Courtesy: Flickr James Clear
The weather is beginning to turn. We are now the fourth week of November and we are heading into negative territory. Currently it is a flat ZERO outside. It was nippy when I left the house this evening, and it was colder when I left, even with layers, as it was, I was chilled.
It was an uneventful weekend. Santa Claus rolled through the city on Saturday morning. Our building sits on the step off corner for all the parades that roll through the downtown core, placing us at the maximum viewing point.
Last night we had a good showing for the Saturday night meeting. And we talked about resisting change.
The book says that when we get sober, the only thing we have to change is everything …
Easier said than done.
I departed as usual and like I said, it was chilly out. It was a good thing that the church’s heating system is computerized. It was nice and toasty when I opened up. We were missing all of our women tonight. The flu is making its way around at the moment.
We sat a small crowd, and read a story that was 14 pages long, so we made two circuits around the room, and then the room got to talk about it.
Some of the old stories are really harsh. Back in the day, not unlike today, in some cases, the man in our story really had it bad. A late bloomer, in regards to when he began to drink, unlike most stories, the early writers, for the most part, were weaned on alcohol, it seemed.
If you end up in a sanitarium once, you might have a problem. In our man’s case tonight, he hit Bellevue hospital thirty five times. Yes, that is correct, 35 times.
He not only drank, he got married, had three children, and was in the hole for most of the story. It was one of the saddest stories we have read to date.
Most sad stories, even in our book, have somewhat happy endings, wherein our folks, find the way, the meet us, get sober, and turn their lives around. But not before some major loss or tragedy.
Early on, a son of our man grows up and with not even two nickles to rub together, becomes a show shine boy, were talking the late 1930’s. He makes some change, but further on in the story, his drunk father happens upon him and dad takes his earnings, and drinks them away.
It is a bad scene. You think, in this read, that things just could not get any worse, and that eventually, he has to Get It. Our man eventually does get it, the kicker in the story was the loss of that son to a streetcar accident.
Now the story reads … nobody would begrudge him a drink, after loosing a child. But bolstered by two recovering alcoholics, one under each arm, our man tackles, identifying his sons remains, then burying that son, sober …
Some of us have had tragic loss in our lives. For myself, when that happened to me, it was the drink that soothed the visual and helped kill the pain of loss, until Todd stepped in and got me the help I desperately needed. That was a year before my own personal tragedy.
You never know when the people in the room are going to come in handy, and to what degree some of us will go to to make sure our fellow men and women, get by, without taking that first drink.
The story talks about us drunks who go to meetings, and are happy, cleaned up folks, who help each other by swapping stories. That’s what our writer calls us, when he opens his story. Because when he was at his worst, he happens upon the rooms, and sees these men doing what they do best, and he just can’t believe his eyes.
But every one of us has a story, a journey we have to walk, before we finally figure it out and we come in.
I’ve had plenty of my share of tragedy. And I survived them.
In two weeks time, I will celebrate 14 years without a drug or a drink.
One day at a time …
More to come, stay tuned …
11 years ago tonight, with family and friends present, we exchanged vows and spoke sacred words. Today, we continue to live into those words. Tonight, we had dinner at the fabulous FIRE GRILL, once again.
I have shared before that there are three restos, that are at the top of the budget when it comes to dining out …
- Fire Grill
- Rueben’s Smoked Meats
- Baton Rouge
This short list is a foodies paradise of good eats.
I am grateful that I live in Canada. Due to recent events, in the world, people are at odds, and words are being spoken, that are totally, out of left field. I’m not sure most folks, politicians and leaders alike, know what they are saying.
My tight group of friends are at odds with each other, because of differing views of current events, and what each of them thinks, as to what we should do and how we should do it.
The ties of friendship are being tested. And if a second conversation that needs to take place, because the first one began and ended badly, doesn’t heal the rift, I am afraid that my circle will be broken over non-negotiable statements.
We are Canadian. And we, for the most part, share Canadian values, and for some, that is not good enough. Everybody has a right to their opinions, because of their origins, how they were educated, and how they each decide to live their lives.
No One Person has the definitive answer, because, let’s face it, we don’t. I don’t think a real, tangible, solid, workable answer is possible amid the heat of argument and prejudice.
Let us keep each other in our thoughts …
Notice I did not say “prayers…”
Religion has become a dirty word. People are choosing to incriminate all, due to the actions of “a few.” And that does not bode well, for an entire community of people, world wide.
One day we will see this for what it really is, and we will shake our heads and say to each other …”Was I really that stupid?”
Yes, we really are that stupid.
At least I can unfollow people. And I can turn the channel, and better yet, I can totally turn off my computer when it all gets to be too much of hateful overload.
More to come, stay tuned …
Three things we learn, when we are diagnosed with a terminal illness, are humility, grace, and courage.
Well, for most of us that is …
Many people, take life for granted, until death happens in their lives, either to someone they love or someone they know. Most people don’t even pay heed to mortality because they are too busy working a job, paying the bills and trying to eek out a living, a marriage, a house, kids and cars.
Death, well, it hasn’t come for me yet, so why worry about it? I don’t have time to worry about it.
I think everybody should take a class I took a few years ago called “Death and Dying.”
Learning about death is as important as learning about life.
Because I tell you, with complete certainty, that nothing compares sitting in a non-nondescript doctors office and hearing your doctor tell you that “You are going to die, so go home, kiss your ass goodbye and prepare for the end.”
Been there, done that, got the t-shirt.
My friend Adam, when he got sick, fought like a bad ass for every day that he lived, and on the day he died, it was said that “He went down like a fighter.” Coming to the realization that our life sits in the hand of God and our time of coming and going is according to His plan, is something that took time for me to wrap my head around.
I’ve seen many people face adversity. And I’ve watched them make decisions that might not have been all that prudent or life affirming, but those were their decisions, what to do, knowing the end was coming. I did not have the luxury of throwing in the proverbial towel and to end up living fast and self abusing like many of my friends did in the end.
Todd would not give me that privilege. He knew better.
After doctors tell you that “you are going to die,” and you live to see that day come around and you are staring it back in the face, you go one of two ways. One, you get cocky and decide to take life into your hands and do something stupid, or Two, you remind yourself that now, you live on “Borrowed Time” and that fucking this up is not recommended …
I hit that death date several times. And I am still alive.
I can’t answer the question as to WHY I am still alive, but it seems God is not done with me yet.
I don’t live, like we have discussed, waiting for the other shoe to drop, or for someone to pull the rug out from under me. Amid my daily ritual, I am mindful of where I am, and why I am, (for me in the moment and in my day) and I go on with my life.
I acknowledge every day for what it is, a gift. It may seem, on the outside, that I am ungrateful most of the time, because I really don’t think about gratitude every moment of my life, and sometimes that bothers me, because it may seem prideful or egotistical, but it is not.
I am alive, and breathing and I don’t know why, But God does. So I trust Him.
We are all going to die one day. And some know for sure that they are going to die, because certain diseases are illness specific. Once the clock begins ticking, time is never on our side.
But, we are fighters. The ones who say that, “NO we will not go into that dark night miserably”
But it is we who say, “Win or Loose, I am going out on my own terms, in my own way.”
I know both sides of this acceptance and where it can lead.
But acceptance is the the key.
Former President Jimmy Carter, has cancer. We all know that this could end up very badly. Cancer is a no holds barred sickness. Truthfully spoken, once cancer hits one organ, and or has moved throughout the body, and if it gets to the brain, the odds are against you. It just goes that way. There isn’t enough chemo nor radiation that is going to make it all go away.
For some, I know, when cancer makes its last stand, medical assistance becomes useless.
In the end, for some of us, all we have is our faith in God. At some point, we will hit that point of no return, when the end is nigh, and God in His infinite wisdom is going to do what He is going to do. Regardless of what we want.
I can’t say that I am fearless, and that when that day comes, I will make my last stand and give it all I have got. I’m not sure what that will look like. But if my friends are my guides, I will try my damnedest to be courageous.
If there is a God, then why do people get sick?
I don’t have an answer for that question. Nobody does.
My faith tells me that God knows what God is doing. My sobriety encourages me to trust in that power greater than myself to give me what I need, as I need it, on a need to have basis.
It was written in tonight’s read that after many mishaps and failures and expectations that did not come to pass, we find that, in the end, we will get just what we need at the right moment.
It might not be what we want, when we want it,
But it is always what we need, when we need it.
That might not be the answer you were looking for, but it is the truth.
The point of sobriety, in the words of a good friend, is to become right, on the inside. And allow for that right energy, to transform the outside, so that we live in union with “right sizedness” then we become great people. To live with integrity.
We lead from the heart. We learn to live for others and not just ourselves. Instead of angry, resentful, taking and abusing alcoholics and addicts, we learn to be happy, giving and right sized men and women.
I think, this is what God wants of me. To accept my life on life’s terms. To know and trust in God, to be good to the ones I love, AND to be good to anyone whom I meet on any given day.
I think God sits in his heaven and He watches us battle our demons, and He watches people live, learn, make mistakes, and then clean themselves up. At that point, if we accept that axiom, that perfect, spiritual assistance, is there and available to us, God grants us a little more time to perfect His grace and humility and courage.
Terminally Ill patents don’t usually get that privilege, because it becomes do or die, and it is the fight and how they fight that shows us what they are made of, to the last breath they take. Once that clock starts ticking, time is not on our side.
We pray for all the sick. That God will be merciful and hearing our prayers, grant us eternal life when that moment does come. And it will come, in God’s time.
That is all for tonight.
More to come, stay tuned …
I was just a boy, when Bruce Jenner won the decathalon at the Montreal 1976 Summer Olympics. He was the star of the Olympic Games that year. He went on to grace the box covers of Wheaties cereal and he was the hottest ticket in town for millions of children who would grow up to be athletes like Bruce.
In my teens, I crossed paths with Jenner once again. I actually baby sat his first kids from his first marriage. Long before the Kardashians ever were known to God and man.
The most important trans gendered woman presented herself to us today, with one sentence:
“Call me Caitlyn.”
I watched her interview with Diane Sawyer and I listened to the Kardashian clan speak their minds since. But I wonder, how do you appease everyone when you are in a body that isn’t what you wish it to be?
We know, and history shows us, just how fear and intolerance keeps us in our respective closets, keeping secrets and living lives that are not totally honest. She didn’t share everything with those she should have and we know today that resentments rose.
But can you blame her for the fear that she must have been living under for so long? My God the weight of the world is carried on so many shoulders today. What will people say, what will they think? Will my family toss me on to the street alone and destitute?
I think we can say that Caitlyn will never be thrown out on the street by family and that she will never be poor or alone. She will have everything that she needs to live and prosper from this point on.
BUT THAT ISN’T THE CASE FOR MILLIONS OF CHILDREN, KIDS AND TEENAGERS.
Ignorance is alive and well. Just click on any social media thread that is focusing on this Big Reveal today. There is plenty of ignorance and stupidity to go around.
And those pesky Christians are the most guilty of ignorance and intolerance in God’s Kingdom.
TRANS LIVES MATTER
I am sure that every one of you, my readers, KNOW or KNOW OF someone who is trans today. And if you are still in the NO column, then let me add that we are just degrees of separation from someone who is or is going through transition.
I know. And I know of. and I am familiar with, on a personal level, one particular little girl who is the daughter of very good friends. She knew early on who she was, being born into a body that did not represent who she was and we are all amazed at just how hard her family work every day to make her life meaningful and loving. She is a rock star.
Coming out … And I’ve done it several times, brings with it certain fear and dread.
Times have changed over the past twenty years. And Lives matter. We’ve all learned at just how fluid gender and the definition of gender really is. And it is only in the last decade where that fluidity was given its proper place in the spectrum of life experience.
We’ve moved from Sexuality to Sexual Orientation to Gender Orientation and finally to Trans community discussion and little by slowly, trans orientation and sexual reassignment.
We owe every human being love and acceptance. We owe every human being the right to be or to become who they need to be, and not ignorantly insist that they remain in the body and with the gender that they were born in, without regard to who they believe they are.
Every life was created by a loving God. And is honored by God.
In God’s scheme of things, there are NO mistakes.
We should honor Caitlyn and her decision to become the woman she wants to be.
And we should tell our children, should they ask, or find that they are, trans, that, that is ok.
Times have changed. So should our views of humans and human sexuality.
This is for you Rose … We love you so much.
I was born in 1967 in a small town called New Britain Connecticut. Family was all one had, in whatever form they came in. And I was lucky that I HAD all the family I could use because we all lived fairly close, a short walk or a short car ride from point A to point B.
Back in the day gender roles were set in stone. The binary system was held in place and I never heard or saw any “other” gender role or met anyone who lived “outside” the norm.
But history tells us that Gay existed well before I was born, and it was a silent life of hiding in the shadows and living your lifestyle behind closed doors, or in places that you could be yourself, but in my reading of history, those stories are few and far between.
I didn’t know that “other” existed until I was in grade school and happened upon reading material my father had collected and was reading around us, as if to say, leaving mags around the bathroom was commonplace and not “wrong.”
I had a little transistor radio with one of those little ear pieces that I listened to at night. And I was so interested in a certain radio show that played during those years. You wouldn’t find them on any dial today, or maybe you would, on some internet channel. Times have changed.
There was a particular radio show hosted by a woman who invited guests on to her show in the hopes that she would hook those guests up with callers. One guest piqued my interest when he identified himself as a Master, and was looking for a sub. I didn’t know what that was, or maybe I did, after reading my father’s mags…
This was not a heterosexual match up show, it was a Gay match up show. This guy was a regular on the show.
What was this, and why did I find it so appealing ???
I could read by that point in my life. And I read well.
Along with Readers Digest, Playboy and Penthouse magazines another little booklet was meat and potatoes. I wasn’t interested in titty girls and naked women. Variations was written for the person who straddled the sexual fence.
After my rebellion at day care, I had a key to the house and that’s where we went after school. I was a nosy little shit and I had to know everything about family. And I was like that for many years after that. My father (in hindsight) was living a double life. I know that today.
The words he spoke, were very different than the actions he was displaying behind the scenes. His internalized homophobia was rampant. I think he read magazines and lived vicariously through them, while he abused me terribly, hoping to beat the “gay” out of me later on.
My father would not have a GAY in his house, but he was one himself, he wasn’t just bisexual, it was full on gay.
My mother was not exempt from this. She actually participated.
They say gay is a choice. Let me ask you this, can a child make a choice of that kind of proportion and know for sure that is what they are or want to be? Or as happened, I came across informative reading that 100% informed what side of the sexual orientation coin I would later land.
It wasn’t a choice. I knew. I knew right then and there. But I didn’t know what it meant.
Fast forward into our last move into the house we lived in the longest.
I did not know anyone who was gay, or better yet, I had never met anyone who was transgendered. My parents kept us out of the social discussion. I listened to them talk about the Queers and the Gays and those sick people with AIDS, who should just die already.
My parents met other families, some with means, and others not so much. All of these kids, us and those we came to know, grew up together. Family dinners, holiday banquets, birthday parties, and summer barbeque’s were the stuff of legends.
My introduction to Gay had begun.
One of my friends, who is still my friend to this day, I call her mom my step mom, because where my mother failed, she had stepped in and filled that role. She would have wedge wood china dinner parties, and invited people from across the spectrum.
That is where I met the gay men who would facilitate my walk across that proverbial bridge, when it came. I straddled the orientation line because my father would beat me after every dinner party we attended to make sure he would beat the Gay out of me. He abhorred Gay, but he loved reading about them, and having sex that was well outside the normal vanilla sexual slant.
My parents were not so vanilla they loved their chocolate side.
I dated girls throughout high school. I kissed girls, but I had never had sex with a woman, never have, and never will. I could never be who I wanted to be, as I was educated in what that meant by people who were.
When I learned to drive, and get around, I discovered Gay “in community.” Back in those days, pride flags were something I learned about, because they told me what I needed to know, as I drove through particular neighborhoods.
The “Gay community” moved from one section of the city to another, trying to find a footing for itself. And they went from sparse to the entirety of Coconut Grove proper. There were gay stores, gay shoppes, gay bars, and gay festivals.
Later when Gay grew, us gays moved from the mainland to the beach. Miami Beach, the mecca for retirees and snowbirds, now shared space and lives with the gays. It took a long time for that community to grow and then flourish. And it did.
I could not stay in Miami to be gay. My father would not have a gay child in his family.
I moved away to be gay. My alcoholism came along for the ride.
Over a decade saw me hit new highs and lows, and over time I not only became the gay in my family, I became that gay with AIDS in the family. Two strikes and I was out.
It was the gay community who stepped in when I really needed it. When my parents tossed me to the curb, it was the gays, who took me in and I am still alive because of just how good they took care of me. Over a hundred of my friends died, but I survived.
Because I did what I was told.
I listened to real people, gay people, show me how to survive. And if you think gays are not compassionate or loving, you are dead wrong. You say we are sick and perverted, well, some are, and I love them for it. What is life without a little “spice.”
Where Heterosexuals failed to take care of their children, where very sick homosexual adults were tossed into the streets, kicked out of their homes, tossed out by lovers, the good gays stepped in and did what they had to do for the least of these.
I fell away and walked out the door on four years of sobriety and it was the worst mistake I have ever made. When I returned from my disastrous gay odyssey to hell, I moved to the Beach.
Rental assistance afforded me an apartment two blocks off the beach, in a gay friendly building with gay friendly people who had my best interest in mind. But I was still drinking.
I prayed for an alcoholic to bring me back, and he appeared.
I was thirty four. I wasn’t a beach boy. I didn’t have the looks nor the money.
So on my first sober day, I returned to a gay meeting. Nobody noticed me.
What I did find was a group of straight men and women who did welcome me and provided everything I would need to live soberly.
I moved to Montreal. By this time, by my family’s standards and resentment list, I had four solid strikes against me.
If you want to be gay and live a life of your dreams, move out of the United States.
Every day I read articles and watch videos of just how sick heterosexual people are. I read articles about heterosexual people doing the worst indignities to the least of these.
Every day we are bombarded with all kinds of actions that are abhorrent to me abhorrent to all of us.
I am ashamed to call myself an American. There is only one reason I retain my citizenship.
But for all intents and purposes, I am a Canadian.
Gay is all over. From city to city, from province to province and from neighborhood to neighborhood. Here we have marriage equality. We can walk down the street holding hands and not fear some asshole making a scene. Cities have dedicated Gay Villages.
Here is where my gay education took another step in its evolution. At a particular meeting I was introduced to a trans woman, who we all love and respect. I actually heard her speak a few weeks ago.
Who knew from trans boys and girls, men and women?
In the last ten years or so, gender rules and assignments have expanded. It the most wonderful time in our lives. No longer in the shadows, kids, young people and adults are making their stands to proclaim who they are.
But in the United States, sadly, beatings, killings and suicides are the norm.
Around the world we know that LGBT people are being killed, ostracized and imprisoned for who they are. Sadly the world is not moving ahead with acceptance and love.
I’ve known a handful of young kids battling with who they were born as, coming to see who they really are. Some have been in transition for a while now. There are pockets of locations where kids are being allowed to explore who they are, with support and love, but that is far from the norm.
Kids killing themselves because of internet trolls and hatred by family and friends is terribly disturbing. We have to step up and be their voice in a world that wants to only shut them up.
Over the last few years I have become friends with a family that is remarkable. One son is gay, One daughter is in transition at age six, and the third son is in the mix.
I’ve witnessed what it takes to parent a transgendered child. Parenting any child is hard work, it is a lifetime calling for parents. And we know, by what we are hearing and seeing, children are being born into families that really, should never have had children to begin with.
That is another stark reminder of just how sick some parents really are.
We’ve witnessed celebrities born into celebrity lives. Growing up one gender, and today a handful of them are who they really want to be. The transgendered community is growing in leaps and bounds after a handful of celebrity transitions.
Last night was a watershed moment for Bruce Jenner. It was a watershed for all those boys and girls still in the mix, making lifetime decisions about who they would like to be and who they really are.
We Must speak for them. We must stand up for them. We must accept them.
WE MUST LOVE THEM.
We must love each other, even if we do not understand why they are doing what they are doing.
Phil said this last night, “I may not understand but as long as they aren’t hurting anyone else, respect!!!”
Kanye said it best …”I am nothing, if I can’t be who I am!” Being true to ones self is the key to a life flourishing.
To Thine Own Self Be True.
Kids are killing themselves because of bullying and indignity.
We must stop this trend any way we are able.
It takes a village to raise a child, and an even bigger one to raise a trans kid.
Who do you know today? Do you know a gay person, Do you know someone with AIDS, I am sure all of you know someone who has faced or is facing a terrible fight for life because of illness.
How many of us know families with trans children in them?
You shall love the Lord with all your heart, all your soul and all your spirit, AND you should love your neighbor as yourself.
He has shown you, O mortal, what is good.
And what does the Lord require of you?
To act justly and to love mercy
and to walk humbly with your God.