July 16, 1969

Today marks the 50th anniversary of the launch of Apollo 11.

With Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin on board, Apollo 11 would land man on the surface of Earth’s only moon 4 days later on July 20, 1969. This first ever lunar landing is one of my very first memories.

The Apollo mission occurred during one of our country’s most turbulent times some 9 years after one of our greatest presidents set a simple, yet difficult, clear goal with a time limit. Good leaders challenge us to grow, great leaders bring us together. It is only together that we can achieve great things.

In honor of yet another 50th anniversary of history, I post my favorite musical memory of 1969.

 

🎵Harmony and understanding🎶                                                                                                                 🎵Sympathy and trust abounding🎶

Worthy goals for a society. May the lyrics of this 50 year old tune inspire and enlighten our society toward better.

The 5th Dimension – Aquarius / Let the Sunshine – 1969

Advertisements

50 Years

My human memory does not start when I was born. My memory starts sometime after that in small fuzzy flashes. From what I gather from family photos, conversations and history, my memory probably dates back to sometime about 1969.

I can honestly say that the most significant thing I remember from 1969 was the moon landing we watched on our color console TV. I can also honestly say I do not remember the Stonewall riots in New York City that same year. I grew up in a small city in Southwest Virginia. Happenings in the metropolis of New York didn’t really make headlines there, especially happenings that involved police raiding a gay bar.

Tonight marks the 50th anniversary of that raid of The Stonewall Inn. A raid that was the spark that started a movement. A movement that I would call an uprising. An uprising that is still underway. An uprising that must continue.

May we see Stonewall for what it is. It is an inspiration. An inspiration worth continuing.

Happy Pride Y’all!

XO

Beyond Stonewall

All of us are part of history.

We each have our own story.

Our stories affect others, thus we affect a greater society.

Sometimes the smallest action creates massive change.

What’s your story?

I came out in high school. As a young freshman in 1979 after having been beaten by a group of bullies, this “queer faggot” was suspended from school. The rules were that no matter who or what caused a fight, if you were involved you were suspended. After a trip to the hospital and many facial stitches I faced a choice. Move to a private school or return and face my oppressors.

I chose to return and face my oppressors. After walking back into school with the swelling and bruises still apparent, I walked past them. This time when I was called faggot instead of denying it, ignoring it or hiding from it I took it as my own and replied “So what if I am?”

The bullying changed. I won’t say it stopped completely, but I will say it stopped having power over me.

I found that some started to accept me and over time the bullying practically disappeared. Yeah there was a comment now and then from an insecure asshole, but it was no longer aggressively oppressing. I had the power now because I took my power back by accepting and saying “I am gay, I am a faggot, queer or whatever.” High school turned out pretty good after all. Not perfect, but pretty damn good.

The change I see is this:

I changed my world by accepting who and what I was. I changed other’s worlds by allowing them to see, know and be friends with an out gay man. I also allowed others who were gay to follow me into their own truth.

Shapeshifting

Being the 50th anniversary of Stonewall I search daily for a new video that resonates. Some days the videos just pop into my YouTube suggestions, some days I run into them on another blog and still other days I take the time to search. Today I searched and I learned, I found growth…growth in my understanding.

I’ll never be able to fully understand the plight of those born into the wrong body, but I can try to empathize through understanding from pieces of my own personal experiences. Even though I was born into an exterior male body that matches my inner gay male persona, I can understand this new term I learned today, Shapeshifting. While I didn’t have to act as a different sex, I did have to lie and act as if I was attracted to the opposite sex in order to hide who I really was. I can still catch myself shapeshifting as it was something engrained deeply in me early in my life.

I cannot claim to understand the complete experience of transgender. I can love, accept, embrace and support to the best of my own empathy and understanding.

Vulnerability = Courage

Fearsome reflects

Growing up in the 1960s and 1970s I remember a time where what I felt and who I was attracted to was a secret. I learned early that I had a secret and a secret it would remain.

Therefore today when I run across a video such as this one in which a famous young gay man lives behind his secret I can empathize.

Don’t get me wrong, I wish Elton and others had been out and able to lead thus showing me that I was ok. However, I understand. I understand now that for them the safety of the curtain allowed them to live two lives. One life in front of the curtain out on stage and another in secret behind it. Society actually demanded the separation.

Stars of the past who tried to live their truth found their careers ruined and were ostracized, rejected into oblivion.

Today Elton is able to live as an out gay man. He is married and has two children. After all those years in hiding, today he can live as an example. Unfortunately Billy Haines never made it to see the day where his lifelong relationship would be validated much less that he could live and work as an out gay man.

What Billy Haines chose isn’t lost on me though. He chose to live his truth and to live as an out gay man, but it lost him his career. In his own way he blazed a trail by refusing to live a double life, or in other words he refused to live a lie.

Elton chose to live the lie until eventually his truth started to be too obvious, yet fortunately for him the times had changed to acceptance. But I don’t fault Elton. He had much to contribute, and contribute he did through his work and art. He was fortunate that thankfully times finally changed.

Societal “norms” keep people from fully expressing and living their truths.

Isn’t it time we appreciate differences and continue to challenge societal norms? Isn’t it time we actually question gender stereotypes? Isn’t it possible that the actual organ isn’t the actual sex? Isn’t it possible that sex, or sexuality, doesn’t even fucking matter?

Peppermint & Cazwell’s video Blend has appeared here before. It’s worth a re-post.

If we all do not understand, empathize, love, accept, support, forgive and STAND UP for each other then who will?

Let’s celebrate each other. Let’s celebrate life.

Be true to yourself, be who you are

It was late June 1969, a few pissed off queens had finally had enough.

This is a transcript of the above article below:

Homo Nest Raided, Queen Bees Are Stinging Mad

The New York Daily News, July 6, 1969
By JERRY LISKER

She sat there with her legs crossed, the lashes of her mascara-coated eyes beating like the wings of a hummingbird. She was angry. She was so upset she hadn’t bothered to shave. A day old stubble was beginning to push through the pancake makeup. She was a he. A queen of Christopher Street.

Last weekend the queens had turned commandos and stood bra strap to bra strap against an invasion of the helmeted Tactical Patrol Force. The elite police squad had shut down one of their private gay clubs, the Stonewall Inn at 57 Christopher St., in the heart of a three-block homosexual community in Greenwich Village. Queen Power reared its bleached blonde head in revolt. New York City experienced its first homosexual riot. “We may have lost the battle, sweets, but the war is far from over,” lisped an unofficial lady-in-waiting from the court of the Queens.

“We’ve had all we can take from the Gestapo,” the spokesman, or spokeswoman, continued. “We’re putting our foot down once and for all.” The foot wore a spiked heel. According to reports, the Stonewall Inn, a two-story structure with a sand painted brick and opaque glass facade, was a mecca for the homosexual element in the village who wanted nothing but a private little place where they could congregate, drink, dance and do whatever little girls do when they get together.

The thick glass shut out the outside world of the street. Inside, the Stonewall bathed in wild, bright psychedelic lights, while the patrons writhed to the sounds of a juke box on a square dance floor surrounded by booths and tables. The bar did a good business and the waiters, or waitresses, were always kept busy, as they snaked their way around the dancing customers to the booths and tables. For nearly two years, peace and tranquility reigned supreme for the Alice in Wonderland clientele.

The Raid Last Friday

Last Friday the privacy of the Stonewall was invaded by police from the First Division. It was a raid. They had a warrant. After two years, police said they had been informed that liquor was being served on the premises. Since the Stonewall was without a license, the place was being closed. It was the law.

All hell broke loose when the police entered the Stonewall. The girls instinctively reached for each other. Others stood frozen, locked in an embrace of fear.

Only a handful of police were on hand for the initial landing in the homosexual beachhead. They ushered the patrons out onto Christopher Street, just off Sheridan Square. A crowd had formed in front of the Stonewall and the customers were greeted with cheers of encouragement from the gallery.

The whole proceeding took on the aura of a homosexual Academy Awards Night. The Queens pranced out to the street blowing kisses and waving to the crowd. A beauty of a specimen named Stella wailed uncontrollably while being led to the sidewalk in front of the Stonewall by a cop. She later confessed that she didn’t protest the manhandling by the officer, it was just that her hair was in curlers and she was afraid her new beau might be in the crowd and spot her. She didn’t want him to see her this way, she wept.

Queen Power

The crowd began to get out of hand, eye witnesses said. Then, without warning, Queen Power exploded with all the fury of a gay atomic bomb. Queens, princesses and ladies-in-waiting began hurling anything they could get their polished, manicured fingernails on. Bobby pins, compacts, curlers, lipstick tubes and other femme fatale missiles were flying in the direction of the cops. The war was on. The lilies of the valley had become carnivorous jungle plants.

Urged on by cries of “C’mon girls, lets go get’em,” the defenders of Stonewall launched an attack. The cops called for assistance. To the rescue came the Tactical Patrol Force.

Flushed with the excitement of battle, a fellow called Gloria pranced around like Wonder Woman, while several Florence Nightingales administered first aid to the fallen warriors. There were some assorted scratches and bruises, but nothing serious was suffered by the honeys turned Madwoman of Chaillot.

Official reports listed four injured policemen with 13 arrests. The War of the Roses lasted about 2 hours from about midnight to 2 a.m. There was a return bout Wednesday night.

Two veterans recently recalled the battle and issued a warning to the cops. “If they close up all the gay joints in this area, there is going to be all out war.”

Bruce and Nan

Both said they were refugees from Indiana and had come to New York where they could live together happily ever after. They were in their early 20’s. They preferred to be called by their married names, Bruce and Nan.

“I don’t like your paper,” Nan lisped matter-of-factly. “It’s anti-fag and pro-cop.”

“I’ll bet you didn’t see what they did to the Stonewall. Did the pigs tell you that they smashed everything in sight? Did you ask them why they stole money out of the cash register and then smashed it with a sledge hammer? Did you ask them why it took them two years to discover that the Stonewall didn’t have a liquor license.”

Bruce nodded in agreement and reached over for Nan’s trembling hands.

“Calm down, doll,” he said. “Your face is getting all flushed.”

Nan wiped her face with a tissue.

“This would have to happen right before the wedding. The reception was going to be held at the Stonewall, too,” Nan said, tossing her ashen-tinted hair over her shoulder.

“What wedding?,” the bystander asked.

Nan frowned with a how-could-anybody-be-so-stupid look. “Eric and Jack’s wedding, of course. They’re finally tieing the knot. I thought they’d never get together.”

Meet Shirley

“We’ll have to find another place, that’s all there is to it,” Bruce sighed. “But every time we start a place, the cops break it up sooner or later.”

“They let us operate just as long as the payoff is regular,” Nan said bitterly. “I believe they closed up the Stonewall because there was some trouble with the payoff to the cops. I think that’s the real reason. It’s a shame. It was such a lovely place. We never bothered anybody. Why couldn’t they leave us alone?”

Shirley Evans, a neighbor with two children, agrees that the Stonewall was not a rowdy place and the persons who frequented the club were never troublesome. She lives at 45 Christopher St.

“Up until the night of the police raid there was never any trouble there,” she said. “The homosexuals minded their own business and never bothered a soul. There were never any fights or hollering, or anything like that. They just wanted to be left alone. I don’t know what they did inside, but that’s their business. I was never in there myself. It was just awful when the police came. It was like a swarm of hornets attacking a bunch of butterflies.”

A reporter visited the now closed Stonewall and it indeed looked like a cyclone had struck the premisses.

Police said there were over 200 people in the Stonewall when they entered with a warrant. The crowd outside was estimated at 500 to 1,000. According to police, the Stonewall had been under observation for some time. Being a private club, plain clothesmen were refused entrance to the inside when they periodically tried to check the place. “They had the tightest security in the Village,” a First Division officer said, “We could never get near the place without a warrant.”

Police Talk

The men of the First Division were unable to find any humor in the situation, despite the comical overtones of the raid.

“They were throwing more than lace hankies,” one inspector said. “I was almost decapitated by a slab of thick glass. It was thrown like a discus and just missed my throat by inches. The beer can didn’t miss, though, “it hit me right above the temple.”

Police also believe the club was operated by Mafia connected owners. The police did confiscate the Stonewall’s cash register as proceeds from an illegal operation. The receipts were counted and are on file at the division headquarters. The warrant was served and the establishment closed on the grounds it was an illegal membership club with no license, and no license to serve liquor.

The police are sure of one thing. They haven’t heard the last from the Girls of Christopher Street.

“We May have lost the battle, but the war is far from over”.

Fifty years later, thanks to some courageous individuals, the world is a better place. I salute them with deep gratitude. Today, because of their lead, many battles have been won …but the war is far from over.

Beacons

Lighthouses serve both as a warning for hidden hazards laying just beneath a surface and as an indicator that a safe harbor awaits beyond.

Throughout life I have noticed beacons which helped me avoid the unseen, yet often due to various circumstances I overlooked a warning and found myself stranded on the rocks.

I am human, I am fallible.

However in each unfortunate circumstance when I have missed the warnings, or ignored them, I have found a safe harbor nearby.

In that safe harbor I can pause, reflect, heal, learn and grow.

Often it’s nothing specific that causes me to loose sight of the beacon ahead.

Life is. Life is busy. Life is distracting. Life is confusing. Life is exhilarating. Life is overwhelming. Life is fun. Life is troubling. Life is good. Life is hard. Life is sad. Life is hilarious. Life is love. Life is experience. Life is rewarding. Life is disappointing. Life is experiences. Life is unexpected. Life is unexplainable. Life is laughter. Life is imperfect. Life is. Life is. Life is.

My dear 17 year old Mitzi, our 5 pound chihuahua/poodle mix, is facing her next horizon. A horizon in which I can no longer watch her nor protect her. Each day with her has been a blessing from a power of love beyond any power that I can create. Each moment left is a treasure that I am grateful for. When her moment of transition arrives, I pray that I can set her free feeling the love that she, and her creator, blessed me with for all these years and continue to feel her love that will be with me always.

There are many hazards in the waters surrounding me at this time I my life. Some I am aware of, others I am/was blind to. I commit to learning to first forgive myself for my shortcomings and to open my eyes to the blessings, the beacons, the love, the gift of my life.

I commit to heal, to learn, to grow and to accept my imperfections.

The post I was going to do, but decided not to write

Ok I’ll admit it. I am sick at home with a bad cold and can’t work. Thus yesterday I found myself watching the Cohen testimony between naps and coughing. You, my dear reader, can attest to that fact due to the suddenly overwhelming flurry of posted videos. I obviously wasn’t amused but infuriated by the shenanigans. Necessary shenanigans they were.

So this morning I posted Hail Satan? The Documentary. I did so for a reason. The Satanic Temple seems to actually be practicing the principals of ‘Christianity’ better than most ‘Christians’ I see in the press theses days. The Satanic Temple also seems to value truth and our U.S. constitution better than the ‘Christians’ I typically see in the press of recent . (Before anyone gets their panties all tied up in a bunch please note that I didn’t say “all” but I said “in the press” when referring to ‘Christians’.)

Just an observation and a frank opinion of mine at the moment. Under the influence of cold meds? Yes. Delusional? No.

My disclaimer is this:

While I believe that there is a greater power than me which gives me the spark of life and also helps guide me (if I choose to let it), I am not a ‘Christian’ nor am I a Satanist. My Higher Power or God  or Allah or Christ or Satan or Flying Spaghetti Monster, is my business and not anyone elses’. It is also not appropriate for me to push my personal beliefs about any deity of my own preference upon you or anyone.

Now having said all of that I’ll get to the post I was going to do, but decided not to write.

While watching yesterday’s necessary shenanigans, I couldn’t help but to think of the blind followers of a certain Mr. Hitler of Germany back in the 1930’s & 1940’s. Those thoughts immediately took me to a favorite musical of mine. That musical? Cabaret of corse. After all I am a 50 something homosexual and the lead is played by none other than Hollywood legend Judy Garland’s fabulous daughter Liza Manelli. Besides what other musical so boldly depicts a homosexual couple carefully maneuvering their way through a political minefield of hate, bigotry, mind control, deceit and selfishness?

So this morning I was going to snarkily just drop the video of the blonde German boy singing Tomorrow Belongs To Me right here on this here internets blogy thingy. You know just as a political statement. Therefore I popped over onto YouTube to copy a URL to post here for your viewing pleasure, and also for your own mind expanding contemplation about the blind following a false prophet onto a path of darkness and corruption.

I had thought this through and was simply going to post with it a few short words about history. Something like: “History often repeats itself. However if we learn from history can we make new choices? New and better choices so it possibly doesn’t repeat with the same outcome?”

This Post was going to be good. A real thought provoker. You know, clarity through simplicity. Hell maybe it would even go viral and suddenly I would be hearalded as new voice. A voice to be heard. My 15 minutes were just about to happen. I mean I could feel it.

Then while previewing the video of that blonde German boy singing my eyes drifted to the comments.

Bubble burst.

From the comments it seems that this climactic scene from an anti-Nazi 1970s film, starring none other than Liza Minnelli and having a homosexual subplot, is becoming an anthem for today’s populist (read: selfish, self centered, hate filled) movement. The very song that is directly pointing to the fallacy of a blind following is being heralded by those very same blind individuals as a call to action.

The fucking irony.

Grow a Fucking Beard!

Look I’m not generally one to use what some consider profanity in a blog title but sometimes it’s appropriate.

Beards are great. Real Fucking Beards are even better!

I cannot fully explain what it’s like living with a Beard like Fearsome but I’ll try.

First off, Fearsome ain’t no regular trimmed and styled Beard. He’s a big Beard. A real Fucking Beard.

Fearsome Beard January 2019

Everyday I am am rewarded by the soft touch of Fearsome against my naked skin when I wake up. Yes during sleep I occasionally have to wake up to get him out from under me, out of an armpit or just to simply turn over, but it’s worth it.

Each morning I am blessed with the ritual of his care. The shampoo and conditioning feel wonderful between my fingers as his folicales untangle and lengthen. After blotting his frocks in a soft towel, I get to lovingly apply his leave in conditioner and massage in fragrant Beard oils. We finish with a thorough combing from roots to tips from side to side, front to back and under to outer. The rewards of such care are reaped every time a wind catches and lifts him over a shoulder, around behind my head and even when he lifts into my field of vision.

His movement is one of the greatest pleasures he brings me. I feel every turn of my head. We feel every breeze. He rests softly on my chest giving me a caressing touch even through the fabrics of my shirts. He is simply a divine gift.

He provides comedic relief at most all occasions and interactions. He’s quite social inviting most anyone into an easy conversation. He loves attention and making others smile. Why even at yoga as I am in downward dog he’s jokingly laying on the floor beneath me and can be found  mischievously obstructing my vision when in a headstand.

I cannot fully express my gratitude to the powers that gave me life and blessed me with the luxuriousness that is Fearsome Beard. I am grateful to myself for allowing him to blossom into the massive full Beard he has become. It has been more than 4 years since his last trim and he’s still growing longer day by day. There are no plans for any future trims either as that last one was a mistake from which we learned. Trimming does nothing but destroy the potential that any Beard has to become exceptional.

My advice to any man is to let it grow. Do not trim. Allow your Beard to become its potiential. Shampoo, condition and love your Beard.

Go ahead grow a Beard. Any Beard is worth growing and having. However if you’ve got a taste for adventure, grow a Fucking Beard.

ZZ Top Real Fucking Beards!

Clawing out

Sometimes, in order to get out of a hole that which I have found myself, it feels as if I am clawing my way out of the darkness even though I cannot see any light. I have found that as I claw my way it is important for me to be open to see any cracks, or even pin holes, of light and appreciate these as inspiration to keep clawing my way out. Keep clawing even if these pin holes aren’t the solution or direction in which I should go.

Inspiration lifts me. I must allow it to do so.

The pit of darkness in which I have found myself is of my own making. I make it through overwhelm due to the choices I make as to how I perceive the world around me. Choices as to how I react to others, to politics, to situations, to emotions, to comments, to work, to stress, to joy, to sadness, to love, to criticism, to direction, to you, to my thoughts, to weather, to …

Perception, like everything else in our revolving universe, cycles. This, too, shall pass.

I can choose to hasten this passing by allowing little things to lift me. This morning I choose to allow my locality of living’s politics to shine a pin hole of light inspiration into my life as I claw my way back into the light in which I prefer to live.

As I sit in the United lounge in the San Diego airport awaiting my delayed flight out I read our local paper. To my delight below the coverage of last nights national prime time spectacle of absurd news, I find that my local government has voted to take it upon themselves to assist the asylum seekers awaiting at the international border into our city.

Pin hole of light I see.

I allow it to uplift me.

I smile. I feel better.

I believe that good overpowers bad. I believe that love beats hate. I believe that kindness conquers intolerance. I believe that light eliminates darkness.

I believe that vulnerability allows us to be seen as we truly are, as the truly the imperfect flawed beings that we are. I believe that through exposing our own vulnerability we demonstrate the courage it takes to be, to be ourselves.

I am me and I’m not perfect. However I am worthy, I am courageous, I am beautiful,  I am and I can.

I can do anything. Right now I make a choice. I choose light.

Whole Hearted

Living. Living life to the fullest.

Experiencing, learning, growing, loving, giving, sharing, teaching, risking…

Those who put themselves out there, those who risk, live.

I believe that those who expose themselves for who they really are, those who allow themselves to be vulnerable, live. They live life to the fullest. They live life with a whole heart.

Hearts were meant to be broken or else they wouldn’t break. Love.

Gifts were meant to be given and shared because if they were selfishly hoarded they wouldn’t be gifts, but would be burdens. Give.

Lessons and experiences only have value to enrich others when taught. Teach.

If one isn’t growing, one is dying. Grow.

Without risk there is nothing. Risk.

Will there be pain? Yes

Will there be joy? Yes

If we couldn’t feel pain, we wouldn’t feel joy. Feel.

To get to the other side of anything, we must walk through it. Experience.

My brain thinks. My heart loves, my heart gives, my heart shares, my heart teaches, my heart experiences, my heart risks, my heart feels, my heart grows, my heart lives!

I choose to live whole heartedly from this moment on. To live, live with my whole heart.

Radio Blessings

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.

All are welcome here

I live only about 15 miles from the San Ysidro port of entry from Mexico into the U.S. I can actually see the hills of Tijuana from the window of my bedroom.

San Ysidro is said to be the busiest U.S. border crossing. This international connection between two North American countries enriches our lives greatly here in San Diego. Culturally and economically both San Diego and Tijuana, as well as both countries, prosper from our connection and relationship.

Migration through this port of entry is yet another benefit to all of us living and working in this region. Immigration is simply the backbone of the birth and growth of the United States. Cities like San Diego and Tijuana function in unison each benefitting the other. Immigrants support these regions and beyond into the heartland of our country.

All are welcome. Bring with you your culture. Bring with you your strong work ethic. Bring with you your desire for a better life. Bring with you your desire to belong. Bring with you your language, character, love and laughter.

I want you here with us. I am not the only one.

The Beginning

I start today like I start every day and that is with a choice:

Should I play the same record over and over or should I change my world?

Growth comes through change.

Today is the beginning of the rest of my life. All I have to do to change the world is to start by changing my mind.

 

“The Beginning”

This is the beginning of the record you like
Over and over, over and over!
This is the beginning of the record you like
Over and over, over and over!Breaking up, fading out,
Holding on until tomorrow!
Shake it off, turn around,
Won’t be long, till is a brand new day!

[Chorus:]
This is the beginning, the beginning!
This is the beginning of the rest of your life!
This is the beginning, the beginning!
This is the beginning of the rest of your life!

You better get it – get it (get – get) get it – get it – right – right
That was then, this is now.
Here we go starting over

That was then, this is now,
Here we go starting over!
You decide, change your mind,
Miracles happen every day!

[Chorus:]
This is the beginning, the beginning!
This is the beginning of the rest of your life!
This is the beginning, the beginning!
This is the beginning of the rest of your life!

You better get it – get it (get – get) get it – get it – right – right
That was then, this is now.
Here we go starting over

Change the world, change your mind,
We defy space and time!
Change the world, change your mind,
We defy space and time!
Change the world, change your mind,
We defy space and time!

[Chorus:]
This is the beginning, the beginning!
This is the beginning of the rest of your life!
This is the beginning, the beginning!
This is the beginning of the rest of your life

 

Veterans Day 2018

The Music used in the attached video is from my childhood. I remember it playing at the swim club during summer as well as emanating from behind my older brother’s closed bedroom door. I always loved this tune.

My childhood was innocent. I thought people always landed on the moon. I come to find out later that the moonlanding I watched was the first ever. I thought Seasame Street and color televisions had always exhisted. Turns out that season of Seasame Street I was watching in 1969 was the very first season, and that color TV we had was the first my parents had ever owned.

I hated war. Vietnam reinforced that fact. The TV showed horrible scenes. I didn’t understand why people had to do such destructive things. It was wrong. I knew it was. Innocence tainted.

My uncle was in Vietnam. My father and another uncle served in the Korean era. My father’s uncles served in WWII and his father’s uncles in WWI. War stole innocence. War destroyed lives.

My brothers and I avoided the service. No war drafted us nor demanded our service.

Even though I hate war, I respect and I wish to honor those who serve. The serve their country. They serve their family, community, neighbors and each other. They didn’t start nor cause any war. Those who serve do so for a common good of service to something greater than themselves.

I am deeply grateful.

If you served, either in war or hopefully in peace, I thank you.

Silence = Death

To say that this was a stressful week would be an understatement.

We must speak out. We must stand up. We must stand strong. We must walk through. We must bond together. We must embrace each other. We must appreciate differences. We must support justice.

We must be good civil upstanding citizens and we must vote.

We mustn’t tolerate violence or discrimination.

We must understand.

Most of all, we must love.

Just because I was born with a penis…

Just because I was born with a penis, doesn’t mean I’m a male.

I have a penis, and I personally identify as a male.

Should another human make the decision for me as to which sex identify? No.

Should a government tell me if I am a woman or a man based on a bodily organ between my legs? Hell Fucking No.

Whether I identify as male or female (or neither) is what I am, from what is deep inside of me. That which is my own identity which is me. No one else decides for me who or what I am that is uniquely me. Period.

I have no right to choose for another human who or what they are. I collectively with others as a society, have no right to force any individual to be something other than that which is them themselves from deep within their souls.

What is between another human’s legs does not make anyone who or what they are. That which is deep within a person’s soul is who they are, character is who they are, honesty is who they are, personality is who they are, kindness, work, creativity, contributions, service, love, originality, beauty is who they are. Sex is not who or what a human is.

Sex or gender, and sexuality for that matter, is only a small part of a human, of a person. Sex is not what or who I am, and nor is it who or what you are.

No person nor any government has the right to decide who or what I am, or who or what you are.

Respect, equality, understanding and acceptance are the qualities that I support and strive for. I only ask the same in return. I expect and support a government that shares these values.

Speak now, before it’s too late.

Challenge day 20

Todays read pages 231-237, section 14 of Chapter On Writing

Writing classes? One doesn’t really have to have them (nor does one need this or any other writing book). They may not hurt, but aren’t necessary. Classes mainly give a writer a chance to be around others who share their passion.

The perfect writing environment? Doesn’t exist. Do the best you can by creating your own writing space that has a door that closes. Use it.

Writers learn best by reading a lot and writing a lot. The most valuable lessons are the ones that you teach yourself. Those lessons always occur with the door closed on the writing space.

Stephen’s “pearl” today was this quote: “It is, after all, the dab of grit that seeps into an oyster’s shell makes the pearl, not pearl making seminars with other oysters.” (page 232, Stephen King, On Writing)