June 28th, 1969
Happy First Day of summer. I haven’t been able to compose a blog post about all of the fun, interesting or incident events in my life, due to the lingering cloud from the recent events in Orlando. It is not uncommon for me to experience a period of uneasiness about enjoying the life I live in the wake of recent tragedy for other people and their families. I guess it’s just my own personal form of internal mourning. I can’t help having a renewed sense of “awareness” of my surroundings. Even Saturday morning, when I was mowing the lawn, in front of our house where a rainbow flag flies and has since the day we moved in, I was acutely aware of passers-by, on foot and in cars. Having said that, we’ve done our best to process it, show our support, and move forward in the life that we have built and share together. But this felt personal, and my heart remains heavy from the tragedy.
My birthday (in may) was a nice surprise: a trip to a zoo/animal sanctuary in Massachusetts to see a (live) giraffe, among the other animals there. It was an exciting event and really made me happy.
We hired someone to work on projects around our house, with the intent of fixing it up for sale. He started off strong, but really
disappointed and frustrated us by the end, as the days dragged on and he spent less time working at our house, stretching projects out and requiring much greater financial investment from us than originally estimated. He repaired our front deck, our fence and porch. His level of work was far from professional (doing patchwork fixes instead of actual repairs, sloppy painting and staining jobs, constant need of reminders for things he left unfinished.) We allowed him to finish up the last project he was working on, settled up, and sent him packing. Given the poor job he did outside, we were not about to let him inside. This has caused us to seriously re-think selling and moving. Given the stress and cost of the last few projects, we’re not sure we could afford, let alone survive, the kitchen face lift we were planning. Time will tell but, for now, we’re seriously considering all options and putting our decision to sell/move on hold, for now.
There will be no grand vacation for us this year, just smaller weekend trips that are more affordable and require less time off. I am still trying to rebuild my time bank at work, from all the health issues over the last few years. Honestly, I’m grateful to have any time available, at this point.
My health is good. The discovery, last year, of a Gluten intolerance, and the subsequent avoidance of gluten, has all but eradicated my ongoing health issues. My current struggle is getting weight off. Despite reducing my carb intake and upping my physical activity, the pounds just don’t seem to want to come off. I’m trying hard to avoid “crash diets” and, instead, find a sustainable eating and exercise habit I can maintain indefinitely. I have pretty much eliminated all sweets (save for the occasional sugar free Jello cup and a bottle of flavored water here and there), and have cut out breads, pastas and potatoes. The bulk of our diet consists of meats, fish and vegetables, with cheese and nuts as supplements. I’ve also cut back on alcohol consumption, going form a nightly glass off wine and weekend cocktails to only to have it when we are actually in a social setting with other people, and limiting what I have when I do indulge. Clearly, we need to change something, I’m just not sure what. Upping my exercise is certainly necessary,
Work has grown increasingly stressful and frustrating. We are understaffed, and the workload and special projects continue to increase. I consider myself focused, dedicated, and hardworking – most days I am working before my start time, and after my end time, and almost never take lunches or breaks, and I’m still barely treading water. We anticipate increased staff down the road but, for now, I’m just keep the plates spinning and take it one task at a time.
The dogs continue to be a source of joy for me/us – Harvey and Rita’s unending exuberance, adorableness and and affection are a natural medicine for the stresses of the world. there are days when it is almost painful to leave them home by themselves as I traipse off to work – or anywhere else, for that matter.
The year is half over and I can’t help wondering what the future holds – near and far ahead, for myself and the loved ones in my life. I try not to dwell on what was or what will be, and just focus on what is, but it is hard to quiet the voices in my head that are constantly replaying, re-evaluating and reconsidering all of the choices I have made before now, and pondering, worrying about and/or considering all the choices that lie ahead. What I wouldn’t give for a solid month of quiet, peaceful relaxation and contemplation. Until then, I’ll pet the dogs, hug Jeffrey, facetime with Jim, read blogs, organize my comic books, eat my chicken breast and see how life unfolds.
Que Sera Sera…
A friend of mine liked this post on Facebook , which is why I got to see it. I don’t know this person, but this could have been me (or any of us) writing this:
“Earlier today, a friend remarked: “I don’t understand. The way you are reacting, it’s almost like you knew someone in the club.”
Here’s the thing you need to understand about every LGBT person in your family, your work, and your circle of friends:
We’ve spent most of our lives being aware that we are at risk.
When you hear interviewers talking to LGBT folks and they say “It could have been here. It could have been me,” they aren’t exaggerating. I don’t care how long you’ve been out, how far down your road to self acceptance and love you’ve traveled, we are always aware that we are at some level of risk.
I’m about as “don’t give a shit what ANYONE thinks” as anyone you’ll ever meet… and when I reach to hold Matt’s hand in the car? I still do the mental calculation of “ok, that car is just slightly behind us so they can’t see, but that truck to my left can see right inside the car”. If I kiss Matt in public, like he leaned in for on the bike trail the other day, I’m never fully in the moment. I’m always parsing who is around us and paying attention to us. There’s a tension that comes with that… a literal tensing of the muscles as you brace for potential danger. For a lot of us, it’s become such an automatic reaction that we don’t even think about it directly any more. We just do it.
And then… over the last few years, it started to fade a little. It started to feel like maybe things were getting better. A string of Supreme Court decisions. Public opinion shifting to the side of LGBT rights. Life was getting better. You could breathe a little bit.
What happened with this event is pretty dramatically demonstrated by how Matt and I are reacting to it. Matt came out fairly late, during the golden glow of the changing tide. He’s never dealt with something like this. It’s literally turned him inside out emotionally because all that stuff he read about that was just “then” became very much “NOW”. For me, I’ve had some time to adjust to the idea that people hate us enough to kill us. Matthew Shephard was my first real lesson in that. So this weekend was a sudden slap in the face, a reminder that I should never have let my guard down, should never have gotten complacent… because it could have been US.
Every LGBT person you know knows what I’m talking about. Those tiny little mental calculations we do over the course of our life add up… and we just got hit with a stark reminder that those simmering concerns, those fears… they probably won’t ever go away. We’ll never be free of them. Additionally, now we just got a lesson that expressing our love could result in the deaths of *others* completely unrelated to us. It’s easy to take risks when it’s just you and you’ve made that choice. Now there’s this subtext that you could set off someone who kills other people who weren’t even involved. And that’s just a lot.
That’s why I’m personally a bit off balance even though (or because, depending on how you look at it) I live in Texas and was not personally effected by this tragedy. Don’t get me wrong: nothing will change. I will still hold my husband’s hand in public. I will still kiss him in public. We’ll still go out and attend functions and hold our heads high.
But we will be doing those mental calculations for the rest of our lives. Those little PDAs you take for granted with your spouse. They come with huge baggage for us. Every single one is an act of defiance, with all that entails.”
It’s June. We’re almost halfway through the year. Hard to believe. Lots of fun stuff I have yet to share, so I need to sit down and catch you up on house projects, blogger visits, movies, trips, plans and weight struggles. Are you on the edge of your seat yet? Hang in there , true believers. Sassybear the Breenlantern will fill you in as soon as I can. Until then, hang in there, breathe, be positive and eat cookies!
Today I begin another year’s rotation around the sun. Still here. Still standing (usually.) Still trying to figure it all out. In the meantime, I’ll keep trying to make my own kind of music, sing my own kind of song, and look both ways before crossing the street.
Happy Birthday to me!
So this happened Sunday
A visit with Walt of WCS!
Despite his limited time here, busy schedule and swarm of friends and family, he made time to attend a small dinner party with mutual friends and visit with little old Idle Eyes! It was a great night of food, friends, fun and wine! Next time, I hope we get to visit him in his neck of the woods!
So this guy took me to P-Town for my pre-birthday week kick -off.