THANKS FOR THE MEMORY

Take time to create a memory today. It doesn’t have be anything outrageous or outlandish; no need to initiate a scandal, overindulge, or spend lavishly. Hell, it doesn’t even have to involve another person; feel free to do something private, something unknown to anybody other than you. It can be something quite banal. Take a moment today, stop and observe yourself, your surroundings, your place in those surroundings. I really don’t think it makes no never mind whether you stop and smell a rose, or just look down at a piece of gum on the pavement; maybe accidentally step in it even. Maybe intentionally step in it for that matter. Just be mindful of it, and in so doing, create a memory. At some point in the future, look back and think of the color of that flower, it’s delightful fragrance or lack thereof. Recall the frustrating inconvenience of accidentally stepping in that wad of gum, and laugh at the spectacle. Or, recall the absurdity of intentionally stepping in that gum, giving yourself permission to act out in a manner that’s illogical, inane, evening seemingly insane. Look back on that little instance where you not only allowed, but actually encouraged yourself to commit a random and pointless act. Provided that your actions don’t compromise the safety and feelings of another person, there’s really no harm done. It’s quite possible that this topic is on mind today as the result of a dream I had last night. Now, as a 1957 vintage gay man, who has been a relatively coherent and cognizant witness over the past 35+ years; it’s quite common that the denizen of my dreams, are many faces familiar, but long ago passed. I hardly think I’m unique in this. Such was my dream last night. I was at a smart little soiree at the home of a friend. As the length of the dream and number of occupants increased, so too did the size of my friend’s home. Soon groups were arriving in droves, four to six abreast, some looking quite fresh from their midnight ablutions, and others that had obviously had a cocktail or ten, or a couple bumps from Bogota, since performing their toilette earlier in the evening. Their indiscretions e revealed by their subtle stagger and slur. However, all were amicable, smiling, laughing, chatting both with and at one another. I first recognized Eduardo, and he was accompanied by, but a step ahead, of Roger, Carlos, Ernie, and Chris. It was obvious that Eduardo was the designated driver, or at least I hope he was. Maybe he was just a tad more sober and didn’t want to be too closely associated with his posse. As the room expanded in both size and attendees, I began to realize that I knew nearly everyone there. Some were close friends, some barely acquaintances. I ran into a couple of exes, and a few one-night stands, where it seems we both had obviously made an unspoken agreement to leave the encounter itself unspoken. It was so good to see them all, to have a giggle, trade a bit of dirt on a mutual friend. This is a nearly a decade before we’d have a kiki. They all looked so incredibly young, and their energy escaped me. Here they were, beginning to arrive at about the time I was ready to take my leave. But, I was so overjoyed to see them that I decided to muster my mettle and stay. I have to admit that I did feel a bit peculiar. I mean, I had known these people for years. We were all about the same age, give or take five years; yet I somehow felt a bit dowdy and worn alongside their youthful smoothness and exuberance. I was chatting with Rolando at the time that I awoke. As I left my dream world and became more aware, I realized that I had once again had one of those dreams where I’m one of the few, if not the only, person in attendance that is actually capable of waking up today. I’m here, I’m alive. I must make this day matter, I must create a memory. It’s my obligation. That being said, I have a little memory that I’d like to share with you. One day, must have been sometime back in the mid to late 1980’s, when Miami Beach was still being referred to as “God’s Waiting Room,” and SoBe was simply South Beach., if not just “the beach,” and was preferably avoided. Anyway, I was up in what we used to refer to as North Beach; not to be confused with North Miami Beach. North Beach was actually just north beach, an area up in the numbered streets, say from 70th-85th. I was coming around the corner from 71st St, making a left to walk north up Collins Ave. There was a McDonald’s on that corner. Seated right inside a corner window of the McDonald’s was an elderly woman, well into her eighties. Her shoulders hunched over with age and osteoporosis, her quad-cane standing in wait beside her chair. Her face was deeply etched with wrinkles. I’ve no doubt the sun may have played some small role, but am more inclined to believe that her lines were earned from experience, from the very act of living itself. What had she witnessed? What were she thinking? What were her memories? Had she lost her parents in the concentration camps? Perhaps been there herself? At that time, it was not uncommon to encounter Holocaust Survivors amongst the older folks on Miami Beach. But then again, I may be making assumptions here, as a means of embellishing my memory, bedazzling the moment. Seeking a poignant hook to tug the heartstrings of the reader. Hell, she may have been some old Presbyterian broad that had witnessed little more tragedy than a fallen angel food cake and fallen arches. Anyhow, it was obvious that she had just had her hair done; not unlike nearly all old ladies of every race, creed, and denomination were wont to do back then. A soft petal cut, wash, set, comb-out with a bit of light teasing to fill in a thin spot here and there. All being held in place by an inexpensive sheer chiffon scarf in a bold shade of blue; quite possibly purchased at the Woolworths just a block north. She had the requisite smear of orange-red lipstick in the general area of her mouth. Her hands were badly gnarled with Rheumatoid Arthritis, but her nails were painted, and she was wearing a ring or two. In one painfully gnarled hand, she was holding an ice-cream cone, one of those soft-serve things that McDonalds used to sell, they may still. Just plain vanilla, nothing fancy. But, as I watched that old woman lick that ice-cream cone, there came over her a look so pure. A look of pleasure, of satisfaction, of bliss. Her eyes, long dulled by cataracts, seemed to light up and sparkled. Her wrinkles softened, the milky paleness of that vanilla ice-cream, in sharp contrast with her orange-red lipstick. Like a little girl playing dress up. She was transformed in front of my very eyes. This was not some old crone enjoying a cone. This was not the face of a woman that had quite possibly outlived her entire family, children included. What I saw before me, what I was fortunate enough to be presented with, to witness? I was gifted with the vision of a young girl, free of concerns, free of arthritis, physical aches and pains, her vision clear, her hearing keen. Erased were the lines of loss, the weariness of struggle, the furrows of grief, some acknowledged, much denied and left unprocessed, most likely denied for the comfort and convenience for those that had relied upon her to be strong. Yes, I realize this is sheer conjecture, assumption, presumptuous even. Pure projection. I have no idea what this lady experienced in life, what her memories held. But, she has provided me with a memory of my own. A memory that has sustained me for years. An experience that has allowed me to behold the child within those I love and care about, total strangers, even those that vex me. But, it has also allowed me to be kinder to the child that resides within, and to honor that child today, even if he was unable to honor himself at the time. Get out there and make a memory today.

I just want to write… do I always need a specific topic?

qtq80-16NXsTI started this blog some months back as a journal of transformation. I had decided I was going to lose twenty pounds, get in better physical condition, eat better… all in preparation for my upcoming 60th birthday.

Well, I got so caught up in the weight loss and exercise, that I made no time to document it in writing.  I happy to say that actually lost twenty-five pounds.  My flat belly was restored, there was even some evidence of abdominal muscles.  But, it’s with mixed feelings that I admit that I’ve already found twenty of those lost pounds, and once again dread tying my shoes.

Fast forward…

I’m exhausted, and I’m sure I’m not alone. It’s no wonder, in light of the great socio-political divide that we are currently experiencing in our nation, this tear in the durable, yet fragile fabric that holds us together.  I think that regardless of what side we’re one, we’re feeling the wear and tear wrought by the abrasive forces of our differing ideology, resulting in the erosion of any bonds of our joint psyche in regards to unity.

‘m not here to argue, or defend my beliefs against those of the opposition.  I just want to raise my hand above the rabble and say that I’m here, I’m attempting to be optimistic, without compromising my ethics, principles, my desire to question and reason in a pragmatic manner, not fueled by hyperbole and fear.

I’m aware that at nearly sixty years of age, that I have many more days behind me than I do in front of me.  Yet, I want to be instrumental in creating a positive environment for myself and others.  I want to create a life of value, for whatever time I have left, regardless of the outside circumstances that guarantee my freedom, or  might seek to confine me.  I cannot and will not surrender my desire and right to think freely, to love whom I please,  to express myself creatively. Most of all, I will not surrender my quest to be authentic, to live authentically and transparently; to be an observer, to be objective and have the ability to laugh. To find humor, to hopefully engage others in laughter, and in doing so, provoke them to think, to possibly see things from a different perspective.

All things considered, I have resurrected my resolve to transform my life.  Now, it’s not only for matters of health and vanity; but for  more sound and logical thinking, for conviction, for the strength to be an active part of the solution. I want to be able to stand strong in the face of adversity, however it may present itself.   I will steel myself to defend my human and civil rights, seek and give encouragement to those in support, as well as encourage the opposition to examine their own perceptions and seek out the TRUTH.

It’s time to just write…

 

WAKE THE FUCK UP!

back2I realize comparison is a form of judgement. At the same time, I look around me and what I often observe is people that are really having a rough time. They may have physical heal challenges, emotional and mental issues, live in financial poverty, experience difficulty “fitting in” socially, or finding acceptance. They have every right to feel lonely and depressed. Yet, here they are, optimistic, looking forward to some little indulgence that many of us take for granted. Hopeful about their future. Often doing without themselves so they can help others, even if it’s just feeding a stray cat.

Then, there are those that possess all the trappings that one would assume result in this thing called happiness. They’re not only physically appealing, but enjoy stellar health. Their social lives are rich with friends and relationships. Their calendar filled with events and travel experiences that many of us can only fantasize about. Money is no issue and luxury is their norm. Yet, they feel lonely, poor, marginalized, oppressed, unloved.

I realize that there are starving children and adults in this world. I’m well aware of the oppression and threats of violence, hunger, disease, and death that is part of the day to day reality of countless souls. But, for most of us, particularly for those of us here in the virtual world; true poverty is a state of mind.

I believe that HAPPINESS is a choice, and I stand by that as my TRUTH. Please, take a moment to take a realistic inventory of your life. Take advantage of your potential by opening up your heart and mind. Take a chance and allow light to fill that darkness. Hold your head up. Smile. FIND a reason to be happy. Simply be content, in this very moment. Allow those moments to join together, creating minutes, hours, days, and a lifetime.

My Prayer (Wish) for You Today

For those that are unfamiliar with me,  please let me state that my prayers have nothing to do with begging or supplication to some outside source or force. I am not seeking the mercy or assistance from God or Gods. My prayers are merely “thoughts held” for the Greatest Good of the person or situation I’m praying for.  I also pray for the grace to accept the outcome, finding peace and healing,  even realizing that the obstacle I face may in fact be the appropriate  answer to the  situation. So, please don’t think I’m approaching prayer from a religious perspective.
My prayArtister for you today is to learn to love yourself, physically, emotionally, spiritually, mentally, the whole fuckin ball of wax.

“Suffering” is not a word I’m any more comfortable with than the word, “victim.” Pain is a mandatory part of life, a required course, put suffering is optional, an elective. So, let’s just say that I volunteered to climb up the rough side of the mountain to find self-acceptance and peace in my heart.

It took me nearly 50 years before I could look in a mirror and not loathe and despise the reflection I saw there. I hated that face in the mirror. I felt that it betrayed me, that it had nothing to do with the man I was, or the man that I was striving to be.

But, I can still plainly remember that day, I was 47yo. I was brushing my teeth and at some point glanced into the mirror and I was faced with this man that seemed at once a total stranger, yet somehow familiar. I found him almost attractive. In a split second I realized it was me, and in that same split second my entire life thus far suddenly made complete sense to me. Something clicked, I suddenly “got it.” EUREKA!

All those years I was attempting to embrace the face of a man that I disliked, loathed, despised even. I found him worthless and noting but an obstacle that prevented me from being the man I was truly meant to be . He was my great betrayer. All those years I blamed my appearance for my countless failures, disappointments, misery and general unhappiness. Even though I had done a lot of work on myself through various modalities of therapy and self-actualization, I continued to feel ugly inside, so I was only capable of perceiving ugliness on the outside. I had no problem finding beauty in you, or in my surroundings, but I didn’t feel worthy of feeling beautiful myself. That one instant in that one day changed my life forever.

I still face challenges and obstacles today. There are always going to be relationship issues, financial stress, care and concern for loved ones and our beloved pets. But, I no longer see myself as an enemy of my situations and circumstances. Today I am fully integrated, my own best ally, a force of nature in which I have complete and unwavering Faith.

NAM MYOHO RENGE KYO

“Aay-dee, keese me goo-nigh.”

TGThis morning as I was going about my chores, I caught myself thinking about my childhood.   I didn’t really have an unhappy childhood so much as I was simply an unhappy child. I was angry, bitter, and appreciated nothing, just miserable. I had nothing but disdain and disgust for the icons of childhood. For instance, I absolutely could not abide Topo Gigio, despised him, loathed him, couldn’t stand that little motherfuckin mouse. His only saving grace was that he appeared at the very end of the Ed Sullivan show, allowing me to make my exit, having already seen the Chinese plate spinners, the Malaysian contortionists, the Flying Wallendas, or major acts such as The Beatles or Supremes.

Everybody thought he was so adorable, whereas I found him to be repugnantly needy in his wanton pandering for affection.. all of that batting his lashes and asking, “Aay-dee, keese me goo-nigh.” Had he no pride at all? Begging for a peck on the cheek, and from Ed Sullivan of all people, not even John, Paul, George, or Ringo?

I’d like to think that the years have mellowed me, that I’ve become a kinder, less cynical person. I’m sure in many and most ways I have. I’m certainly no longer bitter or unhappy. Quite the contrary.  I’m an overflowing well of optimism and gratitude. However, I’m still not sure I could make such a precious attempt to cajole a person into giving me a goodnight kiss,.   However, I will admit that I’d unabashedly use my acquired skills of passive-aggressive manipulation in a manner to get score a piece of ass. But, that’s just me.