Dance floors of my past

To say that uncertainty rules my head today is an understatement.

I decided it’s best to pause and escape to a place of bliss, a place I’ve spent many enjoyable hours, a place where I can feel life living itself through every muscle fiber and sensation of my being, a place where I can truly escape.

I’m escaping, if only for 5 minutes, to a dance floor of my past.

Round and Round – New Order – 1989

How about joining me for a twirl?

Healing

Music is a healing source for me. This particular tune has always been a beautiful comfort in a sometimes confusing world.

The Moody Blues – Tuesday Afternoon – 1967 – Days of Future Past

Bruised

Sucker punched.

Real Estate is a contact sport, even without physical contact. Today I got sucker punched right in the belly and it hurts.

Friends, whom I trusted almost more than most any of my other friends, to whom I’d sold them their home some 25 years ago called me about three years ago to sell said home. We met, discussed marketing and set up a time line for repairs, improvements and preparations to which a couple months later I got a call that selling the home would be postponed. When postponement time rolled around we again looked at needed repairs and improvements only to have that can kicked out another 6 months. Again we meet to look at it all only to postpone again, and again and again.

Three years later, which was last weekend, I received a message while traveling home from a much needed vacation urgently needing to meet to discuss selling the home. Last Monday I arrive and the painters are there working. They are actually going to sell it, finally after three years of postponements. We set out a schedule for finalizing the preparation, staging, photography and tomorrow we were supposed to meet to finalize price and paperwork.

Today I got an urgent text asking to meet at my office. My first thought was if they are postponing again, as history would have it, why so urgent to meet at office right now? I was available and we decided to meet in 10 minutes.

I arrive, they arrive and we sit down.

Then the least expected words were spoken, “We are going to list our home with another agent.” Gut meet fist, as said fist punches you. I was flabbergasted, speechless.

This is someone I considered a really close friend, someone I trusted emphatically and someone I’ve always deeply respected. This is a friend first, past client second who has referred multiple other people, including their own family members, over the years for whom I’ve always given exceptional service.

Then comes the second punch: “We know that you would give us exceptional service, utmost honest dealings and that you would have our best interest at heart, but we need someone who’s more enthusiastic. Also we want you to know it’s not that the other agent quoted a higher value as you both came in exactly at the same asking price and sales costs, we just need more enthusiasm .”

More enthusiasm? It’s been three years so please give me at least a few days to realize, and believe, you are actually going to sell.

As I walked them to the door of the office and closed the doors behind them the tears started streaming down my cheeks. Two of the people who’ve been two of the biggest cheerleaders in my career and two people whom I’ve always looked up to, trusted and admired didn’t even give me the chance to present what I could do, as the presentation was scheduled for tomorrow, and dismissed me after 3 years of postponements for an agent that they apparently were just introduced.

Am I really that bad at what I do?

My dear co-worker Rocky comforted me as I sobbed and helped me back to reality and encouraged me to at least plead my case to them by calling them to convey that no one other agent could better care and represent them with any more enthusiasm than I could because I did love and care for them and I really do have their best interest at heart.

I did call to no answer. I left a message.

After I left the office Rocky text me this beautiful statement of encouragement: “I hope she calls. She needs to remember what she loves about you. You absolutely are her best advocate and she needs to be reminded of your heart and your determination to do the very best for her that anyone would be capable of doing. Anybody can be enthusiastic but you can’t fake genuine care.”

Thank you Rocky. I treasure your words. I really do have my client’s best interest at heart. So therefore I’m pretty damn good at what I do.

But damn it hurts.

Christmas Cards

I have to admit that I love receiving Christmas Cards. I used to send them every year, but alas time became an issue as life got busier and I haven’t sent but just a few since the turn of the century.

We do still get a good number of them, even though we no longer reciprocate. I enjoy opening them and reminiscing about the friends who have taken the time to keep up the tradition. Maybe one day I’ll slow down and start the tradition again of sending holiday cards to my beloved friends and family.

Let’s say I enjoy all the cards with the exception of one we receive each year that has frankly started to creep me out.

A number of years ago we started to receive a Christmas card from a couple that was at the most a one time acquaintance and an acquaintance we don’t remember. We don’t know them, we don’t know where they live nor do we know what they do. We don’t share friends with them, a social circle or any interest that we are aware of.

Their cards are always professionally custom photographed showing the happy couple and their beautiful children. The photographs always number about 6-8 covering both outside and inside the card. They are always dressed in a matching theme and life looks as if it’s perfect…actually make that more than perfect.

In other words, the Christmas card itself is as disturbing as the fact it always arrives like clockwork the day after thanksgiving. Perfect card, perfect family and perfect timing, but who the fuck are they?

This years arrived like clockwork. However there was a new twist. The new twist was the fact it was, for the very first time, bulk mailed. Fucking bulk mailed. Yes the perfect stranger family has apparently grown their Christmas card list, of people who don’t know who the fuck they are, so large they are now using bulk mail.

Tom Watts – Christmas Card from a Hooker in Minneapolis

Dia de Los Muertos

Fearsome believes that the dead never really die. We live in an energy field and energy is constant. Constant but ever changing moving into form, through form and out of form.

The potential energy stored in the atoms of a rock is the same energy stored in the atoms within the molecules of my body, as is the same energy of the atoms of the air we breathe and the water we consume and even the same energy of the sun and the stars.

We are just simply stardust. Just stardust into another form.

Therefore the dead are with us just as we will be here, or somewhere near, in a different form after we die as well.

The movie CoCo tells the story of Dia de Los Muertos. Living in a place where I can see Mexico from my bedroom window just some 15 miles to the south, Dia de Los Muertos is a holiday we cherish. I believe it is honorable to remember those who have given us the lives we have.

May those who have loved you, and you have loved, be with you on this day of celebration.

In Memory

In memory of our beloved boy Virgil May 5, 2002 – September 10, 2019

Virgil on his 17th Birthday Celebration 2019

Our little old man has passed on. He has now joined his sister Mitzi in a spiritual realm.

Virgil joined us in October of 2002 as a first birthday present of sorts for his older half sister Mitzi. He was from a second litter her mother had from a different father 8 months after her birth. He was an awkward looking puppy that actually seemed as if he  might have a slight birth defect. Possibly from an unhealthy mother did who had her litters to close together. The owner of the mother had him left as no one would take him and was about to take him to the humane society. I gave the guy money to have the mother fixed and I brought Virgil home to foster until I could find him a home.

Needless to say he was a hit with Mitzi from moment one.

Virgil and Mitzi circa October 2002

Our Dalmatian, Mattie, was having issues with a rambunctious 5 month old playing with a wild one year old and got snappy with him. I had a favorite line from Greater Tuna that popped out of my mouth when scolding Mattie for scolding the puppies. I sternly warned her and said “Mattie! Quit it now! …. Mattie, I’m gonna knock you into next week!” That line was used by the character Vera Carp in the funeral home scene toward her son Virgil so the original line was “Virgil! quit it now! …”

I don’t know how to cut it out of here but if you just want to see that line, start at 26:00 and run through 28:10. (This is actually the HBO production of the entire play, if you have time it’s fantastic.)

At that moment not only did Virgil now have a name, but he also had a home. That scared little dog that I took from the back seat of the marina dockworker’s car to foster had a forever home where he continued to live a long, happy and very healthy life for the next 16 years and 11 months. His home was right here with us.

Over his years here our family has lost, and our family has grown.

From left to right in front the back are: Betty, Mitzi (deceased June 2019), Abner, Virgil, Phoebe, Patsy and then Gilda (way in the back).

Others that Virgil shared our home with that passed on before him were our beloved Liver spotted Dalmatian Mattie, our sweet Chocolate Lab Diva and the rescue of our senior Border Collie Nina that was featured here on Fearsome Beard in 2014. Right now instead of here in our bed, he is there with his familiar housemates and sister that he hasn’t been with in a while.

Virgil and Mitzi in their golden years.

Virgil was a happy and healthy boy until the very end. Yesterday he was out on our patio sunning with Betty. He was mobile and out their on his own accord. It wasn’t until last night just before bedtime that he showed signs something may be amiss. He lost his balance and couldn’t stand. He was just off balance, we’ve seen that in other older dogs before and seen it pass quickly so we did not worry. We carried him to bed and he actually had a good night. However this morning he worsened and his deterioration was fast and he did not suffer. He died very unexpectedly in my arms.

He had a great life here with us as we had with him.

Virgil after a grooming cuddling with his youngest housemates Betty & Phoebe

Virgil we will forever love you. We will forever be grateful that you were part of our lives. You will live on in us as we share the love you placed into our hearts with all the others we touch.

Virgil, this is not goodbye as we will see you on the other side. Until then continue to share your love with your canine family that has been awaiting your arrival. Your kisses enrich us. Your snuggles comfort us. Your love fills us.

Virgil, I love you, we all love you.

Until then, Godspeed.

Virgil May 5, 2002 – September 10, 2019

I’ll fly away

Growing up in Appalachia , this tune is one I know from childhood.

I consider life a gift from a power, essence or spirit that I don’t understand. Part of that gift is that I don’t have to understand where the gift comes from. I get to experience the love and beauty without ever feeling in debt to do or return anything.

As I wasn’t here before my life, I will not be here after it. I will physically be gone from here and now, but not necessarily gone from what we understand to be a universe.  I don’t need to know anything more than that.

When I die I wish to be cremated. I wish for my ashes to be discretely dropped on a specific hillside above the sea on a nearby Southern California Island known as Catalina. No one is to know, but the couple of close loved ones who accidentally drop my ashes there, exactly where this spot is. As my ashes are dropped, they will start to fly out over the land and the sea. Those that find the land their home will continue to both blow into the wind as well as meld into the earth eventually eroding their way into air and the nearby sea as well.

Therefore my body and my spirit shall fly away, wash away and float away. I’ll still be here and there. I’ll be wherever I’m supposed to be.

Rising Appalachia – I’ll Fly Away – traditional live – 2012

Simple and beautiful, enjoy.

Note: If those whom I love and love me wish to gather for any type of memorial after I am gone, they are free to do so in any fashion just as long as it’s fun, celebratory, simple and this traditional Appalachian folk tune is played.

🎼 Just say to me what you want from me 🎶

Often the illusion is that the easier path for dealing with problems is to run away from them, avoid them or ignore them.

In my experience avoidance is my default. I have found that I must remind myself daily that the true easier path is to acknowledge my problem, feel that emotions surrounding my problem and then to face the problem and walk through it. Not all problems are easily resolved. However I’ve found that the only way they are ever resolved is to deal with them head on. No matter how hard issues appear, resolution is always easier and better than running away.

Lil Nas X , Fearsome’s favorite out and proud rapper, dropped this new tune this morning. I found it’s message helpful in many ways.

Lil Nas X – Panini – Official Video – 2019

Visualize what you want. Say what you want. Move toward what you want.

Internet Trolls

Let’s just say I was called out today in the comments section of another blog to be an Internet Troll. It turned into quite the Kerfuffle. Thankfully many other commenters in that wonderful community came to my defense. I greatly appreciate them. I don’t like to point fingers by calling out someone by name, so therefore I will not do that. I will however say it was wretched, simply wretched.

I commented on another’s comment with a quick one liner that was supportive of the commenters comment, on topic and in keeping with the nature of the comments for the blog. I know the nature of the blog as I’ve been a daily reader for most of said blogs 15 year existence. I rarely comment but do on rare occasion should something come to mind that fits and I’m in the mood to.

My reprimand wasn’t from the person for whom I commented with support, but out of left field from someone who wasn’t even previously even in the conversation. I was told to “go away” because I apparently didn’t have enough previous comments recorded in my records to be there or have an opinion. I was called both an “Internet Troll” and a “sock puppet.”

So being the contemplative Beard that Fearsome is, he asked me to google the definition of Internet Troll. On Wikipedia we found this definition:

In Internet slang, a troll is a person who starts quarrels or upsets people on the Internet to distract and sow discord by posting inflammatory and digressive,[1] extraneous, or off-topic messages in an online community (such as a newsgroup, forum, chat room, or blog) with the intent of provoking readers into displaying emotional responses[2] and normalizing tangential discussion,[3] whether for the troll’s amusement or a specific gain.

Hmmmm. Fearsome then started to wonder what defined Sock puppet, Wikipedia defines it as:

A sockpuppet is an online identity used for purposes of deception. The term, a reference to the manipulation of a simple hand puppet made from a sock, originally referred to a false identity assumed by a member of an Internet community who spoke to, or about, themselves while pretending to be another person.[

Hmmm.

Lets then look at what happened. I commented on topic, in keeping with the nature and in support of the commenter to which I commented. Out of left field someone aggressively tries to upset and distract from the comment thread by making an unfounded off topic inflammatory name calling statement, directed at me simply because I didn’t have enough comments in my history to satisfy their personal minimum threshold.

Looking at this honestly, who would actually fit the definition of Internet Troll here?

Hmmm.

As far as sock puppet, I had never ever heard that term but let’s again look at this. On Disqus you can click on the user and see their profile. If you click on mine it’s open for all to see. One can read all my comments and even click a link to this here blog thingy, and this here blog thingy leads directly to me as I have nothing to hide. If you click on said user that did the name calling their Disqus profile is labeled “Private” and one cannot see their past comments nor anything about them.

Looking at this honestly, which profile might better fit that of a sock puppet?

Hmmm.

I’ve found in life that an aggressive accuser is often guilty of the very indiscretions to which he/she is falsely accusing another. I was brought up in the south and we had a little saying there that seems to fit. That saying is simply “Glass Houses”.

Please stand with your Trans Brothers and Sisters

James Corden made this video when the stirrings of the threat to oust our Trans brothers and sisters from the military. Unfortunately that then threat is now real.

Unfortunately the threat deepens as that “administration” has decided to push the discrimination further by now attempting to sway the SCOTUS to rule that title VII does not extend to sexual identity therefore enshrining discrimination via precedent. In other words the executive branch pressuring the judicial branch to interpret that anyone can discriminate against and fire (or deny housing to, or, or, or…) someone for simply being transgender. Anyone or any entity.

Please stand with your fellow human beings, in our very communities, who are simply living their lives, living them to the best of their abilities. What’s in between anyone’s legs is between them and their god or non-god. Period.

Oh, and mark my words, they aren’t planning on stopping here.

“First they came for the socialists, and I did not speak out—                                                              Because I was not a socialist.

Then they came for the trade unionists, and I did not speak out—
Because I was not a trade unionist.

Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out—
Because I was not a Jew.

Then they came for me—and there was no one left to speak for me.”

…Martin Niemöller

The Choice

I am exhausted.

I pause to take a good look into the mirror and examine why.

Why have a stopped reading my blogs? I read only the news these days.

Why am I usually feeling angst, anger, frustration and fear? I read only the news these days.

Why am I tired and distracted? I read only the news these days.

Why have I started feeling defeated and depressed? I read only the news these days.

Why do I only read the news these days? Because I’ve allowed the fear and alarm that is being spewed every single moment to enter into my psyche and alter my thoughts, dreams and values.

I have a choice. I can choose to continue down the slope I’m on and into a bad spiral, or I can choose to make another choice.

This morning for the first morning in recent memory, I chose to start my day by starting a book I’ve been wanting to read. I got my coffee, spinach smoothie and plain oatmeal and read as I consumed my daily breakfast.  By no coincidence the book I started today is appropriately named The Choice  by Dr. Edith Eva Egar.

My day started better. I read, I thought and I felt better. I blog to share, but I also blog to reinforce. Reinforce, inside of me, the better choice I just made.

I am better equipped to help myself, my family, my friends, my community, my country and my world if I put my oxygen mask on first. My oxygen is positivity and the good that still really does surround me. Through that I can find light.

Just do right (reprise for today)

A repost of a previous video? Yes because I need reminders. -However the accompanying contemplation is new for this reposting.-

This is a clip I turn to anytime I need sanity. If I’m uncomfortable it’s is most likely because I either have done something wrong or am considering doing something wrong.

I have a choice. I can decide to do what’s right, or if I’ve already made the bad choice I can make a new choice to correct a wrong. I can do right and I can make right.

It’s easier, at least for me, to do right to begin with so will I strive to do my best and to try to do right, if at all possible, all the time in the future. If I slip and make a mistake, I will strive to correct and make it right.

“Doing right gives you the kind of protection even body guards can’t give you.” -Maya Angelou

Doing right enriches my soul. Doing right brings me peace.

Gentle Kindness

In my opinion we need more Mr. Rogers in our lives.

Fred Rogers was a HUGE part of my childhood. For him I will forever be grateful.

Watch and see how he uses kindness and respect to overcome adversity in this short 6 minute clip.

I remind myself the inspirational words of a certain Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. “Darkness cannot drive out darkness, only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate, only love can do that”

I choose to be kind today. I choose to share love today. I choose to respect today.

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

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.