying pan” analogy: The heat is turned up slowly, so the frog never realizes what’s happening to it.

5. Their actions do not match their words.

When dealing with a person or entity that gaslights, look at what they are doing rather than what they are saying. What they are saying means nothing; it is just talk. What they are doing is the issue.

6. They throw in positive reinforcement to confuse you.

This person or entity that is cutting you down, telling you that you don’t have value, is now praising you for something you did. This adds an additional sense of uneasiness. You think, “Well maybe they aren’t so bad.” Yes, they are. This is a calculated attempt to keep you off-kilter—and again, to question your reality. Also look at what you were praised for; it is probably something that served the gaslighter.

7. They know confusion weakens people.

Gaslighters know that people like having a sense of stability and normalcy. Their goal is to uproot this and make you constantly question everything. And humans’ natural tendency is to look to the person or entity that will help you feel more stable—and that happens to be the gaslighter.

8. They project.

They are a drug user or a cheater, yet they are constantly accusing you of that. This is done so often that you start trying to defend yourself, and are distracted from the gaslighter’s own behavior.

9. They try to align people against you.

Gaslighters are masters at manipulating and finding the people they know will stand by them no matter what—and they use these people against you. They will make comments such as, “This person knows that you’re not right,” or “This person knows you’re useless too.” Keep in mind it does not mean that these people actually said these things. A gaslighter is a constant liar. When the gaslighter uses this tactic it makes you feel like you don’t know who to trust or turn to—and that leads you right back to the gaslighter. And that’s exactly what they want: Isolation gives them more control.

10. They tell you or others that you are crazy.

This is one of the most effective tools of the gaslighter, because it’s dismissive. The gaslighter knows if they question your sanity, people will not believe you when you tell them the gaslighter is abusive or out-of-control. It’s a master technique.

11. They tell you everyone else is a liar.

By telling you that everyone else (your family, the media) is a liar, it again makes you question your reality. You’ve never known someone with the audacity to do this, so they must be telling the truth, right? No. It’s a manipulation technique. It makes people turn to the gaslighter for the “correct” information—which isn’t correct information at all.

Could a country, a people, a society be gaslighted? 

Connection

I am part of humanity. My experience is that we humans are a social race. A social race in need of connection.

I find that I am happier and content when I connect with others. It seems to me that those I come in contact with also enjoy connection.

So instead of division why don’t I focus more on connection? Methinks me might need to extend a bit more energy reaching out to others rather than turning inward.

Today I contemplate focusing on reaching out. Today I contemplate looking for similarities.

Today I share with you in order that I might connect with you, someone whom I may not know well but might connect with as humanity.

Watch it. Watch it until the end.

Nightmare

One of my issues with nightmares is that I cannot scream. I’m left defenseless in alerting anyone within hearing distance that I’m in distress. It is impossible for me to call for help as I’m only able to muster an almost inaudible whine or moan. All the while the terror continues and I’m trapped unable to vocalize or alert anyone.

Last night was another one of those moments. I was laying on my back with my hands clasp across my abdomen in a wonderful slumber when I was awakened, in my dream, by an alien the size of my hand landing on the back of it. It was the right hand as it was clasp on top of the left. The alien immediately started injecting venom into the back of my hand through quills extending out of its small body. The alien had control of my hand and I could not move it. The pain was minimal the paralysis frightening.

Once again I couldn’t scream but only make a faint moan while trying to yell for help. I tried and tried to squirm away and finally from my struggle I was able to make a slight movement as I woke up with a slightly audible whimper. Needless to say getting back to sleep, once I realized that my recent vivid experience was but another nightmare, was not an easy task. My adrenaline was flowing and even though there was nothing on the back of my hand, fear was present.

Fear that next time I need help I will not be able to vocalize my need. Fear that I’ll be paralyzed. Fear that what I had just experienced was actually real.

A dream

As a young teenage boy I dreamed. I also feared.

I feared that my dream of being able to be part of the late 1970s Castro Street Gay Scene in San Fransisco wouldn’t ever come to fruition. Still I dreamed and I hoped I would be part of it one day.

The 1980s came and I came out, graduated from high school then started college. I still dreamed. Then an epidemic spread and gay men were dying. Not only dying but dropping like flies of horrific painful deaths. The AIDS epidemic had started in San Fransisco and New York. My dream dimmed, flickered and died out.

Gay society, as it had evolved, died along with the casualties of 100’s of thousands of men in the prime of their life. Or so it seemed.

Life in my hometown isolated away from the gay epicenters became safe. California was far away. I had never been and thus made no plans to go.

Later on life would take another path and California would become my home. San Fransisco and L.A would become my playgrounds just north of my San Diego home. However this post isn’t about that turn of events and eventual blessings. This post is about a lifestyle from a part of history.

My understanding of it is that in the late 1960s, before my childhood memory kicks into consistency, San Fransisco became a social experiment. It became a place of refuge, expression, dissonance, art, rebellion, experimentation and change. Born of this era the later 1970’s sexual revolution would allow gay lifestyle to flourish, especially in San Fransisco. It was this 1960s era in this enlightened place that would change minds and broaden the potential of a society that was to come.

Today I stumbled upon this historical clip. At this moment I pause, reflect and feel gratitude for those who expressed themselves. Expressed themselves not only so they could live an open honest authentic life, but that others may follow their newly emblazoned path.

Their path helped us get to where we are today. May their path also help us to continue and go to many new, better and brighter places in our future.

Never loose sight. Never stop dreaming. Don’t ever loose hope. Start by enlightening yourself, then those around yourself.

Words

Words are things.

Words get into you.

Words affect.

Words are powerful.

Be careful of the words you say. Be careful of the words you allow into you, your home and around those you love.

Write only good words, speak only good words, allow only good words and share only good words.

I am not perfect, may I strive toward good whenever I possibly can.

Good starts with me. Good starts right here, right where I am.

MLK

“We know through painful experience that freedom is never voluntarily given by the oppressor; it must be demanded by the oppressed. Frankly, I have yet to engage in a direct action campaign that was “well timed” in the view of those who have not suffered unduly from the disease of segregation. For years now I have heard the word “Wait!” It rings in the ear of every Negro with piercing familiarity. This “Wait” has almost always meant “Never.” We must come to see, with one of our distinguished jurists, that “justice too long delayed is justice denied.”
We have waited for more than 340 years for our constitutional and God given rights. The nations of Asia and Africa are moving with jet-like speed toward gaining political independence, but we still creep at horse and buggy pace toward gaining a cup of coffee at a lunch counter. Perhaps it is easy for those who have never felt the stinging darts of segregation to say, “Wait.” But when you have seen vicious mobs lynch your mothers and fathers at will and drown your sisters and brothers at whim; when you have seen hate filled policemen curse, kick and even kill your black brothers and sisters; when you see the vast majority of your twenty million Negro brothers smothering in an airtight cage of poverty in the midst of an affluent society; when you suddenly find your tongue twisted and your speech stammering as you seek to explain to your six-year-old daughter why she can’t go to the public amusement park that has just been advertised on television, and see tears welling up in her eyes when she is told that Funtown is closed to colored children, and see ominous clouds of inferiority beginning to form in her little mental sky, and see her beginning to distort her personality by developing an unconscious bitterness toward white people; when you have to concoct an answer for a five-year-old son who is asking: “Daddy, why do white people treat colored people so mean?”; when you take a cross county drive and find it necessary to sleep night after night in the uncomfortable corners of your automobile because no motel will accept you; when you are humiliated day in and day out by nagging signs reading “white” and “colored”; when your first name becomes “nigger,” your middle name becomes “boy” (however old you are) and your last name becomes “John,” and your wife and mother are never given the respected title “Mrs.”; when you are harried by day and haunted by night by the fact that you are a Negro, living constantly at tiptoe stance, never quite knowing what to expect next, and are plagued with inner fears and outer resentments; when you are forever fighting a degenerating sense of “nobodiness” — then you will understand why we find it difficult to wait.”

…Martin Luther King Jr  …April 1963