Thursday, December 20, 2007

Becoming Scrooge

Long, long ago, in a land far away, there was a boy. A very special boy with red hair, a My Little Pony collection, and a mermaid obsession. All through childhood and even into college, this little boy lived for Christmas day. Towards the latter part of this period in his life, he would send out an average of two hundred Christmas cards each year. He would buy a gift for everyone he knew—friend, co-worker, acquaintance. He hated Santa, not only because he is a child molester but also because he seemed to take away from the true meaning of Christmas. Christmas spirit and magic lived in this boy’s soul everyday of every year.
As the years went by, life’s trial, tribulations, joys, and celebrations helped to form and change this child. He became stronger, better looking (at times), more independent, less optimistic but more content, more real. Christmas began to take on new meaning. It became more intensely focused on those who were walking through his everyday life with him—his immediate family his friends who became kin. It remained a firm symbol of his faith and his heritage.
One morning, five days before Christmas in his twenty-ninth year, a realization came upon him. He no longer resembled Tiny Tim, spreading Christmas joy and cheer to the masses. He had become covetous with his Christmas love, only offering to the select few with whom he shared his soul. While co-worker after co-worker brought him pumpkin loaf, chocolates, cookies, and cards, he grumbled inside, muttering of the plot against his waist line. “You’ll get no present from me, I need not more obligation to shop at Christmas time,” he chanted in his head. No more stamps for Christmas cards, no more writing people he only heard from once a year. He would walk through the halls with his head held high and his Amazon Visa firmly in place in his wallet.
Even though ‘Bah-humbug’ flitted through his mind on more than one occasion as certain obligatory opportunities passed his way, Christmas time seemed to mean more to him, in a more real and genuine way. Even Santa had become a kindred soul (with the exception of the old man’s child obsession)—desperate times, desperate measures. As he opened his email and received a card from a dear, sweet, co-worker friend, he gagged and had to rein it all back in. There, taking the form of a beautiful Christmas tree and twinkling lights glared out the reminder of the rape that has happened to his beloved Christmas time. “Happy Christmas, Merry Everything” the card read. What a wonderful way to include everyone, truly touch no one, and miss the point entirely.
He thought back to the weekend before, the annual Christmas dinner with the men in his life who had become his brothers. He remembered their love and their devotion. He thought about the annual Christmas Eve slumber party with his little brother that would transpire in a few short days. He thought about Christmas morning around the tree with his family and dogs. He thought about Christmas night exchanging presents and kisses with the man he loved. Christmas may not be the way it was. Christmas may be lost to most of the world. He, the lucky Scrooge, would be safe in the real meaning of the day, surrounded by those he loved--human, deity, and dog.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

city mouse lost in the suburbs

Chad and I had our nearly weekly date with one of my best friends last night (MS) to have fattening food and watch Desperate Housewives. We watched four episodes. It was fabulous! MS recently married a very wonderful man, and she moved to Colorado Springs, the Bible Belt of the West. MS, being even more liberal than me in most circumstances, feels like an extraterrestrial having to stay incognito in order to avoid ostracization. She is very protective and invested in the whole ‘gay-rights’ movement, as her best friend is gay and she had an uncle who was gay as well. Needless to say, finding people who are of the same frame of mind close to her vicinity is near to the task of locating a unicorn wandering around Pearl Street Mall (although, you can soon find a strip club there—crazy, huh?). I had flashbacks to childhood when she told the story of being in the grocery store after she finished school for the day—she is a teacher as well. As she was pushing her cart down the aisle, a little girl in the passing cart pointed towards the small tattoo on her ankle, looked up at her mom, and said, “Look what she has, Mommy.” The mother took in MS’s ink and looked back at her daughter. From a lowered voice, MS heard, “Yes, dear. She will be going to hell.”
I think that is the hardest I have laughed in weeks. Just one more reminder of my heritage and of the plethora of reasons I have a suite reserved with a sea of fire view.
Towards the end of the conversation, MS had a very genuine insight, one that many people never allow themselves to comprehend. She switched her position and thought about all the conservitive and traditional people who live in liberal areas (like big cities) and how they must feel like they are in a foreign land and have to be careful with every word they say. I think her empathy summed up what many people on both sides of fence experience. There was a news article by the gay press that was tearing apart a coach (I don’t remember which one or which sport—gay, remember?) for speaking at Promise Keepers and saying that if one of his team members was gay, he would speak to them about his beliefs and that he felt it was a sin. However, when asked if he would allow them to stay on the team, he said that he would, if they were a good player. What more could we ask of this man? To me, it seems like the perfect response. We all want to be open-minded and all-inclusive, as long as everyone converts to be exactly like us. There are many churches where I would not be allowed to work with children (despite my youth ministry degree) simply based on my tattoos—let’s not even think about my gayness. There are just as many places that a coach who maintains a respect for his players would be flogged and labeled a bigot/racists for simply stating his beliefs.
I have been astounded by the amount of people who have completely accepted my life and sexuality without so much as a question and have never treated me differently—I wish everyone could be like that. However, I have also been amazed by those whose very core tells them that the way I live my life puts me and others in eternal and mortal danger, and yet they have shown love, respect, and genuine tenderness. It is the ability and skill to care for and see the value in those that differ intrinsically from ourselves (on every side of the fence, if a fence had more than two sides) that embodies the true essence of Love, and therefore, the true essence of God.

Saturday, December 08, 2007

the strength of a woman

I have always hated work parties. When I worked in residential treatment, I never went to them. I am sure it came off as snooty and pompous. However, inevitably, the next day all of my feelings of hesitation and distain would be confirmed. There would be stories of co-workers showing up high, a boss that would get so drunk he would be puking, or married people making out with other married people. Have I mentioned how much I really don’t like alcohol? There is something about seeing people who work with kids lose their morality and common sense that is beyond off-putting. To see someone stoned off their ass one night and then have to rely on them to help you keep a restraint safe the next day is nauseating. To hear them preach to kids about making good and healthy decisions and give them consequences for their negative choices when I knew who they were cheating on was simply more than I could take. Therefore, no work parties.
Last night, I broke my vow. I went to a work Christmas party. Chad went with me. It was at a bar—I was worried. Most of my co-workers are white, middle (to upper) aged women, and they were bringing their white, middle (to upper) aged husband, and some of their kids. (My school is in the suburbs, btw.) I knew they were all very sweet women, but was not really sure about they type of reception that Chad and I would receive and how overtly uncomfortable the other people would be. I was not sure how this might effect my work environment for the rest of the year and how I might be received by the kids, if they hear gossip through the grapevine.
I was shocked by the amazing group of women that were at the party. They had their wine, beer, margaritas, etc, but never were the slightest different than what they normally are. Due to their ages, there are many of them that have lost their husbands to cancer, some of them have husbands that are going through cancer currently, there are women who have had mastectomies, and are going through health problems of their own. Not only did they show their strength last night, but also their intrinsic love of life. They all got up and danced with pure abandon. At one point, Chad looked over at me and said, “If we were here with our friends or other people our age, none of them would be having as much fun as these women are.” He was right. They have learned to dance despite the past and current pain and fear. They have learned to love and live in the moment and take life for all it has to offer. I watched the husband of the woman who has had the mastectomy as he sat back and watched his wife dance. The quiet love he has for his wife was clearly obvious radiating from his eyes. I will return to work on Monday with a new-found respect and admiration for these amazing women.
In addition, and it was only icing on the cake, everyone was so welcoming to Chad, and only a couple of their husbands even looked remotely uncomfortable. However, even they shook our hands. The highlight of the evening was when another of the special education ladies (a stunningly beautiful and vivacious woman) came up to me and said, “I knew it, I knew you were gay.” I laughed and said I figured it was obvious to everyone. She said, “No, not at all. In fact, the only reason I knew was because of how you came in and redecorated your classroom and how beautiful it looks.” Ah, tell-tell signs. . . The interior decorator gene strikes again.
It was a gift I was not expecting to receive. While I still don’t really like work parties (after all, work is in the title), it was such a beautiful experience to partake of the joy and love that exists in the midst of all the trials our lives have to offer.

Thursday, December 06, 2007

this moment

There are nights where I feel like everything I touch will turn to gold. I will make up my mind and bam, I will lose the extra thirty pounds and get all my muscle back. I will clean the house and keep it that way every day. I will sit down in front of my computer, my fingers will soar over the keys and my novel will emerge. I will be able to keep all those I love near to me and alive. I will be the man I want to be so badly.
Then, there are nights like tonight. Despite the blessings of my love live, family life, friend life, and dog life, that everything I touch will turn to rot, or even worse, simply be mundane and ordinary. A life spent in front of the tv. A life spent eating. A life spent breathing. period.
I look forward to tomorrow night.

Sunday, December 02, 2007

the love of the rant

When I am not listening to books on tape or to Britney Spears’ new CD (she may be having a mental breakdown, but the girl put out her best music yet) when I am driving, I am listening to talk radio. Conservative talk radio. Not necessarily Christian talk radio, but definitely right of center, without a doubt. It is the only way that I will ever listen to anything news related. It is so completely obvious that the mainstream news media is full of corruption, bias, and an inability to simply report what is happening without an agenda. True some of the conservative news is biased as well, but it is easier for me to see and identify. They do a pretty good job of presenting both sides. There are even some of the talk show hosts (some are national figures on TV and such—can’t remember their names, except Bill O’Riley) that even are supportive of gay rights and gay marriage. Of course the more right wings, like Bill, categorize that as an attack on the foundation of marriage. I think I basically listen just to give me a reason to be royally pissed off. Most of the time about how our country is making decisions around immigration, making more and more thing Spanish (language, not the people [if you wanna live here, learn the fucking language {after all, I had the courtesy to learn Gaylish before I inflicted my presence at the gay bars, and that is a lot more detail specific than English}]), altering education, and allowing, legally, people to trespass on someone else’s land and then take if for their own (look up the Boulder Land-grab—it will blow your mind and allow you to feel an intense sensation of fury [fun]). When not about how fucked up we can be as a nation, then I am pissed off by the narrow minded views of the homosexual rights and ‘agenda’ of intelligent and well-studied men, men I agree with on so many levels, that want to whittle me down to my fagotry in order to negate my importance and rights on an individual level. Chad loves it when he gets into the car after one of my talk radio sessions. Either I am in a pissed off mood or berate him with a shovel full of America facts that he probably didn’t need to know to begin with.
Before I go off on how stupid our nation is attempting to become, let me just say this: The right and ability to be stupid, make bad decisions, and have the freedom to make an ass out of ourselves is my favorite quality of America. I grew up very patriotic, and that fell by the wayside for many years due to the corruption and lack of integrity and consistency that I saw everywhere in politics and government. However, now that I have come to accept and expect the vast majority of leaders (political, educational, religious, you name it) to be somewhat corrupt or at least majorly fallible, I have found my patriotism again. We live in the greatest country in the face of the Earth, in the history of civilization.
That said, let me tell you how retarded we are (this is again the politically correct label for those with a lesser IQ score—crazy how things ebb and flow). So, Massachusetts (I think, one of those M states), apparently, likes to stick sharp metal objects up its nose and wiggle the point around in its brain. They are trying to pass a legislation that would out-law spanking. That’s right, a parent could be brought up on criminal charges for spanking their children. There are several other countries that have done this. No one really expects it to pass. However, I believe it is just the beginning. This will come into effect at some point, unless people remove their heads from their asses. What infuriates me is how this so obviously is an example of the government infringing on how people run their own homes. Completely un-American.
Now, the other side of the argument could be said that it wasn’t that long ago that people were this upset over the government saying that a husband can’t beat their wife. I can actually see that as a legitimate point. It is one I relate to. I often relate my fight for the right to marry the man I love to the time when African-Americans and whites had to fight to marry and to have greater equality. However, there is huge difference between spanking and beating. I got spanked with anything that was handy all the time, and I was never abused physically. I am so very grateful for those spanking, without them I would be a complete obnoxious, selfish ignoramus. Now, when (if) I have kids, I don’t plan on spanking them, I really believe there are better ways to discipline. For most children. There are a few (and I was one of them) that need a spanking for their own good. I have one of those types of students in my class right now. He doesn’t have anything emotionally severely wrong with him, like all the paperwork says. He is simply a spoiled brat whose parents have taught him that if he terrorizes them enough he can do whatever he likes. My heart aches for him, and that pain of adult life that is waiting for him, all because his parents are weak and don’t love him enough inconvenience themselves.
Here is the part that ‘gets’ me the most, however. It would be such a completely inconsistent law, and one that is not needed in any form. The intention behind the initiative is good. Children should never be abused or hit. I don’t consider a spanking on the butt a hit, a slap on the face is an entirely different matter, in my opinion. If this would help stop children being abused, I would be behind it. It won’t. It would be a weak law that would not address the issue at hand. At the current time, you can get in much more trouble for animal neglect than for neglect of a child. I can not count how many times I have had to let a child return to the home of the father or mother that sexually abused them, sold their bodies, or physically tortured them. Legally! One girl even tried to kill herself, and nearly succeeded, because she did not want to return to her sexually abusive father. But, the courts made her. However, we are too weak and afraid to truly face the threat that our children face everyday. It offends too many people, and it costs the government too much money. So, let’s outlaw spanking! It won’t stop any child from being abused, but it will take a needed tool away from loving, responsible parents.
See what Chad has to deal with? Be glad I don’t blog every time I listen to talk radio.