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.

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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? 

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.

Blessings

The Christmas tree is down and already in the alley for pick up.

Our tree this morning

All the decorations are boxed and in the attic. Most everything is back in its place. It’s been a great holiday season. The 7 dogs are snuggled in their places on the couch and in dog beds.

Mitzi (our oldest at 16) and Gilda (13)

We just had a wonderful New Year’s Eve dinner out at one of our favorite Italian spots in Hillcrest. Times Square plays on the tv as we enjoy the wonderful place we call home.

Blessed.

We have two wonderful god sons who have grown into young men.

Joshua (21), Fearsome, Markus (17) and The Better Half

We were there for each of their births and have been their god parents since each of those wonerdful days. Joshua is a senior at Cal Poly San Luis Obispo and Markus is a senior in the International Baccalaureate program of San Diego High. Both speak three languages fluently. Their dad and The Better Half have been friends since high school, he and his wife are two of the best friends anyone could ever begin to wish for.

Blessed.

The two youngest dogs, our rescued Yorkies, have recovered extremely well from their double knee surgeries and are no longer confined to a nursery area but are living out with us and the rest of the pack.

Phoebe and Betty napping together in my lap, both are just 3 pounds each full grown.

Our home is full of love. We enjoy our community. Our careers are both fulfilling and lucrative.

Blessed.

With overwhelming gratitude, Fearsome and I wish each and every one of of you a very Happy New Year!

🎉🎈🍾🎊🎩

Angels

I know that this isn’t all there is. Even if Sandra Bernhard sings her rendition of Is That All There Is? so incredibly one could almost believe her…

Yes Dear Fearsome fans I have posted that one before, to good reviews I must add.

I believe that there is another dimension beyond that which I experience at this moment. I understand that I am limited to the five senses that to which my current body experiences this life that I am blessed to live. I know that there are other experiences that I am not able to comprehend while living within the confines of my earthy body.

There are many writings of those who have passed and returned to their bodies only to continue living the life that they were. A name for this phenomenon is near death experience.

I worked for many years in intensive care units and emergency rooms. I’ve witnessed death many times and I’ve witnessed near death as well. I’ve worked in delivery rooms and witnessed not only 100s of live vaginal births but c-sections, stillborn and multiple births. I’ve even resuscitated conjoined twins, or Siamese twins if you choose to call them that. I’ve watched the breath of life reach the depths of lungs for the first moment out of the womb, watched that life leave the infant and then resuscitate life back into that infant just as I’ve resuscitated life back into an adult heart attack victim under my earthly body’s hands.

I didn’t actually give that life back, or give that life in the first place. A power much greater than me did that. My hands were but tools present at the moment. Tools hired by the hospital to do what hospitals do which is aid people in their own journey into life, through life and out of life. My experience was but a blessing to sculpt me into the man I am today.

I don’t know what the other side is. I haven’t been there. I believe there is another side there. I know because I’ve had several experiences where the other side reached to this side to give me a message I needed at that moment. These experiences were both inside and outside my hospital environment. Maybe the energy that reached out to me did so because of my experience and my open mind from those experiences.

I will not write about those in detail at this moment in time. Maybe one day I will, and again maybe I never will. Those experiences were as real as I am and as real as the words in this post. They are burned into my memory. One even happened in the very room in which I sit writing this post.

I do choose to commit to calling the energies that contacted me and energies that brought life into and out of being in front of my eyes, angels. I believe that angels do exist. My definition of them is that thy are a positive energy from the other dimension that I cannot yet experience, but one day will. Unlike Sandra’s lyrics, I do not think that experience will be yet another disappointment.

In many of the writings I’ve read about out of body or near death experiences is that each and every one of them has noted that their pets were there to greet them. Not just special human loved ones, but the very pets they loved and cared for during their life. It’s a consistent story line. I believe them.

Earlier today when I looked in the corner only to find it empty I cried. Then I smiled. I know Nina was looking down on me. She is but one of many angels waiting for and watching over me. I know one day she will be there to greet me as well as Cephas, Nikky, Tess, Matty and Diva. God willing that I have many more years here there will be many more than the few names I just mentioned.

I believe that my previously lost human loved ones are also with me.

Angels.

I Believe.

Responsibilities of pet ownership

Last October marked the 3 year anniversary of our adoption of Nina. Nina’s owner had passed away and she had been left outside for a year behind an empty house. Her story starts HERE.

That was the day I discovered her. She was an older dog but full of energy, happy and playful. I wrote more about our decision to formally adopt her in this follow up POST.

We never really knew how old Nina was, but she has become a very old dog. In the past 6 months there has been a rapid deterioration. If you look back at her previous post there was a spark, a happiness and energy. Unfortunately due to age this is Nina today:

Nina on December 27, 2017. Official age unknown, estimated age 14-15 years.

Nina has a warm comfortable home that she has loved for the past three years. She has had regular medical care, dental care and grooming. She grew all her hair back after adoption and never had a flea again. She gained weight, ate well, played, walked and rarely ever barked. She had a short but happy life here.

I write because the time has come. We must make that decision that every loving pet owner never wishes to make.

She is confused. She’s not able to walk well. She can’t see nor hear. When she is able to walk, it is in circles as she has developed vestibular disease. She is often incontinent. She eats, but needs assistance. She appears uncomfortable.

We may not have to do it today, but we may. I just got the number for an in-home euthanisia Vet. I’m about to make the call to ask the questions and possibly schedule.

With tears I write. With written words I gain strength.

UPDATE: The in home appointment has been made for Friday 12/29 at 5 pm.

Right shoulder report

My surgeon found no tear in the right rotator cuff once in there with his scope. No tear had showed on MRI, but then again no tear showed on the MRI of the left a year and a half ago when they found one once inside with the scope. Therefore this surgery was much less involved. My surgeon simply removed the bone spur, cleaned up the impingement and drilled the bone to stimulate my stem cell release to reduce any arthritic inflammation.

Last time I couldn’t shower for a week and was completely immobilized for 5 weeks before starting physical therapy at 6 weeks. Today at two days post op I am out of the sling and already had a shower. I return Friday to have the stitches removed and start physical therapy. I am already using my arm for easy light tasks. Movements are limited but improving already. Pain meds are at a minimum.

I was prepared for the worst and I am relieved. Compared to the last surgery this one has been a walk in the park thus far. Fingers crossed I’ll be baking my coconut cake for Christmas dinner!

Surgery day

At 7:15 this morning I check in at my assigned outpatient surgery center. The Acromioplasty will begin about 8:45. I actually look forward to getting through this and into recovery. Shoulder pain isn’t fun.

Fearsome will be tied up into a tight pony tail as he has a tendency to get into everything. We don’t want the surgeon saying he needs a trim before they can start.

Pain

Short, sweet and to the point.

The trip back east last month when I met up with Anne Marie and Mistress Maddie before I met up with my family in Philly to train into NYC was fabulous!

What wasn’t fabulous is that during boarding for my flight home I didn’t think. I neglected to remember that being post operative (18 months ago) for a Left Rotator Cuff Repair/Bicep Tenodesis/Acromioplasty that I should never ever lift heavy weight above my head. Well that and having a history of Right shoulder impingement which also contraindicates lifting above the head.

I usually always check bags, this trip I used a roll aboard. The overhead was full and getting the rollaboard in wasn’t easy. Before I sat down I decided, not my best thinking, that I should make sure the full bin would close. I lifted it without success and it didn’t close. Rather than leaving it alone for a flight attendant to close I immediately tried again and harder.

It didn’t close. However both shoulders had a quick poppping sensation and I sat down with the immediate intense pain being in my post operative shoulder. I reached into my backpack under the seat in front of me and grabbed four ibuprofen (800 mg) and two extra strength Tylenol. I know my pain and what it was going to take to manage it.

During the first half hour of my 6 hour flight home, the pain in the left subsided as the pain in the right shoulder grew increasingly intense. My right shoulder had a history of impingement and had already had it’s limit of 3 cortisone injections. A previous MRI had confirmed that issue.

Right now I sit at my surgeon’s  office awaiting my pre-operative appointment. Surgery is scheduled for next Monday 12/18 to correct the Acromium impingement of my right shoulder. Topping it all off is the fact that during my Florida trip I pulled my back.

Bilateral shoulder pain, low back spasms and a topsy-turvy whackadoodle political environment of recent has made Shawn moody. Fearsome isn’t happy with my moodiness but I have to say that he’s a bit moody himself. The dry Southern California Santa-Ana weather conditions have made him a flyaway dry mess.

Pain. Yes we have it. Pain we are doing something about it. Pain sure doesn’t make life easier. Pain isn’t as bad as many others have it.

We are thankful for an incredibly good health plan, good doctors, a loving spouse, good friends, healthy finances, eight wonderful dogs and an amazing home.

Freedom

Thought provoking:

True freedom carries with it respect of differences. In public accommodation I must respect the freedom of others to live a different life than my own.

I practiced as a Respiratory Therapist in public medical accommodation for 20 years. In that practice I not only was required to respect different cultures, customs, politics and  religions but wished to appreciate what made us human. What makes us human is differences, as well as commonalities. Humanity is empathy. Humanity is understanding. Humanity is having different experiences. Humanity is having different beliefs. Humanity is enriching each other.

I currently sell real estate. Selling real estate is a public accommodation. In this field I am required by law to respect all races, religions, beliefs, politics, sexes, sexualities, colors, practices, disabilities, abilities, politics and professions. I, by law, cannot discriminate. I also do not wish to discriminate nor exclude. I sell property to all and I relish all.

Understanding begins with me. Respect begins with me. Empathy begins with me.

I don’t have to live the life of the one I don’t agree with. I live the life I choose. I let others live their life and respect that they believe differently. I respect they have a different life experience than I do. In public accommodation I serve them.

Join me. Be human. Start right where you are.

In public accommodation enrich the canvas that is the art of humanity.

Presidential

LBJ

LBJ led this country through a turbulent time helping us to become a higher, better society. May we find inspiration in those who strive for justice, compassion and equality. May our society again soon recognize the value of true leaders, leaders who challenge us to grow, improve, serve, understand and respect.

The Iconic Boeing 747

First released in 1968, Boeing’s 747 was, and still is, an engineering marvel.

United is retiring their 747 fleet for more fuel efficient 777 & 787 aircraft and fuel efficiency is a definately valid reason. Other airlines will continue to fly them so the iconic look will still be seen in larger international ports. However their numbers may continue to dwindle as technology changes.

I’ve only flown the 747 six times in all of my travels on these routes:  Miami to Aruba, San Diego to London, Los Angeles to Sydney. Thus far it is my favorite airliner. The adjectives roomy and majestic come to mind. I even know the layout well enough that I have a favorite seat. I’ll miss this mighty bird for she gave me many wonderful memories.

Today’s letter

Fearsome was so upset about yesterday that he asked me to write our senators and our representative today. This is what we came up with:

Dear Senator Harris,
In the words of George Jetson “Jane, stop this crazy thing!”
Our current president’s Attack on all Americans is appalling, as I’m sure you are quite aware. However yesterday’s call to silence the press isn’t just a violation of our first amendment but also a move toward state run news propaganda. So I am asking you to please stay the corse, stand your ground and take every opportunity that you can to “Stop this crazy thing!” which is also known as our current president (purposefully not capitalized).

With urgency and gratitude,

Fearsome

National Coming Out Day October 11, 2017

Today is National Coming Out Day. Given that due to the threats on the first amendment to the US Constitution by a certain current administration I understand and felt the need to post Eminem’s political statement, I must balance him with a proper Dianna Ross classic as well.

Eminem has a sordid history with the gay community of which I belong. His tainted past of somewhat homophobic lyrics has been offensive at times, to say yes very least. I am in no way defending those lyrics. His intensely strong message posted here today defends all of us in our right to free speech. Without Amendment 1, National Coming Out Day might very well be silenced.

What am I saying?

I am saying at times we must stand with those whom we have had differences and focus on our commonalities to strive towards a greater good. In the process we may also change minds, create better understanding and grow stronger bonds.

Happy Coming Out Day! Let us celebrate our individuality while finding our similarities and standing together for our common good.

In a 1968 Black Chevy Pickup

Always in a rush to get out the door, I would run up the stairs from my  basement bedroom to quickly sit at the corner kitchen table and wolf down the two eggs with bacon and toast Mom had just cooked to order. Then I’d quickly grab a shower, spike the blonde hair, get dressed, grab my homework, finished or not, and run out to my pickup. I had to be on time as I usually had several friends to pick up on the way to school.

1968 Chevy Pickup Truck (mine was a long bed with a white camper shell)

Upon turning the ignition, the under the dash slide in cassette player would start and the beats would pulse out the windows as I bolted out of the driveway. Cathy was almost always the first stop. I’d park on the gravel pull off beside her house and honk the horn like any self respecting rude to the neighbors teenager would at 7 am. If I was on top of my game her favorite morning tune would start playing as she crossed the threshold screaming back at her nagging mother on her way out to her daily ride.

From there it was usually off to grab Debbie, Adam, Eric and sometimes a couple others. There was laughter, singing, bitching, gossip and cigarettes. All of us smoked and we had to get those smokes in on the way. Thank god the back had a camper shell and padded shag carpet so there was pleanty of room.

Speeding into the parking lot we would come to a halt just out past the gym near the practice field. Brian would usually be right behind us in his 1972 Yellow Mach 1. Nearby the stoners would be getting their last toke in for the first period buzz. Debbie would grab one more cigarette. I’d lock up the truck and head over to the yearbook staff room to see what was up before first period geometry.

Today it all seems so simple. Then it seemed so big. I think of it and smile. I fill with gratitude.

Saturday reflection

Emotions, feelings, anger, dismay and confusion swirl. What a week.

Monday morning. Dammit, not again.

Tuesday. What the fuck?

Wednesday. Talk about it now. Not later, now.

Thursday. Fatigue sets in.

Friday afternoon. Fuck you. No, seriously Fuck You!

You see in light of all the serious matters needing the attention of our government this week, the  elf in charge of the department of justice issued a sweeping federal directive stating that it is perfectly ok for anyone to discriminate against me if they claim a deeply held religious belief. Oh, and let us not miss that fact that Thursday availability of contraception took a hit. A big hit.

The women and the fags both got hit in wake of Puerto Rico and Las Vegas.

Ok, it’s true that most of my life I’ve already been subject to discrimination. I’m kind of used to it. I’m a fag and have been for more than 50 years. I’ve been taunted, teased, bullied and beaten as long as I can remember for being different. A sissy, fag, queer, gay, unfit, pervert, girly boy, dirty, disgusting, nellie, queen, cock sucker, fairy, fruit, pansy, faggot, homosexual, sodomite, poofter, light in the loafers, homo. A real non-entity. Hell I’m even a loud proud real non-entity.

So a directive, directed square at me. I’m not surprised. Weasels (read cowards) always wait until everyone is distracted to do their dirty work.

Women need access to contraception. Faggots deserve equality. Seems as if neither of us have either. Women are as equal to white straight men as us queers are, and that means they ain’t.

This queen stands with Latinos, emigrants, blacks, Jews, women, Muslims, queers, disabled, transsexuals, Asians, Africans, native Americans, middle eastern, atheist, pastafarians, documented, un-documented, dreamers, poor, forgotten, addicted, needy, sick, unemployed. I stand with our planet, our environment.

The question is do all y’all stand with me?

Directives that discriminate against me? Seen them, lived them and will stand up to and against them. I’ve already been around this block numerous times.

Discrimination in the name of a religion destroys a society. We had made good progress. We can make more. Don’t become complacent nor complicit. Say something. Stand for your morals and your ethics. Stand for your truth.

The Stonewall Inn circa 1969, the calm before the storm.

The time to talk about gun control is now. Period.

It’s time. Whether you are for it or against it. It’s time to fucking talk. To stay silent only let’s all those just injured, to have been injured in vain. To stay silent only lets all those murdered to die in vain. Meaningless, yes their injury and their death will be meaningless.

Do I believe that all guns should be illegal? No I don’t.

Do I believe all guns should be taken away? No I don’t.

Do I own a gun? No I don’t.

Do I know how to shoot a gun? Yes I do.

Have I ever been a member of the NRA? Yes I have.

Am I a member of the NRA now? No I am not.

Do I believe in gun control? Yes I do.

Do I believe that people have a right to own guns? Yes I do.

Do I believe that people have a right to own automatic weapons or assault rifles or machine guns or silencers? No, I do not.

Do I believe in background checks? Yes I do.

Do I believe that some people should be prevented from owning guns? Yes I do.

Do I believe in limits on the number of guns one can own? Yes I do.

Do I believe that people should be able to stockpile unlimited amounts of ammo? No I don’t.

Do I believe that limiting guns through sensible controls will stop all crime? No I don’t.

Do I believe that limiting guns through sensible gun controls will reduce violence, crime and mass shootings? Yes I do.

Do I believe gun control will lead to a safer society? Yes I do.

Will I let all those innocent mothers, fathers, sisters, brothers, daughters, sons, friends, and lovers die in vain without speaking my truth? No I will not.

Am I going to write my Senator, Congressperson, Governor and state legislator about initiating gun control bills and passing responsible gun control legislation? Yes I am.

As Fearsome Beard has done in the past, I will post links below for your convenience to look up and contact your representatives so that you may voice your opinions as well.

If our leaders will not talk about gun control when it really matters I feel we should hold all of their feet to the fire. I believe we should let them know that now is the time to talk. Now is the time to discuss and work towards a safer place that we all may live in without the fear.

Courage and strength is saying something when you see something.

Silence is just fucking complicit.

Why sit there stunned, mourning, angry, hurt, fearful and silent? Do something.

Contact your Senator.

Contact your Representative.

Contact your Governor.

Contact the White House.

Contact your state legislators.

Thank you in advance for your courage. Thank you in advance for standing up. Thank you in advance for making yourself heard. It all starts with each of us standing up and speaking our truth.

Living

However blissful the daydream we entertain, we must wake from it sometimes and struggle with the hard conditions of real living.”  …Dorothea Brande

Dreaming is good and daydreaming an escape. However reality is, that life is real. I need the dream to help me see outside of my reality. My dreams help me set goals. I can’t live nor make a life by sitting in a dreamland state. I must work, experience, grow, strive, move, produce, contact, connect, learn and if I fall I must get back up.

No one can live for me. I can only live my life.

Life is fun, but life is work.

Today I contemplate the joy of life that is known as work, struggle, reality and accomplishment.

Dark Tunnels

It happens.

The tunnel, it surrounds.

Many years ago it was overwhelming and I couldn’t deal with it. The tunnel would encompass my being, my consciousness and shut my life down.

These days it’s passing, fleeting. I feel it. It’s like pressure surrounding my head. Vision impairs and I can’t hold my head up. Then it passes as quickly as it came over me.

I don’t know exactly how I switched it a number of years ago. I do remember the year, 2006. I woke up and realized that it had been gone for awhile and without my anti-depressants as I had forgetten to take them. It just wasn’t there. I was ok and I was of meds. I somehow had switched.

Since the the darkness of the tunnel has re-appeared, as it has today, but fleetingly. I’m glad it’s no longer paralyzing.

I know that in 2006 I decided to live for the future and not wallow in the past. I believe that’s what helped facilitate my change.

Today I hold my head up.

Argent – Hold Your Head Up – The Midnight Special 1973