30 August 2011


I had a "family" table the other day at work.  It was a lesbian couple, probably in their late forties, and an older lady.  She was the mother of one of the lesbians.

She was the mother of the one in the wheelchair.

I wouldn't say she was a completely paralyzed from the neck down, but it wasn't a waist down paralysis.  She had a powered wheelchair and she could maneuver it as she needed to without assistance.  But she had limited use of her hands.  She definitely relied on her companion (which I say because I hate the term "partner").

This was one of the nicest tables I've waited on.  And it wasn't just because they were family.  They were polite, they said thank you, they said please when they needed something, and they were pleasant to talk to.  I didn't dread going to the table.

And to watch the love and devotion between these two...was just a privilege.  To watch the one cut up food and feed it to her sweetheart, to watch her care for her, was so adorable.

As I watched them, all I could think of was, "how can people say that this is wrong?  How can people say that these two shouldn't be married?"  How many people, gay or straight, would stay?  It can't be easy for the two of them.  If I was in that situation, I imagine it would be downright difficult.  But it's worth it to them.  It doesn't matter that there are difficult times.  They love each other.  Period.  And that is real love...complete devotion...being willing to do anything to be with the one you love.

When they left, the woman in the wheelchair was able to make her way towards the door under her own power.  And the other?  She helped the mother stand, gave her the cane she needed to walk, and let her lean on her arm as they headed towards the door.

I don't think I'll ever forget that moment.  That's good people right there.  That's what family is all about.  And I hope I see them again.

26 August 2011

180 Degrees

Years ago, I was not in a good place.  Most of my days were gray.  The sunlight lost its sparkle.  Shadows followed me everywhere I went.

Then I went through a program to help me turn my life around.  And it literally turned my life around.

I made a really good friend there.  Lately, I've been thinking about something she said to me once.

"You were in one place.  You were going in one direction.  Then you started doing this, and you found a different direction.  You turned 180 degrees.  And the problem with that is, that everything and everyone that was in front of you before is now behind you.  And they can choose to catch up with your new direction...or they get left behind."

I don't know why I've been thinking about her words.  But I have.  I've been thinking about the things that didn't catch up, the things that have been left behind.

I wish I knew why this was on my mind right now.

23 August 2011

When You Know Someone

It's easy to discount something you have no experience with.  After all, you have no experience with it.  You haven't touched it.  You haven't observed it.  You don't know its quirks, its disposition, how it reacts when poked with a stick.

Some people like to speculate, despite having no knowledge of the thing they are speculating about.

We like to do this.  We like to think that we are informed authorities about things that we really know nothing about.  We like to do this with people, probably more than anything else.

It's easy to lump everyone together and buy into a perpetuated stereotype.  It's easy to say that all people with quality A and quality B are all alike.  If you really stop to think about it, it's a little ridiculous, but it's easy to say that.

When you know someone who is gay, suddenly it becomes a little easier to be sympathetic towards gay people.  When you know someone who gets sick, suddenly it becomes a little easier to be compassionate towards people who are sick.  When you know someone who has an emotional issue, suddenly it becomes a little easier to be understanding towards people who struggle with their emotions.

When you're willing to reach out and know someone, suddenly it becomes a little easier to have love and compassion for your fellow man.

22 August 2011

A Simple Explanation

I don't understand straight couples.

I was thinking this today as I waited for such a couple to make their decision about what they were having for dinner.  They were young, married, sitting next to each other in the booth instead of across from each other.  They were expecting a baby.

For some reason, I noticed how close she was to him, how she laid her hand on his arm, how she looked at him with such adoration.

I found myself wondering what that could possibly be like.  What is it like to feel that way about a man?

The answer for me is that I don't know.  It's a foreign concept.  I can't imagine what it's like to feel that way about a man.  I remember wondering why she would want to be that close to him.  Well duh, it's because she loves him.  She loves him enough to say that she'll spend her whole life with him, raise a family with him, give her heart to him and no one else.

She loves him the same way that I love my girlfriend.  But she probably wouldn't understand me any more that I understood her in that moment.

She loves him.  He loves her.  I don't understand it at all.

In other cases such as my own, she loves her.  He loves him.  But some people don't understand it at all.  In fact, they're not even willing to try.

I still don't understand straight couples.  But I can see where they're coming from.  It's because they love each other.  Why do I stay with my girlfriend?  Why do I want to be close to her?  Why does she look at me with adoration?  It's because we love each other.

It's amazing to me how simple love can be.  It's a simple explanation to the questions and statements and life choices we don't understand.  But sometimes we're just not willing to see how simple it really is.  We're not willing to recognize that adoring look, and remember when we felt that way about someone, what it was like.  We just love to make it complicated.

08 August 2011

The Gay Lifestyle

I've heard this term referenced a few times in the last few weeks.  "The gay lifestyle."  What even is that?

As a gay person, I find it to be a stereotypical tactic to portray gay people in yet another negative light.  It refers to the partying, drug-taking, sleeping around and overly promiscuous sort of gay person.  It's such an easily believable idea for the straight community, that often being gay can't mean anything except that you like to party and take drugs and have sex with every man or woman that you come in contact with, depending on which type you like.

But I have lots of straight twenty-something friends.  They like to go to clubs on weekends and dance until their shoes come off.  I know people who drink themselves into a coma on their days off, or take recreational drugs for a good time.  I know straight people who enjoy one night stands.

Sounds familiar.  Yet that kind of twenty-something scene isn't referred to as a "straight lifestyle."  It's referred to as being young, not tied down, living it up.  What's the difference?

And yet that doesn't mean that all straight people act that way.  I know twenty-something straight people who are putting themselves through school, or have finished school and are just getting started on their careers.  I also have married straight friends who are totally committed to their spouse and the life they are building together.  They go to work, they go home at night, they hug their kids.  They don't go out on the weekends.  The strongest thing they drink is Pepsi.

What conclusion can we draw then?  It doesn't matter if you're gay or straight.  If you're young, you tend to be more unpredictable, more carefree or careless.  When you grow up, you tend to be more responsible.  That usually goes for anyone.  Of course there are always exceptions.  That's a given with most rules and most situations.

I am gay and I have a lifestyle.  I'm even twenty-something.  But instead of being basing my lifestyle on partying like there's no tomorrow, it goes something like this...

I have a job.  I've had the same job for seven years.  Over the summer I've been working five nights a week.  That works out to be between 32 and 40 hours a week.  After all, I've got bills to pay.  And being an adult, it's important to me to get them paid on time.

There's been fun stuff too.  I've had time to have movie nights with my friends.  I have a season pass to Lagoon.  We had fireworks for the 4th of July, both with family and with friends.  I've been able to see my sisters and their families.  I've watched a lot of soccer.  I've been to a Bee's game.  I've been to a couple of concerts.  It's been a good summer.

But school will be starting again in about a week and a half, so that will change.  I'm taking fifteen credit hours for this upcoming semester, so I'll be working at my job less and doing much more homework.  The social things I've been doing over the summer will diminish.  In fact, unless it's a super special occasion, the social things will drop out of my life completely.

And through it all, I have had, and I will have the love and support of my girlfriend.  I will come home to her at night.  She'll tell me that everything will be okay when I start to panic about school.  She'll help quiz me when I'm studying for a test.  We'll watch late night SportsCenter to unwind from the day.  With the NFL season back on, we'll watch football on Sundays.  It's fun at the house, because of NFL Sunday Ticket and the fact that there are six different teams with fans residing there.  It sometimes gets rowdy.  I'll volunteer to make her dinner when we get sick of fast food.  I'll help her niece with her homework when I need a break from mine.

You know, it's really not a lifestyle at all.  It's more like a life.

Yours might be different from mine, and I have no problem with people who like to go out and have a good time.  I hope you know that I'm not bashing on what people do in their spare time.  It is, after all, your spare time.  And it's your life, no matter who you are or who you like.

Be yourself.  Live your life.  But don't buy into stereotypes.  There's no such thing as "one size fits all" when it comes to preconceived notions.

04 August 2011


July was a colossal blogging fail.  But there's good reason for that.  I've been enjoying my summer and there were some big things that happened in July.

I love soccer.  I don't care that it isn't that popular here in the States.  I love it and I love watching it.  So I was preoccupied with the Women's World Cup that took place through June and July.  The US Women's National Team had a great run.  There were some pretty amazing matches (like the Brazil one, for instance) and I enjoyed watching them go all the way to the World Cup Final.

The World Cup Final was between the US and Japan.  Japan had never before beaten the US.  In the three matches that had been played between the two teams prior to the Final, the US won all three times.  Japan had never before been to a World Cup Final.  And it was one of the classiest matches I've ever had the privilege to watch.  We scored, then they scored.  So it went to extra time.  Then we scored, then they scored.  So it went to penalty kicks.  And in penalty kicks, Japan won.

A silver medal is nothing to feel bad about.  The US really dominated that match, Japan just scored when they needed to.  I'm glad I got to see it.

Also preoccupying me was the launch and final mission of the space shuttle Atlantis.  The shuttle program is now retired.  I lost a lot of sleep for the duration of STS-135.  I got up early to watch the launch and spent most of the week glued to NASA TV, getting mission updates and watching the astronauts in space.  This mission was a resupply mission to the International Space Station.  They were in space for 13 days.

The first thing I ever wanted to be was an astronaut and I have followed the space shuttle program over the course of my entire life.  I'm really sad that it's over.  But I'm glad I had the means to follow these last few missions.

And the other big thing was the release of A Dance With Dragons.  This is the fifth book in A Song of Ice and Fire, by George R.R. Martin.  You may have heard of Game of Thrones, which is the first book and has recently been an HBO series.  These books are absolutely incredible and I can't get enough of them.  GRRM has an amazing writing style and I highly recommend this series.  Just be warned, it's not a PG series, but it's fantastic none the less.

So that was my July.  I thoroughly enjoyed it.  Hope you enjoyed your July too!